Lifestyle

Burnett: Tomatoes great for learning how to grow veggies

My tomato plants are happy. Bring on the sun!

This is why we can grow some of the best crops in Canada right here in the Okanagan such as peppers, beans, potatoes and corn.

More and more, families are planting edible gardens and there are several reasons for this.

First,  it gives us great satisfaction to “pick” something from our back yard, or front yard for that matter, and serve it on the table.

As we have become accustomed to “picking” everything we eat at the grocery store, this is such a change moving back to what it was like just a few decades ago.

When I was growing up, most families had vegetable gardens and many had chickens.

While I’m not advocating chickens in the city today, I do encourage growing vegetables.

If the sheer joy of growing your own isn’t enough, perhaps saving some money, great physical exercise, knowing what goes into your food and taste that cannot be found anywhere else might get you enthused.

If you have never grown anything before, you might start with tomatoes.

The first two things you need are a sunny spot with at least six to eight hours a day of direct sun, and some decent soil.

If you are not blessed with good “dirt,” then raised beds are the answer with imported soil.

Most garden centres have a blended product suitable for this purpose and other than topping up with compost each year it is a one-time expense.

Another way to do it if you have limited space is to grow your tomatoes and peppers in five-gallon pots using a good commercial potting soil such as Sunshine #1.

Once you have mastered growing tomatoes, you can expand your horizons to just about anything you can eat. I

f you have the space, get real serious and grow enough for winter storage.

A root cellar is a fabulous way to store many crops however, freezing is perhaps more practical for today’s gardener.

If I have tweaked your interest in growing a garden, don’t  until next year to get started—there is plenty of time to plant this summer and  vegetable transplants are still in stock at most garden centres.

***

Speaking of pride in gardening, I am a big supporter of the Communities in Bloom program which recognizes the efforts of homeowners, tenants, businesses and institutions for creating beauty spots throughout the community.

The slogan “people plants and pride” captures the essence of the program.

The Kelowna Communities in Bloom committee recognizes various areas around the city that it believe to be a “A Kelowna Beauty Spot.”

The latest is a home on Bernard Avenue, which has like others along the 700 and 800 blocks of the street, been preserved as one of Kelowna’s heritage homes and converted to a business.

Darlene and Duane Habuza, of 763 Bernard Ave.,  purchased the home in 2005. This home was built and lived in by the Muirhead family dating back to 1910.

The Habuzas operate their business, Country Cottage Gifts & Décor, from this beautifully restores Queen Anne house.

Congratulations to them on a job well done.

 

 

Tune in to The Don Burnett Garden Show on AM 1150 News Talk Sports Saturday mornings from 8 to 10 a.m.

 

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