Seed Catalogs

‘Tis the time of year for seed catalogs. In my opinion, seed catalogs are like the cocaine of gardening world – sheer escapist fantasy in which one has infinite time, energy, and garden space, a world in which weeds, pests, diseases, and aching backs do not exist. In the world of seed catalogs, each variety is better than the next. Take, for instance, the choices of basil in Fedco’s catalog:

"Basil leaves" by Paul Goyette. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
“Basil leaves” by Paul Goyette. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Genovese Basil (70 days) The choice of many connoisseurs for making pesto.  (Ah ha! Well, if it’s the choice of connoisseurs, this is clearly the right type of basil.) Also called Perfumed Basil. (Oh good. I love the smell of basil. But wait, what’s this?…)

Anise Basil Originally from Persia. (Persia?? Oh, exotic!! Bellydancing. Wild animals. Lawrence of Arabia. This must be good.) Vigorous mulberry-tinted basil with anise fragrance makes highly decorative tall bushy plant. (Anise!? Yum. Pretty AND smells good AND exotic.) Slow to bolt. (Excellent. Because bolted basil is bad basil.) Great in Italian tomato sauces. (Perfect!) Also used in Thai and various Mediterranean cuisines. (Excellent! I can use it for everything. This is clearly the right kind of basil! But wait….)

Sacred Basil OG Ocimum tenuiflorum (100 days) Native to India and used in Indian as well as Thai cuisine. (Sacred basil! Wow, what does that mean?) Spicier than other basils and quicker to go to seed, but still usable when covered with purple flowers. (Hmm.) Used in Ayurvedic medicine as a poultice on acne, ringworm, eczema and insect bites. (Whoa! Ok, I don’t have acne, ringwork, or eczema. I’m sure I’ll have insect bites, though.)  Strengthens the immune system and increases oxygen uptake in the brain. (Well, I could definitely use more oxygen in the brain.) Stands a bit more cold than other basils. (Excellent! Because it’s cold around here.) OT-certified. (Whatever that means.) (Sacred basil! I read somewhere that Indians put in their window sills to ward off evil. Millions of Indians can’t be wrong! I have to get this one. But wait. I meant to get some lemon basil and some Thai basil…)

"Thai basil with flowers" by Risacher. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
“Thai basil with flowers” by Risacher. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

And so it goes. And this is just basil!! I haven’t even gotten to the tomatoes, or the carrots or the green beans. I’d better not open the corn section, since I don’t have enough room for corn. A few sunflowers would be nice, though….

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