National Mail Order Gardening Month – January 2023

National Mail Order Gardening Month, celebrated annually in the month of January is a winter ritual for gardeners where they order seeds from a seed catalog to prepare for spring plantings. Did you know that mail-order gardening is a ritual that has been observed for decades in the U.S.? But this is not just an old ritual, it is an interesting tradition where people linger over seed catalogs and revise their garden plants again and again according to their dreams.

History of National Mail Order Gardening Month

January is one of the hardest months, not only because of the winter but also because the holiday feeling starts to fade away. But dear fellow gardeners, fret not, National Mail Order Gardening Month is here, and it’s time to start the new year with new plants for the garden.

By winter, most gardeners in the U.S. would be pretty tired of all the pruning, planting, mowing and stowing, and would have tucked up the garden for a nice winter’s nap. But after the New Year, that undeniable instinct to get their hands dirty again would slowly creep in. This is the reason why January was chosen as National Mail Order Gardening Month by the Direct Gardening Association (D.G.A.).

During this month, traditionally, agricultural companies would send out their annual catalogs so that gardeners and farmers could decide their crops and order seeds before the planting season. These catalogs would not only contain all the information about the product but also feature educational resources for gardeners.

Ordering from a seed catalog is a tradition that has a long history in the United States. Mr. B. K. Bliss and Sons of Springfield, Massachusetts, are said to have introduced the first printed seed catalog in 1853. But the pioneer for seed ordering via mail was W. Atlee Burpee & Company that was founded in 1876 in Philadelphia. The company sought the best seeds from across the world, especially from the United States and Europe, and sold them across the U.S.

Soon, the business grew to a national level and other companies also started to emerge, ensuring the gardeners only get the best seeds. Today, with the advent of the internet and technology, the catalog market is changing. So, have you gotten your garden catalogs in the mail yet?

National Mail Order Gardening Month timeline

1853
The First Printed Catalog

Mr. B. K. Bliss and Sons create the first printed seed catalog.

1876
The Arrival of Burpee

W. Atlee Burpee & Company is founded in Philadelphia.

The 1890s
Rural Free Delivery Service

Burpee company widens its audience for their yearly catalog using rural free delivery service.

2009
A Record Spend

An estimated 24 million American households spend over three billion dollars online or from garden catalogs.

National Mail Order Gardening Month FAQs

Do I need any qualifications in order to be a gardener?

No, you don’t need any formal qualifications in order to be a gardener. But there are several horticulture courses available to sharpen your gardening skills. 

What do gardeners do in the winter?

Traditionally, winter is the time to clean and tidy all tools, workspaces, and greenhouses and rest for a while in the holiday season. 

What month should I start a garden?

For most crops, we need to start seeding about six to eight weeks before the last spring frost date. 

How to Celebrate National Mail Order Gardening Month

  1. Order seeds!

    Well, the best way to celebrate National Mail Order Gardening Month is by ordering seeds. Choose your favorite variety of plants from the catalog and order them right now!

  2. Gift your fellow gardener

    It is not always that a gardener can get his hands on an exotic plant. If you have extra seeds to spare to your fellow gardener, give them the seeds as a gift.

  3. Donate to your local garden centers

    Local garden centers might be limited in their offerings. You can donate plants that are special, new, rare, or hard to grow to your local garden center.

5 Awesome Facts About Gardening That’ll Surprise You

  1. Insects are good

    While not all insects might be good for your garden, some insects are very essential to every garden as they help in transferring pollen from one plant to the next.

  2. Thank the worms

    Worms provide nutrients to the soil, break up compact soil, and help with water drainage during flooding.

  3. Your garden is overpopulated — for the best

    One gram of soil contains more microorganisms than there are people in our world, making your garden soil rich with nutrients.

  4. Look for apples in the rose category

    Apples, pears, peaches, cherries, strawberries, and more fruits actually belong to the rose family, making them cousins to the long-stemmed Valentine’s Day variety.

  5. A four-foot fence is not enough

    A tiny fence isn’t often enough to keep animals away — try a tall fence or plant thorny plants as a natural barrier.

Why We Love National Mail Order Gardening Month

  1. It continues the celebration vibes

    January is when the holiday vibes start to fade away, often leaving us in a gloomy state of mind. But this National Mail Order Gardening Month can kick start that celebration mood as we explore through those colorful catalogs.

  2. It’s the perfect time to start spring planting

    The National Mail Order Gardening Month falls in January, the perfect time to start looking for the next set of crops to plant this coming spring. Perfect time for catalog browsing don’t you think?

  3. Gardening is not just about farming

    Gardening is not just about planting and reaping. It can be a great addition to our busy lifestyle that can relieve stress and take our minds off from the everyday hustle and bustle.

National Mail Order Gardening Month dates

YearDateDay
2022January 1Saturday
2023January 1Sunday
2024January 1Monday
2025January 1Wednesday
2026January 1Thursday
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