Garden Porn, or, The New Seed Catalogs Are Here.

I just received the new Seed Savers Exchange catalog, and it is gorgeous. Seriously, this cover should be framed and hung on the potting shed wall to inspire vegetable gardeners everywhere.

Purple and white striped eggplant! Purple and maroon beans! Yellow tomatoes! Peppers and squash! Good lord, it’s enough to drive a vegetable gardener into lust-induced frenzy.

I picked up the SSE catalog to start my seed list, and my internal monologue ran something like this:

“Beans, beans. Good grief, how many freaking beans do they have? OK, I want pole beans instead of bush beans, so ‘Kentucky Wonder’ is good. Oooh, but purple pole beans would be cool. ‘Rattlesnake Snap,’ awesome name, and they have those cool stripes. So maybe those too. And ‘Lazy Housewife.’ Oh, and the ‘Speckled Cranberry,’ that’s good; I can eat it as a snap bean or keep it as a dry bean.”

People, I don’t even like beans that much. I like to have snap beans to eat fresh, but I have never in my life dried beans. Yet the catalog lures me ever deeper into delusions of what culinary heights I can reach.

And the lettuce–oh, the lettuce. SSE offers four pages of lettuces, all of them ruffly and gorgeous, tempting me to assemble bouquets of green and red and purple. And seed potatoes, and leeks, and melons, and…I think I need to lie down with a cold cloth on my forehead.

I repeated this process with some of my other favorite catalogs, including John Scheeper’s Kitchen Garden Seeds, until I had a list that covers all the types of fruits and vegetables I want to grow. Unfortunately, actually buying this list would require five times my seed budget. That’s OK, though, since I’d need to add about half an acre to my tiny city plot to hold all of them.

But that’s the lure of the catalog, my friend. It convinces you that perfect vegetables are yours for the small cost of a packet of seeds. That you too can grow perfectly groomed, gorgeous melons and pumpkins, instead of the insect-ravaged ones you sported in last summer’s garden. That you can stroll through the garden, your harvesting basket over one arm, your sun hat at a jaunty angle, selecting mouthwatering tomatoes and plump edamame while bluebirds attend you.

Garden porn. I hope there’s more in the mail today.

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