Gardening in Virginia – Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

With snow in the forecast, I’m doing a little garden planning and researching new varieties of plants. I’ll re-visit some trusty, old favorites and try a few that will be a bit of a stretch for this gardener. Thanks to a Christmas gift card from my sister, Anna, here’s what I ordered from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. (I’m not in partnership with them, I just like their products and think you will too!)

I’ve ordered from BCHS for several years now and have always been pleased with the quality of their seeds and the accuracy of order fulfillment. I can’t speak to their customer service response, because I haven’t needed them for any reason. Having said that, they seem to go above and beyond. Even the shipping materials are attractive and they included a fun surprise with my order.

Genovese Basil – This Italian classic has large leaves, perfect for summer salads, pasta sauces and pesto. It’s great for use in monsters, too.

Thai Holy Basil “Kaprao” – Tulsi tea is a favorite, so I’ll try my hand at dehydrating the leaves for caffeine free herbal tea. Holy Basil plant is insect repellent as well.

Marvelous Mix Mint – Can’t have enough of this! Mint attracts beneficial insects and repels pests. We like to add mint to cold drinks in the summer, and use it in salads like Ina’s tabbouleh. (I substitute quinoa for the bulghur wheat to make this gluten free.)

Yes, mint has a reputation for spreading aggressively, but we plant it in areas of the yard where it can run and we contain it by mowing.

Broad Leaf Sage – I’ve never grown sage before, but we like it dried in savory dishes like Turkey Herb Stuffing-Style Riced Cauliflower.

Milkweed – Pollinators love this stuff and we have a low area of the yard where this can self-seed and spread. My mother-in-law grew milkweed to attract monarch butterflies to her yard. These seeds are currently chillin’ in the fridge.

Giant of Italy Parsley – This herb is my absolute favorite, we use it in soups, salads, and as a garnish on chicken and fish dishes. Despite being an annual, it’s frost hardy. This picture was taken in mid-January, the last of the harvest.

Mary Washington Asparagus – I’m going where gardeners fear to tread with this one. I have no experience growing asparagus, and we don’t have the rich soil for it, but I’m going to give it the old college try. I’ll amend our Virginia clay soil with loads of compost and manure. Note to self: Choose the right spot for this plant, it could grow for 20 years there.

Gypsy Sunshine Marigold – While I don’t enjoy the scent of marigolds, they are almost universally beneficial companion plants. We’ll intersperse these beauties throughout the garden and herb garden.

Munstead Strain Lavender – Ditto on the lavender. I don’t care for the scent, but it’s a solid companion plant, pretty to look at and tasty to eat.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds sent a pack of surprise seeds with my order – Dark Purple Opal Basil. The packaging features a fetching hipster dude wearing a basil fascinator tucked behind his right ear. If I’m not mistaken, that means he’s available and approachable. I’ll leave that to you, single ladies.

I’m excited to try this variety, and I have no doubt this basil will grow beautifully in the herb garden.

I can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt. Now, it’s your turn! What are you looking forward to planting this year?

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