Sure, it might still be winter in Kansas City, but that hasn’t stopped me from working on plans for my summer vegetable garden. This year, I’m ordering almost all my seeds from the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. Baker Creek is dedicated to selling non-GMO organic varieties, and many of their seeds are heritage breeds, to boot. Plus, they’re local to me, located only a couple of hours south of KC in the Missouri Ozarks.

Here are a few highlights from my shopping list:

Oaxacan Green Corn: I’m trying my hand at growing corn for the first time this year. I’ll be planting two varieties: Bedwell’s Supreme White and this vibrant Oaxacan Green. While I was initially drawn to it for its emerald hue, the Oaxacan is reputed to be hardy, prolific, and easy to grow… in other words, the perfect corn for a newb like me. It has a great track record, too: the Zapotec people of Mexico have grown this variety for centuries!

Boule d’Or Melon: Another first for me will be melons. I’m picking up a couple of varieties of watermelon, as well as the sunny Boule d’Or. It has been described as a classy winner that is healthy, hearty and mildew-resistant with a toothsome, subtle flavor… sounds pretty good, huh? I can only imagine how sweet a slice of this sugary, succulent melon will taste on a hot August day.

Blue Beauty Tomato: With rosy pink flesh fading into a blue-black twilight, this nightshade lives up to its name. Last year, I grew a bounty of tomatoes all summer long and they kept growing well into the fall months. Hopefully, I’ll have the same luck with these beauties!

Bee Balm Lemon: While the yard is reserved for vegetable gardening, potted herbs get full range of the front porch. I’m excited to grow bee balm, mostly for its Apidae-attracting aroma, but also because its dried leaves make for a fancy tea.

Emily Basil: In last year’s garden, I grew two varieties of basil and had a summer full of fresh pesto and flavorful quiches. In fact, I might have gone a little heavy on the herb: by the end of the season, I had over-harvested my plants and they stopped growing. Lucky for me, there is Emily. She is compact, loves containers, and, best of all, thrives when cut. I expect to have enough fresh basil to last the whole summer, with surplus for freezing and drying.

My shopping list also contains another three varieties of tomato, a couple of breeds of squash, plenty of herbs, some leafy greens, cucumber, peppers and beans. When it gets a little closer to Spring, I’ll do a full run-down of all the seeds I’ve chosen, as well as a post on my garden’s layout.

Last Year’s Garden