Early winter, January and February, are when gardeners start receiving a steady stream of seed catalogs. The Winter duldrums, melancholy and cabin fever can be shatterred if only for a few brief hours, as we pour over the picturesque cornucopia we envison growing come spring. The nursery catalogs provide a welcome escape for us to ponder our 'garden of eating' in the months ahead.
Some gardeners stick with a few tried and true varieties while the adventerous gardener will want to try some new vegetable varieties each season.
All-American Selections are always a good place to find some new varieties. In recent years Online seed shopping has become more reliable and provides a much more diverse and expansive selection to choose from. Seed companies frequently have limited seed supplies of very popular fruits and veggies, so it is a good idea to place seed orders early.
Be cautious and don’t depend on the fantastic results sometimes claimed by internet seed hucksters. If the advertsing for a new plant breed seems fantamagorical and hard to believe, chances are the claims are exagerated and at times bogus. Case in point: Blue Strawberries. Should you plant blue strawberry seeds 9 out of 10 will revert to red, their natural color. A few will have minor blue highlights and somewhere around 1 out of a hundred will be blue and sometimes purplish or red blue.
Some highly reputable companies such as Hirts, Park Seed, Burpee, Victory seeds and so forth will have crop data from their test gardens. Problem with this is you'll need to know where the test garden is located. To produce comparable results the test garden should be in climatic zones similar to yours.
Growing flowers along with the vegetables is a good idea too. A colorful array of flowering plants creates a divers and healthy landscape that attracts pollinators. I prefer to use an abundance of native wild flowers.