Blue tomatoes are all the rage. You might want to try Baker Creek Blue Berries tomato, a small cherry variety that is amethyst purple in colour and rich in anthocyanins. Buckmaster says the flavour is intensely fruity. Forget about boring head lettuce from the grocery store. There are countless varieties of lettuce to choose from, each one a jewel of different shapes and colours. Buckmaster has been growing Amish Deer Tongue which has spiky, triangularshaped leaves. An old favourite of the Amish, it is slow to bolt. She also grows Grandpa Admires, a heat-tolerant butterhead lettuce that dates back to Civil War veteran Grandpa George Admire, born in 1822. The seeds have been faithfully preserved by his descendants. Buckmaster thinks of herself as less of a flower girl and more of an eater, so she only recently began growing heritage flower varieties such as Black Currant Whirl hollyhock. If you are looking for something to steal the show in your home or market garden, Buckmaster says you must try the Chocolate Streamer sweet pea. A rare and unusual variety of sweet pea, it has distinctively red-and-white tinged, chocolate-speckled blossoms. Buckmaster starts many seeds for sale as seedlings in the spring for those gardeners who do not have the space or the inclination to start their own. Mandy Botincan, owner of Mandy’s Greenhouse in Tyndall, almost closed the book on her seed-saving days when she briefly considered focusing exclusively on growing alpine plants. Passionate in her belief that heritage seeds, so rich in genetic diversity, are meant to be shared or risk being lost forever to future generations, Botincan is back. She’s interested in the backstory of every seed she collects, and visitors to her revamped website can immerse themselves in tales of history and intrigue. Of course, Botincan’s name is almost synonymous with tomatoes. With the discerning taste of a connoisseur, Botincan selects her tomatoes for shape, production, and mouth-watering flavour.
Ziegler’s Fleisch, with its perfect ratio of sweet to acidic, is a new favourite. So, too, are the Sara Goldstar and Striped German tomatoes, which Botincan says positively glow. Botincan, though, is a particular fan of pole beans and has many seed