July 18th, 2013
Grow your own Grapes!
Grapes can make an excellent addition to your garden. In addition to producing grapes they serve many purposes. They can be grown up an arbour to provide shade for your patio. Grapes can also be grown up a trellis to provide privacy from your neighbours. You can even use the leaves to make Dolmades.
There are two basic types; wine grapes or table grapes. For 2013 you can choose from the following varieties:
- Cabernet Sauvingnon
- De Chaunac
- Pinot Noir
- Reisling Type (GM318)
- Sauvingnon Blanc
For more information about growing grapes click here.
June 10th, 2013
Savour the Flavour of Fresh Herbs!
If you enjoy cooking with fresh herbs there is nothing more rewarding than a herb garden full of Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, and Basil to use in your culinary creations. There are many flavourful herbs that are easy to grow in your garden or in pots on your patio. In addition to their flavour many herbs are very aromatic and make an excellent addition to your garden. The beautiful blue flowers of rosemary are as ornamentally beautiful as they are culinarily delicious. I can not imagine a garden without at least a few herbs.
You can choose from a broad range of herbs including:
- Bay Leaf
- Cat Grass
- Lemon Verbena
For some advice on growing herbs, including a chart of culinary uses, click here. For a list of companion planting, including herbs and vegetables, click here.
May 31st, 2013
Grow Your Own Sweet Potatoes!
If you have a nice sunny spot and you’re looking for something easy to grow try one of the Sweet Potato varieties available. Sweet Potatoes, which are in the Ipomoea family are tubers that you can plant in a pot or in the ground. You might be more familiar with their ornamental cousins which have beautiful chartreuse or dark purple foliage. The ornamental varieties develop tubers as well, although they are generally not edible. The edible varieties (Ipomoea batatas) have a plain green leaf and rarely flower. They require little watering or feeding and when harvested they store very well. For 2013 you can choose from the following varieties:
- Georgia Jet
- Tainung 65
For more information about how to grow Sweet Potatoes click here.
May 13th, 2013
Mighty Mato Grafted Tomatoes – Have Arrived!
One of the easiest and most rewarding vegetable crops to grow on your own are Tomatoes. Now they are even easier with the new Mighty Mato grafted Tomatoes. Mighty Mato Tomatoes are like superheroes they are stronger, faster, more able to fend off pests and diseases than regular tomato plants. They are also most drought so you can miss a watering or two. They are also more cold tolerant so they can begin producing earlier and continue producing later in the season. But most importantly they produce bigger crops of tomatoes.
How do they do this? They are better because they are “grafted”. Grafting is where the top part of one plant is attached to the root system of a separate plant (the rootstock). The top part of the plant fuses with the bottom part of the plant and combine the rootstock’s vigor and disease resistance with the exceptional fruit quality of the top plant. These are NOT genetically modified in any way. They are some of the same great varieties that have been grown for many years including several Heirloom varieties. One important difference between grafted and non-grafted tomatoes is that the graft must stay above soil level, and you should prune lateral suckers for best fruiting.
The Mighty ’Mato line-up includes twelve heirloom and four hybrid varieties. For 2013 you can choose from the following varieties at our stores:
- Amish Paste
- Black Cherry
- Black Krim
- Cherokee Purple
- Early Girl
- Green Zebra
- Mortgage Lifter
- Sun Sugar
- Sweet Million
- Yellow Pear
For more information about the varieties please click here. To see the picture below please click on them.
Mighty Mato – Grafted vs. Non Grafted
Mighty Mato – Beefsteak
MIghty Mato – Sun Sugar
Taste the flavour of home grown Tomatoes!
The weather is finally warm enough to start thinking about putting tomatoes outside in the garden. It is still recommended that you provide some protection from the cold night temperatures. You can do this by covering your tomatoes with plastic or a white cloth like our “Crop Cover” or “Frost Blanket”. When the night time low is above 10 degrees Celsius, or 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you can leave them uncovered.
Whether you are a seasoned tomato growing veteran or a new gardener here are a few tips to help you grow better tomatoes:
- Tomatoes are heavy feeder, they are the teenage boys of the plant world. You should add manure and fertilizer to the soil before you plant.
- When you plant the tomatoes plant them deeper as new roots will develop along the stem helping your plants grow faster and stronger. (Except ‘Mighty Mato’ grafted Tomatoes, do not plant them below the graft)
- Water regularly all summer, twice a week early in the season and daily during the summer months. Tomatoes that do not get regular water are more likely to develop diseases and are less likely to produce as much fruit. They also develop thicker skin if not watered properly.
- Fertilize weekly with a water soluble fertilizer like Miracle Gro Tomato Food 18-18-21 or monthly with a granular fertilizer like Evegro’s Vegetable and Tomato Food 10-15-19.
- Add Lime to your soil before you plant and every month during the growing season. Lime helps balance the pH and provides Calcium and Magnesium to the plants.
With so many varieties of Tomatoes to choose from here are a few varieties that perform well in our climate:
- Ball Extra Early – a medium sized tomato that produces early
- Beefsteak – one of the largest tomatoes with lots of meaty flesh
- Early Girl – a medium sized early producing variety
- Sungold – a golden cherry tomato
- Sweet 100 – an excellent small cherry tomato
- Sweet Million – a smaller version of the sweet 100 that produces an abundant crop
- Tumbler – a great cherry tomato for hanging baskets that produces all summer until frost
- Tomaccio – a super sweet grape type tomato that is great for making Sun Dried Tomatoes
In addition to these varieties you can choose from a selection of Heirloom Tomato varieties including:
- Bloody Butcher – a medium sized tomato that is great for slicing
- Brandywine Black – a large heirloom tomato
- Latah – an early producing medium sized tomato
- Nyagous – a medium to large early to mid season tomato
- Prudens Purple – a medium tomato great for slicing
Be sure to stake your tomatoes as they grow to give them support as the fruit matures. You can stake them up with a basic bamboo or cedar stake or buy a “Tomato Cage” that provides support for the leaves as well.
Click here to download our information brochure on Tomatoes.
April 22nd, 2013
Grow Your Own Potatoes!
Potatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow yourself. All they require is a nice sunny location in rich fertile soil. You can plant them from March to May and harvest them from July to October. You can grow white, red, and/or yellow varieties that are good for cooking, frying, boiling, or baking.
Click here to download our Potato growing brochure.
April 14th, 2013
Grow your own fresh fruit, start your Strawberries for Summer!
If you enjoy the taste of fresh Strawberries in the summer now is the time to plant them. Strawberries are very easy to grow. Strawberries can grow and produce for many years in your garden. They multiply themselves so you can continue to expand your strawberry patch every year. The hardest part about growing them is right after you plant them, you have to force yourself to remove their blooms so that the plant can become established before growing fruit.
For more information about growing Strawberries download our information brochure here.
April 1st, 2013
Buy a Rosemary to Support Kitsilano Neighbourhood House
David Hunter Garden Centers is proud to support “Family Nights” at the Kits Neighbourhood House. If you visit our Vancouver store at 2560 West Broadway in Kitsilano and purchase any size rosemary plant we will make a donation to support the Family Night programs.
Kits House is a registered non-profit, charity organization dedicated to providing important services and programs to all residents on Vancouver’s Westside. Programs include those that support families, youth, newcomers and seniors.
Click here for more information.