Special contribution from www.GreenOkanagan.org - Green Okanagan, or GO for short, is a registered non-profit organization based in Kelowna. GO was founded with the mandate to progress sustainability on an individual level and focuses on breaking down the zero-waste lifestyle in an approachable way while sharing local information. 

Relaxation, fitness, family fun, delicious food—sounds like a dream vacation at an all-inclusive resort. But, believe it or not, this can all be found in a simple backyard garden

Gardening supplies a total-body workout, allows us to reap what we've sowed, and provides an opportunity to reconnect with nature and our loved ones. 

You can find a variety of local seeds at community seed swaps, usually hosted in the spring. The farmers markets, farm stands, and local garden centre are also great resources for seeds, seedlings, or full-grown plants.

Ready to grab a shovel and get out there, but don't have a shovel? Visit local buy & sell sites and the ReStores to find second-hand gardening tools.

Green Okanagan has rounded up some simple yet effective ways to garden while minimizing your environmental impact - helping to preserve soil health and adding food for wild pollinators. 

  1. Look for drought-tolerant plants to reduce your water demands. This is especially important in dry climates like the Okanagan. Check out the “Make Water Work In Your Yard” Plant Collection for a list of local plants.
  2. Water your garden between dusk and dawn (10pm - 6am), and no more than every other day - watering during the coolest part of the day prevents evaporation. Up your efficiency by using a programmable timer for your sprinkler. Visit Make Water Work for more tips on efficient water use. 
  3. Avoid spraying chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides on your yard and garden and pass on those nursery plants, which are treated with Neonicotinoid pesticides that have been proven to be harmful to pollinators.
  4. Plant a Pollinator-friendly garden with good sources of pollen and nectar such as lavender, mint, thyme, and salvia. Visit the resource page on Border Free Bees, a local initiative supporting pollinators and gardeners, for tips on our how to create your own Pollinator Pasture, or simply note plants you see covered in bees and butterflies.
  5. Compost yard and kitchen waste - use the nutrient rich compost to enhance your garden soil naturally - creating a circular ecosystem of your own! Check out GO’s tips and resources for composting

Whether you're short on green space at your home or looking for others to garden with, the community gardens throughout the Okanagan offer just that to residents of all walks of life. Our friends at the Food Action Society have several community gardens you can join, find out more here, and the Central Okanagan Community Gardens website for another resource. 

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” - Audrey Hepburn