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Seed-starting resources

How to Start Seeds Indoors - Especially important for tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, The Spruce has a great how-to guide for beginners.

How to Test Seeds for Viability - If you have older seeds, you can test them easily to find out of they're still good. Seeds of Diversity explains it all here.

West Coast Seeds Regional Planting Charts - Wondering when to start your seeds? WCS has planting charts for regions across Canada and parts of the US. Includes info on when / whether to start indoors or direct sow.

Hardiness Zones

Hardiness Zones are geographic areas that can support specific plants, flowers and trees. Originally created by the USDA,  these zones are based on the average lowest temperatures experienced in a region each year.  The Canadian hardiness zones include more variables, including rainfall, frost-free periods, maximum snow depth, and more. 

BC Hardiness Zone Map -  This interactive map can show you exactly which zone you're in. Cool fact: BC has 17 different zones, and they can change across the same city or town!

All Hardiness Zone Maps - Scroll down to find zone maps for each province and state.

Canadian vs American Hardiness Zones - How are the zones different? This is especially useful if you order seeds from an American company.

Changes to Hardiness Zones due to Climate Change - Hardiness zones aren't static, and as our climate changes, so do the hardiness zones. Click through to read more and see an interactive map showing the changes in the US from 1990 - 2006.

Companion Planting

Companion planting is a great way reduce or even eliminate the use of harmful chemicals in your garden, attract beneficial insects and repel pests, and add variety, colour and beauty.

Tomatoes Hate Cucumbers - The basics of companion planting.

Herbs as Companion Plants - Delicious, pretty and oh-so-functional in the garden!

West Coast Seeds Companion Planting Guide - A comprehensive guide listing a variety of veggies, herbs and flowers and their plant friends and foes.

Garden Planning

There are so many ways to fill a garden space, large or small! Here are some ideas.

4 x 6 Garden Plot (video) - A quick tutorial on how to maximize your production in a small space.

Gardening on a slope - If you're on the west coast, you might have a hill to contend with! Here's a relatively easy and inexpensive way to terrace a slope for gardening.

Balcony Gardening - There's more to balcony gardening than just putting some pots outside, here's a look at everything you need to know.

Convert your lawn into a garden - Three methods are covered here, removing the grass, raised beds, and lasagne method (or sheet mulching. I'm a fan of the lasagne method myself, there's a reason my seed library was named The Cardboard Garden!

Natural Fertilizers and Pest Treatments

Your plants and soil will always do better with amendments, or fertilizers, added. And if you do get an infestation of pests, best to deal with it right away! There are some great products available commercially, and some homemade options too.

Basic All-Purpose Fertilizer - A blog post about the basic components of fertilizer and how to make your own.

How to Make Borage Tea - All about the benefits of borage in your garden, plus a recipe for borage fertilizer tea.

Fertilizers Made From Kitchen Waste - 7 simple recipes from The Spruce.

Backyard Composting - The basics on how and why to compost at home.

Natural Recipes for Aphid Sprays - Tomato leaf and garlic oil recipes to combat aphids. Note that nasturtiums are a great aphid trap, and will attract them away from your veggies!

Pruning

Some veg are fine to be left alone, but nightshades especially need to be kept in check. You want all of that energy to go into growing delicious tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, not leaves and vines.

How to Prune and Support Tomatoes (video) - This 11-minute video has all the dirt on healthy productive tomatoes.

How to Prune Eggplant - The benefits of pruning, the tools you need, and how to prune your eggplant.

How and When to Prune Pepper Plants - You can prune pepper plants at different times for different reasons, depending on your desired outcomes.

Seed Saving

If you've planted open-pollinated or heirloom seeds, then you can save their seeds!  There are so many reasons we love seed saving, but maybe the number one reason is the incredible satisfaction of growing things from seeds that you collected, and knowing that they'll do well in your particular space.

How to Save Seeds - The very basics on getting started.

How to Plan Your Garden for Seed Saving - Depending on what you're growing for seeds, you'll need to make some choices about where you plant them in relation to other crops. Cool fact: arugula, kale and cabbage are all brassicas, and they'll cross-pollinate of they're too close together!

How and When to Collect Your Seeds - Dan Jason at Salt Spring Seeds is incredibly knowledgable on everything seed-saving! Here he breaks down how and when to collect the seeds of common vegetables.

How to Save Tomato Seeds by Fermenting Them - We absolutely swear by this method! Fermenting your seeds gives them a much greater chance of germinating, our yield went from 10% (drying method) to over 90%.

Harvesting

Some veggies can be tricky to know when to harvest, and there's nothing more disappointing than picking something before it's ripe! Check out these guides for harvesting info.

How to Harvest Dry Beans (or Peas) - Harvesting and threshing dry beans is a fun, late summer activity, best done with pals!

How and When to Harvest Garlic Scapes - One of the best treats of early summer, garlic scapes!

Harvesting and Curing Garlic - Garlic is planted in the late autumn, and usually harvested in late July or early August, they take their time! 

How and When to Harvest Potatoes - New potatoes or storage potatoes, everything you need to know.

How to Harvest Rose Hips - If you have roses growing nearby, then take advantage of this autumn treat!

Cover Cropping & Soil Health

Cover cropping over winter is a regenerative easy way to ensure that your soil will stay healthy and be full of nutrients come spring. 

Cover Cropping as a Climate Solution - Some science from the fine folks at Farm Folk, City Folk.

Soil Health & Cover Crop - More science! From BC Organic Grower.

Best Cover Crops for Home Gardens - 15 cover crops and why they're great for the garden.

How and When to Cover Crop - An easy guide to cover-cropping.

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