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Seed Catalogs are here!

Greetings to you from the Pipestone Master Gardeners in this New Year, and the beginning of a new garden season.

Have you been enticed by the pictures and features in the many new garden catalogs that have been arriving in your mailbox?  Most have a variety of choices from seeds  to plants already growing, from vegetables, flowers, herbs, and potted or bare root trees of many kinds. 

These harbingers of spring, garden seed catalogs,  have a varied history and contain lots of pertinent information.  According to the Arboretum News, these catalogs were once a staple in everyone's home since the late 1800's and early 1900's. 

Some of these early companies were L.L. May & Company and Northrup King, both of Minneapolis, and Farmer's Seed of Faribault.  These three seed houses were owned and run by women;  Mrs. Jessie Prior, Miss Emma V. White and Miss Carrie Lippincot, which was quite unusual in the early 1900's.  The Oscar H. Will Seed Company, established in Bismark, ND in 1881, was that area's first ever seed house.  The company featured several Native American seeds from the Mandan, Arikara, and Hidatsa cultures.  Some of these catalog names are still familiar, aren't they? 

One of today's catalogs is serving a unique mission.  This catalog, The Seed Savers Exchange of Decorah, Iowa, features rare heirloom, open pollinated varieties.  Their mission states that "The Seed Savers Exchange stewards America's culturally diverse and endangered garden and food crop legacy for present and future generations.  We educate and connect people through collecting, regenerating, and sharing heirloom seeds, plants, and stories."

So enjoy shopping from your favorite catalog as you plan for this year's garden and review your existing yard and landscape. 

For more information contact: Melissa Runck, Agricultural Production Systems Extension Educator, Pipestone & Murray Counties, Ph. 507-825-1193, mkrunck@umn.edu

L. Meyer, University of Minnesota Pipestone Master Gardener

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