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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As the growing season shifts to winter mode, our attention turns to protecting food plants and flower beds and baskets for as long as possible....

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As the growing season shifts to winter mode, our attention turns to protecting food plants and flower beds and baskets for as long as possible. Watch for the first signs frost, which sneaks in on a clear windless autumn night....

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Deciduous trees can't make enough of the short days and the sun appearing low on the horizon, so nearly all of them shed their leaves. The sugars in the drying leaves convert into starches and are drawn back into the tree trunk as the tree enters dormancy. This causes the dramatic change in leaf colours and leads to leaves falling.

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Deciduous trees can't make enough of the short days and the sun appearing low on the horizon, so nearly all of them shed their leaves. The sugars in the drying leaves convert into starches and are drawn back into the tree trunk as the tree enters dormancy. This causes the dramatic change in leaf colours and leads to leaves falling.

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For many of us growing up, lettuce represented the primary source of vegetable greens in our diets. Lettuce is absolutely standard in sandwiches and burgers, and makes...

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For many of us growing up, lettuce represented the primary source of vegetable greens in our diets. Lettuce is absolutely standard in sandwiches and burgers, and makes a simple, inoffensive base for salads. Its flavour is mild and neutral — not too...

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Hedgerows provide important cover for mammals, from voles to coyotes, and create a natural corridor to cross the property in relative safety. The shrubs provide excellent nesting sites for songbirds, and the tall trees (eventually) provide much needed nesting spots for raptors. We are so pleased to add this feature to our organic field.

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Hedgerows provide important cover for mammals, from voles to coyotes, and create a natural corridor to cross the property in relative safety. The shrubs provide excellent nesting sites for songbirds, and the tall trees (eventually) provide much needed nesting spots for raptors. We are so pleased to add this feature to our organic field.

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Winter is a gift: it’s nature’s down time, a time when many plants go dormant and many animals have a winter’s rest. However, for those...

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Winter is a gift: it’s nature’s down time, a time when many plants go dormant and many animals have a winter’s rest. However, for those animals that are still active, winter can be a challenge. It’s hard for small animals to...

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It’s September, and much of the garden has been put to bed. Heat loving summer crops have all but withered: Sunflower heads have been cut...

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It’s September, and much of the garden has been put to bed. Heat loving summer crops have all but withered: Sunflower heads have been cut for drying, tomatoes have been picked green and brought indoors, and pumpkins sit bright and...

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Different bees and pollinators benefit from specific types of flowers. Whether a flower is deep or shallow, red or yellow, generous with nectar or stingy......

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Different bees and pollinators benefit from specific types of flowers. Whether a flower is deep or shallow, red or yellow, generous with nectar or stingy... These all impact the attractiveness to different pollinators. We have collected some of the Best...

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Understanding the relationships between specific types of flowers and specific pollinators helps to explain why biodiversity is so important. The greater variety of flowers (including vegetables and herbs) in the garden, the wider range of pollinators can be supported.

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Understanding the relationships between specific types of flowers and specific pollinators helps to explain why biodiversity is so important. The greater variety of flowers (including vegetables and herbs) in the garden, the wider range of pollinators can be supported.

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Planting for fall & winter harvests has to start in the summer and fall. Just like we sow summer harvest crops in the late winter...

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Planting for fall & winter harvests has to start in the summer and fall. Just like we sow summer harvest crops in the late winter and spring – it’s the same concept. Did you know that many crops can be...

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It’s a beautiful summer day. Since sowing your tomato seeds in Spring, you’ve been nurturing your container garden, preparing for harvest. There is nothing like...

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It’s a beautiful summer day. Since sowing your tomato seeds in Spring, you’ve been nurturing your container garden, preparing for harvest. There is nothing like a juicy, summer-ripened tomato fresh from the garden. Finally, it’s time. You will taste the...

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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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Blossom end rot is one of the most common complaints for tomato growers, particularly on plants grown in containers. It’s a complex problem that results...

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Blossom end rot is one of the most common complaints for tomato growers, particularly on plants grown in containers. It’s a complex problem that results from calcium not being available to the plants as the ovary at the base of...

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Why Do Plants Need Companions? Plants need friends just like we do. Perhaps this is why companion planting has so many benefits. By selecting the...

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Why Do Plants Need Companions? Plants need friends just like we do. Perhaps this is why companion planting has so many benefits. By selecting the right companions, you will increase your chances of higher yields, shelter delicate plants from harsh...

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Gardening for birds is another way to build biodiversity in garden spaces. Like pollinators and other insects, wild birds are under pressure due to habitat loss, pollution, and ever expanding human settlement. By including certain plants and building certain habitats, gardeners can ease this pressure, and even benefit from the presence of some bird species.

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Gardening for birds is another way to build biodiversity in garden spaces. Like pollinators and other insects, wild birds are under pressure due to habitat loss, pollution, and ever expanding human settlement. By including certain plants and building certain habitats, gardeners can ease this pressure, and even benefit from the presence of some bird species.

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Prior to the potato’s arrival from the New World, turnip was the root-crop of choice for cool, wet soils, so many northern European cultures have significant relationships with this vegetable. It says a lot about turnips.

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Prior to the potato’s arrival from the New World, turnip was the root-crop of choice for cool, wet soils, so many northern European cultures have significant relationships with this vegetable. It says a lot about turnips.

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These two culinary herbs are very closely related, with flavours that are almost indistinguishable. They represent two of about 20 species of Oregano, all members of the mint family, Lamiaceae. They offer a good opportunity to learn more about marjoram and oregano.

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These two culinary herbs are very closely related, with flavours that are almost indistinguishable. They represent two of about 20 species of Oregano, all members of the mint family, Lamiaceae. They offer a good opportunity to learn more about marjoram and oregano.

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In many cases pre-packaged soil from the garden centre may serve its purpose when filling containers or raised beds. It is usually manufactured in massive amounts by mixing various raw ingredients before bagging. Here is our container soil recipe.

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In many cases pre-packaged soil from the garden centre may serve its purpose when filling containers or raised beds. It is usually manufactured in massive amounts by mixing various raw ingredients before bagging. Here is our container soil recipe.

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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,...

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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...

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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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Many plants benefit from a head start by sowing indoors during late winter and early spring. For a few crops, notably peppers and tomatoes, this...

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Many plants benefit from a head start by sowing indoors during late winter and early spring. For a few crops, notably peppers and tomatoes, this indoor start is an absolute requirement if growing from seed. These tender, tropical plants will...

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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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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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All butterflies (including moths), as well as a wide range of bees, flies, beetles, and even hummingbirds, will feed on the nectar-heavy flowers of all milkweed varieties. The Monarch, however, seeks milkweed out on which to lay her eggs. Monarch caterpillars require milkweed to feed on prior to pupating, and they tend not to thrive when presented with alternative food sources. Planting milkweed is thought to be the number one step North American gardeners can do to help the endangered Monarch.

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All butterflies (including moths), as well as a wide range of bees, flies, beetles, and even hummingbirds, will feed on the nectar-heavy flowers of all milkweed varieties. The Monarch, however, seeks milkweed out on which to lay her eggs. Monarch caterpillars require milkweed to feed on prior to pupating, and they tend not to thrive when presented with alternative food sources. Planting milkweed is thought to be the number one step North American gardeners can do to help the endangered Monarch.

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What the heck is xeriscaping? Simply put, xeriscaping is a system of landscaping with water conservation as the priority. In areas that receive little rainfall...

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What the heck is xeriscaping? Simply put, xeriscaping is a system of landscaping with water conservation as the priority. In areas that receive little rainfall in the summer, some thoughtful xeriscaping will allow flowering plants to thrive, adding visual appeal...

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