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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  Dear West Coast Seeds Community, These certainly are strange times. It's absolutely natural to be anxious, but please remember that you are not alone....

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  Dear West Coast Seeds Community, These certainly are strange times. It's absolutely natural to be anxious, but please remember that you are not alone. We believe that our community and mutual support are more important than ever. We are...

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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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Dear West Coast Seeds Community, All of us on the West Coast Seeds team wanted to say “hi” and hope that you are all staying...

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Dear West Coast Seeds Community, All of us on the West Coast Seeds team wanted to say “hi” and hope that you are all staying healthy and strong during the strange and scary time. Now is the time to look...

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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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March and April are our busiest months, but this year is very exceptional. We have seen a remarkable surge in demand for seeds and gardening equipment. Our reduced Warehouse and Customer Service staff are doing everything they can to fulfill orders and answer questions as rapidly as possible.

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March and April are our busiest months, but this year is very exceptional. We have seen a remarkable surge in demand for seeds and gardening equipment. Our reduced Warehouse and Customer Service staff are doing everything they can to fulfill orders and answer questions as rapidly as possible.

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All winter, the northern hemisphere has been tilted slightly away from the sun. As summer approaches, the tilt changes so the north half of the planet tilts slightly towards the sun. The equinox occurs when Earth’s tilt is neither toward nor away from the sun.

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All winter, the northern hemisphere has been tilted slightly away from the sun. As summer approaches, the tilt changes so the north half of the planet tilts slightly towards the sun. The equinox occurs when Earth’s tilt is neither toward nor away from the sun.

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This traditional Indian recipe (AKA gajar ka halwatransforms carrots into a sweet, soft, surprisingly light pudding that can be served warm or chilled. The sweet taste of carrots is perfectly complemented with cardamom and chopped nuts, and it works well with raisins, goji berries, or any other dried fruits.

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This traditional Indian recipe (AKA gajar ka halwatransforms carrots into a sweet, soft, surprisingly light pudding that can be served warm or chilled. The sweet taste of carrots is perfectly complemented with cardamom and chopped nuts, and it works well with raisins, goji berries, or any other dried fruits.

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Toasted spices add interesting texture to this classic Tunisian carrot salad recipe from Executive Chef Adam Hynam-Smith, co-owner of El gastronomo Vegabundo, Ontario’s first gourmet...

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Toasted spices add interesting texture to this classic Tunisian carrot salad recipe from Executive Chef Adam Hynam-Smith, co-owner of El gastronomo Vegabundo, Ontario’s first gourmet food truck. This salad can be served on its own or is fantastic with fish...

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Organic gardeners share one challenge that has many faces – how to protect 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, they are easy pickings for a host of animals, from the very tiny to the enormous. Everything from wireworms and millipedes up to raccoons and deer are perfectly happy to chomp on veggies, sometimes eradicating a whole bed of newly emerged plants.

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Organic gardeners share one challenge that has many faces – how to protect 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, they are easy pickings for a host of animals, from the very tiny to the enormous. Everything from wireworms and millipedes up to raccoons and deer are perfectly happy to chomp on veggies, sometimes eradicating a whole bed of newly emerged plants.

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Generally speaking, most garden beds benefit from a mulch of organic matter in the form of well rotted manure or compost. A mulch is a surprisingly thin layer that is applied to the surface of the soil and it serves several purposes. First and foremost, it will benefit the earthworms, invertebrates, fungi, and bacteria that live in organically cultivated soil. All those organisms break nutrients in the mulch down into forms that are accessible to plants.

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Generally speaking, most garden beds benefit from a mulch of organic matter in the form of well rotted manure or compost. A mulch is a surprisingly thin layer that is applied to the surface of the soil and it serves several purposes. First and foremost, it will benefit the earthworms, invertebrates, fungi, and bacteria that live in organically cultivated soil. All those organisms break nutrients in the mulch down into forms that are accessible to plants.

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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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No matter where you live, growing food in containers can be accomplished if you learn some basics. While some types of vegetables are simply better...

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No matter where you live, growing food in containers can be accomplished if you learn some basics. While some types of vegetables are simply better suited to growing with their roots in the ground, the determined gardener can grow almost...

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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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Hand tools for the garden may have lots of uses or they may be for very specific jobs. Either way, the gardeners on staff here at West Coast Seeds have found some excellent tools to recommend. 

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Hand tools for the garden may have lots of uses or they may be for very specific jobs. Either way, the gardeners on staff here at West Coast Seeds have found some excellent tools to recommend. 

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As a vegetable crop (as opposed to a grain crop), the potato is the world’s most important foodstuff, so there are many interesting facts about...

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As a vegetable crop (as opposed to a grain crop), the potato is the world’s most important foodstuff, so there are many interesting facts about potatoes. The starchy tubers of the potato plant are exceptionally nutritious and so rich in...

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The last average frost date for south coastal British Columbia is March 28.  March is the month gardeners in this region must use to get ready...

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The last average frost date for south coastal British Columbia is March 28.  March is the month gardeners in this region must use to get ready to take full advantage of the growing season ahead. Gardeners in other regions can refer...

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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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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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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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Lawn is unsustainable. For all its demands of water and mowing energy, it gives very little in return. Space that could be used for growing food, or...

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Lawn is unsustainable. For all its demands of water and mowing energy, it gives very little in return. Space that could be used for growing food, or even simple wildflowers, is dedicated instead to endlessly demanding, non-native grass. On a suburban cul...

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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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Grazing deer can be a major nuisance for gardeners in Coastal BC, on the Gulf Islands, and in the interior portions of the province. Vegetable gardens, full of tender greens and food, should be protected with sturdy fences, tall enough so that deer cannot leap over.

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Grazing deer can be a major nuisance for gardeners in Coastal BC, on the Gulf Islands, and in the interior portions of the province. Vegetable gardens, full of tender greens and food, should be protected with sturdy fences, tall enough so that deer cannot leap over.

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A hybrid is created by crossing two different varieties of the same plant. Crossing involves taking the pollen from the male flower of one plant and transferring it to the female flower parts of a different plant.

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A hybrid is created by crossing two different varieties of the same plant. Crossing involves taking the pollen from the male flower of one plant and transferring it to the female flower parts of a different plant.

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For the best success with seeds, we need to understand them and how they work. Seeds come in as many different packages as the plants...

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For the best success with seeds, we need to understand them and how they work. Seeds come in as many different packages as the plants that produce them. They may be enormous and clunky or tiny like specks of dust....

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