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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You’ve selected your seeds, you’ve invested in unfamiliar seed starting equipment, you’ve planted the seeds — and now the damn things are coming up! What to do?!

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You’ve selected your seeds, you’ve invested in unfamiliar seed starting equipment, you’ve planted the seeds — and now the damn things are coming up! What to do?!

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There’s nothing quite as perfect as a ripe tomato – that distinctive fresh, green smell of a sun-warmed fruit that bursts in the mouth. It speaks of the summer’s heat like nothing else in the garden — but it does require starting tomatoes indoors.

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There’s nothing quite as perfect as a ripe tomato – that distinctive fresh, green smell of a sun-warmed fruit that bursts in the mouth. It speaks of the summer’s heat like nothing else in the garden — but it does require starting tomatoes indoors.

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Plant Hardiness Zones offer general guidance to the kinds of plants that will survive winter in a given area. The warmer the climate, the higher the number of the zone.

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Plant Hardiness Zones offer general guidance to the kinds of plants that will survive winter in a given area. The warmer the climate, the higher the number of the zone.

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All vegetables take a certain amount of time to mature before they are ready to harvest, so it’s crucial to provide that time. There is no point sowing tomato seeds in July, because they take several days (or weeks) to germinate, and the plants will not be mature enough to begin flowering for at least a month after that. 

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All vegetables take a certain amount of time to mature before they are ready to harvest, so it’s crucial to provide that time. There is no point sowing tomato seeds in July, because they take several days (or weeks) to germinate, and the plants will not be mature enough to begin flowering for at least a month after that. 

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Seeds To Start In February Although it’s still cold outside and the days are still short, there are many seeds to start in February indoors....

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Seeds To Start In February Although it’s still cold outside and the days are still short, there are many seeds to start in February indoors. The early start means that seedlings do some essential early development, and when they are...

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The ingredients in our Beetle Bank Blend Wildflowers combine to attract beneficial insects and provide them with habitat in which to shelter and reproduce. This forms a natural environment that can be planted around or within agricultural fields to form a natural pest control system.

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The ingredients in our Beetle Bank Blend Wildflowers combine to attract beneficial insects and provide them with habitat in which to shelter and reproduce. This forms a natural environment that can be planted around or within agricultural fields to form a natural pest control system.

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Thyme is a woody perennial shrub that has been used as a culinary and medicinal herb for thousands of years. Many species of thyme exist, and nearly all are native to the region around the Mediterranean. In ancient Egypt, thyme was used in embalming, and the ancient Greeks used it as a fumigant.

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Thyme is a woody perennial shrub that has been used as a culinary and medicinal herb for thousands of years. Many species of thyme exist, and nearly all are native to the region around the Mediterranean. In ancient Egypt, thyme was used in embalming, and the ancient Greeks used it as a fumigant.

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The holidays are over but the weather outside is still pretty frightful. Here on the coast it is altogether wet — the ground is sodden and...

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The holidays are over but the weather outside is still pretty frightful. Here on the coast it is altogether wet — the ground is sodden and squishy. Elsewhere, snow is falling, and the ground is freezing hard. Only the most spirited...

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The Heat Mats are fairly thick, with several layers of plastic heat bonded (not glued) over a strong heating wire. Water can't get into the mat so there are no worries when irrigating plant trays. At the end of the seed starting season we just roll them up and store them for next year — and we've been using the same ones for more than five years.

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The Heat Mats are fairly thick, with several layers of plastic heat bonded (not glued) over a strong heating wire. Water can't get into the mat so there are no worries when irrigating plant trays. At the end of the seed starting season we just roll them up and store them for next year — and we've been using the same ones for more than five years.

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Edible flowers can be used to add a splash of colour to all kinds of foods, from salads to desserts to fancy cocktails. A single...

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Edible flowers can be used to add a splash of colour to all kinds of foods, from salads to desserts to fancy cocktails. A single borage petal, carefully placed, can really enhance a slice of cake or an amuse bouche....

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As the growing season shifts to winter mode, our attention turns to protecting food plants and flower beds and baskets for as long as possible....

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As the growing season shifts to winter mode, our attention turns to protecting food plants and flower beds and baskets for as long as possible. Watch for the first signs frost, which sneaks in on a clear windless autumn night....

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Hedgerows provide important cover for mammals, from voles to coyotes, and create a natural corridor to cross the property in relative safety. The shrubs provide excellent nesting sites for songbirds, and the tall trees (eventually) provide much needed nesting spots for raptors. We are so pleased to add this feature to our organic field.

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Hedgerows provide important cover for mammals, from voles to coyotes, and create a natural corridor to cross the property in relative safety. The shrubs provide excellent nesting sites for songbirds, and the tall trees (eventually) provide much needed nesting spots for raptors. We are so pleased to add this feature to our organic field.

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Winter is a gift: it’s nature’s down time, a time when many plants go dormant and many animals have a winter’s rest. However, for those...

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Winter is a gift: it’s nature’s down time, a time when many plants go dormant and many animals have a winter’s rest. However, for those animals that are still active, winter can be a challenge. It’s hard for small animals to...

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Squirrel Tail Grass begins the season as a fairly unremarkable grassy plant, but once the warm weather and long days of summer arrive, it sends up remarkable, silky, silvery grey panicles on 60cm (24") stems. These bend with the wind and retain their ornamental value until frost.

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Squirrel Tail Grass begins the season as a fairly unremarkable grassy plant, but once the warm weather and long days of summer arrive, it sends up remarkable, silky, silvery grey panicles on 60cm (24") stems. These bend with the wind and retain their ornamental value until frost.

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Monkshood is a very traditional perennial for the cottage garden. The plant is so well known for its toxicity that it plays a role in ancient Greek mythology, and folklore from Europe to India. So please don't eat it.

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Monkshood is a very traditional perennial for the cottage garden. The plant is so well known for its toxicity that it plays a role in ancient Greek mythology, and folklore from Europe to India. So please don't eat it.

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Different bees and pollinators benefit from specific types of flowers. Whether a flower is deep or shallow, red or yellow, generous with nectar or stingy......

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Different bees and pollinators benefit from specific types of flowers. Whether a flower is deep or shallow, red or yellow, generous with nectar or stingy... These all impact the attractiveness to different pollinators. We have collected some of the Best...

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Understanding the relationships between specific types of flowers and specific pollinators helps to explain why biodiversity is so important. The greater variety of flowers (including vegetables and herbs) in the garden, the wider range of pollinators can be supported.

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Understanding the relationships between specific types of flowers and specific pollinators helps to explain why biodiversity is so important. The greater variety of flowers (including vegetables and herbs) in the garden, the wider range of pollinators can be supported.

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Fenugreek is an annual herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. Seeds found in ruins in modern day Iraq were carbon dated to 4000...

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Fenugreek is an annual herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. Seeds found in ruins in modern day Iraq were carbon dated to 4000 BCE. It grows best in fertile soil in full sun. Learn more about how to...

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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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Prior to the potato’s arrival from the New World, turnip was the root-crop of choice for cool, wet soils, so many northern European cultures have significant relationships with this vegetable. It says a lot about turnips.

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Prior to the potato’s arrival from the New World, turnip was the root-crop of choice for cool, wet soils, so many northern European cultures have significant relationships with this vegetable. It says a lot about turnips.

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These two culinary herbs are very closely related, with flavours that are almost indistinguishable. They represent two of about 20 species of Oregano, all members of the mint family, Lamiaceae. They offer a good opportunity to learn more about marjoram and oregano.

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These two culinary herbs are very closely related, with flavours that are almost indistinguishable. They represent two of about 20 species of Oregano, all members of the mint family, Lamiaceae. They offer a good opportunity to learn more about marjoram and oregano.

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All butterflies (including moths), as well as a wide range of bees, flies, beetles, and even hummingbirds, will feed on the nectar-heavy flowers of all milkweed varieties. The Monarch, however, seeks milkweed out on which to lay her eggs. Monarch caterpillars require milkweed to feed on prior to pupating, and they tend not to thrive when presented with alternative food sources. Planting milkweed is thought to be the number one step North American gardeners can do to help the endangered Monarch.

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All butterflies (including moths), as well as a wide range of bees, flies, beetles, and even hummingbirds, will feed on the nectar-heavy flowers of all milkweed varieties. The Monarch, however, seeks milkweed out on which to lay her eggs. Monarch caterpillars require milkweed to feed on prior to pupating, and they tend not to thrive when presented with alternative food sources. Planting milkweed is thought to be the number one step North American gardeners can do to help the endangered Monarch.

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What the heck is xeriscaping? Simply put, xeriscaping is a system of landscaping with water conservation as the priority. In areas that receive little rainfall...

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What the heck is xeriscaping? Simply put, xeriscaping is a system of landscaping with water conservation as the priority. In areas that receive little rainfall in the summer, some thoughtful xeriscaping will allow flowering plants to thrive, adding visual appeal...

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Most of the vegetables we eat on a regular basis are cultivated adaptations from some older source. A good example is broccoli, which is the...

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Most of the vegetables we eat on a regular basis are cultivated adaptations from some older source. A good example is broccoli, which is the very same species of plant as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and kohlrabi. All of...

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