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Conventional farmers use around 300 different pesticides to grow foods that are sold in supermarkets everyday.

Urban Gardening - 2018

This year, we had a pretty hot and dry summer. The crops had a decent start, but were ravaged by a mid-summer hail storm. We've had hail storms before in the summer, but the hail stones were never this big (some of them were an inch across). Some plants managed to recover, a few were completely destroyed.

Grew a lot of beans this year. Beans are becoming one of my favorite crops to grow - easy to grow, fun to harvest, and good yields. Soy beans on the left and 4 types of drying beans on the right. A 4x10 bed of soy beans yielded over 30 lbs of unshelled pods!

Soy beans. When planted densely, they will smother other weeds. They are pretty good for building up the soil, too; they have nodules on the roots of the plants which take nitrogen in the air and add it to the soil.

Fresh edamame. Lightly boiled and served with sea salt. The taste is buttery and sure beats the frozen ones in grocery stores.

Roasted soybeans - lightly flavored with salt, five spice powder and onion powder. It takes about an hour in my oven at 300F to make them crispy/crunchy; I like them that way but if you prefer them chewy, cook them at a lower temperature and/or a shorter time.

I love to shell dry beans, and can do it for hours at a time. :-)

Four kinds of dry beans (from the left): black turtle, painted pony, tiger eye, and calypso.

A huge beet (you can probably club someone to death with it). Beets are a great crop to grow; you can eat the entire plant, both the leaves and the beet root.

Chioggia and golden beets. I like to thinly slice and pickle them with apple cider vinegar, honey and a bit of salt.

Tried growing a new type of cherry tomato this year. This one is called 'White Cherry'. It has a fruitier taste than the 'Black Cherry' and offers a nice contrast in color.

'Ring of Fire' chili peppers. I dry these and use them mostly to flavor soy sauce for dipping. They have good heat.

Habanero peppers. They have a reputation for being very hot. After cutting them, wash your hands before rubbing your eyes or going to the washroom.

'Zebrune' shallots. It's a type of banana shallots, named so because of its elongated shape. Shallots, along with garlic, are great for adding depth & flavor to your dishes. If you have limited space and are trying to maximize the value of the produce you get out of it, shallots are a great choice - they take very little space to grow and they cost a lot in supermarkets.