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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This recipe is incredibly flexible, and can be adjusted for any other type of chilli pepper — or sweet pepper for that matter. The key phrase is "quick pickle." Use this basic brine for blanched baby carrots, beans, asparagus, and so on. I'm a fan of pickled jalapeños, and the recipe is so simple to make that spending money on store-bought ones seems wasteful.

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This recipe is incredibly flexible, and can be adjusted for any other type of chilli pepper — or sweet pepper for that matter. The key phrase is "quick pickle." Use this basic brine for blanched baby carrots, beans, asparagus, and so on. I'm a fan of pickled jalapeños, and the recipe is so simple to make that spending money on store-bought ones seems wasteful.

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Laab Gai is a traditional Thai minced chicken salad with fresh herbs. Thai cooks depend on the tropical herb phak phai (aka Vietnamese coriander or...

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Laab Gai is a traditional Thai minced chicken salad with fresh herbs. Thai cooks depend on the tropical herb phak phai (aka Vietnamese coriander or Persicaria odorata), but this recipe relies on a combination of Thai basil, cilantro, and mint....

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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 do you do with all these zucchinis?  Here is a  Masala Zucchini recipe that raises the humble zucchini to a thing of beauty, infusing the otherwise bland fruit with exotic spices and a tantalizing balance of hot, sour, salty, and sweet.

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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 the humble zucchini to a thing of beauty, infusing the otherwise bland fruit with exotic spices and a tantalizing balance of hot, sour, salty, and sweet.

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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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Water close to the soil, and avoid overhead watering. Place your irrigation near or beneath the soil surface rather than spraying the top of the plant. The plant’s leaves will act as a sun umbrella, reducing evaporation so that more water has an opportunity to soak into the soil. Many plants, like tomatoes and squash, will be at increased risk to diseases like Late Blight and Powdery Mildew if their leaves are frequently soaked by overhead watering.

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Water close to the soil, and avoid overhead watering. Place your irrigation near or beneath the soil surface rather than spraying the top of the plant. The plant’s leaves will act as a sun umbrella, reducing evaporation so that more water has an opportunity to soak into the soil. Many plants, like tomatoes and squash, will be at increased risk to diseases like Late Blight and Powdery Mildew if their leaves are frequently soaked by overhead watering.

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Garlic is a perennial member of the onion family, Alliaceae, and is closely related to leeks, onions, shallots, and chives. All of these plants send up hollow, tubular (sometimes flattened) leaves from a bulb that grows below the ground. The leaves are followed by a flower stalk (scape), and then by the flower itself. Garlic may also produce “bulbils” – tiny bulbs that may begin to sprout, on the flower head. All parts of the garlic plant are edible, but the bulb is the most prized and useful in the kitchen.

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Garlic is a perennial member of the onion family, Alliaceae, and is closely related to leeks, onions, shallots, and chives. All of these plants send up hollow, tubular (sometimes flattened) leaves from a bulb that grows below the ground. The leaves are followed by a flower stalk (scape), and then by the flower itself. Garlic may also produce “bulbils” – tiny bulbs that may begin to sprout, on the flower head. All parts of the garlic plant are edible, but the bulb is the most prized and useful in the kitchen.

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Even in large scale, chemically dependent farm systems, Integrated Pest Management can reduce human and environmental exposure to chemical pesticides, and save a great deal of money. For the organic grower IPM is the obvious logical way to manage pests.

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Even in large scale, chemically dependent farm systems, Integrated Pest Management can reduce human and environmental exposure to chemical pesticides, and save a great deal of money. For the organic grower IPM is the obvious logical way to manage pests.

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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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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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The Perennial Wildflower Seeds ingredients are listed below. This is the right blend to establish where flowers are needed to come back year after year....

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The Perennial Wildflower Seeds ingredients are listed below. This is the right blend to establish where flowers are needed to come back year after year. Perennial flowers are often drought resistant and very winter hardy, so they can be relied...

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How do you know when to harvest garlic bulbs and if they have matured to the right point for harvest? Each leaf on the above-ground garlic...

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How do you know when to harvest garlic bulbs and if they have matured to the right point for harvest? Each leaf on the above-ground garlic plant represents one potential papery wrapper around the mature bulb. Having well developed, fully intact...

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These tasty savoury nibbles are inspired by the great chef Chetna Makan, and make a fabulous tea time snack. They accompany a curry dinner well. For sweeter bites, simply swap out the cilantro chutney with Major Grey's or any other sweet chutney.

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These tasty savoury nibbles are inspired by the great chef Chetna Makan, and make a fabulous tea time snack. They accompany a curry dinner well. For sweeter bites, simply swap out the cilantro chutney with Major Grey's or any other sweet chutney.

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Although they arrived from Europe, they’re well at home now in BC’s Lower Mainland and many other regions. This lively beetle (Amphimallon majalis) has an...

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Although they arrived from Europe, they’re well at home now in BC’s Lower Mainland and many other regions. This lively beetle (Amphimallon majalis) has an annual life cycle that is worth understanding in an attempt to control it. The beetle...

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Carrots are biennial plants, and store all of their first year’s energy in the long orange taproots we know so well. If left in the ground, they will flower in their second year, and produce quite pretty white umbels resembling yellow dill flowers.

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Carrots are biennial plants, and store all of their first year’s energy in the long orange taproots we know so well. If left in the ground, they will flower in their second year, and produce quite pretty white umbels resembling yellow dill flowers.

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Cilantro and dill are both good examples of umbelliferous plants. When these plants bloom, the flower structure is in a shape called an umbel —...

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Cilantro and dill are both good examples of umbelliferous plants. When these plants bloom, the flower structure is in a shape called an umbel — scores of tiny flowers arranged on a more or less flat or umbrella-shaped plane. Other...

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West Coast Seeds has conducted significant research into the companion planting guidelines and has defined the best possible results and reasons for each of our recommendations in our companion planting chart, below are a few thoughtful suggestions for you while planning your garden this year.

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West Coast Seeds has conducted significant research into the companion planting guidelines and has defined the best possible results and reasons for each of our recommendations in our companion planting chart, below are a few thoughtful suggestions for you while planning your garden this year.

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There are fundamental gardening basics that all new gardeners need to learn for the best success. Understanding the needs of plants — as living organisms — is essential to cultivating their health and productivity. When we provide the right amount of light, moisture, nutrients, and space, plants reward us with vigorous growth, defence against disease and pests, and fresh, nutritious flowers, fruits, and leaves.

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There are fundamental gardening basics that all new gardeners need to learn for the best success. Understanding the needs of plants — as living organisms — is essential to cultivating their health and productivity. When we provide the right amount of light, moisture, nutrients, and space, plants reward us with vigorous growth, defence against disease and pests, and fresh, nutritious flowers, fruits, and leaves.

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Predatory nematodes can be applied in the spring to combat chafer beetles, wireworm, and other soil dwelling beetle larvae. Predatory nematodes are effective against over 250 species of insect pests.

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Predatory nematodes can be applied in the spring to combat chafer beetles, wireworm, and other soil dwelling beetle larvae. Predatory nematodes are effective against over 250 species of insect pests.

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This vegetable has a strong flavour that pairs well with other sauces. It is first blanched in boiling water, and then chilled in ice water to halt the cooking process. At that point, if it is carefully drained and dried off, it can be frozen or stored in the refrigerator for several days before finishing this recipe. During the blanching process, purple sprouting broccoli turns bright green, while the hot water turns pinky-purple — it's a fun exercise to do with kids.

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This vegetable has a strong flavour that pairs well with other sauces. It is first blanched in boiling water, and then chilled in ice water to halt the cooking process. At that point, if it is carefully drained and dried off, it can be frozen or stored in the refrigerator for several days before finishing this recipe. During the blanching process, purple sprouting broccoli turns bright green, while the hot water turns pinky-purple — it's a fun exercise to do with kids.

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Beets, like many root vegetables are biennials, which, if not harvested, will bloom in the second year of growth. One of the interesting facts about...

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Beets, like many root vegetables are biennials, which, if not harvested, will bloom in the second year of growth. One of the interesting facts about beets is they are closely related to Swiss chard, which can easily be seen by...

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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...

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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...

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Despite what many online sources declare, the distinction between determinate (bush) and indeterminate (vine) potatoes are not clearly defined and distract from the essentials of potato growing. This is not the same topic as bush vs. vine tomatoes or bush vs. pole beans.

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Despite what many online sources declare, the distinction between determinate (bush) and indeterminate (vine) potatoes are not clearly defined and distract from the essentials of potato growing. This is not the same topic as bush vs. vine tomatoes or bush vs. pole beans.

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Why garden for Bumble Bees? Bumblebees are a keystone species. This means much of our ecological system hinges on the survival of bumblebees. Not just...

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Why garden for Bumble Bees? Bumblebees are a keystone species. This means much of our ecological system hinges on the survival of bumblebees. Not just native plants rely on these furry pollinators, but also many other organisms; over 250 insect...

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