Tag Archives: West Coast Seeds

Top Tips for Tip Top Potatoes

‘Tis the season to begin considering your garden, and potatoes are a good place to start. If you missed the recent workshop on growing potatoes in a sack (complete with said sack and potatoes) it’s not to late to get the skinny on how what conditions create the best results.

This month’s West Coast Seeds newsletter offers their top recommendations:

“Aside from hilling up, here are our top five tips for tip top potatoes:

  1. Plant potatoes in full sun, and avoid freshly limed beds. Potatoes like slightly acid soil with a pH of 6.0 – 6.8. Organic matter in the soil will improve your crop, but use well rotted compost or dig in a cover crop the previous fall. Avoid fresh manure.
  2. Once you plant your potatoes, don’t water them until after you see the plants sprout above ground. This will help to prevent soil diseases from affecting your crop. Once they’re growing, keep your potato plot evenly moist, particularly once the plants begin to bloom.
  3. For fresh eating of baby or “new” potatoes, wait until the plants are in bloom. That’s usually a good indication that an early summer harvest is ready.
  4. For storage potatoes, wait until the plants wither and turn brown, and then leave them in the soil for a further 3 weeks as their skins firm up. Harvest them for storage if there’s a threat of very cold or very wet weather.
  5. Store potatoes in a cold, dark place, above freezing, with good ventilation. You can brush soil off your harvested spuds, but don’t wash them – the extra moisture is not good for storage. Check your stored potatoes frequently throughout winter, and remove any that are turning soft or looking mouldy.”

Read the full article.

Sourcing Seeds Locally

Where I’m from, the first name off anyone’s lips when talking seeds is West Coast Seeds, best known for their gardeners’ porn annual seed catalogue. The catalogue IS full of beautiful pictures, but the best part when you’re in the garden planning stage at the start of the season is their regional planting chart.

West Coast Seeds provides valuable information, along with gardening books and tools, but as I understand it, they don’t actually source their seeds locally. There are a variety of companies that produce seeds grown in our own climate, many of which are also organic. Here are some options:*

Stellar Seeds Sorrento, BC

Salt Spring Seeds Salt Spring Island, BC

Full Circle Seeds Sooke, BC

Two Wings Farms Victoria, BC

Sunshine Farm Kelowna, BC

Other suppliers from slightly farther afield…

Wild Garden Seed Oregon, USA

Heritage Harvest Seed Carman, Manitoba

Lindenberg Seeds Brandon, Manitoba

Territorial Seed Co. Oregon, USA

Talk about taking eating local to a whole new level: you can eat regionally adapted plants, while supporting your Eat Local economy! Learn more about organic seeds at Organic Seed Alliance.

*List courtesy of Gourmet Gardens


Related Posts:

Why Local Seeds Matter
Let the Planting Begin
West Coast Seeds

Let the Planting Begin

While May is still a little dicey weather wise — did it come in like a lion or a lamb? — it’s not too soon to start planting some of the hearty vegetable varieties, depending on where you live in North America.

I used to think you had to wait for the really warm weather to plant (thereby living up to my self-applied Bumbling Gardener title), but it turns out some seeds appreciate a little hardship. It gets them primed to sprout when the timing is just right. Smart little things, aren’t they?

Right now we’re still pouring over last year’s Gardener’s Porn (a.k.a. seed catalogue) to ponder what our gardens will contain in the coming year. In fact, I’m fairly certain I’ve seen some actual drooling going on.

You can order your 2010 West Coast Seeds edition online now.

The seeds, when we get them, do rely on us to pop them in the earth at just the right moment. Here on the West (wet) Coast, we have the benefit of West Coast Seeds regional planting chart to guide us on what can go into the ground now, and what should wait.

Currently peas, collard, kale, broad beans, arugula, corn salad, and radishes are ready to start their journey.

And April is good for planting carrots, broccoli, beets, kohlrabi, lettuce, parsnips, spinach, Swiss chard, and turnips.

If you’re into starting things indoors, you can get going on a few of those, too. (I had dismal sprouting results last year on everything but my snow peas, so I’ll be giving it a pass.)

Let the gardening begin!

West Coast Seeds

west-coast-seedsThe guru of west coast organic gardening and seed selection is West Coast Seeds. I’ve heard the name uttered in hushed, reverent, gardener-in-the-know tones particularly in reference to the annual West Coast Seeds free Gardening Guide.

If you want access to non-Monsanto-interfered-with seeds, these folks are your local source.

Not only do they have over 600 vegetable, herb and flower seed varieties, they have the envied, must-have, Planting Chart for Coastal BC on page 6. The catalogue/guide is filled with gardening tips, organic pest solutions, and other misc. gardening information that make it worth its weight, even if you buy your genetically modified seeds from the local hardware store or nursery.

If you can’t get down to their Delta location (must have car and up-to-date map!), by all means check them out online, request the catalogue, and order your seeds by mail. If you can get to the store, you’ll be treated to a wide variety of books, tools, garden enhancements (i.e. bee houses), and friendly advice to assist in your organic gardening endeavours.

Oh, and sign up for their newsletter, which is also full of timely planting tips — seasoned and novice gardeners alike will want to know what West Coast Seeds has to say.

PS: The website is a goldmine of information, peruse only when you have plenty of time to “waste”.

Note: (Jan 2010) I get periodic comments from individuals asking or accusing West Coast Seeds of selling GMO and/or Monsanto seeds. Frankly, from the comments I see it feels a bit like an urban myth that won’t die. However, Local Delicious makes no claims and is not a representative of West Coast Seeds. If you have questions, please contact WCS directly. If, on the other hand, you have proof of misdoing, we’re happy to talk…