January 6, 2013

Maine Gardener: Crack a catalog and experience spring thaw in your mind

By TOM ATWELL

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The Cook's Garden (cooksgarden.com), whose catalog often has interesting offerings, has a new asparagus bean that is red-podded. The catalog says the beans will grow up to 24 inches long, but they taste better at 12 inches. Even if you don't like beans, the long red pods on a tall vine with bright-green foliage would make for a stunning ornamental.

Renee's Garden seeds (reneesgarden.com) offers a wide variety of good-quality seeds, and for the coming year has begun an organic line. It also offers several packets of seeds -- carrots and peppers, for example -- with several different-colored vegetables so cooks can get a mix without buying several different packets.

We tried their mixed-color carrots last year -- purple, orange and white carrots in one seed packet (called Circus Circus) -- and while they had a typical carrot flavor, they were conversation starters at the dinner table.

Burpee (burpee.com), one of the grand old names in vegetable seeds, has a sweet corn called On-Deck Hybrid for growing in pots. I'm not sure that would work, but if it did, it would be intriguing. Maybe if you put the pot close enough to the house, you could get the corn before the raccoons did.

All of this comes from just skimming the catalogs. And I haven't even considered flowers yet. But I will have several weeks of reading and dreaming ahead of me. Gardening in Maine is always easiest in January and February -- before we meet reality.

Tom Atwell can be contacted at 767-2297 or at:

tomatwell@me.com

 

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