By Reggie Solomon
[This post is the second part of a three-part series reviewing catalogs produced by three major seeds providers and examining the magazines’ helpfulness to gardeners in deciding what seeds to purchase and what to grow in their home gardens. To read the beginning of the series — click here]
Johnny’s Seeds’ 170-page behemoth is a serious gardener’s and would-be-farmer’s magazine!
This is a magazine Charles Ingalls (from the television adaptation of “Little House on the Prairie”) would read while enjoying his evening pipe.
True to farmer form, Johnny’s sells seeds in small consumer packs as well as by the pound. The entire catalog is organized by category. Instructive description trumps flowery prose.
In striking contrast to Burpee’s and Seeds of Change’s catalogs, photographs play second fiddle to seed descriptions.
Johnny’s emphasizes what you’ll get when you grow their seeds rather than, how you’ll imagine yourself feeling when you’re sharing the fruits of your garden with friends and neighbors.
Each vegetable category includes a “growing information” header that describes the plant and the best way to grow and harvest it. The catalog includes a key code directory that notes which vegetables are heirloom, cold tolerant, easy choice for gardening, organic and hybrid.
Much love to Johnny’s for consistently including “days to maturity” info. This along with the detailed information normally supplied on the seed packet itself is especially helpful information for gardeners.
Johnny’s has the largest selection of product offerings within each plant category of all the seed catalogs reviewed. For example, in the carrot category, Johnny’s offers two types of purple carrots, whereas most seed catalogs feature only one purple carrot option — if that.
Johnny’s also does a good job of comparing seed and plant types with each other, so you’ll know which seed relaxes or maximizes a feature about a vegetable you may find more or less desirable.
You can enjoy professional farmer street cred when you order seeds from Johnny’s — sort of like that feeling you get when you buy Timberland boots from a construction apparel store, but never plan on actually building anything.
Overall, this is a solid garden mag with both breadth and depth.
With Johnny’s, you don’t anticipate any surprises and feel assured you know what you’re getting.
Johnny’s Seeds get’s Urban Garden Casual’s “Best at Keeping it Real” magazine review.
Johnny’s catalog is one that even a Puritan like Johnny Appleseed himself would enjoy.
[To read the third part of this three part article series, click here]