January seed catalogs are here

January is the month of the seed catalog in my book. These days, you just go online and spend time looking at offers. You’ll find a few that have enough for you to order a hard copy to study on your own.

Modern catalogs, whether hard copies or web versions, contain all kinds of information. All of them have cultural tricks that tell you how to grow things. Some include great stories. Some have helpful recipes or tips on storage. In fact, there are so many competitors vying for your attention and money that you never know what you might find. Remember, Alaskan gardeners buy locally when they can.

This year, I have a little dilemma. I no longer believe that Alaskans should plant things willy-nilly just because they get our attention. We have a responsibility to future generations of Alaskans and non-Alaskans to care for what has been given to us. Allowing non-native perennials, trees and shrubs that can escape and spread should be avoided like the plague, in my humble opinion.

I already have a rule that Alaskans don’t buy potatoes from outside sources, lest we infect local strains. No one should order exotic perennials, trees or shrubs unless they know the item ordered will not spread. To be aware.

OK. Since we plan to start sweet peas early, the first catalog I will list is Renee’s Seeds. Renee is a great friend and the source of the idea to start these seeds early and pinch them to get heaps of flowers. If you sign up for Renee’s newsletter this year, you’ll get a 10% discount.

Then, in my opinion (OK, that’s not so humble), there’s a catalog of seeds that tops all others when it comes to beautiful photographs. I’m talking about Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. It’s 148 pages of the most delicious vegetables you’ve ever seen. It’s a catalog you won’t want to throw away, ever again. If you want it right away, you can download a PDF version.

My friends at Territorial Seeds always offer the latest and greatest in vegetables and flowers. Just like the folks at Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Both have many, many short-season crops to choose from. Their respective catalogs are full of all kinds of goodies designed to ensure your success with their seeds, and reading them will surely make you a smarter gardener. They are also excellent sources for short-season crops.

Raintree Nursery sells fruit trees. I include them because they have been selling to Alaskans for years and know what will happen here. And, given my newfound fear of invasive escaping plants, I trust these people to let us know when a fruit is likely to escape. The new rule is ask before you buy, and walk away if the plant does too!

Logee’s is the only indoor plant catalog I would list. What a treat to see all the wonderful new houseplants as well as great varieties of houseplants. It’s a good way to learn a lot about houseplants.

Kitazawa Seed Co. is a fun catalog. They have all the Asian veggies you could dream of and more. Many of them could be grown under those lights that I know you use to keep your houseplants happy. Why not consider growing some this season as well as this summer?

Of course, there will be more next week. However, if you have a particularly great suggestion for one, let me have it! I’m always looking for a good catalog of plants to read.

Jeff’s Alaskan Garden Calendar

Recycling Christmas trees: Bare trees only! Carr designated bundles only! Thank you ALPAR and the other sponsors!

Alaska Botanical Garden: Start the year off right. Join and support The Garden.

Amaryllis: Take yours out of storage and douse it with lukewarm water.