Seed sources for Frostbite Falls, ID

– Posted in: Catalog review, Seeds and Seed Starting, Weather

My poor rosemary got frozen pretty good up one side this week–too near the glass on the porch. The others wintering over look ok and two of the English violets look like they may be alive. The lemon tree has a nearly ripe fruit, for Heavens’ sake. It was -20F this morning and the front door was frozen shut when I woke up. The jet stream can go back to the Yukon, please. At least there is lots of snow cover for the lining out stock in the gardens.

For the duration of this cold snap I am trying to stay inside as I frostbit my feet a bit last week plowing–a good excuse to pore more over the seed catalogs too. Pinetree has some good vegetable seeds at realistic prices (if an annoyingly slow and bureaucreatic website)–they are a standby of mine along with the darling Le Jardin du Gourmet with its 35 cent test packages and intriguing French varieties.
Do you like Stokes’ assortment? A bit too much emphasis on shippers’ varieties but they admit which ones they are and this flower grower likes that end of their range.
A western catalog you may not have tried but that is definitely worth a look is Nichols Garden Nursery. Low on hype and slick printing but good information and reasonable rates. There is also Territorial but you have to reset the declination on your compass for their very warm coastal climate. The Garden City seed catalog from Montana that I used to like sold out to a fellow in Washington state who is not reliable so I have shelved their list. Too bad–they did good cold climate research.
An out of the way list that I hope is still packing vegetable seeds is Fisher Seeds (Fisher Seed, Inc. Rte 71 PO Box 33F Chinook MT 59523)–Fishers developed their own melon and tomato strains for their very hard climate and send a nice old fashioned seed catalog. I also like the Seeds Trust/High Altitude list too–not just because they are an Idaho firm; not so inexpensive any more but good short season seed, reliable company, and they also sell Penstemon seed! I’m curious as to the dislike of Park Seed/Cooks. Did they mistreat you? I have my own creeping dislike of the conglomeration going on in the plant industry even just from the standpoint of shrinking scope–shepherds got eaten by white flower farm for example.
I am editing my plants catalog and can’t enjoy looking at other plants catalogs until mine is finished, so they will just have to pile up for a while.

About the Author

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4b/5aLocation: rural; just south of British Columbia/Idaho borderGeographic type: foot of Black & Clifty Mountains (foothills of Rockies–the Wet Columbia Mountains in BC climate- speak)Soil type:acid sand (glacial lake bed)/coniferous forestExperience level: intermediate/professionalParticular interests: fragrant & edible plants, hardy bulbs, cottage gardening, alpines, peonies, penstemons & other blue flowers, primulas, antique & species roses & iris; nocturnal flowers Also: owner of Paradise Gardens Rare Plant Nursery

If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It’s a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it’s time to reflect on what’s come before.

~Mitchell Burgess in Northern Exposure

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