Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Odd Weather, Old Seed Catalogs and a Quiz
Who else thought those warm days earlier this week were more creepy than welcome? It just wasn't right. Unusual record breaking warm weather in January messes with your mind and makes you think you are behind because you haven't ordered your seeds yet.
I, for one, am relieved to see the return of more winter-like temperatures. Now I can happily continue with my seed obsessing, indoor plant messing ways for many more weeks, without thinking I've got to get outside to take advantage of warm weather.
After spending my life in zone 5, I am just not programmed to spend time outside in the garden in January.
I'm programmed to look at seed catalogs and make lists, long lists, of what family and friends can get me for my birthday.
So, how about a quiz to see if you have learned anything from my previous posts on old seeds and seed catalogs?
It's just one question.
Why do I have a 1976 Burpee Seed Catalog?
a) Because I have an extensive seed catalog collection and I am about to reveal how extensive it is in this post.
b) Because 1976 was the year I was born and my Mom and Dad just knew I'd be a gardener and would like to have this catalog.
c) Because it is from the bicenntenial year and I thought it would be neat to keep it.
d) Because it is from the 100th anniversary year of Burpee Seeds, and I knew that one day Burpee would be sold and become part of a big corporation and we would all reminisce about the days when Burpee was the seed catalog choice of every home gardener.
Please write down your answer before continuing so you can grade yourself. We'll use the honor system.
The correct answer is...
c) Because it is from the bicenntenial year and I thought it would be neat to keep it. If you picked this answer, give yourself one point.
Let's review why the other answers are incorrect.
a) I do not have an extensive seed catalog collection. Actually, truth be told, I recycle all the seed catalogs in the spring, except the one or two that I order from. I keep those for reference for awhile longer and then recycle them later on. But, given the big box of old seeds I posted about, if you guessed this was the answer, I can see why so give yourself half a point.
b) Really, you thought I was born in 1976? That's awfully nice of you but not quite true. Hints of my true age abound on this blog. And while I don't think my parents knew the year I was born that I was destined to be a gardener, I think they saw signs of my interest in gardening at a fairly early age. If you picked this one, give yourself two points for thinking I was that young.
d) No one can predict the future, but I suspect I am not the only gardener who remembers the old Burpee seed catalogs and ordered a fair number of seeds from them 'back in the day'. Even today, I can't resist looking through the Burpee seed catalog and remembering how I used to read it cover to cover and help my Dad pick out seeds to order. I don't order from it anymore because I know that Burpee seeds are available at many big box stores at a discount. For old times sake I'll look through those racks in the store and pick up a few packets of zinnias or sunflowers or other direct-sow annuals. Give yourself zero points for this answer, unless you also were a big fan of the old Burpee seed catalogs, then give yourself one-fourth of a point.
Tonight I flipped through the pages of the 1976 catalog.
In 1976, the Big Girl hybrid tomato was 'new and exclusive' and a packet of seed set you back 75 cents.
I couldn't find the Big Girl tomato in the 2008 catalog. She seems to have been tossed aside for newer varieties and re-discovered heirloom varieties. I guess the new-ness and exclusive-ness of a variety doesn't last forever.
So how did you do on the quiz?