40 million years of flowers

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Did you know that sunflowers have been around for 40 million years? (humans are only about 100,000 years old) Reasons to grow a few this year:

**the seeds are nutritious. Sunflower seeds are bought widely, so why not grow them? Make sure you are growing an edible seed variety. There are hybrids that may not be suitable for eating.

**they attract good bugs to your garden. Bright yellow flowers will attract pollinators which will help your other crops.

**kids love them, especially the really tall ones!

**birds feed on them. Grow a few near the house and watch the birds in the autumn. A natural, and very low maintenance, bird feeder.

**they look great!

NB: Only the seeds are edible. The flowers and other parts of the plant should NOT be consumed.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

A World of Herbs

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Herbs hold some wonderful secrets that we can share if we venture into their world for a moment. My favourite herb of the moment is Aloe Vera. Not a culinary herb perhaps but the benefits of aloe vera are enormous.

For example, the sap inside the leaves will help soothe and repair your skin after a minor burn. Perfect to grow on the kitchen windowsill and you don’t even have to remember to water it every day.

Many herbs will grow on a bright windowsill, although care should be taken that the sun isn’t too hot through the glass as this will scorch the leaves of your herbs, and will dry the pots out very quickly. If you have direct sunshine on your chosen windowsill, create shade for your plants during the hottest part of the day.

The quickest way to get a herb garden going is to buy small plants all ready to go. Many supermarkets in the UK sell small herb plants but any garden centre should have a choice of herbs. Stick to three or four if you’re new to growing herbs. You can add to your garden later. Always check on the growing requirements when you buy plants. Some hybrid varieties are less robust and may need to be grown indoors in a moderate climate.

Other herbs need a fair amount of space and may not be practical for the space you have available. Double check before you buy. Same goes if you’re starting your plants from seed. Read through the recommendations on the back of the seed packet so that you get an idea how big your plants could grow and also check on indoor/outdoor requirements.

Follow any ‘instructions’ as far as possible for best results. It’s worth investing in a Herb Book to refer to and be inspired by.

A couple of culinary herbs that work well on the windowsill or in a herb garden are basil and chives:

Basil is generally known as one of the tomato herbs, as a tomato really doesn’t taste right without it. Many shop bought sauces are tomato and basil based, and growing basil on the windowsill will save a trip to the shops from time to time, as well as avoiding processed food – always a plus.

Basil is an annual plant in moderate climates but will grow as a bi-ennial in a warmer environment, producing flower and seed in the second year.

Chives are perfect to add a mild onion taste to your recipe. The flowers are edible and decorate a green salad perfectly. Every year or so, gently dig up plants or tip out of their pots, separate the roots and re-plant. Chive plants make great gifts if you find yourself with far too many to use.

There are many herbs that can be grown for medicinal purposes, although always refer to a reliable source before administering medicinal herbs.

At the first signs of a cold, a thyme and lemon tisane can soothe symptoms – especially with a little honey added -and possibly even stop the cold germs in their tracks! And, barring any allergies, this prevention plan is safe for practically everyone.

There are thousands of fascinating herbs and you can get lost for days in research ๐Ÿ™‚ Sticking to a few at first might be easier. Check out the books on this page Herbs and Healing and get inspired!

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. This gorgeous planter for the windowsill is one of Amazon’s star buys! I think I might treat myself ๐Ÿ™‚

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Indoor Herb Garden Kit – by Viridescent – Wooden Windowsill Planter Box for the Kitchen. Includes All You Need to Grow Your Own Herbs. Personalize with Chalk Provided. Perfect Gift Idea!

Check it out here

Baby Lettuces

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Lettuce seedlings are best re-potted as they gain a lot of strength in their early stages of growth and you want to plant out tiny lettuces rather than seedlngs with only one or two leaves.

Seedlings may re-establish themselves in the veggie patch but they are really fighting against the odds. A hot sun can shrivel tiny plants in a couple of hours and birds can easily pull out seedlings – and they will.

Transplant lettuce seedlings in a seed tray or pots and look after them until they are ready to go out in the big wide world of the veggie patch.

Use bio-degradable pots whenever you can. These can be bought or make them yourself from cardboard tubes or even rolled up newspaper. They don’t have to last for long and re-planting is a lot easier and nicer to your plants as there’s no danger of roots being damaged.

Look after your babies! This growing guide will help you get the most from your plants.

How to Grow Lettuce

Lettuce

 

Download from your favourite retailer here:

Amazon US , Amazon UK , iTunes , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble

 

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

Lettuce

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Lettuce

All leafy green vegetables contain quantities of vitamin C and lettuce is no exception. Picking it fresh is even better! Lettuce also contains vitamin A and folate, some varieties may have mild sedative properties. Cos lettuce tends to have a higher vitamin content than other varieties.

Lettuce is known to have been cultivated for thousands of years. There are many different varieties of modern lettuce, including the โ€˜cut-and-come-againโ€™ types. These grow like small leafy bushes and can be cut every couple of days throughout the growing season. There are also various red tinged and curly leaf varieties that pretty up any meal.
You could even try growing some on a windowsill. This growing guide will help you get the most from your plants.

Lettuce

How to Grow Lettuce

Download from your favourite retailer here:

Amazon US , Amazon UK , iTunes , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble

 

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

Zucchini

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Eat zucchini young and unpeeled for maximum effect. They are full of good vitamins. The seeds are also beneficial. They contain certain naturally occurring chemicals which, it has been shown, can help control enlargement of the prostate gland.

Zucchini, or courgettes, are part of the large squash family and they are one of the easiest veggies to grow yourself.

Originally they were simply young marrows. Now you can buy all sorts of colours, shapes and sizes.
When you grow your own organic zucchini you can afford to eat them even younger โ€“ healthy plants tend to produce lots of fruits!

Grab this quick growing guide from your favourite retailer and get the most from your zucchini plants.

Zucchini

 

How to Grow Zucchini

Amazon US , Amazon UK , iTunes , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble

 

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

Garlic

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As well as being effective in preventing colds, flu and infections, garlic is known to help reduce high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It has anti-fungal and antibiotic qualities.

Garlic is part of the large group of plants belonging to the onion family and was cultivated as long ago as 3000BC. Wild garlic has been around even longer.

The Romans believed that garlic gave strength and workmen and soldiers were encouraged to use it. It was also supposedly a good hangover cure in Roman times.

Garlic has been found in Egyptian tombs and was believed to be an offering to the gods. It was also used in embalming oils, and is still considered to be useful as a preservative.

Garlic has been the number one herb for warding off vampires and bad spirits for centuries, and there are many myths and legends attached to it.

So, vampire-slayer, preservative and medicinal aside, garlic is delicious! Grow some yourself… This handy download will help you grow twenty every day herbs including garlic:

website-20everydayherbs

 

 

20 Everyday Herbs

Amazon US , Amazon UK , iTunes , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble

 

 

Happy Gardening!

Linda x