Gardening Knowledge

Garden Knowledge 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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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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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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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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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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Crop rotation is the practice of not growing plants where similar plants grew the previous year. Crop rotation prevents the build up of pests and diseases...

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Crop rotation is the practice of not growing plants where similar plants grew the previous year. Crop rotation prevents the build up of pests and diseases and optimizes the use of soil nutrients. Plants from different “families” need different amounts of...

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Clubroot is the thickening and distortion of the roots of Brassicas by the soil fungus Plasmodiophora brassicae. Roots are distended and swollen and may appear...

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Clubroot is the thickening and distortion of the roots of Brassicas by the soil fungus Plasmodiophora brassicae. Roots are distended and swollen and may appear to be shaped like fingers or tumors. Infected plants will exhibit day wilting (wilting during...

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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,...

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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...

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Organic gardeners share one challenge that has many faces – how to nurse newly emerged seedlings along to the point when they are strong enough...

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Organic gardeners share one challenge that has many faces – how to nurse newly emerged 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,...

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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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Purple Tansy is the common name for one of the garden’s supreme workhorses, Phacelia tanacetifolia. Gardeners who have had trouble with fruit setting on squash,...

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Purple Tansy is the common name for one of the garden’s supreme workhorses, Phacelia tanacetifolia. Gardeners who have had trouble with fruit setting on squash, melons, or cucumbers need to learn how to improve pollination with Phacelia. Phacelia is a...

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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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Through April and May we enjoyed a very robust display of lupins planted around our farmhouse and over the septic berm. The blue and purple...

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Through April and May we enjoyed a very robust display of lupins planted around our farmhouse and over the septic berm. The blue and purple flowers were visible from the nearby overpass and painted a streak of colour across the...

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Flea beetles are tiny, hopping, flea-like beetles of the genus Phyllotreta. To deal with flea beetles, it’s best to understand their life cycle. Adults emerge...

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Flea beetles are tiny, hopping, flea-like beetles of the genus Phyllotreta. To deal with flea beetles, it’s best to understand their life cycle. Adults emerge from the soil in spring and feed, laying eggs on plants’ roots. They die off...

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It’s tempting to imagine, when planting a row of spring radishes, that they will be ready in perfect shape at harvest time, free from blemishes,...

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It’s tempting to imagine, when planting a row of spring radishes, that they will be ready in perfect shape at harvest time, free from blemishes, and wholly uniform in size and shape. Typically, though, this is not the case. There...

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These gastropods (Snails and Slugs) are a fact of life in damp coastal BC. Two factors, however, can be used to minimize their impact on...

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These gastropods (Snails and Slugs) are a fact of life in damp coastal BC. Two factors, however, can be used to minimize their impact on your organic vegetable garden. First, they shun sunlight, and are mostly active at night. Second,...

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One of the amazing opportunities facing all gardeners and farmers is planting for wildlife — or, at least, growing food with biodiversity in mind. Organic...

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One of the amazing opportunities facing all gardeners and farmers is planting for wildlife — or, at least, growing food with biodiversity in mind. Organic gardeners understand that soil health is inherently dependent on robust biodiversity in the soil. Earthworms,...

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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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Wireworms represent the larval stage of the click beetles of the family Elateridae. There are around 9,300 species worldwide, but it is a small handful...

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Wireworms represent the larval stage of the click beetles of the family Elateridae. There are around 9,300 species worldwide, but it is a small handful of species that cause problems in our fields and gardens. Click beetles are 1-2cm long,...

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The Lower Mainland of BC tends to enjoy very damp spring and early summer weather. This dampness creates the ideal habitat for Woodlice – often...

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The Lower Mainland of BC tends to enjoy very damp spring and early summer weather. This dampness creates the ideal habitat for Woodlice – often called sow bugs or pill bugs. These are the small, grey, segmented animals that can...

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The Carrot Rust Fly [CRF] is a weak flying insect pest that feeds its young on 107 different plants in the carrot family, including carrots,...

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The Carrot Rust Fly [CRF] is a weak flying insect pest that feeds its young on 107 different plants in the carrot family, including carrots, celery, parsnips, celeriac, parsley, and dill. The insect (Psila rosae) earned its common name due...

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Powdery Mildew is a fungal disease affects cucumber, squash, calendula, hollyhocks, zinnias, and many other garden plants. Small patches of grey appear on otherwise healthy...

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Powdery Mildew is a fungal disease affects cucumber, squash, calendula, hollyhocks, zinnias, and many other garden plants. Small patches of grey appear on otherwise healthy looking leaves, and if it is not treated right away, the fungus will spread to...

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Known as greenflies in the UK, there are over 5,000 species of aphids worldwide. Fewer than 10% of known species are agricultural pests, but they...

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Known as greenflies in the UK, there are over 5,000 species of aphids worldwide. Fewer than 10% of known species are agricultural pests, but they are a genuine nuisance. Like whiteflies, aphids are classed in the order Hemiptera because of...

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Whiteflies are members of the order Hemiptera, a group of insects classed together because of the similarity of their sucking mouthparts, with which they feed...

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Whiteflies are members of the order Hemiptera, a group of insects classed together because of the similarity of their sucking mouthparts, with which they feed on the juices of plants. They are closely related to aphids. There are over 1,500...

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We’ve often spoken to gardeners who just shake their heads despairingly when we mention growing tomatoes. The Tomato Late Blight fungus really has hit Coastal gardeners...

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We’ve often spoken to gardeners who just shake their heads despairingly when we mention growing tomatoes. The Tomato Late Blight fungus really has hit Coastal gardeners hard and, from what we hear, has now even made its way into the Okanagan....

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