New Gardening Seeds and Things for 2013

If it’s January, it’s time for the new seed catalogs to come rolling in.

Once the rush of holiday shopping is over and the retail catalogs slow to a trickle, it’s time for the seed catalogs to take over.

As a gardener, it has to be one of my favorite times of the year because each catalog holds the promise of warm spring days and bountiful summer harvests.

So many seeds, sow little time.

There are hundreds of new annuals, perennials, fruits and vegetables just waiting to be be purchased and planted.

I’ve taken a look at what’s in store for the 2013 gardening season and I’m amazed at what I’ve seen. There are more interesting choices for gardeners than ever before:

New sunflowers that will knock your socks off.
Sweet corn for container growing.
Gorgeous pink-and-rose colored petunias with 3″ blooms.
Personal sized melons.
Two-pound tomatoes bred for making sauce.
Cantaloupe-colored echinacea.
Broccoli that looks like long stalks of asparagus.
Grafted tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.

New Gardening Product Protects Transplants

The idea for EZ-walls Plant Protectors came from a gardener who was tired of coping with windy weather. (Photo courtesy of Debbie Schauer)

One of the things I like best about being a garden writer (besides all the free seeds, plants, and new products to try) is getting to talk with gardening experts across the country.

Just recently I talked with Debbie Schauer, a former Colorado gardener who now lives in Arizona.

Debbie sent me one of her new EZ-walls Plant Protectors to try in my garden.

She dreamed up this new idea in plant protection because she struggled to keep similar products upright in high winds. Her husband helped her get EZ-walls off the ground. Or in this case, on the ground.

EZ-walls is the only plant protector on the market with a single fill tube and drawstring top.

New Line of Corona Tools Great for Gardening

Corona Clipper gave garden writers a sneak peek of its new line of products at the Garden Writers Symposium in Dallas last month. The manufacturer of gardening tools used ‘Innovation for Seasons to Come’ as its theme for the trade show.

The trade show at this year’s Garden Writers Symposium featured many new products and I came home with a duffel bag full of great gardening gear to trial and write about for next season. But I was blown away by the display and giveaways at the Corona Clipper booth.

Since the 192os, Corona Clipper has manufactured professional and consumer gardening tools. You’d think after all those years the company would run out of ideas, but it looks like they’re just getting started.

The theme for the trade show was ‘Innovations for Seasons to Come’ and the company used that theme to introduce its new product line and vision for the future.

Atlas Gloves an Essential Gardening Accessory

These Atlas “Touch” Gloves are my first pair of gardening gloves to last an entire season of heavy-duty use.

Can you imagine how many pairs of gardening gloves I’ve worn out in a lifetime of gardening chores? I couldn’t begin to count them.

Any gloves that didn’t get worn out, probably weren’t worn. Like most gardeners, I start out with my gloves on, but about halfway through the gardening tasks I take them off. Sometimes it’s to get a better grip on a teeny-tiny weed or it’s because the gloves start to feel uncomfortable.

Then I forget to put the gloves back on.

However, that changed this season when I found the super-duper durable Atlas “Touch” Gloves.

I’ve put these gloves to the test throughout this spring and summer. They aren’t as attractive as they were they day I got them, but they’re still in one piece and the fit is just like wearing a protective second skin.

This Gardener Digs Pistols for Shovels

The shovels featured in the work, Palas por Pistolas by Pedro Reyes of Mexico City, were used to plant trees on the grounds of one Denver elementary school during The Nature of Things art exhibit in July. The 20 shovels lying in a row on the floor meant there were 20 fewer weapons on the streets of one city in Mexico.

July was a busy month around here, but John and I managed to block out an entire day to take in several Biennial of the Americas events during the month-long celebration in downtown Denver. We’re so glad we did.

The Nature of Things was the title of the contemporary art exhibit at the reopened and partially-renovated McNichols Building. The exhibit featured artists from North, South and Central America who expressed themes of innovation, sustainability, community and the arts through their work. Many dealt with issues of social change.

New Botanical Interests Gardening Catalog

For the first time, Botanical Interests has produced a print catalog that features all of its seed offerings with its signature botanic illustrations.

I’ve been keeping up with new developments at Botanical Interests by following @BotanicalSeeds on Twitter. And I’m so glad I did.

If I hadn’t been following along, I wouldn’t have known the Broomfield, Colo., online seed company produced its first print catalog this year.

The catalog arrived in the mail this week, and I have to say it’s one of the prettiest catalogs I’ve ever seen. Each of the catalog’s 28 pages is filled with full-color botanical illustrations–the same ones the company uses for its one-of-a-kind seed packets.

A new line of seeds being introduced this year is called “The Botanic Gardens Series Seed Packet” line. Botanical Interests is working with botanic gardens throughout the country to protect native North American species that are rare and potentially endangered. The seeds from this new line will help prevent plant species from being lost to us forever.

New Crop of Gardening Books Sprouts Ideas

The 2010 gardening book season is in full swing and these three new titles will help gardeners of every level grow great gardens.

The first crop of gardening books to review arrived in my office this week and now I can’t wait for the growing season to begin.

I’m sure every gardener will find something they can put to use in each of the three new titles from Cool Springs Press, whether it’s a fabulous new recipe, a way to avoid plant problems or how to pinch a few more pennies.

I plan on writing complete reviews of each book over the next several weeks, but thought you might like an overview, just to whet your appetite.

Each attractive cover has an intriguing title, is aimed to a specific audience, and loaded with full-color photos, illustrations and all kinds of interesting tips, tricks and ideas. These are guaranteed to make gardeners want to get growing immediately.

Winter Workouts Make Gardening Easier

My winter gardening gear consists of a stability ball, hand weights, resistance bands and other exercise equipment in my home gym.

Getting ready for gardening season requires a little more exercise than thumbing through seed catalogs. Working out in winter is an important way to get muscles ready for the first warm spring days spent out in the yard.

I’ve learned this from experience.

I used to think getting ready to garden meant taking a few Ibuprofen before I headed outside. After all, a body can only take so much bending, lifting, kneeling and squatting after a long winter of inactivity. But now I start training for my gardening marathon with a complete fitness program.

If you haven’t been active recently, be sure to get a health professional’s okay before lifting that first weight. Then work to gradually build up strength so you can be ready to get down and dirty in the garden.

PowWow Wild Berry Echinacea is a Knock Out

Recent changes to the introduction schedule at All-America Selections mean winners, like this Echinacea purpurea ‘PowWow Wild Berry’, will be introduced and available as soon as they are selected. (Photo courtesy of All-America Selections)

Just last week I received a packet of  seeds from All-America Selections with instructions to plant the seeds immediately.

This is a dramatic change from the way AAS has introduced its winning plants in the past. I used to get seeds to trial a year in advance of their availability to gardeners.

This means gardeners will get to take advantage of all the new winners as soon as they’re available.

The Echinacea purpurea ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ is the 2010 Flower Award Winner and it will be available this spring. If seeds are started now, this beautiful new perennial will flower its first year.

Seeds of Change Gardening Catalog Review

The 2010 Seeds of Change catalog offers seed for both the home gardener and the market grower, including the new All Lettuce Mix pictured on the catalog cover.

From an organic gardener’s point of view, there’s a lot to like about Seeds of Change.

Since 1989 the company has supported sustainable organic agriculture and all of its flower, vegetable and herb seed are 100% certified organic–1200 varieties in all.

The company has a large seed donation program and it also donates 1% of net sales to help organic growers around the world.

The Seeds of Change catalog is filled with heirloom, traditional, medicinal, rare and new seeds. New introductions this year include 6 salad mixes, White Sicilian Garlic, Dark Star Zucchini, Totem Strawberry and Fordhook Giant Chard–to name just a few.

Unusual varieties, like Red Swan Beans, share catalog space with old favorites like Kentucky Wonder green beans. Heirloom tomatoes include dependable growers like Stupice, tasty Brandywine and rare black tomatoes like Paul Robeson.

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