Garden Wisdom Blog

Garden Wisdom is the accumulation of years of tips, tricks, and techniques from West Coast Seeds. It is timeless, and it is cyclical. It follows the calendar year closely as the seasons change. It follows us into the kitchen with recipe ideas and it taps us on the shoulder with gentle reminders. These articles and blog entries cover many subjects, but we hope they help uncover new ideas and solve garden challenges. There is no “correct” way to garden, but there are many wise ways to garden.

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It’s September, and much of the garden has been put to bed. As we approach the autumnal equinox, daylight hours begin to recede noticeably. Sunflower heads have...

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It’s September, and much of the garden has been put to bed. As we approach the autumnal equinox, daylight hours begin to recede noticeably. Sunflower heads have been cut for drying, tomatoes have been picked green and brought indoors, and pumpkin fruits...

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Urban Bee Supplies is joining the West Coast Seeds family and we couldn't ask for a better match! The world of bees & seeds is...

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Urban Bee Supplies is joining the West Coast Seeds family and we couldn't ask for a better match! The world of bees & seeds is closely related, and we are all excited about taking part in this new adventure. West...

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Every fall people ask us how to harvest quinoa. These tall plants produce masses of seeds, each seed resulting from the pollination of a single...

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Every fall people ask us how to harvest quinoa. These tall plants produce masses of seeds, each seed resulting from the pollination of a single flower in their beautiful inflorescences (flower clusters). When the seeds are fully ripe and ready...

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Across North America and around the world, shoppers continue to rely heavily on mail order for specialty items.

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Across North America and around the world, shoppers continue to rely heavily on mail order for specialty items.

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One day this past summer several of us got together to photograph some of the flowers and produce from the trial fields in a more...

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One day this past summer several of us got together to photograph some of the flowers and produce from the trial fields in a more studio setting. Jill, who normally works in customer service, has some professional experience as a...

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“Green manure” is the name given to cover crops that are planted for the purpose of adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil. These...

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“Green manure” is the name given to cover crops that are planted for the purpose of adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil. These plants can be as effective as animal manure in producing humus, thereby increasing soil fertility...

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The first average frost date for Lower Mainland BC is November 2. This date is reflected pretty closely from the Sunshine Coast and Gulf Islands,...

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The first average frost date for Lower Mainland BC is November 2. This date is reflected pretty closely from the Sunshine Coast and Gulf Islands, coastal Vancouver Island, Puget Sound, and down to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. That means...

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Onions begin to form bulbs in response to temperature, but also the length of the day. In southern Canada and the northern U.S., choose “long-day” onions. Our summer days are much longer than our winter days. “Short-day” onions are better suited to growing in the south, where the length of summer days is less pronounced.

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Onions begin to form bulbs in response to temperature, but also the length of the day. In southern Canada and the northern U.S., choose “long-day” onions. Our summer days are much longer than our winter days. “Short-day” onions are better suited to growing in the south, where the length of summer days is less pronounced.

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About Cucumbers Cucumbers originated in India where they have been in cultivation for at least 3,000 years. The English word “cucumber” is a derivation of...

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About Cucumbers Cucumbers originated in India where they have been in cultivation for at least 3,000 years. The English word “cucumber” is a derivation of the Indian word kachumbar, which is still used today to describe an Indian salad made...

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One of the factors that most influences the germination rate of seeds is how they are stored. Like the plants that produce them, seeds come...

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One of the factors that most influences the germination rate of seeds is how they are stored. Like the plants that produce them, seeds come in all sorts of forms and sizes. They are also variable in their longevity. Since...

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Organic gardeners share one challenge that has many faces – how to nurse newly emerged seedlings along to the point when they are strong enough...

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Organic gardeners share one challenge that has many faces – how to nurse newly emerged seedlings along to the point when they are strong enough to defend themselves. Because seedlings are so tender and tasty, and low to the ground,...

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Here's our list of seeds to start in August for fall and winter harvests. These fast-growing seeds are cold hardy, and will thrive as the...

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Here's our list of seeds to start in August for fall and winter harvests. These fast-growing seeds are cold hardy, and will thrive as the nights get cooler in late August and September. Check the first average frost date for...

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About Melons: Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) & Muskmelon (Cucumis melo) Melons picked fresh from the vine are unbelievably sweet and, like so many other kinds of...

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About Melons: Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) & Muskmelon (Cucumis melo) Melons picked fresh from the vine are unbelievably sweet and, like so many other kinds of garden produce, are nothing at all like the ones you might find in a grocery...

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Plants need water – that’s a fact. And many vegetable crops need quite a lot of water (along with sunshine and nutrients) to produce the...

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Plants need water – that’s a fact. And many vegetable crops need quite a lot of water (along with sunshine and nutrients) to produce the tasty roots and fruits that nourish us year round. Part of the goal of organic...

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Ah, the zucchini – the crop that keeps on giving and giving! By the fifth week of harvesting bundles of the tender fruits, you’ve had...

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Ah, the zucchini – the crop that keeps on giving and giving! By the fifth week of harvesting bundles of the tender fruits, you’ve had it in pasta. You’ve had them grilled. You’ve made zucchini bread. You’ve even tried the...

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Zucchinis are very easy to grow, and when the plants are producing, you don’t get one or two fruits, but rather bushels of them. What...

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Zucchinis are very easy to grow, and when the plants are producing, you don’t get one or two fruits, but rather bushels of them. What do you do with all these zucchinis?  Here is a  Masala Zucchini recipe that raises...

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Where bees are scant, or in settings like balconies that cannot accommodate flowers to attract bees, hand pollination is another option. The principle is fairly straight forward: Pollen is transferred from the open male flower to the stigma of the open female flower. At this point, the male flower can even be removed and dissected, as it is not going to be feeding any bees or serving the plant.

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Where bees are scant, or in settings like balconies that cannot accommodate flowers to attract bees, hand pollination is another option. The principle is fairly straight forward: Pollen is transferred from the open male flower to the stigma of the open female flower. At this point, the male flower can even be removed and dissected, as it is not going to be feeding any bees or serving the plant.

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There are some very interesting facts about tomatoes. No one can say for certain, but the ancestor of all modern tomato varieties appears to have...

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There are some very interesting facts about tomatoes. No one can say for certain, but the ancestor of all modern tomato varieties appears to have been a scrambling vine that was native to the highlands of Peru. Archaeological evidence suggests...

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Whether the goal is to harvest tender, immature “new potatoes,” or to harvest fully mature potatoes for storage and use over the fall and winter,...

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Whether the goal is to harvest tender, immature “new potatoes,” or to harvest fully mature potatoes for storage and use over the fall and winter, it’s helpful to follow some basic guidelines on how and when to harvest potatoes. New...

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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.

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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.

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Harvesting seeds from your garden for planting in the future is a great idea for all kinds of reasons. Most obviously, it’s an economical way...

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Harvesting seeds from your garden for planting in the future is a great idea for all kinds of reasons. Most obviously, it’s an economical way to keep your garden going from year to year without having to constantly purchase new...

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Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Healthy organic gardens are full of bugs. Gardens, and even farms, are ecosystems that maintain their own balance. Thousands of species...

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Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Healthy organic gardens are full of bugs. Gardens, and even farms, are ecosystems that maintain their own balance. Thousands of species of insects and other invertebrates make their homes in the soil and on the plants...

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With pollinator conservation in mind it’s a good idea to plant flower seeds for bees. But which are the best pollinator plants? Which bee flowers...

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With pollinator conservation in mind it’s a good idea to plant flower seeds for bees. But which are the best pollinator plants? Which bee flowers are the easiest to sow and grow? What flowers can be grown in containers or...

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Why limit your garden’s production to just the summer? There are still lots of seeds to start in July, particularly in regions with mild winters....

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Why limit your garden’s production to just the summer? There are still lots of seeds to start in July, particularly in regions with mild winters. Many of these varieties can be enjoyed as mature plants for fall and winter harvests,...

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