FAQs

Find answers to all kinds of frequently asked questions about West Coast Seeds.

Why aren’t my seeds germinating?

When we are asked, “Why are my seeds not germinating?” we consider a number of factors. Seeds are living organisms in as much as a certain percent of them will germinate in the correct conditions and produce seedlings, which, in the correct conditions, will produce plants and eventually more seeds. Before we order our seeds, we determine if the germination rate meets our high standards. We also test each and every seed lot annually to ensure that the germination rate remains higher than Canada Number One, as set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Samples of each lot of our seeds are tested in independent laboratories that are CFIA certified.

We take germination rates very seriously and print the result of each test on our seed packets. It is the goal of West Coast Seeds to provide the finest, fattest seeds, as well as the information needed, so that you have success in your garden and on your farm.

Many variables can affect the germination rate of seeds. How the seeds were stored, their age, the depth at which they were planted, the weather, the soil they were planted in, moisture, and temperature can all play a role in the success or failure of germination.

West Coast Seeds is proud to offer seeds of the highest quality, and we stand by our product. Our exceptional germination rate was the reason that our founder, Mary Ballon, began selling seeds. If you are not satisfied with the germination rate of our seeds, please contact us as soon as possible with the following information: Variety of seed and lot number – these are printed on all of our seed packages. Please be prepared to describe how the seeds were planted, and all of the details mentioned above.

We want you to have success in your gardens and on your farms. We will work with you to find an agreeable solution to your germination problems. This is our guarantee. West Coast Seeds cannot, though, accept liability for how you plant, maintain, or store your seeds.

The primary reasons for failed germination are:

  • Seeds get eaten – mice, voles, birds, and wireworms all eat seeds. Check to see that the seed is still in the soil. Seeds rot – planted too deeply, over-watered, or in cold weather, our untreated seeds may simply rot. Dig up some seeds and squeeze them. If they are soft or partially decayed, this is the problem.
  • Seeds need specific conditions to germinate – temperature and moisture can be difficult to control beneath the soil, and are easily affected by weather, human error, and other factors. Maintaining controlled moisture in the top layer of soil is particularly challenging if it is sunny and/or windy. Timing is everything with seeds, so rely on your local first/last frost dates and hope for the weather to play along. Be sure to plant seeds at the depth recommended on each seed packet. Seeds that are planted too deeply will not germinate.
  • Seeds (usually) require well-cultivated soil – while some plant seeds (think dandelions) will grow nearly anywhere, many herb, flower, and vegetable seeds require soil that has good drainage, the correct pH level, and adequate fertility to succeed. Follow the directions for each seed’s specific requirements.
  • Seeds are sometimes poorly stored – make sure to store all of your unused seeds in a dry, airtight container in a cool part of your house. Excessive heat will kill seeds. Moisture (even high humidity) can cause seeds to go moldy or otherwise lose their viability.
  • Seeds have a limited life expectancy – over time, the viability of all seeds will diminish. Use fresh, fat seed whenever possible.

How are the seeds packaged?

West Coast Seeds packets are hand-packed by weight. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) sets an approximate standard for the weight of each seed product by species. For instance, on the CFIA website, you can see that artichoke seeds are 25 seeds per gram, and white clover seeds are 1,500 seeds per gram. These numbers are approximations used throughout the agricultural industry.

The seeds per gram listed for each item in our website and print catalogue are actually weighed at the time they arrive in our warehouse. We strive to reflect the most accurate possible seeds per gram measure to help you make informed decisions.

More often than not, the seeds we offer are from the most recent harvest available. We specify to our suppliers that we are looking for fresh, fat seeds because these have the highest rate of germination.

In all cases the “seeds per gram” measurement is an approximation. As seeds age, and as they lose moisture, this standard will change. When ordering seeds, we recommend erring on the side of too many, rather than too few.

To learn more about “Why choose West Coast Seeds?” click here.

Are any of the seeds genetically engineered?

The short answer is a resounding, No!

Genetically Engineered Organisms (GEO) have been engineered by introducing the genes of unrelated species. There are many concerns about the results and ethics of genetic engineering. Unlike hybridization, genetic engineering cannot occur without human intervention. The term “Genetically Engineered Organism” is defined by Canadian and US regulators. In the European Union, the preferred term is “Genetically Modified Organism (GMO),” which can lead to some confusion. You can read more about these definitions in the Glossary section of the West Coast Seeds website.

We encourage you to have a clear understanding of what these terms mean. The selling of GE Organisms is a highly regulated industry. To the best of our knowledge, West Coast Seeds does not knowingly carry or sell any GEO products. West Coast Seeds is a founding signatory of the Safe Seed Pledge.

Are any of the seeds treated with chemicals?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: None of our seeds are treated with insecticides, fungicides, or other chemicals. We offer only high quality, raw seed with the best germination rates available. In the rare instance when we offer “pelleted” seeds, the seeds are coated for easier handling with a non-toxic, earth friendly coating. Usually these coatings are made from clay or molasses, but they are not considered “treated” seeds.

Widespread concern among the scientific community and beekeepers has brought attention to neonicotinoid seed treatments. We guarantee that no West Coast Seeds product is treated with these so-called neo-nics.

How do I know if a product is in stock?

Our website provides you with an up-to-date, live inventory count, so you can rest assured that all available products are ready to order. Upon placing your order, you will be provided with shipment dates and information. 
When you place an order for seeds, you will be asked if substitutions are OK. If you say yes, we will do our best to find a product that is as similar as possible to what you ordered. If you say no, any out of stock item on your order will remain in our system as a back-order. When the product arrives, we will ship it out to you.
Should you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to use the "Chat" function on the bottom, right-hand of your screen. Our customer service staff will be happy to assist you.

 

What if something is wrong with my order?

When you receive your order, please carefully check the contents. If anything seems wrong, missing, or out of place, contact us right away, and we will fix the problem in a timely fashion. Our packing and shipping system has several levels of review to ensure accuracy and expediency. In the event of simple human error, we will be happy to work towards a speedy and agreeable solution.

What do I do if I am not satisfied with a product?

Your satisfaction is very important to us. If you are dissatisfied with any of our services or products, contact us within a reasonable time period so we can take steps towards an agreeable solution. 

Please visit our Refunds and Returns page for additional information on our policies.

When will products be delivered?

After receiving your order, we process it and ship it as quickly as possible. You will receive an email when your order has been shipped.

The peak of our order processing season is March and April, when processing may take more than 48 hours due to heavy traffic. Once your parcel has been shipped, you can expect it within a few days in Canada, slightly longer to the U.S. For information about back-ordered items, please visit the Ordering and Shipping page.

How are shipping charges calculated?

West Coast Seeds is committed to keeping shipping costs as low as possible, and we use a number of carriers to effect this. We use Canada Post, Canpar, and/or Purolator to select the best service for your order and your location. If you are concerned about shipping charges, please contact us prior to placing your order. 

Our internet shipping calculator will calculate the approximate cost of shipping based on the dimension/weight and size of the box. 

You will be able to select from a range of shipping methods (including pickup) as you complete the order process.

 

What areas do you ship to?

West Coast Seeds offers worldwide shipping.

Please note: Due to border restrictions, we cannot ship plant stock into the U.S. Mason Bee cocoons when ordered will be shipped from within the U.S. to our U.S customers.

I lost my password. Help!

Simply go to the My Account page and enter your Username. This is the email address you used when you first set up your account. We will send a new password to the e-mail address associated with your West Coast Seeds online account. We ask that you then edit your Account Details and update your password to something fresh and memorable.

In the event that you set up your account using an email that is no longer in service, simply contact us toll-free at 1-888-804-8820, and our Customer Service team will help update your account.

How do I register for an online account?

Visit the Register Account page to enter your address, shipping address (if different from billing), and your contact details. From this page, you will be able to assign and update your personal password. If you feel you already have an existing account, go to the Login Page and enter your details there. You can always ask for a reminder password to be sent to your email address.

If you have any trouble registering or managing your account details or login credentials, please contact us toll-free at 1-888-804-8820 and our Customer Service team will help you through the process.

What is the login for?

The login process is a security measure to insure that your details are kept safe. We suggest that when you place your first online order, you write down the login information and keep it in a safe place. You will need it to place online orders in the future.

The login function also makes it harder for our website to be corrupted by spam messages and so-called spambots.

What taxes apply to the different products?

Residents of British Columbia must pay 7% Provincial Sales Tax (PST) on all items purchased except seeds, books, and plant stock. If you are a professional grower or have Aboriginal status, be sure to include your status number, and you will not be charged sales tax.

Which credit cards are accepted?

In addition to personal cheques and money orders, we accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover cards. 

Can I find West Coast Seeds products in stores?

Yes. Our retail seed racks are on display in over 300 stores across Canada and the U.S. To find a store near you, please visit our Store Locator page.

Can I order by telephone or fax?

By all means! From the Lower Mainland of BC, dial (604) 952-8820, or toll free: 1-888-804-8820. To send us a fax order, dial (604) 952-8828

Can I order by mail?

Absolutely! Use the West Coast Seeds order form from inside our catalogue, or simply write us a letter. Be sure to indicate exact product number, size, and quantity for each item. Or use our online order system and print it off once the system has calculated your subtotal. We accept cheques and money orders, or you can indicate your Visa or Mastercard number and expiration date. We will process and ship your order within two business days. Click here to download a mail order/fax order form.

Mail your request to:

West Coast Seeds, 5300 34B Avenue, Delta BC, Canada V4L 2P1

Is it easy to buy online from West Coast Seeds?

Yes! You will find the online ordering system safe, secure and easy to navigate. Our website presents our whole range of seeds, books, tools, and other products with current prices, lots of information, and other features. Your order will be processed and shipped within two business days.