First Annual Growing Gardeners Contest

In support of elementary school gardening programs, Tried & True holds the annual Growing Gardeners Contest where winning schools will be awarded Tried & True organic edibles prize packs.School gardens are awesome! Anyone who denies that fact is probably… well, I can’t think of anyone who would disagree. There are countless benefits of school gardens on children, such as:

  • better appreciation and respect for nature
  • increased interest in eating fruits and vegetables
  • improved knowledge of nutrition
  • improved social skills and behaviour
  • increased science achievement scores

These kids are our future. And to be able to ignite a passion and enthusiasm for nature and healthy living is invaluable.

This is why we are ecstatic to announce our first annual Growing Gardeners Contest. Elementary schools in Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, and New Westminster are invited to enter the contest by submitting a poster or a short video showing “what gardening means to them.” Three schools will be selected to win a Tried & True Organic Edible prize pack valued at over $150.

Since it is our first year of the contest, we are keeping the eligibility area small so we can work out any kinks. But don’t worry, we will be expanding the contest in the coming years!

Please visit the Growing Gardeners Contest page for more information, including full rules and regulations and the application form.

Good luck to all the schools that apply!

January in the Garden

Garden tasks that you should be doing this January.

It’s January! If you are anything like me, you are still recovering from your post-holiday daze and are already longing for the brightness and freshness of the spring. You are counting down the days until you can play in the dirt, plant and nurture new life, and feel that sense of completion. As it turns out, all that rewarding springtime fun actually starts right here, right now. I’m not talking about jumping into your rain gear and working the soil in near-zero degree weather (I’ll pass on that, thank you very much).

January is the time for one of the best parts of gardening: planning.

Gardening begins in January with a dream.

In any other situation, the word “planning” doesn’t necessarily elicit the same level of enthusiasm as say an all-you-can-eat dessert buffet. But, for me at least, planning a garden is like creating a whole new world. The possibilities are endless! So bundle up with a hot chocolate (or hot toddy, if that’s how you roll) and check out what’s new and exciting in the world of plants.


Growing Green Thumbs: Garden Glossary

Growing Green Thumbs: Garden Glossary. Here are some gardening terms that you should know

Starting gardening can be a little confusing with all the terms and phrases. Here are some useful words that you should know:

  • ANNUAL: a plant that completes its lifecycle in one growing season, and does not survive the winter. These plants must be planted each year.
  • BENEFICIAL INSECT: a valuable insect that helps in the garden by acting as pest control or by pollinating plants
  • BIOLOGICAL PEST CONTROL: the use of living organisms, such as beneficial insects, to destroy harmful pests from the garden
  • BOLTING: a term used to say that a vegetable plant has started to flower and produce seeds. This will affect the quality of your harvest as most of the plant’s energy is put to flowering and setting the seeds rather than the fruit/leaves
  • COLD FRAME: a box-like structure usually covered with plastic or glass. Used to protect plants from frost thereby extending the growing season
  • COMPANION PLANTING: the practice of planting two or more plants together for mutual benefit, such as pest control and enhanced crop production
  • CROP ROTATION: the practice of growing different types of crops in the same area from one year to the next. This helps to manage soil fertility, improve crop yields, and control diseases and pests
  • DAYS TO MATURITY: the number of days between planting and first harvest
  • DEAD HEADING: the act of removing dead flower heads to promote further blooming
  • DIRECT SOW: sowing seed in the ground where the plant will grow to maturity
  • EXPOSURE: the optimum amount of sun or shade each plant needs to thrive
    • FULL SUN: 6 or more hours of direct sun a day
    • PARTIAL SUN/PARTIAL SHADE: 4-6 hours of direct sun a day
    • FULL SHADE: less than 4 hours of direct sun a day
  • F1 HYBRID: the first generation offspring created by cross-pollinating two different parent plants. These plants have good uniformity, yield, and vigour. Seeds saved from F1 plants will not produce plants that are true to their parent type
  • FERTILIZING: adding nutrients to plants
    • HEAVY FEEDERS: plants that require regular applications of fertilizer for optimal performance
    • LIGHT FEEDERS: plants that do not need regular applications of fertilizer for optimal performance. Often, if these plants are overfed, it will result in toxicity
    • NPK: ratio of Nitrogen to Phosphorous to Potassium in fertilizer
    • SLOW RELEASE FERTILIZER: a pelleted fertilizer that is broken down by soil microbes and release. These microbes will be more active or less active depending on the soil temperature
    • TIME RELEASE FERTILIZER: also known as Controlled Release Fertilizer. These pellets are an improved version of slow release fertilizer. Instead of breaking down and released by microbe action, it is released based on the temperature of the soil.
  • FILLER: a plant grown in the middle area of a mixed container to make the container look fuller
  • HARDENING OFF: acclimating plants grown under protected areas to cooler conditions outdoors. This is normally done by leaving the plants outside during the day then bringing them undercover at night. This process normally takes a few weeks.
  • HABIT: the general structure of the plant
    • CLIMBING: plants that climb up structures by using roots or stems to grip
    • MOUNDING: plants that grow both vertically and horizontally to create a rounded appearance. In general, they will be more wide than tall
    • SPREADING: plants that grow low to the ground and produce roots along the stem
    • TRAILING: plants that grow along the ground or out of pots but do not produce roots along the stem
    • UPRIGHT: plants that grow vertically and is taller than it is wide
  • HARDY PLANT: do not need to be raised indoors and can be directly sown into their flowering positions in the garden in spring
  • HEIRLOOM: plants grown from seeds that have been passed down from generation to generation. These plants are open-pollinated and will keep the same characteristics as their parents
  • INDETERMINATE GROWTH: also known as “vining habit.” Growth that is not genetically pre-determined and does not stop at a certain length. Plants with indeterminate growth will likely need support structures, such as trellises or stakes, to grow against.
  • MULCH: a layer organic material that is spread over the soil surface around plants to hold in moisture, help control weeds, and improve soil structure. Materials used for mulching include well-rotted manure, compost, and leaves
  • OPEN-POLLINATION: the transfer of pollen between plants by insects, birds, wind, or other natural mechanisms
  • OVERWINTERING: the process keeping non-cold hardy plants alive through the winter by adding winter protection or by bringing indoors
  • PERENNIAL: a plant that grows and flowers for years. Some perennials are very long lived and others only survive a few years
  • pH: a scale ranging from 0 to 14 that explains the degree of acidity or alkalinity. Soil pH is very important to growing success as it affects the availability of nutrients and the activity of microorganisms. pH can be adjusted using amendments
  • PINCHING: the method of pruning a plant to encourage the formation of side shoots resulting in more branching and a bushier growth
  • ROOT BOUND: sometimes called Pot Bound. When a plant has been left too long in too small a pot, the developing roots run out of space and will grow in overlapping circles following the inner walls of the pot. This results in a compact, hard ball that retains the shape of the container. If planted this way, the roots will continue to grow in this circular pattern, not spread into the soil, and eventually strangling the plant. Loosen and break up roots to separate them before planting.
  • SELF-CLEANING: used to describe plants that drop spent flowers making room for new flowers and keeping the plant looking fresh
  • SOIL AMENDMENT: material added to the soil to improve the soil’s properties, such as nutrient content and water retention. Soil amendments are mostly organic matter or very slow release minerals and are typically worked into the topsoil
  • SPILLER: a plant planted around the edges of a combination planter that trails out of container
  • THIN: removing a number of buds, flowers, seedlings or shoots to improve the growth and quality of those remaining
  • THRILLER: a plant that is placed in the centre or back of a combination planter to add drama and height to the combination
  • TOPSOIL: the upper layer of soil that you plant in. It varies in depth from place to place but will almost always be less than a foot deep and can be as little as 2 inches deep
  • TRANSPLANT: also known as starts. A baby plant that is ready to be planted in the garden
  • TRANSPLANTING: moving a plant from one growth medium to another
  • VOLUNTEER: a growing plant that is not deliberately planted by the gardener/farmer. These plants are often grown from seeds that have been spread by the wind or birds, or inadvertently mixed into compost.
  • XERISCAPING: creating a low maintenance landscape using native plants to reduce water usage

Flower Fashion 2016

Create a calming, fashionable garden using Pantone's 2016 Colours of the Year

Earlier this month, Pantone announced their 2016 Colour of the Year. Or should I say colours. That’s right, unlike previous years’ predictions, Pantone chose a blend of two colours: Serenity and Rose Quartz. Together, the colours create balance and act as a soothing counterpoint to the stresses of modern living. Both gentle and calming tones also have rich ties to nature. The cool, airy blue of Serenity is reflected in the transcendent blue sky; the warm, light pink of Rose Quartz is extracted from tranquil sunsets. These colours will definitely lend themselves well to your garden, meaning you will not only be able to create your own backyard oasis but you’ll also have the most vogue garden on the block!


Looking at Felicia Tosca Blue is like gazing up at the sky on a clear summer’s day, the radiant sun popping out against the cloudless blue backdrop. Just imagining that makes me take a deep breath. I love this plant not only because of its exquisite colour but also because it adds this light, airiness to containers and garden borders. Plus, Tosca Blue’s hardiness means it will provide this transcendent Serenity-blue colour all summer long.

Rose Quartz

While Petunia SunPassion Cherry Vein is not an exact match to Rose Quartz (especially in this picture), I find that it does elicit the same feelings as Rose Quartz. Amid the chaos of the busy spring and summer seasons, the flushed pink blooms always seem draw me in and reminds me to take the time to reflect on my surroundings. This is probably why I can’t help but take a picture of Cherry Vein every time I see its beautiful blooms. And, it is a very robust bloomer so you will get to enjoy this gorgeous flower well into the autumn months.

Top 5 Must-Have Gifts for Gardeners

Top 5 Gifts for Gardeners

‘Tis the season… of holiday gift-giving anxiety! There is always that one person that is tricky to buy for. But don’t worry! If that person is a gifted gardener or a horticultural homie, we’ve got you covered!

1. Garden Journal

Garden Journal

A garden journal is an essential tool to any gardener (whether they realize it or not). Tracking things like weather conditions and growing methods provides insight to the successes and failures of the gardening season, and helps to identify the unique characteristics of the garden. Being able to look back at previous seasons’ information helps gardeners plan for following years. There are great garden journals already available for purchase, such as Moleskin Passion Gardening Journal, or the My Garden: A Five Year Journal. Or you can add a personal touch and make one yourself. There are many online resources and templates to guide your creation.

2. Nursery/Garden Centre Gift Certificate

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a gift certificate. Especially if it’s one to a place that you know they will love. If you find it a bit impersonal and want to sweeten up the pot, go with them and make it a fun, full-day outing!

3. Skin Care

Gardening can take a toll on your hands. Give your gardener friend the gift of soft, supple skin!

The hard working hands of gardeners are subjected to a lot of wear and tear from the constant exposure to soil, plants, and friction. One of the greatest gifts for gardeners is hand cream. There are innumerable amounts of hand cream types and brands that it can be overwhelming to choose. We would recommend either Crabtree & Evelyn’s Gardeners Ultra Moisturizing Hand Therapy or L’Occitane’s Shea Butter Hand Cream. Both are ultra-moisturizing and will restore even the most weathered gardener’s skin.

4. Truckload of High-Quality Soil Amendments

Many gardeners have to deal with less-than-ideal soil which will affect their ability to grow certain things. Adding high-quality soil amendments, such as compost or composted manure, can improve things like nutrient-holding capacity and pH, and help to make a once-average garden a big success.

5. 1-HR Professional Massage

1 HR Massage

At least one hour. After a hard day’s work in the garden (especially early in the season when no one is in top garden-form), everything is sore. Even parts of the body that they didn’t know existed. A professional can get into those places to relieve pain and stiffness, help speed up recovery time, and improve joint flexibility. A good massage can melt stresses away and make anyone feel like they are walking on Cloud Nine. Plus, they’ll probably love you even more for this splendid treat!

Welcome to Our New Blog!

Welcome to the new Tried & True blog! We're excited to have a new place to talk about stuff that matters to us and keep in touch with you!

Hi! Thanks for stopping by! We’re very excited to share our new Tried & True blog with you. Here we’ll talk about the stuff that matters to us, which could be anything from behind-the-scenes stories to delicious garden-to-table recipes to great gardening tips & tricks, and much more! But we don’t want this to be a one-way street. We really look forward to hearing your thoughts & opinions, and hope to foster great discussions. And of course, as we continue to build our blog, we welcome any feedback you might have.

So, take a tour of our new blog, check out the rest of our website, and connect with us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest). We look forward to growing with you as we embark on this new journey! Thanks for visiting!