Catalog profile #1: Harris Seeds

Business name: Harris Seeds
Location: 355 Paul Rd., P.O. Box 24966, Rochester, NY 14624-0966
Phone number: (800) 544-7938

Products carried: Vegetable and flower seeds, seed-starting supplies, light stands, growing supplies, floating row covers, red plastic tomato mulch, watering supplies, organic and conventional products to control fungus and disease, soil amendments and test kits, bird and animal control products, weather stations, sprayers, insect control products.

What's caught my eye in their spring 2014 home garden catalog:

'Mascotte' dwarf bush bean _ This is touted as being perfect for container gardening and is a 2013 All-America Selections Winner. The plants grow 16-18" tall, pods are stringless and 6" long with good flavor.

'Diplomat' broccoli _ Broccoli can easily bolt to seed in the heat of the summer but 'Diplomat' is supposed to have good tolerance to both the heat and the cold. It matures in 75 days and produces uniform heads for harvesting. It has intermediate resistance to downy mildew.

Carrot-growing tip _ The catalog mentions that if the carrots you've grown in the past have a lot of "legs" (more than one taproot), it's likely the soil in your garden is compacts a few inches below the surface. They recommend loosening the soil more deeply when you prepare it prior to planting your carrot seeds.

'Goddess' muskmelon _ Melons can be tricky to grow in the Inland Northwest due to our short growing season but this one matures in 68 days. The sweet fruits will grow from 4-6 lbs. in size and plants have exhibited disease-resistance.

'Barq' Middle-Eastern summer squash _ The catalog says it has a "unique nutty flavor" and that the 6" squash mature in 49 days. Plants are bush-style which saves space in the garden. Apparently this cultivar is frequently used in Middle Eastern cooking.

Zahara Zinnia seeds _ Anyone who follows my garden columns or this blog knows I'm a sucker for cool-looking zinnias and am particularly fond of the Zahara line of zinnias. Harris sells several different colors and they are awesome. They love the heat and have a mounding growth habit of 12-18" height and spread.

'Soraya' tall sunflowers _ This one jumped off the page at me! The catalog says "Each plant has 20-25 stems of large 4-6" award-winning orange flowers." If that isn't productive, I don't know what is. Plants grow to about 6' in height.

'Kong Mosaic' Coleus _ The photo showing someone's hand holding a huge, colorful leaf is what got my attention. Plants grow 18-22" in height.

Miscellaneous _ I'm a huge fan of using floating row covers both to give plants some frost protection and act as a physical barrier to keep insects away from the plants. Harris Seeds has a good selection of different weights and sizes. They also sell harvesting sleeves which are 18" long and made from canvas. Think about how painful it is to harvest from berry plants with thorns or from squash plants which act as an irritant. They are adjustable and machine-washable.

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