Vintage Seed Catalogs in Smithsonian Libraries Blog

Ratekin Seed House seed catalogVintage seed catalogs are highly collectible items among gardeners, but also collected by people who collect advertising & catalog memorabilia.

During the winter while searching for seed catalogs to request I came across the Smithsonian Libraries blog that periodically posts images of the covers of seed catalogs.

The cover for this Ratekin's Seed House catalog was posted on the Smithsonian Libraries blog for the 4th of July. That is a very patriotic cover but the placement of the ear of corn gave me a chuckle when I first saw it.

I haven't found any information on what happened to the Ratekin's Seed House, except for this mention of a lawsuit over the quality of their corn.

You can view the collection of seed catalogs posted at the Smithsonian Libraries blog here.

Seed Stuff in Popular Science Archives

Recently, Popular Science teamed up with Google to digitize their archives. Here are some interesting seed related articles I found in Popular Science's archive on Google Books.

My favorite of the bunch is Growing Garden Seeds Now Industry Giant. It takes you on a behind the scenes look at a seedman's nursery and shows how several seeds are harvested processed and stored before landing in home gardener packets.

May 1933, page 28
Seeds stored in bags are apt to become infested with bugs and so ... Collected in trays, the ripe seeds are washed in screen-bottomed containers.

May 1897, page 106
SEEDS that remain in keeping without losing the faculty of germination are ... Van Tieghem and Bonnier proves that seeds may retain their vitality for a ...

January 1940, page 108
Spurred on by this success, he tried his flotation system on other seeds. ... At first, he thought it was because fertile seeds were heavier. ...

October 1921, page 66
The seeds are placed on the covering and then protected from the outside ... The percentage of seeds that eventually sprout is the evidence upon which the

October 1920, page 48
Separating Seeds by Their Shape A NOVEL seed-separator divides round ... It consists of two series of spiral channels through which the seeds are passed.

More results here.

D. Landreth Seed Company: Barbara Melera

At the Chicago Flower & Garden Show I had the pleasure of meeting Barbara Melera of the D. Landreth Seed Company, America's oldest seed house. I found her to be a very nice person who really has a passion for seeds and the seed business. I attended a lecture by her that had lost of interesting seed company history, but unfortunately my tape recorder was acting up. I took notes, but it will take some time for me to decipher my own handwriting and pull out the most interesting information.

Barbara was a test subject of sorts as she's the first seed company owner whose autograph I collected for