I almost skipped back across the road after gathering my mail today… because it arrived; the 2013 edition of West Coast Seeds Gardening Guide! This valuable (and satisfyingly substantial this year) tome serves as their seed catalogue, but it is so much more than that!
In lieu of a disclaimer, I have to tell you up front that I derive NO benefit from this post. I wasn’t asked to review the guide; I won’t be receiving a packet of free West Coast Seeds for my trouble or even a link from their website to my blog. If they should see fit to offer any of these (and I have a list of seeds I need!) I’ll be sure to update you.
This is West Coast Seeds 30th year in business and they’ve been providing an ever-increasing selection of quality seeds, garden supplies, books and knowledgeable advice that is specific (although not limited) to gardeners here on the Pacific coast since I was, well, a teenager.
Most of those 30 years I have spent in the employ of a couple of different retail garden centres, so I’ve been working with and buying seeds from this company for a long time. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I like their seed because they offer unique varieties that are acclimated to where I live. I wouldn’t say that they are the least expensive seeds, but they don’t charge for the gardening guide and I have a rough idea of how many guides they must produce because we reorder cases of them repeatedly throughout the year to keep them in stock at the garden centre. If you multiply that by all the garden centres they serve and add in all those that they mail out to customers, I wouldn’t want to see their printing bill!
I must admit that I’m guilty of costing them money because when I talk with beginner (or novice!) gardeners who have a billion questions about how to grow in our climate, what grows well here and when to plant what, I hand them a guide and tell them to go home and read it.
For each edible there is an explanation (printed right with the seed selection for that crop) of how to grow it that includes timing, optimal temperature, planting depth, soil and sun requirements, harvest info and often, tips and tricks to help gardeners succeed.
Near the front of the guide is a vegetable planting chart for coastal BC which tells you when to start various seeds indoors, direct-seed them, transplant them and cover them. I often use this to show people how we can garden pretty much year round, around here.
Near the back of the guide you will find advice to help you understand and control our common pests using physical or low toxicity ‘organic’ methods.
There are also easy to understand explanations of macro and micro nutrients, soil ph, cover crops, beneficial insects and other garden related lore.
So, what you have in this ‘seed catalogue’ is a thorough pacific coastal guide to successful vegetable, herb and flower gardening. I’ve only done a quick riff through this year’s edition; it looks like they’ve pulled out all the stops in their 30th year with more varieties, more products and more info than ever…
Yes, I know that I can read all this online at westcoastseeds.com, but I’m old fashioned enough to enjoy the print version. Also, I don’t want to take my laptop (or my Ipad) out into the garden for quick reference.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get away from my computer, curl up in a comfy chair and devour my favourite gardening guide.