Starting a Garden

If you’re thinking about starting a garden, the most important thing is not to get overwhelmed by the idea. As soon as you start talking about a new interest, experts on the subject come at you from every angle with mostly some great advice, although not all of it will be. Gardening is no exception!

It doesn’t matter what month it is, or whether you think you are too late to start your garden this year… you’re not!

The first and probably the most important question to ask yourself is…

“What do I want from my garden/outdoor space?”

One way to uncover your wants that are appropriate to the size of your garden, is to take a while to contemplate… Sit outside, weather permitting of course, and allow the environment to take over your thoughts. Ideas will turn up unexpectedly, especially if you really are serious about starting a garden.

If it’s really not warm enough to sit outside, grab a coat and wander around for a few minutes or even try for a good view from an upstairs window and consider the layout.

There are many garden ideas you can use to brainstorm to come up with the right ideas for your space, and what would suit you and your family.

Starting a garden should be fun 🙂

Veggie patch: Are you longing to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs to ensure the best possible diet for everyone?

Containers: Are you facing a concrete yard and can’t face the building work involved? Containers may be the answer.

Flowers: Are you a rose enthusiast? Or how about edible flowers to jazz up the family dinners?

Themes: Your whole outside space could be a theme to enhance your home, an attractive outdoor art form, or even a wildlife sanctuary.

If you have the space to explore a few different ideas, go for it! While you’re in the process of starting a garden, the sky’s the limit. The next best thing to do, while still relaxing in your garden of course, is grab a notepad and roughly draw out a plan of the garden and start playing with design. It doesn’t have to be to scale, although it has to be realistic. When you start getting down to work, the plans, no doubt, will be adjusted!

NB:Allow space for fun and relaxation – especially relaxation. Sitting in your garden will encourage more ideas and will also melt away stress.

Before starting a garden, there will be a few tools to acquire. Not necessarily that many, but you will need a few bits and pieces. Get the tools first; it’s so frustrating when you are on a roll and you have to stop because you haven’t the right tool for the job. Scroll down for more about tools and the ideas you can get started with straight away…

** When you’re starting a garden there are a few essentials, especially seeds, to buy. Amazon is a great place to start looking. Even if you’d rather buy locally or elsewhere online, you can get some inspiring ideas by browsing the garden products available from Amazon . This link takes you to their garden department. Type vegetable seeds or flower seeds etc; into the search box or just go with the flow.**

Starting a Garden… let’s get going!

Tools

If you’ve decided to grow fruit, flowers, herbs or vegetables in open ground, the main tools you will need are a spade, fork, rake and probably a Dutch hoe. Buy good quality tools that feel comfortable and not too heavy to use. Smaller tools, such as a trowel and watering can are also important and are needed if you are container growing. For wildlife gardens, you may simply need a sharp pair of shears to cut down any invasive plants from time to time. Check out this article for Garden Supplies

Wear heavy shoes or boots in the garden when you are digging or using any larger tools. And protect your hands with decent gardening gloves. If you’re facing a bramble patch before starting a garden, make sure the gloves are bionic!

Products

Seed trays, pots and a few pot markers are the basics if you’re intending to sow seeds or start off young plants. This is a good moment to recycle and get some free pots!

Collect cardboard tubes from toilet rolls or wash, dry and save yoghurt pots with a few drainage holes punched in the bottom. Cardboard tubes are ideal as they only last for a while and can be planted in the garden without having to disturb the roots of small plants.

Larger containers should also be bought, or acquired, for container gardening ideas. Remember you can buy specially designed potato barrels and strawberry planters nowadays and you can grow many herbs, fruit and veg in large pots and containers. Starting a garden can be as decorative and artistic as you like.

Veggie Patch

In an ideal world, a veggie patch should be divided into four or more sections to allow for crop rotation. In a smaller garden, the vegetable patch should be replenished every year with well-rotted manure or compost, or other food for your soil. Every plant that grows takes nutrients from the soil – a good reason to get rid of weeds!

Consider raised beds and containers to increase the growing area for fruit and veg. And if you are growing food, keep some notes. I put together a printable Garden Journal you may find useful or just grab any old notebook to start! My Garden Journal

Containers

Containers can be very useful as well as practical. Grow herbs in containers on the patio so they are available to add directly to your ‘al fresco’ summer meals. Pots of herbs can be grown on windowsills and other bright spots indoors. Many vegetables can be grown in large containers so there’s no excuse if you have a couple of pots lying around!

Look for old and interesting containers in markets or car boot sales. If they don’t have drainage, put a well-drained pot inside and plant into this pot. All plants need good drainage. Water-logging will rot the roots very quickly.

NB: Put pots and containers on a stand to avoid bugs making a nest underneath and to ensure good drainage. The stand doesn’t have to be fancy. A couple of bricks should do it.

Flowers

There are so many incredible flowers that can be grown at home that you can get lost for days in a seed catalogue! Go for the ones you like, or if you have no idea, consider a few points before you start:

*height and space required

*colours and scent

*annual/perennial

*support structure needed? i.e. for climbing plants

*ground cover plants

If you are simply crazy about roses for example, experiment and grow as many different varieties as you dare. Flowers can also be designed with colour in mind. Grow flowers to match the decor in the lounge perhaps? 🙂

Themes

Again flowers and colour could be themes to stick with, or there are other possibilities. How about a butterfly garden? Or maybe encourage ladybirds to your garden to deal with the greenfly on your roses?

A herb garden can take over the whole space if you so wish and many herbs will grow well in containers.

Starting a garden from scratch or even with a residue of someone else’s past efforts, is probably one of the most creative experiences to enjoy, with many practical bonuses – fresh organic food, sweet smelling flowers in the house, a little physical exercise and a general feeling of well-being. And it’s never too late to start. Many plants will survive and stay green right through the winter as well as the summer months.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

PS. Just in case you’re longing for a herb garden this year, this handy download will help you get started.

The Herb Garden

Learn how to grow herbs indoors or in the garden, in pots and containers, from seed and other propagating methods!

Find the best ways to design a herb garden, whether you’re growing a few herbs on the windowsill or have enough outdoor space to create an outside herb garden.

The Herb garden is packed full of tips on growing herbs indoors, in pots and containers, ideas on herbal displays, different propagating methods, and pests and diseases to watch out for.

This is a comprehensive guide to general growing requirements for many herbs. Choose from your favourite online book store:

Amazon (US) , Amazon (UK) , Apple Books , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes and Noble , Etsy

Free Gardening Products

“These 10 free gardening products will get you moving in the garden without dipping into your wallet”

Finding alternative ways of coming up with the same, if not better, end result is so satisfying and will also help keep your volume of recycling stuff down. Always a good thing!

1.Cardboard Tubes

Toilet rolls and kitchen towel rolls can be cut width-ways to make tiny bottomless pots for your seeds to germinate. Squash ‘pots’ into a tray and fill with seed compost. Although watering will slowly ruin the cardboard, it doesn’t matter! And when the seedlings are ready to plant out or pot on, the cardboard easily peels away from the soil. If you can guarantee the cardboard hasn’t been treated with any chemicals, the whole pot can be planted and the cardboard will eventually rot away on its own.

2.Food Waste

All food waste must be composted. Composting is becoming quite an art form, and special composting bins can be bought, or very simply made.

There are many different theories and each gardener will find his or her preferred way. Keeping the compost fairly warm is the overall key to a good result. Or, if you’re in no hurry, simply keep adding to a heap, and dig out the bottom when required. Sieve before using and the compost will be ready for planting small plants and even seeds. A nutritous gardening product!

3.Old carpets, large damaged cardboard boxes

and similar materials can be laid over the vegetable plot in autumn to help prevent those early spring weeds appearing. Spread over a whole patch and weigh down with stones or logs. Lift off on a sunny day in early spring a few days before digging.

4.Paint trays

Keep old roller painting trays and similar containers for seed trays. Punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Add a little fine gravel before filling with seed compost. Seed trays shouldn’t be deeper than 15cm. NB: Make sure all traces of paint have been washed from the trays before using.

5.Yoghurt pots

All plastic yoghurt or dessert pots can be washed and saved for re-potting seedlings. Make a hole in the bottom of each and add a little fine gravel before filling with compost or soil.. pots can be expensive and recycled yoghurt pots are perfect free gardening products. Some manufacturers these days are on the ball and may be using biodegradeable pots instead of plastic – which is ideal because you can then re-plant the whole pot.

6.Glass jars

Glass jars with sealable lids are excellent for storing seeds, beans and peas for planting next season. (Safe from mice as well) After washing the jars, dry in the oven to remove all traces of moisture before storing your seeds. Collect dark glass jars, or wrap paper round clear jars to prevent seeds being damaged by light.

7.Lolly sticks and twigs

Lolly sticks make perfect row markers in your seed trays or greenhouse beds. The wooden ones won’t last for ever but you can at least write on them with pen, pencil or crayons. ( Free gardening products the kids can help recycle!)

Collect a few fallen twigs on a woodland walk if you can. They don’t need to be longer than 30cm but should be fairly straight. Then when you get home, give them a quick wash if needed. Make some flags by simply folding a small piece of paper and tying, sellotaping or sticking in anyway you can to one end of the twigs. Write your seeds name when you come to sow them!

8.Wire coat hangers

Make mini-cloches with discarded or broken wire coat hangers. Pull into a square shape. Please be careful when bending wire hangers – they can hurt! Place the hook in the soil and push down gently until the natural bend in the wire rests on top of the soil. Place another a short distance away in your seed bed to create two ends of a cloche. Now throw over a sheet of plastic and hold down with logs or stones.

Note: this will work only when creating very small cloches, but it’s still a free gardening product you can make from your wardrobe.

9.Clear plastic

Although we’re all trying to reduce our plastic consumption, sometimes you find yourself with plastic packaging that can, perhaps, be used again. Keep any clear plastic containers that could be placed upside down over a plant. Cut a mineral water bottle in half to make two handy individual cloches. Large sheets of clear plastic from packaged household items are fine for throwing over mini coat hanger cloches. When using plastic in the garden, make sure it doesn’t start decomposing or shredding any bits of plastic in your soil.

10.Aluminium bottle tops and DVDs

Keep aluminium tops from milk or juice bottles, and also coloured foil around beer or wine bottles. Thread together to make a bird scarer. Simply thread with thick cotton and hang on your fruit bushes before the birds find the new fruits.

Old CDs and DVDs also make good bird scarers, threaded together on a rope. A large enough knot needs to be tied on either side of each disc to keep them in place.

Look out for other free gardening products from kitchen throwaways such as…

-Old kitchen spoons and forks for transplanting tiny plants in the greenhouse.

-Leaky buckets for harvesting small quantities of potatoes, carrots etc;

-Light wooden boxes for harvesting salads through the summer, and transporting pots etc;

Keep an eye on that rubbish bag and turn today’s throwaways into tomorrow’s free gardening products!

Happy Gardening

Linda x

P.S. This handy download will be invaluable if you’re just starting out on your gardening journey. Feeding family and friends on organic fresh veggies is sublime!

Growing Everyday Vegetables

Growing Everyday Vegetables takes you step-by-step through the process of growing, harvesting and storing ten everyday vegetables:

Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Garlic, Lettuce, Onions, Peppers, Potatoes, Tomatoes and Zucchini.

And, as an added bonus, there are recipe ideas for every vegetable, so if you have a glut, you can serve deliciously different recipes that the whole family will enjoy, without getting bored!

Choose from your favourite online bookstore:

Amazon (US) , Amazon (UK) , Apple Books , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble , Etsy

Growing Horseradish

(from 20 Everyday Herbs – see below)

Horseradish is a prolific plant and should be positioned carefully in the garden. It will tolerate partial shade but prefers a sunny spot if possible. Choose a permanent place as horseradish will last many years.

Dig the ground deep and clear out any weeds, large stones and non-organic debris. The cleaner the soil, the bigger the roots will grow. More preparation will guarantee better crops.

The horseradish root likes a rich well-manured soil and not too heavy. All root crops struggle in heavy soils.

To inhibit rapid spreading, containers work well as they literally contain the plant.
Fill containers with organic compost and position in a sunny spot. Make sure the container is well-drained, and kept watered and weed-free.


Not easy to find horse radish roots for sale online although Ebay might be worth a shot. Not even Amazon seemed to have any when I looked. They sell a lot of wasabi which is a close relative but I’m not sure if there are any different growing requirements.

Vsorce4u 100 x Wasabi Viable Bonsai Seeds

Package Included: 100 x Wasabi Seeds
Wasabi has numerous health benefits and a distinctive fresh, hot, sweet flavor that can’t be matched. This is the true wasabi.

These cold-stored seeds must be planted in potting soil. Germination of this summer or fall planted seed is in the very early spring. By March the seedlings will have formed 2 sets of true leaves and its time to pot them up.

Wasabi Seeds Here (UK)

Horseradish is usually grown from root cuttings which you can buy from good garden suppliers. Plant the root in early spring or autumn. Check on the supplier’s growing recommendations, as size of root, variety and regions will have varying needs.

A neighbour or local gardener may be happy to donate a root or two to start you off. Plant as soon as possible after the roots have been lifted from the soil.

Plant the roots according to how big they are. The smaller the root the shallower it should be planted.

Try taking your own root cuttings in the autumn. Dig the roots up gently and use the largest one in the kitchen, then re-plant one or more of the side shoots.

Also, sections of root can be planted in the spring to produce new roots in the autumn. Horseradish does spread quickly though and care should be taken not to let it take over the whole garden. For container growing, choose a large well-drained container and fill with fresh compost before planting.

From seed:

Horseradish can be grown from seed sown in spring. The seeds should be sown in a sunny patch and the ground must be cleaned of large stones and perennial weeds, and dug deeply before sowing to allow for root growth.

Again, the cleaner and richer the soil, the better chance you have of harvesting a good crop.

Thin out the plants when they are a couple of inches (5cm) high to allow space to grow. Keep weed-free and watered especially during dry periods.

Alternatively, sow seed in a large well-drained container. Always use fresh compost when planting containers. Old compost may have been drained of nutrients from previous plantings.

Once established, and with very little attention, the bed will become a permanent horseradish patch and will produce healthy roots for many years.

Dig up all the roots every autumn. Use the largest roots in the kitchen and re-plant the others. This method of cultivation keeps your horseradish patch producing roots regularly and also helps to control the rapid growth.

The young leaves can be used in salads and sandwiches. Take a few from each plant and allow to grow again before using more. The root is cleaned, grated and eaten raw, often mixed with vinegar and cream and served with a Sunday roast.

Horseradish root is said to be stronger tasting after the first frost, so if you can leave them in until then, you will get a better result.

Text from ’20 Everyday Herbs’ – a must-have if you’re planning to grow some herbs this year and why wouldn’t you?!

Download from your preferred store here –

Healthy Living Books – Herbs and Healing

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

October Gardening

Needing some more dry days in Cornwall this autumn. But, between the showers, it’s possible to get some tidying or clearing up done before it gets too cold. Preparing the garden now will give you a head start in the Spring.

Clearing:
All garden debris should be cleared this month. Harvest remaining summer crops and have a general clear up before it gets too cold and wet to plan gardening days. Clean as much as you can now and you’ll have fewer pressing jobs later on.

Rake up all leaves.

Compost what you can. Burn some if you need to. Leaves can be hung in sacks with a few drainage holes if you have a lot of them. They will turn into leaf mould that can be used as a nutritious mulch.

Pests:
Slugs will probably re-appear in the wetter weather so check all your winter veg carefully and get rid of slugs and snails quickly.

Plants:
Bring in or protect vulnerable plants. If you’ve left a lemon tree out all summer, bring it in before it gets too cold. Plant over-wintering vegetables now if you haven’t already done so. Spinach, broad (fava) beans and even fruit bushes.

Fruit trees and bushes planted now have time to establish their root systems before the spring. But always check that your variety is able to cope with winter weather before you plant.

Spring flowering bulbs should definitely be planted by now.

Prune all dead wood from fruit bushes and woody shrubs now. Think air-flow when pruning fruit bushes. Any tangled branches should be pruned back and any diseased or dead parts removed.

Split your perennials. Rhubarb crowns ad chive plants can be carefully dug up, divided and re-planted now.

Crops:
Lift all root crops and potatoes before it gets too wet and/or cold. Dry in the sun for a few hours if possible, then store in a dry cool place. Storing vegetables needs a little care. Don’t just throw them all in a box and hope for the best! They should be stored separately and in trays out of direct light in a dry area and away from rodents. Some gardeners like to store in barrels of sand – although these can be vulnerable to mice attacks.

Harvest all summer crops, including fruits and store.

There are four usual ways of storing crops. Laying them in trays, as above, bottling/preserving, drying and freezing. Each food crop will be best stored in a different fashion, although some will cope with more than one way.

For example, strawberries make great jam, but you can also freeze them. Frozen fruits tend to lose their texture and some taste when frozen but it’s still possible. Check on storing instructions online for each of your crops.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. This article comes from a printable Garden Journal with monthly tips that you can use every year. Grab it from Etsy now while it’s at a seasonal low price!

Handy Gardening Tips

Here are a few general growing tips that may come in handy.

**Always make sure plants are in well-drained soil or compost. Check your soil outside for drainage and make sure containers and pots have good drainage. Very few plants will survive in waterlogged soil.

**Check your plants every day. Get someone else to do this if you are away for a few days. They must be watered in dry weather and sometimes need shelter from a hot midday sun. We don’t tend to have that problem very much in the UK, but you never know.

**Grow what you like to eat. Doesn’t matter how great the beetroot harvest is, if no-one wants to eat it, it’s a waste of your time and energy.

**Local growers may have valuable tips that will save you from a crop failure, especially if you are intending to grow fruit or vegetables which are not acclimatized to your region. Chat over the fence with your gardening neighbour and get them to talk about their crops. Guaranteed they will love to share their tips!

**Don’t rush into the garden and dig over the ground in one go, especially if you aren’t used to daily physical (hard) work-outs. Back ache isn’t comfortable, and could keep you from pottering in the garden for weeks. Take it slowly – even half a square metre a day will soon give you enough prepared soil for seeds or small plants.

**Always use good potting or seed compost in pots and containers to give your plants all the nutrients they need.

** Use bio-degradable pots so that you don’t disturb the roots when planting out.
Save cardboard tubes from the inside of toilet rolls, kitchen towels etc; Cut them in half so you have 2 tubes and then cram them into a seed tray. Fill with compost and sow your seeds as usual. The cardboard should survive just long enough to plant out and then will decompose safely.

You can also buy a ‘pot-maker’ tool these days from most garden suppliers. Or simply roll newspaper a few times round a rolling pin or something similar. These home-made pots only need to last a few weeks so they don’t have to be perfectly symmetrical or garden works of art. 🙂

Happy Gardening!

Linda x
P.S. This text was lifted straight out of ‘Growing Everyday Vegetables’ available as a download in lots of online bookstores. Choose your favourite supplier on this page: Growing Vegetables

Growing Groceries

Wouldn’t it be great to avoid the weekly supermarket shopping nightmare from time to time? Think of all the petrol, cash and not least of all, the STRESS!

An added bonus of avoiding supermarket shopping is that you aren’t tempted to buy ‘two for the price of one’ family packs of chocolate, snacks and other bad-for-you-munchies!

So, putting aside all the negative stuff you don’t need anyway, let’s move on to the positive approach of growing groceries yourself …even if you live in an apartment, have never grown a plant before, or have a small family budget.

The very first thing you should decide is what you want to grow for your family. It’s possible to grow crops that can be harvested in all seasons of the year, not just the summer months. Do a little research. Generally in-season fruit and veg will be less expensive in the shops, but don’t let that put you off growing groceries yourself- especially if you’ve never tasted a home-grown tomato before. We’re going for quality here – in taste, freshness, vitamin and mineral content … oh, and lack of chemicals!

The Salad Bowl:

As well as delicious cherry tomatoes, crisp celery and sweet peppers, there are hundreds of varieties of lettuce you could grow. The ‘cut-and-come-again’ types are practical and tend to be easy to grow when you’re just starting out. Buy the right seed as some lettuces are specifically designed to crop in the winter months. Sow seed thinly as lettuce tends to germinate well.

Down To Roots:

Root veggies are traditionally grown in long lines in fairly deep soil. Although you do need a certain depth of soil, root crops can also be grown in containers. Even potatoes, although not strictly a ‘root’ but a ‘tuber’ can be grown in barrels, specially designed potato planters or even old car tyres on a patio. There are varieties of carrot seed that will produce shorter fatter roots but are ideal for container growing or in a garden with little depth of soil.

Everyday Veg:

Grow peas and beans together in the same plot, but move them every year. Peas are wonderful plants, they grab nitrogen from the air and store it in their roots, so at the end of the season, digging in the roots will enrich the soil for next years crops. Dwarf broccoli and spinach can be successfully grown in containers, and don’t forget to plant some winter kale and Brussels sprouts!

Herb Corner:

It’s always a good move to grow some herbs. Aloe Vera is a great plant to keep on the kitchen windowsill as the sap will treat minor burns. While thyme will not only flavour a Sunday roast, it can also help prevent and treat colds. Many herbs have medicinal properties, and they will also earn you loads of Brownie points when you add them to an everyday meal and turn it into a cordon bleu feast!

Fruity Treats:

Fruits are easier to grow than supermarket prices would have us believe! Lemon and even orange trees are a popular addition to homes in less-than-tropical climates. Apples and pears can be trained to grow along a fence rather than taking up the whole garden and smaller plants such as raspberries, strawberries and gooseberries have been grown in the home garden for centuries.

All in all, there isn’t really much we CAN’T grow, you can even grow your own potato chips! – growing groceries can reduce your supermarket shop to once a month for provisions. You save time, money and stress. And you gain health, wealth and feeling good. Perfect!

The above text was taken from ‘Grow It, Cook It!’ (Details on this page Growing Books )

Happy Gardening!
Linda x

P.S. Just for a laugh, how about growing a cheese sandwich?!

Strawberry Tips

Your strawberry plants should be fruiting nicely around now.

Keep plants well watered. Because they are shallow rooting plants, strawberries will dry out very quickly in hot weather, and your crop will be affected.

When the fruits start to appear, cover the ground around your plants with a fairly thick layer of straw. Try and get ‘weed free’ straw. Barley is the best. If no straw can be found, use black plastic or something similar but watch out for slugs.

Covering the ground in this way keeps the weeds down, and stops the fruits being in contact with the soil, where they can rot very quickly or, again, get eaten by the slugs.

Growing strawberries in your garden will encourage just about every garden bird you can imagine. The trouble is, they will ALL eat your strawberries …… if you let them!

Make a small wooden frame to stand over your strawberry bed, and cover in fine netting. Don’t use heavy materials, as you will want to move the cover every day during cropping season. Use light wood, and perhaps tent pegs or the equivalent to secure it against being blown over by the wind or knocked over by cats and dogs.

NB:Always use wildlife friendly fine netting so birds don’t get their wings tangled.

Remove the ‘runners’ – little plants coming off the main plant, before they root. This will encourage your ‘mother’ plant to produce more fruit.

Pick your strawberries every day in season.

With good weather and a fairly long growing season, strawberries can produce up to 3 crops a year.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

Natural Pharmacy

The natural health and well-being movements have been growing steadily as we are all realizing the benefits of living with nature rather than against it. There ‘s a natural pharmacy to be found all around us.

While I appreciate the amazing medical breakthroughs and necessary pharmaceutical drugs we have available now, I am also a great believer in looking to nature for a few remedies here and there. Especially since the big pharma stand to increase their profits by billions due to the so-called pandemic and their vaccination rollout.

I could rant on about that all day but for a little calm and peace 🙂 let’s check out just a few of the herbs that we can grow at home….

NB: Please don’t self-medicate unless you’re 100% certain you have the right plants and that their consumption won’t interfere with any prescribed medication or allergies.

BASIL

Culinary: Perhaps the most common use of basil today is its addition to tomato dishes and many people refer to it as the tomato herb.
Medicinal: Basil belongs to the same family of plants as mint and is considered to be a good digestive aid. Herbalists use it to help cure headaches, constipation and sickness.
Cosmetic: It has also been used cosmetically to add shine to dull hair.
Growing Tip: Position basil plants with peppers and tomato plants and they will enhance each other’s growth.

►A small cup of basil tea after a meal aids digestion.

BAY

Culinary: Add bay leaves to stews and casseroles.
Medicinal: Bay is known to have powerful antiseptic qualities. A traditional folk remedy for rashes caused by poison ivy, poison oak, and stinging nettle is a poultice soaked in boiled bay leaves
Cosmetic: Not really cosmetic but laurel was, for many centuries considered to be a symbol of success/prosperity.
Growing Tip: Bay trees will grow up to 15m if they are left to their own devices! Grow in large pots and containers. They need very little maintenance.

CELERY

Culinary: a nutritious and useful vegetable, it will also double up as a herb. The stems can be eaten fresh or cooked and they make delicious soup. Leaves can be added to soups and salads for flavouring.
Medicinal: Celery is used in Ayurvedic medicine for bronchial problems, including asthma, wind and as a nerve tonic. Seed sold for cultivation shouldn’t be used medicinally.
Growing Tip: Some types of celery are best grown in trenches so the plants may be earthed up later in the year, although many varieties will successfully grow on flat ground. Either way choose a sunny spot.

►Growing celery at home means you can make wonderful soups without going shopping. Wholesome, heart-warming and very nutritious. (And, I’ve heard it’s been used as an aphrodisiac!!)

CHAMOMILE

Culinary: Recipe idea: Chamomile tea is widely drunk as a mild sedative
Medicinal: Chamomile has mild sedative properties and has, for many years, been made into a soothing and calming tea. It aids digestion and alleviates symptoms of the common cold.
Cosmetic: Chamomile is also used in cosmetic preparations including hair lighteners and shampoos.
Growing Tip: Chamomile, like most herbs, will be better left to its own devices most of the time. It is also a good companion plant as it tends to repel bugs.
►Chamomile has been found useful for reducing joint inflammation such as arthritis and easing menstrual cramps

Amazing ay?!! And these are just four out of hundreds of herbs that exist on our planet just waiting to help us. Start growing your natural pharmacy today! (quick download Herb Books here)

Peace and good health.

Linda x

P.S.

I grabbed this text from my newly updated Healthy Body Hacks download listed here if you’d like to read more.

Growing Kale

Kale is a real honest-to-goodness superfood.

It contains iron, Vitamins K, A and C and is also high in calcium. Well worth growing for use later on in the year, when you want to boost the immune system so you can avoid winter colds and flu.

Kale is part of the brassica family and a particularly hardy crop, tolerating cold better than many other crops. Sow seed according to the growing recommendations on your seed packet and pick leaves when they are young and tender.

A healthy kale plant will keep growing right through the winter and is a wonderful source of vitamins.

Recent research has shown kale to be a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals and, although it’s a fairly ancient crop kale is fast becoming the next ‘superfood’.

Grab a few baby plants from your local garden centre to get them going quickly.

I started some kale seeds in a greenhouse, then re-potted the small plants and put them outside. Because we get a fair amount (slight understatement!) of rain in Cornwall, I’ve not really had to water them but I would suggest they should have a fair amount of water, although never waterlog them.

This is what they’re doing after just a few weeks and in a few more weeks, I think I’ll be picking a few leaves here and there.

I want to keep them going for cropping in the winter. I’ve never grown kale in pots before so we’ll see what happens!

This variety is ‘Dwarf Green Curled’

Starting some winter crop seeds now will give you some awesome nutritious and organic veggies in the cold months of the year.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. Check out your local garden centre or supplier for different kale seed varieties. Or, failing that, try online. This variety (Amazon UK) looks good and tastes good! I think I’ll go for the scarlet one next time. (over 2000 seeds)

Kale/Borecole – Scarlet – 2200 Seeds

An attractive and productive variety producing an abundant harvest of delicious, deeply curled leaves that turn violet-blue after the first frost.

Growing Scarlet Kale

Grow Parsley at Home

Growing Parsley (petroselinum crispum):
(biennial)

Parsley has traditionally been used as a food garnish and flavouring, for head-dresses and even for adorning tombs during ancient Greek times.

It is probably the most under-used herb in the garden but is rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly iron. Gram for gram, parsley has more vitamin C than citrus fruits.

There are a number of different varieties. The most commonly used are the curly leaf and Italian flat leaf types which are added to many recipes, as well as being an attractive garnish.

Parsley originally grew wild in Mediterranean areas, but has been cultivated throughout Europe and America for many centuries.

In recent years, the remarkable properties of parsley have been well documented and the herb is freely used in professional and home kitchens although there is still a temptation to use it only as a garnish.

Parsley is effective in freshening the breath after eating garlic.

Growing:

Parsley likes to grow in a sunny spot, and thrives in a rich soil. It grows well in containers and can be dotted around the garden to grow with other herbs and vegetables. Varieties of parsley differ so much that it’s hard to tell they come from the same family sometimes. Try growing flat leaved and tight curly leaved varieties to compare.

Buy ready grown young plants from a nursery or garden centre to get your crop going quickly. But these plants are often started in forced conditions and are not hardened to cold nights. It’s unlikely the plants would survive if put out too early. Keep plants on a sunny windowsill and keep well watered. They may be transplanted a little later in the year, although a healthy parsley plant will keep green and fresh right into the winter months on a sunny windowsill.

Always ensure pots are well-drained, but parsley needs to be kept moist, so water regularly.

Choose a well-drained sunny spot outside. Parsley will tolerate some shade but the soil will need to be rich in nutrients for it to thrive. Dig over the ground and remove and perennial weeds and dig in some well-rotted manure or rich compost, if available.

From seed:

Parsley will grow readily from seed, but can take more than six weeks to germinate, so it needs to be started in a clean compost where the seeds won’t be drowned with weeds. Some growers soak the seed for 24 hours before planting to speed up the germination process.

Sow a few seeds in pots, and keep warm and the soil moist. When the plants come up, thin to one plant per pot. The seedlings you remove could be planted elsewhere, but consider how many parsley plants you may need. The thinnings may be better off in the salad bowl.

Seeds can be planted directly outside, but not until the weather is warmer. As parsley needs a long growing period, it’s generally better to start them in early spring in a greenhouse, or indoors.

When all danger of a frost has passed young plants can be transplanted into the garden, and containers can be put outside. Parsley is a heavy feeder, resulting in iron and mineral rich leaves. If your soil could be lacking in nutrients, parsley will benefit from a regular organic feed.

Start using the leaves when the plants are at least 8 inches (20cm) tall. Use all through the year. During the second year of growth, parsley will produce flower and seed. The seeds can be collected when ripe.

Parsley has a long tap root and tends to look after itself fairly well once it settles in, but it should never be allowed to dry out. Water regularly in dry weather.

Storing:

For seed collection: Hang flower heads upside down in a paper bag when the seed has started to form. Leave in a dry airy place until the seeds drop from the rest of the plant, then store seed in a sealed jar. Remember to label the jar and store out of direct light.

Parsley leaf can be dried: Hang the whole stems or lay on racks to dry, then crumble leaves and store in sealed jars. Label and again, store out of direct light. Whole stems of parsley can also be frozen.

Medicinal uses for Parsley:

Because of its high iron content, parsley is thought to strengthen the blood. It also has high quantities of vitamin C and is therefore a healthy herb to use as a vegetable. Parsley also freshens the breath and is a must-have with garlic bread!

This text is an extract from Growing 20 Everyday herbs.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. Traditional Cornish Parsley Pie Recipe Here