Category Archives: Organic Growing

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Lawn is unsustainable. For all its demands of water and mowing energy, it gives nothing in return. Space that could be used for growing food, or even simple wildflowers, is dedicated instead to endlessly demanding, non-native grass. On a suburban cul de sac, there may be ten or more homes, each a sprinkler system for […]

Plants need water – that’s a fact. And many vegetable crops need quite a lot of water (along with sunshine and nutrients) to produce the tasty roots and fruits that nourish us year round. Part of the goal of organic gardening is to grow food sustainably. We want to have minimal impact on the environment, […]