Author: Mark Macdonald

Hardening Off Seedlings

Hardening Off Seedlings
14 May

Gardening instructions can be full of peculiar phrases from British gardening traditions. “Potting on,” “pricking out,” and “hardening off” are all things we do with seedlings to help them prepare for eventual transplanting out into the garden. Hardening off seedlings is probably the most important concept that new gardeners can grasp to improve successful transplants….

About Beans

About Beans
10 May

The bean is an annual plant of the family Fabaceae. This is a huge plant family, with over 19,000 species, so there are many interesting facts about beans. Only orchids and asters outnumber the members of this botanical group. Among the bean plant’s many close relatives are peas, runner beans, broad beans, soya beans, peanuts,…

Soil Temperature and Day Length

Soil temperature and day length
9 May

The changing seasons, and the longer daylight hours in summer are a result of the angle of the Earth’s axis in relation to the sun. It’s easy to forget how these changes can affect the growth of plants, and in particular, vegetables. Soil temperature plays a very important role in the success or failure of…

Companion Planting

Companion Planting
29 Apr

West Coast Seeds offers its guidelines to companion planting to you as suggestions keeping in mind, each garden is unique and all of the factors should go into consideration while planning your garden, including but not limited too sun exposure, weather, ecology, pollinators, insect population, the soil, water supply and historical plant and harvest productivity…

Overwintered Leeks

Overwintered Leeks
22 Apr

Last summer I planted a few rows of fall and winter harvest leeks in our demonstration beds at Kirkland House here in Ladner. We chose the varieties described as “winter harvest” since they are bred to stand up to frost, but included Alto Varna, which is known mostly as a fast growing summer harvest leek….

About Dandelions

About Dandelions
16 Apr

The much maligned dandelion actually has a lot to offer. It has been vilified in our culture as the invader of lawn spaces, thrusting its dazzling yellow colour into an otherwise tranquil field of green. Homeowners pour millions of gallons of weed control chemicals into their lawns each year in a vain attempt to vanquish…

All About Sunflowers

All About Sunflowers
14 Apr

We’re going to tell you all about sunflowers so you can be a sunflower expert. Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) It is thought that sunflowers may have been domesticated before corn, as early as 3000 BC in the area that is now Mexico, New Mexico, and Arizona and in the Mississippi Valley by 2300 BC. The plant…

Crop Rotation

12 Apr

Crop rotation is the practice of not growing plants where similar plants grew the previous year. This practice prevents the build up of pests and diseases and optimizes the use of soil nutrients. Plants from different “families” need different amounts of nutrients and their root systems also penetrate the soil to different levels. To simplify,…

Compost and Composting

Compost and Composting
9 Apr

About Compost and Composting Composting is the process of breaking down organic material. It is one of the basic principles of organic and biodynamic gardening, and has been in practice for a surprisingly long time. Pliny the Elder refers to composting in his writings from the early Roman era in the first century AD. But…

Planting to Attract Predatory Insects

Planting to Attract Predatory Insects
6 Apr

Planting to attract predatory insects is one of the key tactics for pest control in an organic garden system. Insects, like plants, come in all shapes and sizes, and play many different roles in the environment as well as in your garden. As sure as some insects are pests others are positively beneficial. Aside from…