Catalogs are coming

Horticulture Hints

With the arrival of the New Year, many catalogs with plant and seed offerings are also arriving. Many of these contain new plants among the pages of the garden seed catalogs. If you have been gardening for long, seed catalogs seem to arrive almost daily this time of year.

Many seed catalogs can now found online, but I enjoy curling up with a cup of cocoa to peruse paper catalogs in anticipation of a new gardening year. The colorful pictures and reading plant descriptions is a great way to spend the evening, making a list and dreaming of spring and warm days to come.

When reading catalogs there are several important points to remember before ordering.

Be sure to check the hardiness zone listed for any perennial plants you may be ordering. I feel that plant listed as being hardy to zone 4 is the safest bet for area gardens. Even though our area since 2012 has been classified as zone 5, indicating winter temperatures do not fall below minus 20 degrees; we possibly may experience colder temperatures.

Does the catalog include a complete description which includes hardiness zone listings? Is there any type of guarantee offered for replacement or refund if your plants do not survive or are of poor quality? What is the expected shipping date? Are seeds also available as transplants?

Check with your local greenhouses to see if they will be carrying any of the same seeds or transplants you wish to order. We need to remember to support our local small businesses as well.

A list of recommended vegetable varieties for Iowa is available at your local ISU Extension Office, or online at:

Did you know? A new year and a new event – a Horticulture Day has now been established at the Hamilton Co. ISU Extension Office, 311 Bank Street in Webster City. Every Monday (except holidays), between 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, I invite you to drop by my office with samples of plants with pest or disease problems. Other growing questions? Stop in for a Monday visit to have your questions answered.

Horticulture Questions? Contact McCormick at for information or advice.