Edibles: Tomatoes, Veggies, Fruits, and Herbs
In a normal year, we run three May Plant Sales: one at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Langford, a second at St. Patrick’s Church in Oak Bay, and a third at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Sidney. The three sales raise valuable funds so that we may continue the pregnancy support service of Birthright Victoria. 2020 was not a normal year. Despite COVID, we were able to manage plant sales by order for pick up from Peggy’s Langford greenhouse. (We were also able to arrange local drop-off sites for tomatoes and other veggies in Oak Bay and Sidney.) 2021? An unknown, but we now know that plant sales by order can work.
On this page, you’ll find descriptions of all our edibles, including an extensive listing of tomatoes and other vegetables, fruits, and herbs. We’re not set up for online payments, but you can contact us to place your 2021 order, ready for pick-up in May. We’ll be adding prices and other info in coming months.
You can also see our 2021 Shrubs and Ornamentals listing here. And our complete listing for Perennials, Ground Covers and Rock Plants, Grasses, Basket Stuffers and Annuals here.
Cucumbers are cold-sensitive vegetables. Don’t put them out too early, or you may lose them! Generally, you should wait for night-time temps of 10 degrees C or warmer before planting. You could also plant them earlier under cover using clear plastic domes. Though you can grow cucumbers in the ground, all of the varieties listed here do extraordinarily well in medium sized pots. Give them a fence to climb, and they’ll reward you with straight fruits!
Beit Alpha F1
Middle Eastern type producing masses of smooth, blocky fruits with dark green skin. Best picked young (6 inches). Tender and sweet. Burpless, with a long shelf-life. Dependent upon seed availability in 2021
Yellow lemon-sized fruits. Productive and sweet! These unusual cucs grow equally well in containers as in the ground. Heirloom.
Japanese Cucumbers are beginning to rival Long English for taste and productivity. This one has long slim fruits. Crisp as well as mild. Very productive.
Long English Telegraph Improved
Heirloom variety with slim, dark green fruits. Vigorous, highly productive vines. A superior selection well-suited to containers. The Improved variety is significantly more productive and reliable over Long English Telegraph (not Improved).
This almost spineless slicing variety grows 8-12 inches long. Disease-resistant. Crisp and bitter-free. Heirloom.
Greens and Lettuces
Harvest in spring through early summer, and then again in the fall, if you’ve planted a second seeding. Unlike many of the heat-loving veggies, most greens and lettuces prefer cool weather and bolt (go to seed) in hot summer weather. When that happens, they become bitter tasting.
Perennial sweet flavoured variety with a mild peppery kick. Slower to bolt. Upright habit.
Curly Leafed Kale
High in vitamins and other nutrients. Harvest when young and tender for adding to salads, or cook as it matures and becomes stronger-flavoured and more bitter.
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
Early, dependable looseleaf with frilled, light green leaves.
Bronze Beauty Lettuce
Looseleaf. Super-sweet leaves blushed with bronze. Heat tolerant. Slow to bolt.
Butterhead. Soft, dark green leaves surround tender hearts which do not become bitter in hot weather.
Looseleaf. Dense, frilly leaves with deep red edges. Good for low-light conditions.
Lollo Rossa Lettuce
A beautiful frilly green variety with stunning red edges. Compact looseleaf holds up well in summer heat.
May Queen Lettuce
Butterhead. Delicate European heirloom with tender yellow hearts blushed rose. Not heat tolerant.
Technically a chard, although it looks and tastes like spinach. Unlike true spinach and the lettuces, this green does not bolt with hot weather. Biennial. Free-seeding.
Peppers are another of the cold tender veggies, preferring night time temps of 12 degrees C or warmer. There are 2 main types of Peppers: Sweet and Hot. All of the peppers included here are sweet varieties, although most are not your typical Bell peppers found in the grocery aisle. In my experience, these other varieties are both more productive and easier to grow than Bell types.
6 to 7 inch tapered but broadly wedged fruits which ripen from green to red. Incredibly fragrant and tasty. This outstanding roasting pepper grows on 2 foot stocky plants.
Also known as Cuban Sweet Pepper. Preferred by many cooks to Bell types. 6-8 inch thin-walled peppers are especially suited to quick cooking. Sweet with a touch of heat. Prized both for their rich flavour and pretty colours. Best picked when yellow-green. As a result, these peppers reach picking size and colour earlier than many varieties. Prolific, easy-care plants to 3 ft.
Narrow 3-5 inch pickling pepper with superb flavour and just a little heat. Compact plants with prolific yields of thin-skinned red fruits. Also excellent fresh eating.
Early ripening, very sweet medium pepper with thick red flesh. Peggy’s best pepper of 2020 for productivity, fast ripening, and ease of growth!
Small, tapered peppers maturing from yellow to plum purple on strong, compact plants. Extremely productive with tasty, attractive fruits.
Paradicsom Alaku Sarga Szentes
Bright yellow-orange, flat, ribbed, pumpkin-shaped fruits. Tremendous Hungarian flavour. Flesh is thick, crisp, and juicy. Rare. Prolific.
Red Bull’s Horn
Large red frying pepper tapered like a bull’s horn. Thick-walled and juicy.
Like cucumbers, squashes are cold-tender and should be treated accordingly. You can grow smaller, well-behaved squashes like the patty pans in large pots, but the zucchini will do better in the open garden.
Benning’s Green Tint Patty Pan
This heirloom scallopini grows on a productive semi-open bush.
Jaune et Vert Patty Pan
Fruits are light green or ivory with green streaks, but if harvested young may not show streaking. Prolific French heirloom.
Sunburst F1 Patty Pan
Prolific and pretty. Bright yellow fruits look like tiny flying saucers. The best of the patty pans for productivity, hardiness, & beauty.
White Scallop Patty Pan
Heirloom. Flat fruit with scalloped edges. One of the best tasting and highest yielding varieties around.
Yellow Scallop Patty Pan
Bright yellow fruit with a rich, mellow flavour. Bush plant with good yields. Heirloom.
Classic, dark green zucchini. Vigorous as well as productive. Space-saving bush variety. Heirloom.
Productive heirloom with long, ribbed Italian fruits and a pleasant, nutty taste.
These squashes mature into the fall. Their skin is much tougher and they require more room than the summer squashes.
Yellow or cream oval fruits to 10 inches. Cook and scrape the flesh into spaghetti-like strands, then serve under pasta sauce as a gluten-free replacement. As with other winter squashes, these vines need space to wander.
Resembling green tomatoes, tomatilloes are used in savoury dishes such as salsa. Grow in the same conditions as tomatoes. Harvest when fruits fill out and begin to split their papery husks. Vines are vigorous and require staking.
A bit about tomato terminology. The two big terms in speaking of tomatoes are ‘determinate’ and ‘indeterminate.’ Determinates, also known as ‘bush’ varieties, tend to be shorter with less vigorous growth, setting all their fruit early and in a limited time period, meaning the fruit also ripens in the same short time period. Plants often die off by midsummer, freeing space in the garden for other planting. Determinates are ideal for when you need lots of tomatoes for soup or sauce, not as ideal for continuous harvesting throughout the summer. Because of their more compact size, these plants are especially suited to container gardening.
Indeterminates, also known as ‘vine’ tomatoes, continue to grow throughout the summer, resulting in tall, robust, and sometimes unwieldy vines. They set fruit more gradually and have a longer growing season. Although they also can be grown in containers, indeterminates need strong stakes rather than simple tomato cages. These varieties will continue to set fruit until frost kills the vines.
A third and less common category are the Semi-determinates. These plants are more compact than indeterminates while still producing fruit throughout the growing season. Semi-determinates also do well in containers.
Other terms you may encounter: open-pollinated, heirloom, hybrid (F1), paste, Roma. Open-pollinated seeds are more genetically diverse and adaptable while still tending to breed true to the parent plant. Heirloom plants are open-pollinated varieties whose seed has been passed down through several family generations to preserve valued characteristics. They are often highly prized for superior flavour. Hybrid plants, often labeled F1, are created by controlled cross-pollination of different varieties to breed for certain qualities, such as increased disease resistance or longer shelf life. Hybrid seeds are genetically unstable, meaning that they do not breed true-to-type and often lack the vigour of their hybrid parents. If you wish to save seeds, choose only open-pollinated or heirloom varieties and avoid F1 or hybrid designations.
Paste tomatoes are a type of tomato especially useful in making sauces. They have denser, dryer flesh and fewer seeds, making for a meatier, thicker sauce. Roma tomatoes are a particular variety of paste tomatoes with an elongated, egg-like shape. Other paste tomatoes include Amish Paste, Oxheart, and smaller varieties such as Black Vernissage and Juliet.
Tomato Growing Conditions
Tomatoes are another of the cold-tender veggies. Depending on the variety, they should not be planted out until night time temps are reliably above 7-10 degrees C. Look for words like ‘early,’ ‘cooler season,’ or ‘cool climate,’ to select the most cold tolerant varieties.
Huge crops of pear-shaped fruits over a very long season. Unusual variety is deep red swirled with green and brown hues. Rich tomato flavour. Good fresh eating as well as cooking tomato. Vines are vigorous, fast growing, and very bushy, so give them a bit of room. Heirloom. Indeterminate.
Heirloom vine with old fashioned tomato flavour. Long trusses of 6-12 crack-resistant one inch fruits. Indeterminate.
Early, prolific cool-climate cherry tomato. Compact, determinate plants to 2 feet. Ideal for containers. Open-pollinated.
Enormous clusters of elongated, juicy, miniature Roma tomatoes draped on long trusses. Glossy, crack-resistant fruits. Indeterminate. F1 Hybrid.
Award-winning variety. Produces bunches of grape-shaped fruits with high sugar content, great flavour, firm texture, and very little cracking. Indeterminate. F1 Hybrid.
Dwarf, very bushy heirloom producing masses of 1 inch scarlet fruits on tidy determinate plants. Only 12-18 inches tall. Recommended for containers or hanging baskets.
Cute as well as productive! Tasty fresh, but even better as a sauce tomato. Especially recommended for grilling. Vigorous vine demanding greater space than usual. Earlier maturing than many cherry tomatoes. Heirloom. Indeterminate.
Small to Medium Tomatoes
Productive, vigorous small paste tomato. Dark reddish-black flesh. Complex, rich flavour considered superlative in sauces. Heirloom. Indeterminate.
Italian heirloom beefsteak with medium, deeply fluted red fruits on vigorous vines. Beautiful sliced. Indeterminate.
Compact, potato-leaf plants produce an abundance of round, 2-3 inch fruits on three foot vines. A great salad tomato with excellent flavour for an early-season type. Reliable in cooler season climates. Open-pollinated. Semi-determinate.
Lime green streaked with yellow. Small 3 oz fruits. Sweet, slightly tart flavour is perfect for salsa. Heirloom. Indeterminate.
French heirloom vine. Extremely productive and early main season tomato. Persimmon orange skin and flesh. A small, full-bodied salad tomato with a hint of citrus. Indeterminate.
3-4 ft vines produce high yields of attractive neon-orange, medium fruits. Highly recommended for eating out of hand due to their sweet, non-acidic flavour and few seeds. Good keeper. Open-pollinated. Shorter indeterminate.
Moonglow yellow variation
A variation of Moonglow with yellow flesh and more seeds. Shorter indeterminate.
Small pink fruits with green stripes on vigorous, indeterminate vines. Early and productive heirloom with good taste.
Medium, full-flavoured slicing tomato bred to thrive in cooler temps. Tall, determinate bush produces over a long period. Open-pollinated.
A bushy, early season tomato suitable for northern climates or cool spring conditions. Produces an abundance of 2-3 inch scarlet fruits on 4 foot determinate plants. Sets fruit early and in cool weather. Plants may also be placed close together and do not require staking. Open-pollinated.
Loads of bright yellow, golf ball sized fruits early in the season. Compact, bushy determinate plants. Sweet, rich flavour with low acidity. Open-pollinated.
The ultimate paste tomato, producing large red fruits on heirloom plants. Indeterminate.
Juicy Russian beefsteak with dark red-purple fruit and superlative flavour. Heirloom. Indeterminate.
Heirloom. Deep red slicing tomato. Massive size. Indeterminate.
Henderson’s Pink Ponderosa
Meaty, pink-red heirloom beefsteak. Huge size. Indeterminate.
Heirloom orange beefsteak with superb sweetness and flavour. Great sandwich slicer. Indeterminate.
The standard for early tomatoes. Large slicers with a mild flavour on tidy, determinate plants. Open-pollinated.
Heart-shaped paste tomato. Huge, orange, and meaty. Also makes a flavourful sandwich slicer. Indeterminate. Heirloom.
7-9 foot potato-leaf vines produce heirloom beefsteaks prized for their flavour and size. Indeterminate.
Large red fruits on disease resistant, high-yielding vines. Flavourful. Good all-round tomato for eating, canning, or freezing. Bred from heirloom varieties. Indeterminate.
Yellow and Red
Long keeper with yellow-orange skin and red flesh. Open-pollinated. Indeterminate.
Mystery Berry Plants
These mature plants produce blueberry-like fruits. Perhaps huckleberries?
Tart, crunchy fruits taste great in muffins or jams.
Cold-tender annuals for sun. Used in Italian Pesto and to flavour soups, sauces, and salads.
Famous Italian heirloom known for its use in pesto.
Lemon Basil Mrs. Burns
The very best lemon basil with vigorous growth, lush leaves and a sweet lemony flavour.
A novelty basil with anise scent and flavour, purple-maroon stems & flowers. Sometimes known as Thai Basil for its use in Thai cooking.
Bred for exceptionally high leaf count and compact growth habit. Super bushy, large-leafed, with a classic Italian basil aroma and flavour. Superb for containers.
Classic cooking basil for sauces, pesto, salads. A large leafed Italian type.
Also known as Monarda. The classic ingredient in Earl Grey Tea, paired with showy double red flowers and an intoxicating scent. For shade. A member of the mint family, so it is invasive.
A kitchen essential for snipping into dips or garnish. The dusty purple flowers are also edible.
Nodding pink flowers for shade. Invasive, so watch where you plant it or plant in a pot. Internal use is not recommended, but this herb can be used externally to speed healing.
Tall plants with aromatic flowers, seeds, and foliage. Larger flowers and seed heads than other varieties. Seeds are used in pickling, while the ferny leaves complement soups, omelets, and salads.
Makes a handsome display with anise scent and flavour, ferny foliage, and a tall bushy habit. This is the perennial herb form of fennel rather than the annual vegetable.
A tall herb to 4 feet. Shade. Celery-like leaves can be used like celery.
Variegated low foliage. Similar to oregano without the invasiveness. Sun.
Best grown in shade. All mints are invasive, so watch where you plant them or use large pots.
Handsome plant with strongly scented, round wooly leaves. Taller than most mints, resulting in greater yields.
With purplish green stems and foliage, this mint has a distinct chocolate scent and flavour. Use in desserts or casual snacking.
Tiny leaves with an intense peppermint flavour. A great ground-cover for shade. Also makes a stunning display trailing over a clay pot.
A smooth-leafed variety with a crisply pleasing mint flavour.
The old fashioned variety with deeply veined leaves.
Sun-loving members of the mint family, so you know they’re invasive.
The classic Mediterranean kitchen herb.
Hopley’s Ornamental Oregano
Only lightly scented, with gorgeous pink-purple flowers more intended for the perennial garden than the kitchen. Sets a few babies but is not invasive.
Kent Beauty Oregano
Showy ornamental trails nicely over baskets or cascades over slopes. Has a spicy oregano scent but is not reliably hardy in our climate.
Biennial herb which sets seed in its 2nd year and grows bitter as a result. These are young plants so they should provide clippings all summer without going to seed.
Rosemaries are somewhat tender in our climate, so site them where they have some shelter from cold winter weather. A protected slope out of the wind will provide winter shelter while preventing vulnerable roots from sitting in water.
Ornamental trailing form. Performs mid-air twirls as it creeps along. Makes a good ground cover.
Another classic kitchen herb. Plant in well-drained soil in sun. Usually survives in our climate so long as its roots don’t sit in water, though in a bad winter you may lose it.
Similar to the classic culinary form, but with superior shape & bushiness.
Delicate, ferny blue foliage with yellow flowers. Shade. Some people are sensitive to Rue and therefore need to wear gloves when handling.
Another group of savoury kitchen herbs, but unlike the Rosemaries, these ones are reliably hardy.
Wide spreading sun-lover. Very hardy. Use with meats, in soups and stews, even in pierogi filling,
Variegated green and yellow leaves. Grows smaller than regular garden sage.
Variegated green and cream foliage, splashed with pink. Another smaller sage. Ready mid summer 2021
Small leafed herbs used to season savoury dishes. Essential herb in boquet garni, together with rosemary, sage, and marjoram.
A low-growing form. Very drought-tolerant. Great with meats or in marinades, stews, soups.
Prostrate green foliage splashed with yellow. Pronounced lemon scent and flavour. Especially nice in vegetable marinades.