The catalogs are coming! The seed, tree, herb, plant, and garden equipment catalogs are coming! Each year, they arrive earlier and earlier, and I now have my first one, from Fedco Trees. In an ordinary year, I’d set it aside to form the foundation of a stack that would grow very tall indeed as Halloween gave way to Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving to frenetic December. But this is not an ordinary year. I’m nursing a broken ankle, and have plenty of time to read. And if you like a good old-fashioned read, Fedco Trees is a great catalog to get.
Fedco, based in Waterville, Maine, sells vegetable and flower seeds, fruit trees, berries, fertilizer, gardening equipment, and books. Fedco offers three print catalogs: seeds, trees, and bulbs. The company was founded in 1978 as a cooperative and caters mainly to home growers and market gardeners in the Northeast. Much of the seed offered is certified organic. The company maintains high standards, tests for genetically modified contamination, and offers excellent customer service.
“Trees” doesn’t limit itself to trees—you’ll also find small fruits and berries, vines, roots and stems (rhubarb and asparagus), ground covers (cranberry, lingonberry tender bulbs and perennials, and ornamental shrubs—but trees are the bulk of the offerings. Most, not surprisingly. are edible varieties that will thrive in the north, including a wide selection of heirloom apples (standard, dwarf, and semi-dwarf, along with rootstocks for grafting), apricots, peaches, plums, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, grape, and hardy kiwi. Prices seem quite reasonable when compared with similar offerings from other nurseries.
Along with detailed planting and cultural information, this catalog, like all Fedco catalogs, is liberally illustrated with evocative and often amusing line drawings that liven up the catalog, which eschews color photography.
So what am I ordering? Certainly nothing for fall planting, not with a surgical ankle. I’ll be fortunate just to get the garlic in the ground. “More trees!” gasps my son. “Where will you put them?” He does have a point. I need to go small. I am tempted by kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), a native spreading groundcover. And maybe I’ll finally redo my strawberry patch, which is well past its prime.