Home |  Viewer input |  Alumni |  Cemetery |  Editorial |  Events |  About |  Schools |  News |  Recipes |  Email |  Photos |  Reference |  Videos
 Origins |  Early Settlers |  Coal mine |  Ethnic Groups |  Tragedies |  Businesses |  Buildings |  People |  Old Photos |  Stories |  Sports
Minonk Talk introduces Tales from the Heartland which is a series of letters written by Virginia McBride to her family. Mrs. McBride writes about her life experiences in a unique and refreshing manner. We are grateful that she has given us permission to publish her letters.

Seed catalogs

by Virginia McBride

Would you ve disappointed if I didn't comment on the weather? I thought so! Readers live in Ca., Ore., Africa, Mt., Az., Tx., Fla., Ga., Mn., Co., La., Wy., and Tenn. When we talk together it's, "How are you?" no.1, "How's the weather"? no.2. It feels springy here. I have a Springy itch. The 40 nursery catalogs don't help relieve the itch one bit. A cousin wrote she doesn't get one, not one! I offered to send her name to one seed company- one. I guarantee she'll get 10 next year.

Last week the Mr. and I nubbed a bushel of potatoes. Because the temps have been so mild, the winter so ‘soft' the potato eyes think it's time to grow and grow they do. They'd grow a foot or more if not nubbed and the potato itself gets spongy and unappetizing. I even got the Mr. to help. He was educated in some old school that taught nubbing was ‘women's and children's work'! One does have to be careful of one's back especially lifting those beautiful tubers he grew out of the bin. It worked, he helped. The sprouts will grow again just in time to be chunked for seeding. Good Friday comes early this year. For some reason I couldn't plant potatoes on Good Fri. last year tho I did run out and dig in one good eye. Hmmm- that hill wasn't any better than the rest planted on a day the next week.

Seed catalogs used to be a most welcome break in the winter. One cold, blizzardy day would be brightened by the arrival of two seed catalogs. I often wondered how and why they came the same day. Spies?? They were bright and beautiful, so promising one could picture those perfect vegetables and flowers in one's own garden. No bug holes, no aphid bites, no blight, no root maggot. Perfection plus. "Henry Fields" and "Gurneys" outdid each other. It used to be mid- Jan. or early Feb. that they arrived, not this year. The first of Dec. was beautiful, daytime temps in the 50's, lows in the 40's. Petunias were hale and hearty yet. I even picked a real, live dandelion. So what happens? The postman brings 3 seed catalogs! They came from the most inappropriate areas of the country, South Carolina, Maine, and Oregon. I'd like to meet the person or computer who thinks Iowa matches those states when it comes to gardening! The catalogs are good reading. I can spend a good time while watching TV just planning and dreaming. Many of the items that thrill me are labeled Zone 7-9. Pop goes the bubble! So far we have received 12 catalogs, the last one looks 75 years old. The front and back covers are colored, inside pages have no color but the descriptions are extreme and really tempting. I didn't count but there must be descriptions of at least 100 varieties of tomatoes, 50 of sweet corn, 60 of peppers! That took two nights of drooling. I did promise myself that I'd resist seed catalogs this year. My flower beds are full, the Mr. accuses me of secretly widening flower beds and infringing on his lawn. (It's true!) Postage is expensive and delivery is not always prompt. When I get the urge to plant something I need it now and the nurseries are close by. I dream regardless.

Virginia McBride
Elma, Iowa