The seed catalogs are arriving! It’s like an early Christmas this time of year when I visit the mailbox and find a new catalog waiting for me. I am signed up to receive a bundle of them from various retailers. Even when I have plenty of seeds on hand for the next season, I love to flip through the brightly colored pages and read about different kinds of veggies, herbs, and flowers. When I’m done, though, I don’t ever toss them in the recycling bin. I keep seed catalogs on hand for a few years, because I believe they are a fantastic resource and reference material.
Why I Keep Back Catalogs
I have a magazine folio filled with old seed catalogs. I usually keep them for around four years or so, until the folio gets full and it’s time to purge. What’s the point of keeping these? Here are a few reasons why.
- Resource material – Most seed catalogs aren’t just designed to sell a product. They’re painstakingly created – at least my favorite ones are – and contains tons of extra information that’s incredibly valuable. Seed starting charts, growing guides, gardening tips, and more.
- Seed info – Sometimes, I need to go back and find information about a particular variety I planted that I no longer have the seed packet for. Is your seed packet gone or damaged and you can’t read the planting info? Check the seed catalog!
- Notebook – Scrawl notes and stick post-its in the catalogs you receive. Instead of buying a new notebook, use seed catalogs to write down your observations, circle the plants you want to grow for the next year or year after.
- Reading material – Sometimes, when I’m bored without my garden in the winter, I’ll flip through my collection of seed catalogs.
- Inspiration – When I lack garden mojo, I’ll check out my collection of catalogs to get inspired again.
Of course, seed catalogs are useful if you’re planning to order some seeds for next year. Nothing beats flipping through the pages and excitedly making plans and dreaming big. Check out your favorite seed retailer’s website to sign up for their seed catalog. Most companies will mail them to you for free. Even if you don’t plan to order anything this year, they’re really great to have on hand.
Some seed retailers also create separate gardening guides that include product listings but are packed with even more growing information for gardeners. Often they’re also available for free or for a nominal fee.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer gardening in zone 5b. She is a certified Square Foot Gardener and has taught various garden-related workshops. When she’s not digging in the dirt or writing, she’s cooking up fresh produce, running, or listening to her favorite podcasts.