Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES -

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

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