Tomato Sampler 3

tomatosweet100 (2)‘Sweet 100’ (70 days / Indeterminate) This old standby cherry tomato will produce hundreds of one inch diameter fruits from midsummer through to frost. It is a vigorous climber which requires staking and often reaches heights of five feet or more. This cultivar is reasonably disease resistant and the fruits have excellent flavour and a high sugar content.

Tomato'StripedStuffer' (2)‘Striped Stuffer’ (85 days / Indeterminate) A novelty tomato with bell pepper-shaped red fruits with orange striping and a relatively hollow interior which is easily cored – making it ideal for stuffing and baking with your favourite filling, topped with a little melted cheese. This German heirloom variety is a vining tomato and can reach heights of 6 feet tall.

tomatosunsugar (3)‘Sun Sugar’ (75 days / Indeterminate) A yellow cherry tomato that really lives up to its name with half ounce fruits packed with flavour and sweetness. They are quite crack resistant and productive, meaning that there are fresh tomatoes available from midsummer on. If you have been on the fence about the bland flavour of low-acid yellow cultivars, then try ‘Sun Sugar’.

tomatotumblingtom (3)‘Tumbling Tom’ (65-70 days / Determinate) The premier tomato cultivar for container growing or hanging basket applications. ‘Tumbling Tom’ produces heavy yields of 1-2″ rounded fruits. Expect the plant to cascade anywhere from 20-24″ down when grown in hanging baskets but the branching is sturdy. The skin is firm but the flesh is both juicy and flavourful.

Tomato'Sugary' (2)‘Sugary’ (60 days / Semi-Determinate) A 2005 All-American Selection Winner with tapered half ounce fruits borne in clusters like grapes. This cultivar lives up to its name with a true tomato flavour and a sugar content 10% higher than comparable cultivars. Despite its semi-determinate nature, the plants are quite vigorous and will require some pruning.

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Tomato Sampler 2

tomatobushearlygirl (2)‘Early Girl’ (57 days / Indeterminate) A great mid-sized slicing tomato to grow in those regions with short coastal summers. The vines are heavy producers of 4 to 6 ounce fruits and there are also determinate or bush forms of this cultivar. The shorter growing season of this variety makes it ideal for beating late blight fungus, which often appears in late summer.

tomatobumblebeepurple2 (2)‘Bumble Bee Purple’ (70 days / Indeterminate) The 1.5″ diameter fruits are borne in long trusses, with the tomatoes maturing  to red with green or purplish striping. This variety works well in containers as long as it is supported with a firm stake and ties. The flavour is quite complex and lends itself to cutting in half and drizzling with balsamic vinegar for fresh eating.

tomatorapunzel (2)‘Rapunzel’ (68-70 days / Indeterminate) A novelty vining tomato with excessively long , cascading trusses that often produce up to 40 fruits each. They are small at one ounce  but incredibly sweet, making them ideal for vegetable trays or eating right off the bush. This is a good choice for home gardeners who want ample supplies of fresh tasting tomatoes on hand.

Tomato'IndigoRose' (2)‘Indigo Rose’ (75 days / Indeterminate) A compact vining tomato with dark fruits that mature or are ready to eat when they shift to a purplish-brown with a red base. The purplish colouration is a result of conventional breeding and the presence of the antioxidant anthocyanin. The 1.7 ounce tomatoes still have a pleasant acidic sweetness.

tomatohealthkick (2)‘Health Kick’ (75 days / Determinate) A breeding breakthrough which produces sweet, dark red fruits (weighing about 4 ounces) with 50% more of the antioxidant lycopene. The tomatoes are plum-shaped and quite juicy, with plants reaching four feet tall when staked or supported. The smaller size makes them ready for the salad bowl with just a few chops.

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Tomato Sampler 1

tomatosuperfantastic (3)‘Super Fantastic’ (70 days / Indeterminate) An improved ‘Fantastic’ with better disease resistance to both verticillium and fusarium. Expect mid-sized (10 ounce)  tomatoes with excellent flavour (nice balance of acid and sweetness) and high production, with plants potentially reaching 6-9 feet tall with staking. The smooth-skinned fruits are ideal for slicing.

tomatoyellowtumblingtom (2)‘Yellow Tumbling Tom’ (70 days / Indeterminate) A cascading yellow cherry tomato which is ideal for growing in hanging baskets or large containers. Expect very sweet 1-2″ fruits in abundance produced continually from midsummer to frost with regular harvesting. Anticipate plants to trail about 20-24″ downwards making them ideal for picking.

tomatoblackkrim (2)‘Black Krim’ (80 days / Indeterminate) A Russian heirloom beefsteak tomato with distinct purplish-black shoulders at maturity. The heavy fruits are juicy and loaded with flavour, making them a  favourite of chefs and home cooks alike. This variety is somewhat prone to cracking (alleviate with consistent watering) but one taste will make that seem a minor flaw.

tomatomidnightsnack (2)‘Midnight Snack’ (65-70 days / Indeterminate) A 2017 All-America Selections Winner with purplish-black fruits that ripen to red with a smokey overlay. This cherry tomato grows up to 6′ tall and was developed with farmers markets and roadside stands in mind. The name has led some gardeners to sample the unripe purplish fruits which appear ripe.

tomatolaroma (2)‘La Roma’ (80 days / Determinate) A Roma or paste tomato suited for making sauces or pastes, although it tastes just fine for fresh eating (just a little thick-skinned). The 5-8 ounce rod-shaped fruits also freeze well for later processing and the flavour intensifies with cooking. Expect plants to reach 3-4 feet tall with staking and fairly heavy production which is ideal for canning.

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Traditional Beer Brewing Herbs

ChamomileGerman1German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) – It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the herbal tones of chamomile combine well with beer, particularly pale ales and wheat beers. Both the aforementioned German chamomile and the perennial Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) can be used for this purpose, with the dried flowers being utilized. German chamomile is an annual which grows 12-24 inches tall and often reseeds itself.

koreantea (2)Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) – A tremendously popular brewing herb as it imparts an earthy spice palate. There are several hardy cultivars to choose from, including ‘Sochi Seedling’, ‘TeaBreeze’, ‘Korean Tea Seedling’ (shown) and the pink-flowered ‘Blushing Maiden’. Several commercial incarnations are available, like Green Tea Imperial Stout, Laughing Panda Green Tea IPA and Yoda Green Tea Golden Ale. Camellia sinensis  grows 6-10′ tall. USDA zone 7.

rosarugosahips (2)Rose Hips (Rosa rugosa) – The use of rose hips in beer brewing is becoming increasingly popular, as these impart a citrus edge. The hips from Rosa rugosa are large and flavourful, although some brewers prefer the smaller hips from Dog Rose (Rosa canina). A sampling of beers with rose hips include Ramble On Rose, Roselare Rosehip Ale and Roses & Honey Kolsch. ‘Hansa’ is a good producer of Rugosa rose hips and grows 4-5′ high. USDA zone 3.

bogbeanBogbean (Menyanthes  trifoliata) – Bogbean is an aquatic plant found in bogs across Europe, Asia and North America. Also known as Buckbean or Bog Hop, the bitter leaves were traditionally used as a hop substitute and also boiled in honey to make mead. It was also one of the traditional ingredients of the Swedish Gotlandsdricka, which is enjoying a bit of a revival. Bogbean grows up to 12″ tall in standing water. USDA zone 3.

Rosmarinusofficinalis'Rex'inflower (3)Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – Rosemary is a strong herb and needs to be used carefully if you don’t want to overpower your beer – still that piney-herbal palate works well in moderation. Several flavourful rosemary cultivars to choose from include ‘Rex’, ‘Barbeque’ and ‘Gorizia’. There is also no shortage of commercial beers to choose from, like Rose Mary’s Stout, Fete de Noel (holiday ale) and Rosemary Saison. USDA zone 7.

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Traditional Beer Spices

GaliumodoratumflowersSweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum syn. Asperula odorata) – You may know this plant as a somewhat invasive groundcover, but it has also been utilized for hundreds of years as a herb used to infuse flavour in traditional German wheat beers (Berliner Weiss) and Maywine. The dried leaves are added to create a distinct herbal flavour, reminiscent of sweet hay. Grows to about 6″ high with an indefinite spread. Hardy to USDA Zone 4.

Juniperus communis berriesCommon Juniper (Juniperus communis) – An easy to find wild conifer in most of the northern hemisphere, including parts of Europe. Both the boughs and dark blue berries (often dried) are used to infuse a citrus-resin flavour to beer, in particular Gotlandsdricka, a traditional ale brewed on the island of Gotland off Sweden. This particular juniper has needled foliage and grows an average of 6′ tall by 10′ wide. USDA Zone 2.

 JasminumFlowersSweet Jasmine (Jasminum officinale) – A popular semi-evergreen vine which is widely introduced across the planet. The sweetly scented white blooms are borne from late spring to early fall. These are used to infuse a delicious sweetness to Jasmine Teas as well as a herbal India Pale Ale by Pivecka from the Czech Republic. It is important to positively identify the species before using the blooms, as some Jasmines are poisonous. This vine prefers sheltered sun and grows to 8-15′ tall. USDA zone 7.

erpspatrickBell Heather (Erica cinerea) – There are many cultivars of Bell Heather (which is native to western and central Europe) but the one displayed is ‘PS Patrick’. This species was traditionally used in Scottish ales with the cut sprigs of flowers added much like hops, with one recipe calling for a ratio of 5 parts barley malt to 1 part heather blossoms. These impart a flowery-fruit flavour which some liken to honey. Grows 12″tall by 18-24″ wide on average. USDA zone 5.

Sambucusnigra'Pulverulenta' (2)Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) – This European deciduous shrub has long been utilized for its fragrant white flowers and delicious edible black berry clusters. The bloom clusters are used to procure delicious cordials which some describe as ‘spring in a glass’. They are also utilized to create unique strong beers such as Mork Bock from Denmark. The variegated cultivar ‘Pulverulenta’ is shown, with the shrubs averaging 8-12′ high and wide. Full sun is best for both flower and fruit production. USDA zone 5.

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Captivating Citrus

CitrusLemon'Meyer'7Citrus x meyeri (syn. Citrus x limon ‘Meyer’) – Many local gardeners such as Bob Duncan of Fruit Trees & More (North Saanich, BC) are successfully growing these outdoors in Canada. However, he shelters his espalier under a glass awning and covers it with frost cloth during colder weather – using incandescent xmas lights as a heat source. This hybrid has a very sweet flavour. Grows 10-15′ in ground. Zone 9.

CitrusLimequatCitrus x floridana – This Key Lime x Kumquat cross is a good choice for novice gardeners as it readily produces at a young age. Expect Kumquat-sized fruits which are yellow in colour with a sweet-tasting rind but bittersweet lime-like flesh. ‘Eustis’ is the most common cultivar and it matures into a small tree when planted in-ground. Grows 10 to 12′ high. Hardy to USDA zone 9.

calamondin2 (2)x Citrofortunella mitis – This common container citrus is often found at garden centres around the Chinese New Year – it is a Mandarin orange x Kumquat hybrid. Although the small fruits look like tiny oranges, they actually have a more lime-like flavour which is useful for making marmalade or adding a thin slice to cocktails. Calamondin makes an excellent container specimen where not hardy. 10-20′ in ground. USDA zone 8.

Citrus'VariegatedPinkLemon' (2)Citron limon ‘Eureka Variegated Pink’ – Not only does this lemon have beautifully variegated foliage and juvenile fruit, but the flesh is a lovely pink with few seeds. This sport of the traditional ‘Eureka’ lemon was first discovered in Burbank California in 1931. This citrus also grows well in pots (which can be brought indoors) for colder regions. Grows 12-15′ high and wide in ground. Hardy to USDA zone 9.

CitrusmyrtifoliaChinottoCitrus aurantium var. myrtifolia (syn. Citrus myrtifolia) – The Chinotto Sour Orange or Myrtle-Leaved Orange has striking lance-shaped deep green foliage, fragrant white flowers (which the hummingbirds love) and tart orange fruits. These are used to flavour the traditional Italian orange soda and to make candied fruit or marmalade. The fruits ripen from winter to early spring in the Pacific Northwest. 4-7′. USDA zone 9.

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Hot & Beautiful Peppers

Capsicum'BasketofFire'Capsicum annuum ‘Basket of Fire’ – A Chili pepper that is as beautiful as it is tasty, these are a favourite for growing in containers or hanging baskets. The small tapered fruits mature from a creamy-yellow to orange, and finally a deep red. Peppers from this F1 hybrid can be dried and it shows good tolerance for growing in cooler climates. 80,000 Scoville heat units. Grows up to 20″ tall. Annual.

Capsicumannuum'BlackPearl' (2)Capsicum annuum ‘Black Pearl’ – This All-American Selection winner lives up to its name with jet black foliage and rounded glossy black fruits (resembling black pearls) that mature to a cherry red – these are about 3/4″ in diameter. The purple flowers add to the overall aesthetic appeal, making this a great addition to planters or mixed borders. 10,000-30,000 Scoville heat units. Grows to 18″ tall. Annual.

capcarolinaCapsicum annuum x chinense ‘Carolina Reaper’ – This habanero hybrid was once the hottest pepper in the world and the puckered red fruits often grow a small red tail on the bottom (hence the ‘reaper’ reference). The peppers range from 1-3″ in size and will come into bearing earlier when grown in large containers – just allow to dry out between waterings. 1,569,300 Scoville heat units. 3-5′. Annual.

capsicamloco1Capsicum annuum ‘Loco’ – A lovely chili pepper that holds as much ornamental value as it does flavour. The tiny fruits are abundant, staring out a bright purple (almost artificial looking) and maturing to a traditional deep red. These make great additions to salsas or chilies and it is an RHS Award of Garden Merit winner. 24,000 Scoville heat units. F1 hybrid. Grows 10 to 12″ tall. Annual.

capsicumannuum'fish' (2)Capsicum annuum ‘Fish’ – A heritage or heirloom pepper which comes to us from the mid-Atlantic states via the Caribbean. The plant and tapered fruits are often beautifully variegated with the peppers starting out white and maturing to red. The young white peppers from this Cayenne-Serrano hybrid were used to spice cream sauces for seafood dishes. 5,000-30,000 Scoville heat units. Grows 2′ tall. Annual.

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