gardening

Soaker hoses laid down over corn seedlings, soon to be covered with mulch, will see to the watering needs of the bed through any summer drought. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Investing in soaker hoses is money well-spent

No-till gardening has a distinct advantage during drought

  • Jun 12, 2021

 

These tomato seedlings need re-potting or planting outside under cover. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Tips for starting seeds early

I’ve found that I can begin sowing inside about two weeks earlier than recommended for Vancouver

  • Jun 5, 2021

 

Bees are very sensitive to pesticides. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Benefits of gardening without pesticides

We have non-pesticide solutions to vegetable-chomping pests

  • May 29, 2021

 

Four-year-old espaliered cherry tree against the south wall. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Growing fruit comes with a steep learning curve

It’s definitely worth all the time and trouble

  • May 22, 2021
Four-year-old espaliered cherry tree against the south wall. (Mary Lowther photo)
Potatoes have two genetic centre of origins, one from the lowlands in Chile and the other from the highlands in Bolivia. The highlands potatoes flower and produce fruit profusely, which is where the seeds come from. They contribute to exciting and ecologically imporant genetic diversity of potatoes. (Submitted/Fiona Hamersley Chambers)

Vancouver Island farmer shares secret for inventing a new potato

Using seeds anyone can name their own variety

Potatoes have two genetic centre of origins, one from the lowlands in Chile and the other from the highlands in Bolivia. The highlands potatoes flower and produce fruit profusely, which is where the seeds come from. They contribute to exciting and ecologically imporant genetic diversity of potatoes. (Submitted/Fiona Hamersley Chambers)
Cruciferous vegetables have four petals on their flowers in the shape of a cross. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Yes, you can eat those bits of the plant too

These vegetables include cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage and kohlrabi

  • May 15, 2021
Cruciferous vegetables have four petals on their flowers in the shape of a cross. (Mary Lowther photo)
Can you dig it? Crofton In Bloom volunteers certainly can. From left: Trayci Lepp, Tony Lamley, Bonnie Lamley, Mary Patient and Jane Grueber. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Community pride grows from volunteer group’s beautification efforts

All ages contribute to Crofton In Bloom’s objectives

Can you dig it? Crofton In Bloom volunteers certainly can. From left: Trayci Lepp, Tony Lamley, Bonnie Lamley, Mary Patient and Jane Grueber. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Trying out a corn variety called “Midnight Snack, grown near Cache Creek, as well as my saved Bantam/Sunnyvee Cross (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Early sowing gets a jump on corn season

‘I’m planting three batches of corn, two weeks apart for a steady supply’

  • May 8, 2021
Trying out a corn variety called “Midnight Snack, grown near Cache Creek, as well as my saved Bantam/Sunnyvee Cross (Mary Lowther photo)
Garden Club volunteers with new gardening tools for use at Cairnsmore Place and Cowichan Hospice House. (Submitted)

Cairnsmore Garden Club looking for new members

With the addition of new garden territory around Cowichan Hospice House, new blood needed

  • Apr 28, 2021
Garden Club volunteers with new gardening tools for use at Cairnsmore Place and Cowichan Hospice House. (Submitted)
These onions were planted as seedlings last October and should be ready to eat in May or June. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Planting, growing and storing onions

Long-day onions are more pungent and are bred for storage

  • Apr 24, 2021
These onions were planted as seedlings last October and should be ready to eat in May or June. (Mary Lowther photo)
A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)

B.C.’s wild bees need messy gardens to survive

The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees

A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)
Dr. Bernhardt’s freshly planted strawberries. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Hoping for a bumper crop of strawberries

Because our new plot gets a lot of sun, maybe strawberries won’t become consumed by wood bugs

  • Apr 17, 2021
Dr. Bernhardt’s freshly planted strawberries. (Mary Lowther photo)
Asparagus root, dug up from the old patch and ready to be transplanted. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Some tips on growing asparagus

When choosing asparagus I recommend buying male plants for juicier, plumper spears.

  • Apr 10, 2021
Asparagus root, dug up from the old patch and ready to be transplanted. (Mary Lowther photo)
The Cairnsmore Gardening Group are holding their 10th annual plant sale online. Send an email to get the list of plants starting April 10, 2021. (File photo)

Get list of plants for Cairnsmore sale starting April 10

There are hundreds of plants available

  • Apr 8, 2021
The Cairnsmore Gardening Group are holding their 10th annual plant sale online. Send an email to get the list of plants starting April 10, 2021. (File photo)
B.C. beekeepers will face extra supply challenges this year thanks to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. (Black Press Media file photo)

B.C. bee supply threatened this year by wasps, COVID

No, bees aren’t getting COVID, it’s the supply chain that’s been disrupted

B.C. beekeepers will face extra supply challenges this year thanks to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. (Black Press Media file photo)
This lettuce grown in the greenhouse is ready to eat now. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Replenishing soil produces the best vegetables

Since plants require trace minerals to be nutritious enough, I add them to my fertilizer mix.

  • Apr 3, 2021
This lettuce grown in the greenhouse is ready to eat now. (Mary Lowther photo)
Gordon Cyr and his family run Bee Canadian have been raising mason bees for 20 years and provide homeowners across the Island with pollinators every spring. (Black Press Media file photo)

Island company rents out 135,000 mason bees despite the impacts of COVID-19

Bee Canadian delivers pollinators to renters in pandemic-friendly fashion

Gordon Cyr and his family run Bee Canadian have been raising mason bees for 20 years and provide homeowners across the Island with pollinators every spring. (Black Press Media file photo)
We can grow our own coffee in the form of chickory. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Growing a coffee alternative: chickory and beet root

I’ve been looking for a tasty coffee substitute that I can grow

  • Mar 27, 2021
We can grow our own coffee in the form of chickory. (Mary Lowther photo)
The Mill Bay Plantaholics are holding a COVID-safe version of their annual plant sale for 2021. (Submitted)

COVID can’t stop Cowichan’s Plantaholics 2021 sale

More than 1,300 plants have been potted up ready for sale.

  • Mar 25, 2021
The Mill Bay Plantaholics are holding a COVID-safe version of their annual plant sale for 2021. (Submitted)
Gardeners are preparing for the second spring during COVID-19. Business is already picking up at some Greater Victoria nurseries, including Elk Lake Garden Centre. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Vancouver Island garden centres preparing for busy season

Businesses stocking up after last year’s COVID-19 pandemic gardening explosion

  • Mar 24, 2021
Gardeners are preparing for the second spring during COVID-19. Business is already picking up at some Greater Victoria nurseries, including Elk Lake Garden Centre. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)