It is a great time of year for gardeners. The seed catalogs are arriving and our gardeners are as beautiful as our imagination, and the photos from the catalogs. These catalogs are mesmerizing. The photos are works of art and the vegetable descriptions are literature. Many of them contain information on vegetable history, how to plant, and how to use the produce. Flowers are described by height, scent, color and attractiveness to pollinators. And, oh so many new varieties to try!
Garden Catalog Tips
Robert Westerfield, UGA vegetable specialist, gives us some tips on navigating our way through these catalogs and all of the vegetable choices.
Tip #1 If you are gardening for high yields or dependable results, use recommended varieties for your area. UGA’s Vegetable Planting Chart has a list of varieties that have proven to do well in Georgia. These are the least risky choices.
Tip #2 When trying a new vegetable variety order only a small quantity to start. Experimenting is one of the great pleasures of the garden. Succeed or fail, it is fun to try. Just don’t over-invest in seeds until you know how they will perform in your garden.
Tip #3 Remember the vegetables you grew up with may not necessarily be the best ones to plant now. There are many improved hybrid varieties that can hold up to our disease and heat issues. A good example is Silver Queen corn. While popular, it is definitely not the best variety to grow in Georgia. There are many new corn hybrids on the market that are much sweeter and maintain their sweetness longer when stored.
Hopefully, these tips will be a helpful guide as you enjoy making your 2021 garden seed selections. One bonus tip especially for school gardeners – the photos in the catalogs can be laminated and used as plant markers or in gardening lessons.