gardening

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)
Garlic is muscling its way through the frosty leaves. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Spring is when gardeners really bloom

We endure the elements, fortified by the knowledge that soon we can put away the wellies, long johns

  • Mar 20, 2021
Garlic is muscling its way through the frosty leaves. (Mary Lowther photo)
Dorothee Kieser, president of the Vancouver Island Master Gardeners Association and a volunteer at Milner Gardens and Woodland in Qualicum Beach (Submitted photo)

Podcast: Getting your green thumb ready for Vancouver Island’s gardening season

Timely tips from Dorothee Kieser of the Vancouver Island Master Gardeners Association

Dorothee Kieser, president of the Vancouver Island Master Gardeners Association and a volunteer at Milner Gardens and Woodland in Qualicum Beach (Submitted photo)
Garden helpers come in all shapes and sizes, including David Lowther with his tractor. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: The pros and cons of helping hands in the garden

Even the most grounded of us need an extra pair of hands.

  • Mar 13, 2021
Garden helpers come in all shapes and sizes, including David Lowther with his tractor. (Mary Lowther photo)
Phaecelia used as a cover crop attracts bees and provides them with high quality nectar. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Cover crops keep soil healthy and productive

We don’t harvest a cover crop and instead dig the tops under when they’re immature and soft

  • Mar 6, 2021
Phaecelia used as a cover crop attracts bees and provides them with high quality nectar. (Mary Lowther photo)
I’ll be harvesting leaves from this Romaine lettuce next week. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Fresh garden veggies full of nutrients

Take folic acid, for example.

  • Feb 20, 2021
I’ll be harvesting leaves from this Romaine lettuce next week. (Mary Lowther photo)
Lettuce seedlings ready to be transplanted into the cold frame, and leek seedlings transplanted outside. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Things to do in the February garden lull

On days when it’s not raining I can tend to the espaliered fruit trees.

  • Feb 13, 2021
Lettuce seedlings ready to be transplanted into the cold frame, and leek seedlings transplanted outside. (Mary Lowther photo)
Seeds from the batch of these carrots harvested two years ago should still be viable. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Sow to eat your own carrots year-round

Carrots grow best in loose soil that hasn’t been recently manured.

  • Feb 6, 2021
Seeds from the batch of these carrots harvested two years ago should still be viable. (Mary Lowther photo)
Cowichan Green Community is going virtual with Seedy Saturday this year. (Submitted)

Mary Lowther column: Cowichan Green Community a good seed resource

The Green Community is also holding virtual workshops on Jan. 30

  • Jan 28, 2021
Cowichan Green Community is going virtual with Seedy Saturday this year. (Submitted)
Peas are great to grow in the garden, but a trellis for them in an A frame shape will offer more portability and wind resistance. (Citizen file)

Mary Lowther column: Making a foldable pea trellis on winter agenda

My previous methods required starting anew every spring

  • Jan 23, 2021
Peas are great to grow in the garden, but a trellis for them in an A frame shape will offer more portability and wind resistance. (Citizen file)
Staff meetings can be difficult when everyone has his own agenda. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Garden additions at request of staff

I’ll sow the catnip in flats on the seed table inside

  • Jan 16, 2021
Staff meetings can be difficult when everyone has his own agenda. (Mary Lowther photo)
Gardening is much easier with a plan. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Gardening is easier with a plan

Since we’re moving the garden to another property down the road, I’m adapting my garden plan.

  • Jan 9, 2021
Gardening is much easier with a plan. (Mary Lowther photo)
Preparing witloof roots to force to grow chicons in the winter. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Trying out witloof chicory for winter salads

Some witloof chicory is grown for the chicons that develop during winter

  • Jan 2, 2021
Preparing witloof roots to force to grow chicons in the winter. (Mary Lowther photo)
Brussels sprouts are still sprouting in the garden in December. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Still eating from the garden in December!

Hardy herbs like parsley and rosemary sit on a sunny shelf in an unheated room

  • Dec 26, 2020
Brussels sprouts are still sprouting in the garden in December. (Mary Lowther photo)
Kale provides great nutrition all year round. (Submitted)

Mary Lowther column: Kale has long history, and long list of nutrients

Egyptians ate it, 4,000 year old Chinese pottery contains fossilized kale remnants

  • Dec 19, 2020
Kale provides great nutrition all year round. (Submitted)
One filing system for seed packets. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Time to organize for next year’s seed

We should know what we already have in stock and calculate if they’re still viable.

  • Dec 12, 2020
One filing system for seed packets. (Mary Lowther photo)
My most versatile tool, a pocket knife, is something I always carry on my person. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Pocket knife an invaluable tool

Ever since I read that story, I bought pocket knives for myself and every member of my family

  • Dec 5, 2020
My most versatile tool, a pocket knife, is something I always carry on my person. (Mary Lowther photo)