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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This fast-growing annual produces ample organic matter that can be used as a mulch on the surface, or tilled under to improve soil texture and promote soil health. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow Spring Field Peas from seed

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This fast-growing annual produces ample organic matter that can be used as a mulch on the surface, or tilled under to improve soil texture and promote soil health. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow Spring Field Peas from seed

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This is one of the fastest growing grasses of all, growing from seed to mow-able lawn in just 21 days. It’s a very tough, hardy grass that forms clumps, rather than spreading by rhizomes, and it regenerates easily from wear. Continue reading below for instructions on how to grow perennial ryegrass from seed.

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This is one of the fastest growing grasses of all, growing from seed to mow-able lawn in just 21 days. It’s a very tough, hardy grass that forms clumps, rather than spreading by rhizomes, and it regenerates easily from wear. Continue reading below for instructions on how to grow perennial ryegrass from seed.

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Oats are not particularly cold hardy, so a summer planted crop will die back, holding the soil in place, and providing ample carbon-rich organic matter to till under before planting spring vegetables. Continue reading below for some tips on how to grow oats from seed.

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Oats are not particularly cold hardy, so a summer planted crop will die back, holding the soil in place, and providing ample carbon-rich organic matter to till under before planting spring vegetables. Continue reading below for some tips on how to grow oats from seed.

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We love red clover as a cover crop. Its thick, deep roots access nutrients lower in the soil column than many plants can reach and bring them to the surface. It can stand up to foot traffic, and can be mowed two to three times in summer, extending its bloom period. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow Medium Red clover from seed.

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We love red clover as a cover crop. Its thick, deep roots access nutrients lower in the soil column than many plants can reach and bring them to the surface. It can stand up to foot traffic, and can be mowed two to three times in summer, extending its bloom period. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow Medium Red clover from seed.

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Use Klondike Ladino clover as a nitrogen fixing cover crop, or as a long term ground cover, either on its own, or in combination with grasses. It tolerates wet conditions and foot traffic. It reduces soil compaction and improves soil health. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow Klondike Ladino clover from seed.

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Use Klondike Ladino clover as a nitrogen fixing cover crop, or as a long term ground cover, either on its own, or in combination with grasses. It tolerates wet conditions and foot traffic. It reduces soil compaction and improves soil health. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow Klondike Ladino clover from seed.

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The roots of this hardy annual extend deeply into the soil, improving porosity and drainage, and fixing nitrogen as they grow. The tops are lanky and sprawling, and can be cut in spring to provide an excellent mulch. Continue reading below for information on how to grow hairy vetch from seed.

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The roots of this hardy annual extend deeply into the soil, improving porosity and drainage, and fixing nitrogen as they grow. The tops are lanky and sprawling, and can be cut in spring to provide an excellent mulch. Continue reading below for information on how to grow hairy vetch from seed.

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Fava Beans cover crop seeds produce hardy annual, upright plants. This small-seeded broad bean is a popular nitrogen fixer. The large brittle plants work in easily with front end tillers, or can be cut and composted. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow fava beans from seed.

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Fava Beans cover crop seeds produce hardy annual, upright plants. This small-seeded broad bean is a popular nitrogen fixer. The large brittle plants work in easily with front end tillers, or can be cut and composted. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow fava beans from seed.

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This cereal grain grows quickly in the fall and survives winter weather even in zone 3. It bursts into growth in the spring so try to turn under or cut back before it reaches 30cm (12"). It is harder to turn under when it is 1m (3') tall. Continue reading below for some good advice on how to grow fall rye from seed.

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This cereal grain grows quickly in the fall and survives winter weather even in zone 3. It bursts into growth in the spring so try to turn under or cut back before it reaches 30cm (12"). It is harder to turn under when it is 1m (3') tall. Continue reading below for some good advice on how to grow fall rye from seed.

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Within ten days of blooming (or at any time before), Crimson clover produces ample organic matter that can be used as a mulch on the surface, or cut and tilled under to improve soil tilth and promote soil health. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow crimson clover from seed.

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Within ten days of blooming (or at any time before), Crimson clover produces ample organic matter that can be used as a mulch on the surface, or cut and tilled under to improve soil tilth and promote soil health. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow crimson clover from seed.

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Buckwheat cover crop seeds produce hardy annual, upright plants. It grows so fast it can reach 1m (3') tall in only three weeks. Then it blooms with white flowers, attracting pollinating insects and beneficial hover flies. This cover crop grows densely enough that it can be used to smother out competing weed species. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow buckwheat from seeds.

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Buckwheat cover crop seeds produce hardy annual, upright plants. It grows so fast it can reach 1m (3') tall in only three weeks. Then it blooms with white flowers, attracting pollinating insects and beneficial hover flies. This cover crop grows densely enough that it can be used to smother out competing weed species. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow buckwheat from seeds.

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This is a blend of four certified organic clover varieties Ladino, Medium Red, Alsike, and Crimson, with Annual Ryegrass included as a nurse crop that will protect the seeds and soil until the clovers emerge. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow Bees in Clover.

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This is a blend of four certified organic clover varieties Ladino, Medium Red, Alsike, and Crimson, with Annual Ryegrass included as a nurse crop that will protect the seeds and soil until the clovers emerge. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow Bees in Clover.

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Barley Cover Crop Seeds are a fast-growing grass with fibrous roots that can reach as far as 2m (6') deep. It is less upright than oats, and not nearly as weedy as rye. Continue reading below for details on how to grow barley.

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Barley Cover Crop Seeds are a fast-growing grass with fibrous roots that can reach as far as 2m (6') deep. It is less upright than oats, and not nearly as weedy as rye. Continue reading below for details on how to grow barley.

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The dense roots of Annual Ryegrass penetrate even hard packed soil to introduce oxygen and water pathways that can be used by other plants when it dies back at frost. Its foliage loads up with carbon and nitrogen, which is then released to the crops that follow. Its shallow, but dense, root system breaks up compacted soil, holds soil against erosion, and draws up a lot of nitrogen to release as it breaks down. Continue reading below for more tips on how to grow Annual Ryegrass.

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The dense roots of Annual Ryegrass penetrate even hard packed soil to introduce oxygen and water pathways that can be used by other plants when it dies back at frost. Its foliage loads up with carbon and nitrogen, which is then released to the crops that follow. Its shallow, but dense, root system breaks up compacted soil, holds soil against erosion, and draws up a lot of nitrogen to release as it breaks down. Continue reading below for more tips on how to grow Annual Ryegrass.

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Alsike grows where many other clovers will not. It tolerates heavy clay soil, and even areas prone to flooding. It is a weak-stemmed plant that uses neighbouring grasses to keep it upright to a height of around 40cm (16”), though it can grow a little taller in high grasses.

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Alsike grows where many other clovers will not. It tolerates heavy clay soil, and even areas prone to flooding. It is a weak-stemmed plant that uses neighbouring grasses to keep it upright to a height of around 40cm (16”), though it can grow a little taller in high grasses.

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This quirky cultivar of the soft-rush Juncus effusus grows its stiff, smooth leaves in a curious corkscrew shape. The leaves add a touch of drama...

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This quirky cultivar of the soft-rush Juncus effusus grows its stiff, smooth leaves in a curious corkscrew shape. The leaves add a touch of drama to floral bouquets. Continue reading below for some tips on how to grow Twister Grass...

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Sheep Fescue is a perennial grass that forms dense tufts of greyish green, bristle-like leaves. It thrives in well drained, poor soil because it forms a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi, through which it gathers moisture, minerals, and nutrients. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow sheep fescue from seed.

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Sheep Fescue is a perennial grass that forms dense tufts of greyish green, bristle-like leaves. It thrives in well drained, poor soil because it forms a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi, through which it gathers moisture, minerals, and nutrients. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow sheep fescue from seed.

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Ruby Grass is drought tolerant, but thrives in moist, well drained soil in full sun to partial shade. It can be grown beneath/near Black Walnut, and is tolerant of pollution. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow Ruby Grass.

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Ruby Grass is drought tolerant, but thrives in moist, well drained soil in full sun to partial shade. It can be grown beneath/near Black Walnut, and is tolerant of pollution. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow Ruby Grass.

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The flowers of this unusual ornamental grass are known as panicles, and they are borne on flexible stems that causes them to bounce and tremble in the wind, hence, Quaking Grass.

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The flowers of this unusual ornamental grass are known as panicles, and they are borne on flexible stems that causes them to bounce and tremble in the wind, hence, Quaking Grass.

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This massive perennial takes three years to reach full maturity, so make it part of a long term garden plan. Cortaderia is naturally heat tolerant, and its sharp leaves make it deer resistant. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow pampas grass from seed.

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This massive perennial takes three years to reach full maturity, so make it part of a long term garden plan. Cortaderia is naturally heat tolerant, and its sharp leaves make it deer resistant. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow pampas grass from seed.

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Dactylis (orchard grass) is a long-lived and fast growing perennial that produces faster re-growth in summer than Timothy grass. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow orchard grass from seed.

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Dactylis (orchard grass) is a long-lived and fast growing perennial that produces faster re-growth in summer than Timothy grass. Continue reading below for tips on how to grow orchard grass from seed.

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Millet is the very picture of ornamental grass. The golden green foliage darkens at the points most exposed to the sun, becoming more mahogany in tone. About mid summer, the rush-like panicles begin to emerge, rising to a height of 90cm (36"). Continue reading below for some tips on how to grow millet from seed.

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Millet is the very picture of ornamental grass. The golden green foliage darkens at the points most exposed to the sun, becoming more mahogany in tone. About mid summer, the rush-like panicles begin to emerge, rising to a height of 90cm (36"). Continue reading below for some tips on how to grow millet from seed.

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Cloud Grass, a species of bentgrass, forms a diaphanous hazy mist in late summer when its delicate, tiny flowers spread out in all directions. It is useful to know some tips on how to grow cloud grass.

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Cloud Grass, a species of bentgrass, forms a diaphanous hazy mist in late summer when its delicate, tiny flowers spread out in all directions. It is useful to know some tips on how to grow cloud grass.

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Native to the Mediterranean region, Lagurus grows well in any temperate environment, and puts on a great show mid-summer in containers, garden beds, or xeriscaping landscapes. Continue reading below for details on how to grow Bunny Tails Grass.

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Native to the Mediterranean region, Lagurus grows well in any temperate environment, and puts on a great show mid-summer in containers, garden beds, or xeriscaping landscapes. Continue reading below for details on how to grow Bunny Tails Grass.

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Nicotiana flowering tobacco looks timeless in the garden, adding height and airy lightness to any sunny spot. Water during hot, dry spells. Deadhead frequently to keep plants looking neat and to prolong flowering. Stake in windy exposures. Aphids can be blasted off plants with a shot from the hose. Sow on the surface of the soil, and do not cover. Thin to 45-60cm (18-24″) apart. It is easy to grow Nicotiana seeds.

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Nicotiana flowering tobacco looks timeless in the garden, adding height and airy lightness to any sunny spot. Water during hot, dry spells. Deadhead frequently to keep plants looking neat and to prolong flowering. Stake in windy exposures. Aphids can be blasted off plants with a shot from the hose. Sow on the surface of the soil, and do not cover. Thin to 45-60cm (18-24″) apart. It is easy to grow Nicotiana seeds.

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