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Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) As a member of the family Apiaciae, the parsnip counts among its close cousins the carrot, parsley, dill, fennel, cilantro, and celery....

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Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) As a member of the family Apiaciae, the parsnip counts among its close cousins the carrot, parsley, dill, fennel, cilantro, and celery. All of these bear tall umbels of flowers, but like the carrot, parsnip is biennial,...

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Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) Both the curly leaf form (P. crispum) and the Italian flat-leaf form (P. crispum var. neapolitanum) of this useful herb are members...

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Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) Both the curly leaf form (P. crispum) and the Italian flat-leaf form (P. crispum var. neapolitanum) of this useful herb are members of the carrot family Apiaceae, and share a close botanical relationship to their cousin the...

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Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum, var. porrum, syn. A. porrum) This member of the Allium family is thought to have been in cultivation since the 2nd century...

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Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum, var. porrum, syn. A. porrum) This member of the Allium family is thought to have been in cultivation since the 2nd century BC, from ancient Egypt to Mesopotamia. The Romans believed that eating leeks imparted a sonorous...

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Cress (Lepidium sativum) & Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) Cress (sometimes called garden cress, garden pepper cress, pepperwort, or pepper grass) is a leafy annual herb from...

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Cress (Lepidium sativum) & Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) Cress (sometimes called garden cress, garden pepper cress, pepperwort, or pepper grass) is a leafy annual herb from the Brassica family. It is harvested when immature, around one to two weeks after germination,...

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It’s already the middle of March, 2017, and spring seems hesitant to start this year. Despite the rain (and melted snow), we know that fairer...

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It’s already the middle of March, 2017, and spring seems hesitant to start this year. Despite the rain (and melted snow), we know that fairer weather is coming. So we’re building twenty raised beds in between the big red barn...

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Catnip (Nepeta cataria) This perennial member of the mint family is native from eastern Europe eastward to China. It is a bushy, branching herb that...

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Catnip (Nepeta cataria) This perennial member of the mint family is native from eastern Europe eastward to China. It is a bushy, branching herb that grows to 50–100cm (20–39″) tall. Like many mints, its stems are square in cross section,...

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About Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea Botrytis group) Modern cauliflower has been grown since the 15th century, and it was grown almost exclusively in Italy until the...

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About Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea Botrytis group) Modern cauliflower has been grown since the 15th century, and it was grown almost exclusively in Italy until the 16th century when it gradually migrated to France and then to American gardens 100 years...

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Celery (Apium graveolens var. dulce) & Celeriac (A. graveolens var. rapaceum) The Latin names for the different types of celery are revealing. In both cases,...

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Celery (Apium graveolens var. dulce) & Celeriac (A. graveolens var. rapaceum) The Latin names for the different types of celery are revealing. In both cases, graveolens means “strong smelling” or “heavily scented.” Dulce implies sweetness, while rapaceum means “turnip-like.” Few...

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One of the best things about working with seeds is the time we spend in seed trials, trying new varieties and comparing traits. We are...

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One of the best things about working with seeds is the time we spend in seed trials, trying new varieties and comparing traits. We are completely spoiled by the multitude of fruits and vegetables that we grow, as well as...

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Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) Chives have been in cultivation since at least the Middle Ages in Europe, and there are references to their use in ancient...

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Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) Chives have been in cultivation since at least the Middle Ages in Europe, and there are references to their use in ancient Rome, but primarily as a medicinal herb. They were used to treat sunburn and sore...

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Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) Asparagus has very few close botanical relatives in its own family, Asparagaceae. The name “asparagus” simply comes from the Latin botanical title,...

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Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) Asparagus has very few close botanical relatives in its own family, Asparagaceae. The name “asparagus” simply comes from the Latin botanical title, with its roots in Greek and the original Persian, asparag, meaning “shoots.” The asparagus we...

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About Arugula Arugula is a low-growing member of the Brassica family that forms rosettes that resemble a cross between lettuce and dandelions. Its leaves have...

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About Arugula Arugula is a low-growing member of the Brassica family that forms rosettes that resemble a cross between lettuce and dandelions. Its leaves have deep, round indentations reminiscent of oak leaves. These, as well as the flowers and seed...

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Artichokes are heat-loving plants of the large family, Asteraceae. The genus Cynara includes eight other wild, thistle-like plants, including C. humilis, which was grown as...

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Artichokes are heat-loving plants of the large family, Asteraceae. The genus Cynara includes eight other wild, thistle-like plants, including C. humilis, which was grown as a food crop in North Africa. Some people grow these plants for their splendid purple...

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Prior to the 18th century, scientists struggled to find conventions with which to categorize organisms. In the 1730s, the visionary Swedish biologist Carl Linnaeus developed...

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Prior to the 18th century, scientists struggled to find conventions with which to categorize organisms. In the 1730s, the visionary Swedish biologist Carl Linnaeus developed a system of taxonomy (called binomial nomenclature), which assigned Latin names to all living things....

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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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Not so much an official trial, as an effort to grow out each of our sweet peas for comparative study. We grew out fifteen varieties...

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Not so much an official trial, as an effort to grow out each of our sweet peas for comparative study. We grew out fifteen varieties among the other flowers and vegetables at our Kirkland House demonstration garden here in Ladner...

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Farm Box Pickup Week Two After learning how the system works, it becomes immediately a routine part of our week. Every Tuesday we look forward...

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Farm Box Pickup Week Two After learning how the system works, it becomes immediately a routine part of our week. Every Tuesday we look forward to finding out what’s in this week’s CSA farm box program. Lydia at Cropthorne Farm...

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After years of promoting Community Supported Agriculture, I finally broke down and joined a CSA program at one of the local organic farms. What a...

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After years of promoting Community Supported Agriculture, I finally broke down and joined a CSA program at one of the local organic farms. What a great decision it was, too! Back in February we signed up for a “small” farm...

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Basil is a heat-loving annual plant grown for use as a culinary herb. Many varieties exist, with subtle differences in flavour, growth habit, leaf colour,...

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Basil is a heat-loving annual plant grown for use as a culinary herb. Many varieties exist, with subtle differences in flavour, growth habit, leaf colour, and so on. All have a rich, pungent taste and scent reminiscent of anise and...

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We hear so much about ants “farming” aphids that we thought we should answer the question, “Do ants farm aphids?” It’s natural for human beings...

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We hear so much about ants “farming” aphids that we thought we should answer the question, “Do ants farm aphids?” It’s natural for human beings to try to explain an observation of the natural world in terms of human emotions...

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We often talk about cultivating organic soil that is rich in microbial action, and full of organisms. Soil in your garden combines naturally occurring minerals...

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We often talk about cultivating organic soil that is rich in microbial action, and full of organisms. Soil in your garden combines naturally occurring minerals with the various organic and mineral amendments you add. As the organic matter breaks down,...

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Microgreens Growth Chart Microgreens are simply tiny vegetables, herbs, and flowers that are harvested at a very immature stage, just as the first pair of...

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Microgreens Growth Chart Microgreens are simply tiny vegetables, herbs, and flowers that are harvested at a very immature stage, just as the first pair of true leaves are emerging. It’s a one-off harvest as they don’t grow back. But there...

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Spring and summer, 2015… Hot and dry! The whole west coast of North America has been deprived of our spring rainfall and exposed to really...

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Spring and summer, 2015… Hot and dry! The whole west coast of North America has been deprived of our spring rainfall and exposed to really unusual heat. From California’s record breaking drought right up to Haida Gwaii, there has been...

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With careful planning, seeds can be sown from winter to autumn in order to keep the garden productive pretty much all year round. Here are...

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With careful planning, seeds can be sown from winter to autumn in order to keep the garden productive pretty much all year round. Here are some tips for seed sowing for the longest harvest window. Determined growers sometimes think of...

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