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The Most Distant Thing on People's Minds

by Bobby Blair
January 6, 2013

On some days I found my mailbox stuffed with more seed catalogs than Christmas cards ...

Chances are you still don't have your Christmas tree or decorations packed up and stored away for next year. And how about that bag of rock salt that you swear you saw forty times this summer and now that you need it, it has simply vanished.

I'm just not a fan of winter.  It means daily trips to the wood pile, extra clothing and a lack of sunlight. For those who shun skis, snowmen, dead batteries, the flu, your driveway being plowed back in after you've just shoveled it, there are alternatives. If a get-a-way to southern climes is not in your future maybe a slow cooked beef stew can ward off those below freezing temperatures that keep you isolated inside. For me the thoughts of 90 degree days can be conjured up simply by looking through the many seed catologs scattered about in the computer room, kitchen table, and even in the bathroom. God, I love summer.

While most folk's don't take gardening or growing things to quite the extreme that I do with a small dahlia farm or plantings of milk crates and flower beds in an entire downtown area, many do enjoy having a small backyard garden. After a fungus wiped out my 2010 dahlia tuber stock, and Hurricane Irene drowned 3,600 fully grown plants in 2011 at my Highland Street farm, I have a new found appreciation for farmers. This past 2012 growing season I finally had a banner dahlia crop in my four year struggle to go from hobbyist to something more tangible. Like the backyard gardener I've learned there are so many variables in bringing a crop to the table  in my case to market) that a bad year can either make or break your spirit never mind you bank account. Like someone addicted to heroin, I just can't get enough of growing things. If you're the average gardener who plants only a dozen tomatoes, a few peppers and a row or two of beans and carrots, the local farm stand can supply your planting needs.


Those who take things a step further with larger gardens may wish to shop around and compare seed prices. Purchasing seeds is usually just a once a year ordeal. The offerings by various companies can swing widely in price. Gurneys Seed for instance offers 20 Double Sunshine Sunflower seeds for $4.99, larger quantities at a lower price are not offered. Add the shipping cost of $6.99 for a toatal of $11.98 and a single suflower seed will cost you 59 cents. By purchasing the same sunflower seeds from Johnny Selected Seeds out of Winslow, Maine, in a larger quantity of 1,000 seeds for $6.45 plus shipping for $4.00 you can reduce the price per seed to less than a cent and a half per seed. For those wishing to compare prices from catalogs simply Google "seed catalogs" and start filling your mailbox. Johnny's Selected Seed - Johnnyseeds.com and HPS - www.hpsseed.com have reasonable prices.

If seed catalogs are the most distant thing on your mind, the IRS hasn't forgotten what season it is. Check your mailbox for Uncle Sam's catalog commonly know as a Form 1040.


Posted in Green.

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Comments (2)

I always look forward to the arrival of seed catalogs as they are welcome harbingers of warmer, longer days and bountiful harvests. The IRS, not so much...

- Mac | 1/23/13 4:19 PM

I am still in awe of last year's dahlias, particularly the dinner plate ones! Congratulations and I hope 2013 is as good as 2012.

- Patricia Boyd | 1/6/13 10:42 AM



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