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.

Categories

Filters

All Filters
Filters

The definition of “heirloom seeds” is a matter of debate. For our purposes, West Coast Seeds considers a plant an heirloom if it has been...

Continue Reading

The definition of “heirloom seeds” is a matter of debate. For our purposes, West Coast Seeds considers a plant an heirloom if it has been in cultivation for 50 years or more, although some people insist that 100 years is...

Continue Reading

From time to time in early summer, a very large brown and grey moth can be seen in the garden, visiting flowers, particularly large, white,...

Continue Reading

From time to time in early summer, a very large brown and grey moth can be seen in the garden, visiting flowers, particularly large, white, fragrant ones. This conspicuous insect is variously known as the hawk-moth or sphinx moth. Its...

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

One of the best tips for summer transplants is to have pumpkin (also cucumber, zucchini, and melon) transplants ready to plant as soon as garlic is harvested from a fall previous planting. In my garden that meant sowing four inch pots with Naked Bear about June 15th, since my garlic was ready to come out mid-July. On the same day, we harvested garlic, dug in some replacement manure and glacial rock dust, and transplanted the pumpkin starts.

Continue Reading

One of the best tips for summer transplants is to have pumpkin (also cucumber, zucchini, and melon) transplants ready to plant as soon as garlic is harvested from a fall previous planting. In my garden that meant sowing four inch pots with Naked Bear about June 15th, since my garlic was ready to come out mid-July. On the same day, we harvested garlic, dug in some replacement manure and glacial rock dust, and transplanted the pumpkin starts.

Continue Reading

The rich anise flavour of finely sliced fennel bulb pairs perfectly with the bright, sweet taste of oranges. This is further enhanced by the crisp texture and contrast of fresh red onion, and seasoned with salt and pepper to bring harmony to this healthy vegan salad. Fennel and orange salad with red onion is a perfect summer side and an excellent palate cleanser.

Continue Reading

The rich anise flavour of finely sliced fennel bulb pairs perfectly with the bright, sweet taste of oranges. This is further enhanced by the crisp texture and contrast of fresh red onion, and seasoned with salt and pepper to bring harmony to this healthy vegan salad. Fennel and orange salad with red onion is a perfect summer side and an excellent palate cleanser.

Continue Reading

Making a big batch of vegetable stock is a great way to clear out the vegetable crisper in times of garden plenty. But this particular...

Continue Reading

Making a big batch of vegetable stock is a great way to clear out the vegetable crisper in times of garden plenty. But this particular recipe is also worth going out and buying fresh veg for to put away in...

Continue Reading

This traditional Spanish recipe is made from inexpensive, readily available ingredients. For authenticity, try to find Spanish sweet paprika as well as Spanish smoked paprika. In this Sopa de Ajo – Garlic Soup recipe, other kinds of paprika can be substituted, but the recipe is meant to be heavily seasoned. Few other recipes showcase as well garlic as a central ingredient. Garlic!

Continue Reading

This traditional Spanish recipe is made from inexpensive, readily available ingredients. For authenticity, try to find Spanish sweet paprika as well as Spanish smoked paprika. In this Sopa de Ajo – Garlic Soup recipe, other kinds of paprika can be substituted, but the recipe is meant to be heavily seasoned. Few other recipes showcase as well garlic as a central ingredient. Garlic!

Continue Reading

Caldo Verde is one of those traditional rustic soups that combines inexpensive, accessible ingredients to produce a truly hearty meal. It's one of our favourite uses for kale, collard greens, and even Swiss chard leaves. Any thick-leaf vegetable can be added. This recipe can be scaled up to feed a larger crowd by simply increasing the quantity of kale and stock.

Continue Reading

Caldo Verde is one of those traditional rustic soups that combines inexpensive, accessible ingredients to produce a truly hearty meal. It's one of our favourite uses for kale, collard greens, and even Swiss chard leaves. Any thick-leaf vegetable can be added. This recipe can be scaled up to feed a larger crowd by simply increasing the quantity of kale and stock.

Continue Reading

Collards (Brassica oleracea Acephala group) Kale (Brassica oleracea Acephala group) Russian or Napa Kale (Brassica rapus ssp. pabularia syn. B. napus) Learn about kale and...

Continue Reading

Collards (Brassica oleracea Acephala group) Kale (Brassica oleracea Acephala group) Russian or Napa Kale (Brassica rapus ssp. pabularia syn. B. napus) Learn about kale and collards here. As the Latin name suggests, Brassicas in the Acephala group do not form...

Continue Reading

How to roast pumpkin seeds. For something of a shortcut, these recipes can also be produced using plain raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) from the supermarket. The principle is the same for each, mixing a bit of fat and some spices onto each batch of seeds before roasting the seeds in the oven. Saltiness and spiciness can be controlled when making the initial mix, and all sorts of spice blends, masalas, and curry powders would work as well. These three variations are quite savoury, but could be switched out for cinnamon and sugar, vanilla, maple, cocoa, and so on.

Continue Reading

How to roast pumpkin seeds. For something of a shortcut, these recipes can also be produced using plain raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) from the supermarket. The principle is the same for each, mixing a bit of fat and some spices onto each batch of seeds before roasting the seeds in the oven. Saltiness and spiciness can be controlled when making the initial mix, and all sorts of spice blends, masalas, and curry powders would work as well. These three variations are quite savoury, but could be switched out for cinnamon and sugar, vanilla, maple, cocoa, and so on.

Continue Reading

The soya bean (or soybean) is another legume that has been in cultivation for a very long time. They have been grown in China and the Korean peninsula, along with millet, rice, and barley since 5000 BCE or earlier. From there they spread across Asia and have become a staple crop from India to Taiwan.

Continue Reading

The soya bean (or soybean) is another legume that has been in cultivation for a very long time. They have been grown in China and the Korean peninsula, along with millet, rice, and barley since 5000 BCE or earlier. From there they spread across Asia and have become a staple crop from India to Taiwan.

Continue Reading

Broad beans are likely the easiest garden vegetable to grow, and they’re a good variety for introducing children to gardening—though they may not be as much of a hit with a lot of kids at dinner time.

Continue Reading

Broad beans are likely the easiest garden vegetable to grow, and they’re a good variety for introducing children to gardening—though they may not be as much of a hit with a lot of kids at dinner time.

Continue Reading

Chard has been cultivated since at least as far back as the ancient Greek empire, and it was grown around the Mediterranean, particularly in Sicily. Some people still think of it as Sicilian spinach or spinach beet. Indeed, it is closely related to spinach (as well as quinoa, orache, and epazote) as a member of the family Amaranthaceae.

Continue Reading

Chard has been cultivated since at least as far back as the ancient Greek empire, and it was grown around the Mediterranean, particularly in Sicily. Some people still think of it as Sicilian spinach or spinach beet. Indeed, it is closely related to spinach (as well as quinoa, orache, and epazote) as a member of the family Amaranthaceae.

Continue Reading

Garlic has been used as both food and medicine since at least the 25th century BC, around the time that the pyramids were being constructed...

Continue Reading

Garlic has been used as both food and medicine since at least the 25th century BC, around the time that the pyramids were being constructed at Giza, Egypt. In his Ecologues, Virgil writes all about garlic being consumed by ancient...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

“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...

Continue Reading

“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...

Continue Reading

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,...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading