Monday, January 30, 2012

CBAN Newsletter-GMO's rejected in Europe

I received this very interesting newsletter from CBAN today. Good news for Europe, but not so much for North America. Read on....

Resistance in North America and the European Union is increasingly making GM a bad financial investment....Last week Monsanto shareholders voted down a proposed study of how the company's GM crops may pose financial and legal risks to the company. Monsanto's profits depend on GM now and they have little room to exit. Meanwhile BASF has cut and run from Europe after 30 years. 


AquaBounty cuts costs as its GM Atlantic Salmon becomes a losing venture: AquaBounty Technologies is aiming to cut the cash costs of operations by approximately 30%. It says this is due to continuing uncertainty over the timing of US Food and Drug Administration approval for its GM Salmon.


Monsanto gives up on French GM maize

28 January 2012 | By Alistair Driver

Biotech giant Monsanto has announced it is giving up on plans to sell genetically modified (GM) maize in France, despite winning a key court ruling last year.

In November, France’s highest court overturned the 2008 ban on cultivating Monsanto’s MON810, an insect-resistant strain of maize which is grown in several European countries. The court ruled that the Government had not produced enough evidence to back its claims that the GM crop posed a significant risk to health or the environment.

That ruling was prompted by a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in September, in a case brought by Monsanto.

But earlier this month French environment and agriculture ministers revealed that, despite the ruling, they were planning to reintroduce the moratorium on MON810 maize before spring sowings start.

This has proved to be the final straw for Monsanto, which said this week that it had no longer had any plans to market its GM maize in France.

“Monsanto considers that favourable conditions for the sale of the MON810 in France in 2012 and beyond are not in place,” the US company said.

GM campaigners welcomed the announcement. Pete Riley of GM Freeze said the decision was ‘yet another sign that Monsanto has failed to convince the public or policy makers that there is any benefit to growing to growing GM crops’.

“This needs to be acknowledged by industry and politicians and there should be a big shift to agricultural research and development which addresses the future sustainability of farming in Europe,” he said.

But Julian Little, chair of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council said he French Government decision earlier this month was  ‘clearly political’ and would deny access to tools that could enable them to ‘produce more food, feed and other raw materials, using less resources’.


BASF, the largest chemical company in the world, announced that it is moving its GMOs out of Europe. It is moving its headquarters from Germany to the US.  In 2010, BASF received European Union permission for cultivation of its GM potato called Amflora, to be used for industrial starch production, not food. However in 2011, BASF said it planned to cultivate just two hectares of the GM potato  in Germany and 15 hectares in Sweden. Analysis from Ignacio Chapela: "Clearly put: one of the largest among the few who banked on the GMO route to do agriculture is giving up in its own home turf, defeated by public opposition to its products which evidently do not live up to expectations." The world is squeezing GM back to North America, where resistance is strong and growing.

January 18, 2012 

BASF Sees the Light - GMO’s Move Out

by Ignacio Chapela

This week BASF announced that it is moving its GMOs out of Europe. Will the English-speaking media lose its nerve and write about it? Based on past experience, my wager goes to the habitual policy of silence, and I expect that the news will continue all but unrecorded in English.  Most of us will not celebrate as we should.

Other languages do comment and give a little more detail, albeit still briefly. In German, the word is printed clearly: “BASF admits defeat”, while in French: “The number one chemical concern in the world, the German BASF has announced on 16 January 2012 that it gives up the development and marketing of new transgenic products intended for the European Union.”

Clearly put: one of the largest among the few who banked on the GMO route to do agriculture is giving up in its own home turf, defeated by public opposition to its products which evidently do not live up to expectations.

You will find some records in the business websites, mostly deploring the European hostility towards GMOs, the loss of jobs (about 150-170 in Europe, although many are relocated to North Carolina, for an overall loss of about 10 jobs altogether) and repeating again the idea that rejecting GMOs in the environment is tantamount to committing economic suicide and “rejecting the future” as if this was possible.

I say that the future holds very little promise for GMOs altogether, and BASF is only the first to have the capacity to recognize the thirty years of bad investments. They can afford this move, which is not unannounced and forms part of a year-long reconfiguration of the company to navigate tighter economic straits ahead, because they are diversified and have strengths in other fields. Monsanto and Syngenta, for comparative example, have stood in complete dependency of GMOs since their mothership companies shed them off to swim or sink on transgenic markets twelve years ago; Bayer and Dow stand somewhere in between. Where Monsanto’s stock would have floundered if they announced they were closing GMO R & D in St Louis, Missouri, BASF’s stock hardly budged on the equivalent news (it actually ticked upwards in the Frankfurt exchange) – the timing of the news release may well have been a token of deference to BASF’s partner Monsanto, protecting the latter’s stock from the shock on a day when the US stock markets are closed.

The reasons for the failure of BASF’s products in Europe are many and very diverse, but the fundamental truth stands that over the decades no real benefit has offset the proven harm caused by GMOs.  It is fine to blame “the European public”, but we know that this public is no better or worse than our own in the US or anywhere else – had there been a GMO equivalent of the iPad, masses would have thronged the streets of Europe clamoring for their use. But it may be just as true that BASF would continue to push GMOs into Europe were it not for the tireless and creative work of many hundreds of thousands, the kinds of numbers needed these days to make a self-evident point which counters accepted official policy. So I say to our European friends: embrace the credit that is hurled at you and loudly celebrate what will not be announced as your victory in the newspapers.

We are left in desolate America, though, land of government by Monsanto, where BASF is relocating its GMO headquarters (some specialty technical BASF outfits remain in Ghent and Berlin). In the North it is impossible to know where the nearest non-GMO plant may be, while in the South and in Mexico the tragedy of GMO soy- and corn-agriculture continues apace, driven by corrupt or willfully ignorant governments and against public opinion much stronger and much more vocal than what we have seen in Europe. Far from recognizing the failure of GMOs altogether, something that should have happened at least a decade ago, BASF identifies the opportunities offered by the brutal realities of the Third World, opportunities which are better capitalized with the centralization, mechanization and property-rights enforcement possible only through GMOs. As we celebrate the lifting of perhaps one third of the pressure upon Europe to give in to GMOs, let’s not forget those places where they will continue to be used as the effective spear-head of corporate biological mining of other lands.

Ignacio Chapela is Associate Professor of Microbial Ecology at the University of California, Berkeley.  He is also a Senior Researcher at GenĂ˜k, the National Center for Biosafety, Norway.  

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator 
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) 
Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
Suite 206, 180 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 1P5 
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext. 25
Fax: 613 241 2506

Send your tax-deductible donation today!

The Minister of Agriculture wants to legalize contamination from GM foods that have not been approved by Health Canada but have been approved somewhere else in the world. Send your letter to the Minister of Health today to stop "Low Level Presence"

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What will be in your 2012 garden?

Do you ever get to the point of feeling like you have so much on your mind that nothing stays straight in it at all?
It gets a bit muddled. And then it seems like there's nothing really in there at all?
I'm feeling that way right now -blessed with a vacuous mind. Helps me sleep at night.
Who says that growers aren't just as busy in the winter? I don't find myself spending a whole lot of time sitting beside my woodstove perusing seed catalogues.
I'd really like to do that, and will soon I hope.
Not to say I haven't ordered seeds, because I have.  Oh how I have.

I'm sure it is an addiction. In my spare moments when I'm not sending out seeds that people have ordered from me, or harvesting the winter greens, I'm checking out the seed offerings of others.
Some seed sources are wonderful and are treasures in and of themselves. If you don't know about them, you really should.

Seasoned growers may want to consider the absolutely tremendous listing on the Gardens North  website.
My mom, whose birthday is today (and bless her memory) loved the fun that could be had with Gardens North seed. Stratifying, cold treatment (vernalizing)-yahoo!

My own front yard is a testament to the fabulous seed to be had from this seed company.
One neat little shrub mix package purchased a good 15 years ago transformed my hard and barren clay front lawn into a true jungle of interesting vegetation. It's true! One little seed pack provided a whole lot of fun and experimentation and now good luck peering into my front window!

Mom and I also made an annual sojourn to William Dam Seeds.  I love heading up there for  a great many reasons.
One reason is that it still feels like home to me. I grew up close-by.
Who says you can't go home? I do all the time. It's different but the same.
Then again so am I.
I like dealing with nice people and the Dams are that. I love walking past the shelves of seed packets and seeing what is new, interesting and different. I always buy more than I should, but the last minute surprises are fun.
The seed is all untreated, and their selection of heirloom and organic seed is increasing every year. They have a wonderful selection of seed that is popular in the Netherlands and not necessarily well known here. Good stuff.

One of my searches this year has been for basil seed. After last years lime basil trial for Organic Gardening magazine, I got it in my head I would grow as many varieties of basil this year as I could find seed for. Enter Richters of course.

Reading the Richters catalogue is an education. There are lessons in that little catalogue about every herb under the sun...and more.
Most of the basil varieties I'll be testing are from Richters, but not quite all.
As it stands now, I will be growing 52 varieties of basil this summer. I'm game to grow more though. Any suggestions?
I definitely see a basil tasting event in the future. And pesto. Lots of it.

I'm also growing some wonderful things this year from my trip to Monticello in the fall.

Sesame seeds at Monticello
Sesame, rice, cotton, more fabulous cockscomb flowers, as well as a variety of wheats, farro, many more oriental vegetables - (can a radish really grow to be 100lbs?) and more.
I need to know why Amish Farmer Doughnut tomato is called that, so I'm growing it.  Is there a hole in the middle?
It's easy to get bogged down with the necessary things one needs to do to make a living and survive. And easy to forget how much you love doing what you do. Even when you grow food for a living. It can be stressful and it does have it's pressures.
But then you see it....that one seed that you must try.  Then the thought of spring approaching gets exciting and you're willing to do it all over again.
The garden is like going home - the same, yet different. And I would say that is a good thing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tree and Twig CSA for 2012



For the last 15 years now I've been selling veggies.
And doing a bit of this and that as well. In one form or another I've always done a CSA, and this year I'm going back to a bit more formal CSA again, with delivery into town. My new website will be up soon, but here's a little preview of the CSA information. If it all seems as clear as mud to you and you have questions, please don't hesitate to email or call. It will be a small CSA, because I want to do it right, and do my "this and that" right too. So if you are interested please let me know. And yes, if you'd like to work a bit on the farm too, that can be arranged.  Or even if you'd like a little spot to garden, let's talk! I have land.

2012 CSA and Farm Shares.

CSA stands for Community Supported (Shared) Agriculture. 
This system of marketing links local growers and consumers who want fresh, healthy produce.
When you become a member of a CSA you are committing to a season long agreement, which sees the farmer growing food for you. In a CSA shareholders buy into the farm in such a way that the risks and rewards of farming are shared by the farmer and the community shareholders as well. In a good growing season, there is lots of food, and in a poor, not as much. 
Tree and Twig tries to minimize this risk by growing a huge diversity of crops and by also making good use of 3 passive energy hoophouses. 
In return for your payment you share the harvest and become part of a farm community.
I save seed, purchase seed, supplies and work very hard with simple tools and sweat to bring you the best organic produce I can grow.

Organic growing practices include the use of cover crops, natural amendments, crop rotations and other practices to improve soil and plant health. Growing organically is more labour intensive than conventional chemical farming. I use no GM seed, no treated seed, and much of my own seed that I have saved year after year.
I am NOT certified organic, but have never used any form of chemical inputs on my crops since the time I began growing produce to sell in 1997. Joel Salatin said it best: "You can't regulate integrity". How true! Take some time to get to know your farmer. Consider attending some of the special events at the farm for CSA members.
I also do not use any animal inputs such as manures, or bone or blood meals. If you are vegan or vegetarian, this may be important to you.  It is to me.

I deliver into Fonthill and St Catharines, and may consider other communities if 5 or more people are in that area sign up. If it is more convenient for you to pick up your share, let's arrange that.
Deliveries are Tuesday afternoons and will be at a TBA convenient location in Fonthill or St Catharines by 3 pm.

(Please note-if you go on vacation during the season, remember your veggies are still committed to you. Please ask a family member or friend to pick them up and enjoy them, or I can arrange for them to be donated in your name to a good cause, such as 'Start Me Up Niagara's" kitchen.

Shareholder and potential shareholder information and planning meeting- Sunday,March 4, 2012 2pm at the farm.
I'll answer questions, listen to your ideas find out what you'd like me to grow for you and tell you what I've got planned. (RSVP) Please come out!


Pay for the full season(s) in advance, or pay monthly via post dated cheques, please.  
If payment poses difficulties I will still try to accommodate you.

(Early )15 week season- $375.00 (Spring-Summer) March start (approx)

(Mid)  15 week season-$375.00 (Summer-Fall)June start

(Late) 15 week season-$375.00 (Fall -Winter) September start

Seasons will begin as early as possible, and you can do all three, or more. I grow year round!
The number of shares available are limited.

Your share includes a weekly delivered basket of premium heirloom vegetables( peck size), a weekly online newsletter with recipes and on-farm events just for shareholders.
Shares generally contain a minimum of 8 different items, but in high season this can be much, much more.

I grow pretty much every vegetable you can imagine...and then some. There will be items in your basket that may be new to you, and in 2012, I am trying some very interesting new crops.
My goal is to show you how wonderful vegetables can be and to keep your taste buds happy. I love vegetables and want you to as well!

Thank-you most sincerely for supporting a small farmer.

Individual baskets  of produce are always available -no commitment! Baskets of fresh, heirloom vegetables also make a thoughtful gift of good eating, and special gift baskets are available too.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2012 seeds

Well, we're nearly there.

If you'd like to take a peek at my 2012 seed listing, check here

It's been a little slower coming along than I would have liked, but of course that's all me. Strange how winter gets so busy!
Christmas Lima beans

I've dropped my price down a bit this year, and there are some interesting new additions.

The new website will be up soon. But in the meantime and despite the fact I'm still cleaning and packing some of the seed, you are most welcome to mail in your seed requests if you see something in the listing of interest. Orders can be sent to 74038 Reg Rd 45, RR#1 Wellandport. On L0R 2J0

Although not noted on the listing, all orders will require an additional $3.00 for shipping and handling, and until the website is up, payment will need to be by cheque only.  Shipping is within Canada only.

I have limited quantities of all seed and when it's gone, it really is!

Thanks for looking it over!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Niagara Seedy Saturday

Steven Biggs and "Homegrown in Toronto"

Mary from "The Cottage Gardener"

It is that time again.

It's time to start considering what the garden "chez vous" will look like this glorious 2012. And of course we all know that the year to come will be the very best gardening year ever. All the vegetables and flowers we grow will look precisely like the ones in those glossy catalogues. Really!

Why not be optimistic? That's the beauty of gardening. It always could turn out that way! And if it doesn't you still may have some vegetables to munch on and some stunning flowers to admire.

Seeds are a bit of a miracle. And if you like seeds and gardening and being with people who feel the same way, I hope you'll come out to Niagara Seedy Saturday on February 11, 10- 3 pm at Brock University, St Catharines. The event will be in the very beautiful "Pond Inlet', which is within the Mackenzie Chown Complex-see here.

There will be signs as you enter the university directing you to the event.
As it stands now, you may expect to pay $6.00 to park, so pack your cars with family and friends, park off campus, take the transit, or walk if you can. We are still working on reducing this amount, and I'm hopeful we will.

There is, however, no admission fee. When you come in you will be given a pack of seeds, a warm welcome and an opportunity to browse, chat with some fine folks and listen to some very knowledgeable speakers. If you wish to leave a donation, it would be well received and will all be donated to Start Me Up Niagara to  help them with their worthwhile efforts. Yes, 100%.

We have many businesses and groups returning from previous years, but also some welcome new additions. Joining us this year are:

Steven Biggs  Author "No Guff Gardening"
Acorus Restoration
The Cottage Gardener
Urban Harvest
Premier Horticulture (Myke Supplements)
Minor Brothers
Paul Federici (music!)
Ann Brown "The Plant Lady" (Sea Grass baskets)
The Organic General Store
Tree and Twig
Start Me Up Niagara (kids activity table)
Master Gardeners of Niagara
Seeds Of Diversity Canada
Sustain Ontario
Garden of Eating

There are a few more businesses that I am waiting confirmation from as well, so we'll have a pretty full house.
I am delighted that Paul Federici will be providing entertainment between speakers and that "Fed Up" Brock will be dishing out a light vegan lunch and coffee free of charge. But please consider supporting them with a donation, which would be greatly appreciated.
If anybody is interested in doing a bit of baking, please let me know. We'll again have our goodie table so people can enjoy a sweet snack while wandering.
Our speaker schedule is:

10:15 Welcome and introduction of Susan Venditti, exec director "Start Me Up Niagara"

11:00 Steven Biggs "Container Gardening"

12 noon Chef Mark Picone

1 pm Colette Murphy, Urban Harvest

2 pm TBA

Also this year we will have  Niagara Seedy Saturday t-shirts for sale.  All the profits from the sale of these shirts will go towards the establishment of community gardens at Brock through the OPIRG group which is assisting with the running of this event. A small but heartfelt thank you. Each shirt is $15.00 and I only have a limited number. If you would like to have me hold one for you, please let me know and which size you prefer...S, M or L (unisex sizing).

And most importantly, bring your seeds! The seed exchange is the heart of this event; it is about sharing open pollinated seeds. It doesn't matter if they are seeds you have saved yourself or extra seeds from some you have purchased. All are welcome!

2011 seed exchange table

If you feel you could lend a hand at the event, please get in touch. Sign up to help with next years event.

Very much looking forward to it and I hope to see you there!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Niagara Seedy Saturday-Please post!

NIAGARA Seedy Saturday
Saturday, February 11, 2012, 10 – 3 pm
Brock University, Pond Inlet, 500 Glenridge Ave, St Catharines, ON.
Free admission (donations accepted for Start Me Up Niagara)

Seedy Saturday is a celebration and sharing of open-pollinated seeds and gardening know-how —“saving our past for our future.” Seedy Saturday and Seedy Sunday events are held across Canada.
Seedy Saturday is about:
 saving, swapping, buying, and selling seeds that have not been genetically modified
 promoting open-pollinated varieties of vegetables, fruits, flowers, grains, and herbs
 preserving heirloom varieties
 conserving biodiversity
 growing native plants and plants adapted to local conditions
 creating and sustaining gardening communities, ensuring food security
 sharing gardening know-how
Events and Activities: 
Seed Exchange table and...
 Exhibitors
 Presenters
 Seed Retailers
 Door Prizes
 Free Coffee & Tea & Treats AND SEEDS!
 Light vegan lunch provided by “Fed Up” Brock OPIRG -donations appreciated.
***“Garden Give-away Table” a free exchange and/or giveaway of clean pots, trays, magazines, books, garden utensils....
Seedy Saturday agenda:
10 am Start of Seedy Saturday Seed Swap & Retail all day .....
10:15 Welcome and "Start Me Up Niagara" Susan Venditti
11 am Steven Biggs “Growing in Containers” 
12noon Chef Mark Picone “Niagara Food Finds"
 1 pm      Collette Murphy - (Urban Harvest) topic TBA
2pm       TBA

For more information contact Linda Crago 905-386-7388 or

Saturday, January 14, 2012

This is January

Yes, January IS here. I wondered if it was going to arrive in the usual way this year.

It came yesterday.

When I looked out the snow covered window yesterday, the wind was whipping the snowflakes into a frenzy. Today,'s just cold.  Cold.

Time to feed the birds-Ellie loves them


My chicken friends enjoy their greenhouse

...with easy access to their heat lamps

Snow is an extra layer of insulation on the hoop houses

Hey, I like your hat!

Not so bright and cheery in here

..but this is bright and cheery to see. Variegated collards!

Magic stuff, I tell you. Magic.
..and rain is in the forecast for this week.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Guest Post-Ribollita Soup

It's so funny, the relationships you form with people. And it is downright scary when you start reading each other's mind.
I again asked my friend Leslie for  blog contribution, and fine cook that she is, she came up with precisely what I cooked for supper last night... I just didn't know what it was called!
My version was probably not quite as refined. I used frozen heirloom tomatoes that I grew and froze last summer, my own mix of dried beans from the garden that I had cooked up, and some fresh herbs such as rosemary, basil and thyme that are growing in my kitchen.
As Mollie and I sat down to eat I told her it was "everything but the kitchen sink soup." In her clever way, she eyed me suspiciously and queried "there's a toilet in here mom?" She's a funny girl. But she gobbled it right up.
Thanks again for the recipe, Leslie.

This cold and damp winter has me wanting soup on a regular basis. Combine that with my resolution to eat more meatless meals this year and I am constantly searching for ways to make over some old favourites. One of those is Ribollita Soup. Ribollita means reboiled in Italian. The story is that this soup was born when there was need for a nourishing yet affordable meal made from left-overs to feed the poor. Hence the name reboiled. Traditionally, Tuscan ribollita is a bread-thickened vegetable soup made with pancetta or bacon and chicken stock. Here is my vegetarian version, perfect for a cold, damp, winter day. 
“Only the pure of heart can make good soup”  ~ Beethoven
Ribollita Soup
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 pound chopped assorted greens (spinach, kale, collards, swiss chard) 
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
3 cups vegetable stock 
1 bay leaf
1 (3 inch) piece Parmesan rind
Grated Parmesan for serving 
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent and soft. Add tomato paste and stir until dissolved. Add tomatoes and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the brown bits. Add the greens, beans, herbs, stock, bay leaf, and Parmesan rind. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. 
When the soup is ready, sprinkle with Parmesan, and serve with warm crusty bread. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

This is January?

Darn, the weather has been nice! This is January?

So instead of sitting at my computer, as I should have been doing I've been otherwise engaged. Doing some seeding in the hoop house, cleaning out the chickens, picking greens for sale, walking the dogs.

Fun stuff, outside stuff.

It's true, these are things I enjoy!

So the seed listing has taken a bit longer to come up with. If I was sitting inside on a blustery, snowy day it would have been done long before this. It's hard to resist the temptation to NOT BE IN!

But now it is done.

It will be winging it's way to my friend who is a knowledgeable friend of computers, which I am in not.

And a new website will be introduced...soon, with some cool new seeds.  I'm excited!

A new CSA season, new farm events and some very cool new heirloom tomato seedlings. Lots of them. And some exciting new (old) veggies I'm trying.

But in the meantime, here's a look at the winter farm and what is happening.

Sometimes we rest.

A surprise- a variegated arugula. I'll try saving seed AND propagating. 

So many beans to shell...ain't they pretty?

Tressa's Florence hot pepper for seed.

Sometimes I cover, sometimes I don't. This week not yet!

Sylvetta arugula- a winter hoop house staple

Monday, January 2, 2012

My 2011 Vegetable and Flower Favourites

Happy New Year!
Don't you just know this will be a wonderful year? I sure do.
The turning of that December page on the calendar means a whole new beginning. Symbolic perhaps.
But that's okay. New beginnings are good-clean slate and all that.

And nowhere is the slate cleaner than in the 2012 garden. Time to start anew. Failures last year? Forget 'em. THIS is the year! May your carrots grow straight and sweet and your tomatoes plump and juicy.
Hope always springs eternal and a true gardener at heart is always optimistic.

There are some very interesting things that I'm going to try to grow in 2012, with the emphasis being on try. I don't for sure know I can grow some of these things.
But try I will.
On the list are rice, cotton (again-haven't succeeded previously), and a whole lot more.

But there definitely are some crops that I tried...and succeeded with in 2011. And liked a whole lot.
Here's the run down of a few of them.  Soon, when my seed and plant listings are up on the website, you'll see I am selling one form or another of quite a few of them.

Stupice - As always. Delicious, sweet and early. I'll say no more

Green Envy was a nice surprise and did very well at my "Tomato Bash" in August. People loved the taste. is yummy.

This was a fabulous tomato. Orange tomatoes are my hands-down favourite tasting tomatoes. I think. Well, I'm pretty fond of greens too. But this one was sweet, fruity, early as the name suggests and large. A real winner.

 I question the name, but not the tomato. Dingo Eye? I'm not sure what I expected, but not this very handsome, tasty and large pink. The seed came from a country whose language is not my own, and I had no idea what to expect. I'm happy, though. It's a very good tomato.

Thompson Classic Seedless was rated by many people who tasted it this year as the best tomato they had ever eaten. Ever. I grew it in the hoop house and withheld the water. Sweet, spicy tasting and stunning, stunning. Thanks, Tom Wagner for handing me this seed. This is a truly splendid tomato.

 I liked the Lime Basil a whole lot, something a bit different in basils. Lovely and citrus and makes one heck of an ice cream and pesto. Now I have to try lots of other basils this year-I'm aiming for 50. Grow big or go home. (What a thing for a small farmer to say!)

 I would say it is a toss up between Slim Jim and Ping Tung Long for eggplant of the year. Pictured above is Slim Jim. It is a great little eggplant that grows very well in tight conditions or a container. Lovely mild taste and great production.

The Amish Cockscomb (celosia) was without a doubt the standout flower of the year. How many pictures did I take of this? The colour, the texture and ultimately the size, although at Monticello they were even bigger than mine. I now know there are lots of other colours, and I'm going to grow them in 2012.

 This beautiful, simple marigold made my heart stand still. I had such a hard time locating the seed for this one after I saw a picture of it on the internet. Isn't it so lovely? This is Summer Snowflake, an apt name.

And last, but certainly not least is Molly, the bean. This slim little filet bush bean was tremendous. Look at the plants... just loaded. I sense this one would do well in a container as the plants were small. Very fine flavour, and of course a very fine name!  I love it.

I've got more favourites too. And how about you?

I'd love to hear from other folks about their 2011 or all time garden favourites. Give me some ideas - I'm willing to grow as much as I can!