Like most gardeners, the end of January brings another Christmas for me: the arrival of the seed catalogs. I have my favorites: Baker Creek, Pinetree, Seed Savers. But I don’t usually order from any of those gorgeous, drool-worthy catalogs anymore. I would rather support the grower in our backyard: Nature’s Crossroads. Not only do I feel better about spending money at Nature’s Crossroads, but the plants I’ve started from their seeds thrive in our backyard garden unlike seeds that we buy elsewhere. Nature’s Crossroads prides itself on providing Midwest gardeners with varieties particularly suited to our soil and climate. Buying from Nature’s Crossroads takes much of the guesswork out of seed buying. With those catalogs, I would get sucked into the beautifully-worded descriptions for varieties that common sense told me would not do well here in Indiana, but I can go crazy picking out seeds from Nature’s Crossroads because they have already done the research and hard work that goes into finding varieties well-suited to my Midwest backyard.

We’re still laying out our garden for next year, but here’s what I have in my shopping cart so far:

  • Trusty tomato. I grew these last year, and they definitely lived up to their name.
  • Red striped furry hog tomato. With a name like that, I really can’t be expected to resist!
  • Toma verde tomatillo. Tomatillos and I just don’t mix. I tried these last year, but after an incident with the dog, toddler and the seed tray, they never really had a chance. Fingers crossed for better luck this year!
  • Ragged jack kale. They used to call this Red Russian kale, and I’ve always had great luck with it, both in the spring and fall.
  • California Wonder pepper. I grew these last year and loved them. We can’t really grow too many peppers at our house.
  • Marketmore 76 cucs: I’m always on the lookout for a new cuc to try because we eat them like candy around here. I’m terrible about trellising them, so this looks like a good one for me.
  • Hungarian hot wax: I’m turning our pots on our front porch over to food this year, and I think these would make a pretty – and tasty – addition.

Best of all, Nature’s Crossroads donates to Westfield’s Plant a Row, as well as to many other local gardening-related organizations. That makes me feel even better about my tendency to over-do-it when it comes to seed buying time.

What are you planning on growing this year?!