Category: Organic Growing

New Raised Beds

New Raised Beds
14 Mar

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 and the blue garage. Once filled with organic soil, these will be used by our…

Growing Food in Part Shade

Growing Food in Partial Shade
8 Mar

In our relatively short growing season, we need to grow most food crops in a fairly intense way. We need to select crops that mature quickly. Some crops, like mescluns and salad greens grow so fast that we can take several harvests in a single season. Other plants, like pumpkins, use most of the growing…

Growing Food in Containers

Growing Food in Containers
27 Feb

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 any kind of food plant in containers. It is the nature of all plants that…

Resilient Gardens 2017 – Now in Stock

Resilient Gardens 2017 by Linda Gilkeson
25 Jan

It’s always news when a new book comes out by BC gardening icon Linda Gilkeson, Ph.D. This is no exception. In a follow up to her (frankly incredible) book Resilient Gardens 2016, Gilkeson describes in great detail the keys to establishing pollinator gardens, how to identify and treat garlic diseases, and an update to the…

Latin for Gardeners

Latin for Gardeners - A Refresher
24 Nov

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. This conveniently allowed groups of similar plants and animals to be bundled according to their…

Farm Box Program Continues

CSA Farm Box Program
3 Jul

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 does up a chalk board each week, and it’s kind of smart marketing. Already we have “box envy” for her…

First Farm Box of the Season

Community Supported Agriculture at West Coast Seeds
17 Jun

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 share at Cropthorne Farm on Westham Island here in Ladner. For an upfront investment of…

Companion Planting with Umbelifers

20 Dec

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 umbeliform plants include carrot, Ammi, parsley, parsnip, celery, and fennel. Using these plants for this…

Gardening in an El Niño Year

Dry flowers in a garden
27 Jun

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 less than one millimeter of rain from March to July. Climatologists tell us that this…

Market Garden Photos

Market Garden Photos
6 Jun

Do you run a market garden or a small organic farm? Are you growing any West Coast Seeds products? Send us some photos! Use your cell camera or your fancy SLR, but take some pictures and send them our way. In return for your photos, we will post them here and on our Facebook page,…

What the Heck is N-P-K ?

What the heck is n-p-k?
16 Mar

Most fertilizers (and many soil amendments) show this formula somewhere prominently on the package: N-P-K. This shows the ratio of the three most important plant nutrients, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Potassium gets a ‘K’ because of its name on the periodic table of elements (Kalium). These three elements are fundamental to the development and success…


12 Sep

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 – as well as important forage for pollinators. There are five principles that are key…