It’s at this time of year─when the growing season for most farmers and gardeners is behind us and the world has become brown and drab, the days are short and the dark of night stretches long as winter descends upon us in full force─that we look forward to receiving all of the vibrant seed catalogs in our mailboxes. Those catalogs generate hope and excitement in every gardener as contained within the pages are new opportunities for the upcoming year.
At Johnny’s Selected Seeds we’re gearing up for another busy season in the Call Center. If you’re a customer of Johnny’s you may be looking for your 2017 catalog. We get a lot of compliments from growers who are impressed with the amount of information that is included within the pages and we are always happy to hear how much people appreciate that effort. The folks at Johnny’s are very proud of the annual publication; a lot of work goes into the thing and it takes a whole team to bring the catalog full circle from concept to publishing.
And yet there’s always room for improvement, so when the marketing team began gearing up back in June to put together the 2017 catalog they asked employees from all departments if there were any suggestions for changes to the catalog that we wanted to offer up. Being a devout beekeeper and pollinator conservationist naturally I suggested that there should be a symbol included for pollinator-friendly plants.
Note: Johnny’s includes numerous category symbols in their catalogs to help identify various characteristics of their products. There’s a symbol for certified organic seed, one for heirloom varieties, a symbol for cold tolerant crops-etc etc. You can also look up products on the Johnny’s website using those categories.
I wasn’t alone in that request either. We’re getting more calls every year from home gardeners and farmers alike who want to help bees in small and large ways. They want flowers to attract bees, cover crops for beneficial insects, and they want to know about bee-friendly pesticides and growing methods. The people at Johnny’s listened and feel the same way. Advocates from the Call Center and from the Johnny’s research farm lobbied for some kind of symbol for pollinators or beneficial insects.
And the company agreed! I am so ecstatic! In their 2017 catalog Johnny’s Selected Seeds is adding an “Attracts Beneficial Insects” symbol!
Adding a bee-symbol to a seed-catalog to identify varieties as good for beneficials may seem fairly innocuous─like adding a beekeeper to the staff─but little changes add up over time. There is something we all can do. It doesn’t matter how small the contribution, every act counts. I really do believe that we can be the change. I’ve seen it first-hand. The more we do for ourselves, the more we are able to do. People around us see that and begin to think maybe they can do it too. It’s infectious! And the whole thing will just snowball until suddenly it’s an avalanche of change.
As you look through your Johnny’s catalog this winter look for the bee-symbol next to the seed varieties and try to add a few of these to your order. Including food and habitat for beneficial insects in your gardens and crop-fields will not only help your local pollinators, but also helps increase habitat for your garden allies─the predatory insects that help to keep the pest populations down. Many of these kinds of plants are also edible, or add nutrients to your soil, providing you with multiple functions for your sustainable landscape.
So plant flowers. Plant herbs. Plant cover-crops. Let bolting lettuce go to flower. And when you call Johnny’s to place your order this year, please tell them Runamuk sent you and that you love the new beneficial-insects symbol in the catalog!