gardening

Transplanted corn seedlings plus one acorn squash at the end with Remay ready to cover the bed. Once roots are established it’s safe to remove the Remay. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Growing out your own seeds

Some crops like tomatoes don’t cross pollinate well

  • Jul 11, 2020
Transplanted corn seedlings plus one acorn squash at the end with Remay ready to cover the bed. Once roots are established it’s safe to remove the Remay. (Mary Lowther photo)
These pre-sprouted corn seeds are ready to be potted. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Pre-sprouting corn in paper towels

My new packet of spinach didn’t grow when I put the seeds directly into potting soil

  • Jul 4, 2020
These pre-sprouted corn seeds are ready to be potted. (Mary Lowther photo)
A small stand of alfalfa grown in shade, contaminated with a bit of buttercup that has seen its last days. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: The many charms of alfalfa

A few years ago I bought a small packet of alfalfa seeds

  • Jun 27, 2020
A small stand of alfalfa grown in shade, contaminated with a bit of buttercup that has seen its last days. (Mary Lowther photo)
I went away for two weeks last summer and returned to this corn that had been watered by a soaker hose attached to a timer set for half an hour every four days. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: A good garden is in the watering

David says I’m two-timing the garden.

  • Jun 20, 2020
I went away for two weeks last summer and returned to this corn that had been watered by a soaker hose attached to a timer set for half an hour every four days. (Mary Lowther photo)
This patch of garden is left bare in spring for the next crop of lettuce and peas. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Planting for a year round harvest

The mid-July sowings produce crops that will become large enough to take them through the winter

  • Jun 13, 2020
This patch of garden is left bare in spring for the next crop of lettuce and peas. (Mary Lowther photo)
These seedlings have outgrown their pots and need transplanting right away. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Sometimes life gets in the way of gardening

The cover crop of winter rye still waves at me from the garden

  • Jun 6, 2020
These seedlings have outgrown their pots and need transplanting right away. (Mary Lowther photo)
Salad fixings from the garden and a B.C. apple make a tasty, nutritious snack. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Nutrition in our food on the decline

When crops don’t contain the minerals they need, they cannot provide other nutrients we depend on.

  • May 30, 2020
Salad fixings from the garden and a B.C. apple make a tasty, nutritious snack. (Mary Lowther photo)
Soil blocker for seedlings. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Starting seeds to beat the slugs, wood bugs

My favourite sorts of seedling starters are the plastic cells that fit inside trays

  • May 23, 2020
Soil blocker for seedlings. (Mary Lowther photo)
Seedlings re-potted, hardening off outside awaiting drier weather to be transplanted. Cruciferous seedlings are protected with Remay. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: On sowing seeds and watering efficiently

To get a jump on the season and avoid early spring predation, I sow most plants in flats inside

  • May 17, 2020
Seedlings re-potted, hardening off outside awaiting drier weather to be transplanted. Cruciferous seedlings are protected with Remay. (Mary Lowther photo)
A pantry makes a cook’s life easier. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Pantries as a way to store food

Houses used to be built with a cool room intended for food storage

  • May 9, 2020
A pantry makes a cook’s life easier. (Mary Lowther photo)
David enjoying the company of garden varmints. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Keeping unwanted varmints out of the garden

Animals seem to think we planted our gardens just for them.

  • May 3, 2020
David enjoying the company of garden varmints. (Mary Lowther photo)
The bumblebees are back to help pollinate our gardens. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Cover crops feed the soil and the bees

Until I read Gojmerac’s book on bees, I hadn’t realized the value of allowing cover crops to flower

  • Apr 27, 2020
The bumblebees are back to help pollinate our gardens. (Mary Lowther photo)
Seedlings that soon will be ready to set outside. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Time to sow veggies, and start thinking about next year’s seed sources

I’m hearing that some gardeners in the States cannot find seed packets for sale

  • Apr 19, 2020
Seedlings that soon will be ready to set outside. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mill Bay Plantaholics are holding a charity plant sale via email this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (submitted)

Here’s a sale for all you Cowichan plantaholics

The money will be used to support two important activities.

  • Apr 17, 2020
Mill Bay Plantaholics are holding a charity plant sale via email this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (submitted)
Putting out some water is important for bees during hot, dry weather. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Bees are a must-have for any garden

Unless it gets too dry or hot, bees will happily pollinate until early August.

  • Apr 10, 2020
Putting out some water is important for bees during hot, dry weather. (Mary Lowther photo)
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes proudly shows off his rented mason bee colony. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich mayor receives his foster bees through pollinator rental program

‘I feel like I’m an adoptive father,’ Fred Haynes says of his rented mason bee colony

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes proudly shows off his rented mason bee colony. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Homemade hand and face cream. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Using COVID-19 downtime in the garden

David will quote an old Farsi saying: “Lick up the honey and ask no questions.”

  • Mar 26, 2020
Homemade hand and face cream. (Mary Lowther photo)
A wartime recipe book has some suggestions about making do. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Turning to the garden and getting inventive when the unexpected happens

The recent possibility of quarantine reminds me of the blockade of the UK during WWII

  • Mar 19, 2020
A wartime recipe book has some suggestions about making do. (Mary Lowther photo)
These baby roses started out as cuttings. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Everything is coming up roses this spring

David is not the only one this made happy; the bush crawls with bees just when I need them.

  • Mar 12, 2020
These baby roses started out as cuttings. (Mary Lowther photo)
Six-inch diameter pumpkin produced 1 cup of flour. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Got squash staring at you, threatening to go bad?

All winter squash contain an abundance of nutrients

  • Mar 5, 2020
Six-inch diameter pumpkin produced 1 cup of flour. (Mary Lowther photo)