By selecting varieties that can handle summer heat you are one step ahead. These are some of our top picks that will produce and survive in hot, dry conditions with focused watering and water retention techniques.
Plant: After last frost

Cucumis melo

30 seeds/pack | 60-70 days | Heirloom

This popular burpless variety thrives in heat. The fruits are long, 18-36 inches and large, 3-4 inches in diameter. Sliced with a dash of vinegar and salt, this turns into one of our favorite summertime snacks. The flavor is cooling and sweet. Be careful when seed saving since Armenian cucumbers are botanically the same species as cantaloupe and will cross pollinate.

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Phaseolus acutifolius v

25 seeds/pack  | 80 days |  Heirloom

We have been growing tepary beans for many years and this new variety has come with high recommendations from several sources. The dry beans are a tapestry of tan/grey with blue speckles. We direct seed them three rows to a bed with seeds planted closely together. Soon they form a dense thicket of bean plants. No need to trellis. Allow the pods to dry on the plants and then using clippers cut the entire plants onto sheets. Roll your sheet up like a taco and do the bean stomp to free the seeds (See photo). Further winnowing with a fan will remove the chaff. These are very drought tolerant beans from the southwest that have a rich nutty flavor.

 

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Fagopyrum esculentum

100 seeds/pack   |   70-84 days   |   Heirloom

Excellent summer cover crop.  Loosens heavy soils and adds organic matter.  The roots of buckwheat are very fibrous.  It is also an excellent forage crop for pollinators that love the small white flowers.  We use it extensively in our seed gardens to lessen chances of cross pollination.  And of course, the dried seeds can be ground for human consumption.  Buckwheat pancakes anyone?

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Salvia sclarea

100 seeds/pack

Hands down, the number one attraction to this plant is the heavenly scent emitted by the lavender/white flower spikes that can reach 5-6 feet. The scent is sweet yet has a hint of citrus. The seeds have traditionally been used in eye washes and the leaves as fixatives in potpourri. This plant is a perennial and will reseed itself in the garden as well. Recently we've been selling the cut flowers at the farmer's market and customers have been going crazy for the scent!

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Cucurbita pepo

20 seeds/pack   |   50 days

This bush zucchini has all the best traits. It is early to mature, prolific, tasty and drought tolerant. The dark green zucchinis are uniform and were developed under organic conditions for organic farmers. Bred by seedsman Bill Reynolds.

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Citrullus lanatus

25 seeds/pack   |   85-90 days  

Heirloom melon with yellow/orange flesh and pale green rind. Large fruited variety from 10-30 lbs average. Very flavorful and juicy; just what you want a watermelon to be. Large seeds plentiful but easy to discard. This variety is known for being heat resistant and somewhat drought tolerant. We found they needed regular water but did resist sunburning due to the pale skin. 

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Citrullus lanatus

25 seeds/pack   |   78 days

Yellow watermelon? That's right, and so good! This melon is so sweet and juicy that you can eat most of the rind too. It is an icebox size, 5-8 lbs with butter yellow flesh and colorful dark and light green exterior.  The small size makes it perfect for a one-sitting feast.  This melon is well suited to short season climates as it will mature early. Selected by Dr. Alan Kapuler. 

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Echinacea purpurea

50 seeds/pack  

This classic immune tonic is used for acute inflammatory conditions such as colds, influenza, boils, skin sores, etc. We blend it with our native Oregon grape root to make Infection Fighter tincture. A local herbalist uses echinacea to ward off poison oak after exposure. Seeds need cold stratification and light exposure to germinate. Echinacea is a perennial native to the Great Plains and reaches four feet when in flower. Also known as purple cone flower for its stunning blooms of pink petals surrounding a spiky cone center.

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Amaranthus hypocondriacus

200 seeds/pack   |   98-110 days   |   Heirloom

This grain amaranth produces golden seeds with a high protein profile. Known as an ancient grain of the Americas, it is still popular today (known as kiwicha) in Peru.  These plants will easily reach 7-8 feet and need good spacing. This is one of the easiest grains for home gardeners to grow and eat. To harvest, allow seeds to dry partially on plant and then cut seed heads into a paper bag or onto a sheet for further processing. Be watchful at this stage—little birds also love these seeds!

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Cucumis melo

25 seeds/pack    |   75-80 days   |   Heirloom

This light and juicy green fleshed melon is very fragrant and tasty. Early maturing and heavy producer of small 2-3 lb fruits. Harvest when fruits turn yellow. Thought to be an Israeli adaption of an older native American variety. Vigorous growth. Main crop matures over a month long period and then a new crop of smaller fruits will continue to produce until the frost.

Photo by Josh Hincks

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Capsicum annuum

50 seeds/pack   |   70 days   |    Heirloom

 

This authentic Korean red hot pepper is perfect for spicing up Kim Chi or stews. Not too hot, but hot enough, it has thin red skins that dry easily for storage. Traditionally these are coarsely ground to make gochugaru, the dried red pepper flakes used in Kim Chi. The compact plants are prolific producers of these 4-5 inch peppers and also produce well in cooler climates.

 

$3.25

Plant: After last frost Plant: Early Spring or Fall

Phacelia tanacetifolia

50 seeds/pack   Heirloom

This California/Mexico native wildflower bears hairy foliage that has a deeply lobed, lacy appearance. A tight spiral uncoils to reveal sequentially opening flowers that form clusters no pollinator will ignore.  The season’s blossoms offer months of food for bees and more, so it is considered a must-have insectary plant. Grows 1-3”.



$3.25

Plant: Early Spring or Fall

Lactuca sativa

200 seeds/pack

Rosy tinged leaves form a head around a crisp green heart. Even in summer heat, this extremely tolerant lettuce is slow to bolt and produces succulent leaves with a satisfying crispness. For large heads start seeds in trays and transplant to 12" spacing.

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Lycopersicon esculentum

50 seeds/pack   |   75-80 days  l   Heirloom

Well loved Italian Heirloom variety for its superior sun drying ability. Plants are absolutely loaded with small plum shaped fruits. They are possible to dry whole although we preferred to cut them in half and then dry on screens in our greenhouse. These become delicious snacks or can be re-hydrated for winter sauces and stews.

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Lycopersicon esculentum

50 seeds/pack | 60-70 days | Heirloom

This Russian heirloom tomato bears prolific amounts of small to medium sized red fruits. An early producer that will continue to offer tomatoes until the first frost, this variety is ideal for canning and fresh eating. Its habit is fairly compact and would do well as a container tomato. We were truly impressed by the amount of fruits harvested from this variety. Indeterminate.

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Phaseolus acutifolius var. latifolius

30 seeds/pack | 80 days | Heirloom

This drought tolerant bean produces gorgeous golden beans with a rich nutty flavor. Sow this medium vining bean thickly and allow beans to dry on the vines. Harvest all the vines onto a tarp and stomp to release the masses of beans. These are native to the Southwest and Mexico.

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Physalis ixocarpa

50 seeds/pack   |   60-80 days

These classic green tomatillos are borne on sprawling plants that produce vast amounts of green fruits covered in papery husks. They have a unique sweet and tangy flavor. Use the fruits in green salsas combined with onions, garlic, etc. Be aware, these plants have a reputation of volunteering for years after the original planting. Personally, we think that is a great thing! Adapted to grow in a wide range of climates but will handle a lot more heat than tomatoes.

 

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Curcubita moshata

20 seeds/pack   |   60 days   |   Heirloom

This Italian heirloom can be eaten as a summer squash at 60 days or leave it on the vine to grow large and tan for a winter squash. As a summer squash they have a firm texture and sweet flavor. As a winter squash they are akin to a butternut cousin with a milder flavor. Rampant vines can be trellised.

$3.25

Plant: After last frost

Zea mays

50 seeds/pack | 55 days

This short season variety is suitable for cooler climates such as the coast or mountains. The plants are dwarfed at 3-5 feet with several small yellow ears per plant. Ears are 4-7 inches in length and some plants produce as many as 6 on multiple tillers. Developed in 1958 by the University of Alaska.

$3.25