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

Coriander, the Curry Cheat!

Growing coriander in your garden really will put spice into your life! The coriander plant is two plants in one – a spice and a herb.

The pungent seeds are the spice, and the leaf is the herb part

Chopped fresh coriander will add a mild curry taste to any dish, which means you can save on buying or making curry sauces.

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Coriander has been grown for many centuries as a medicinal and culinary herb.

The Chinese believed it to have life-lengthening powers, and it has been referred to in history as an aphrodisiac.

Coriander has a very strong smell and defined taste. It is used chiefly to flavour curries, soups and stews.

I’ve always grown coriander from seed. It tends to germinate well and will re-seed itself in moderate climates. A coriander patch can look after itself for years!

Amazon is a good place to start if you want to buy your seeds online. I found these organic seeds at a good price (UK)

Coriander – 1000 Seeds – Organic

“Ideal for containers / windowsills or open ground with well draining soil and full sun.”

Coriander Seeds

Positioning

Find a nice sunny spot for coriander. It is native to warm climates, and likes the sun. It will tolerate some shade but avoid draughty or cold spots.

Grow a few plants here and there among your vegetables. The smell deters aphids and other garden pests. It doesn’t worry the birds though!

Planting

Prepare the soil to a fine consistency and remove weeds and large stones.

Coriander seed should be sown about half an inch (2cms) deep in rows 9-12 inches (25-30cms) apart. However, I’ve simply scattered seed around in the vegetable plot and had great success with growing coriander. I used the seed I had collected from my plants the year before and therefore had plenty to play with.

But if you’re starting from scratch, don’t risk wasting them. Sow them in lines as the seed packet tells you.

Sow a few very short lines of seed here and there around the whole garden, remember to add a line to your herb beds.

Generally, coriander can be sown fairly early in Spring, but you should check the growing recommendations on your seed packet to make sure.

Water your seeds in and keep weed-free.

Growing coriander in containers

As with most herbs, coriander can be grown in pots, and even kept indoors ( in fact, keeping a coriander plant near an open window can deter flies from entering your home all summer )

Keep soil watered and well-drained. Feed with an organic fertilizer every few weeks to help the plant produce lots of leaf.

Looking after coriander

Keep weed-free and watered during very hot temperatures. Otherwise, just pick and use!

Add a few chopped coriander leaves to salads, boiled potatoes, potato salads, stews, soups, curries.

In a moderate climate – when the temperature doesn’t get below freezing for more than a couple of weeks during the winter – you may be able to leave your coriander patch to re-grow itself year after year.

Coriander is an ‘annual’ and will produce seed and die. Leave some plants to drop their seed naturally and clear the dead plants later. Hopefully, in mid-late spring some of these seeds will germinate. Dig up the new plants gently if you want to move them, when they have 4-6 true leaves.

If your soil is very acidic, add a little nitrogen but adding nutrients can impair the taste of the herb, so should be avoided if possible.

Storing

Coriander leaves are best used fresh, but as with most herbs it can be stored reasonably
successfully.

Drying

Either hang whole stems upside down in a dark airy place for a couple of weeks, or lay out on racks to dry in the sun, turning regularly. When completely dry, crumble into glass jars, label and store out of direct light.

Drying does take away some of the strength of taste and scent.

Freezing

Freeze quickly on trays and store in freezer bags. Label.

Storing coriander seeds is probably the most efficient way of capturing the coriander taste long after the plant has died. Simply collect and store in a glass jar with airtight lid. Store out of direct light.

Add seeds to pickles, soups and stews all through the winter, and remember to keep a few for sowing next year!

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. I extracted this text from 20 Everyday Herbs – a handy download if you’re thinking about growing some herbs this year.

20 Everyday Herbs

A potted history of twenty everyday herbs, step by step growing instructions, storing ideas and even medicinal uses.

Basil … Bay … Celery … Chives … Coriander … Dill … Fennel … Garlic … Horseradish … Lavender … Lemon Balm … Lovage … Marigold … Mint … Nasturtium … Oregano … Parsley … Rosemary … Sage … Thyme.

’20 Everyday Herbs’ is packed full of everything you need to know about how to grow herbs for everyday use. A must-have! Choose from your favourite online bookstore:

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

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

Growing Food

Growing food is as good as printing money – in fact it’s much much better than printing money because there are no printing costs involved and growing food allows you to nourish your body with organic fresh fruit, veg and herbs all year round.

Because of the recent lockdowns and ridiculous testing system, people are finding some supermarket shelves empty.

Suddenly growing our own food and learning how to survive, without some of the conveniences we’ve had available to many of us in recent times, seems almost compulsory.

If you haven’t got a garden or any outdoor growing space don’t despair. Here are 3 possible alternatives.

1.Use pots on windowsills and other bright spots – although be careful of direct sunlight. Buy, or acquire, some pots, compost and seeds and away you go!

2. Invest in a grow-tent. These tents are often sold as ways to grow cannabis plants but they can also be used to grow some delicious food crops. The investment is higher initially but it will pay for itself in organic food.

Grow Tent, Reflective Mylar Hydroponic Grow Tent with Observation Window and Floor Tray for Indoor Gardening Plant Germination

This tent is cute but do your research. You’ll need lights with some tents and not with others.

3.Hydroponics is another way to grow food indoors. See this post Hydroponics to get an idea of the outlay and process.

If you have a garden or some outdoor space though, the possibilities are endless. I lived on an acre of land many years ago and less than a quarter of that land put food on the table for the whole family for most of the year.

I have a very small garden now, by comparison, but at the moment, I’m growing:

Lettuce and mixed salad leaves
Tomatoes
Peppers and chili peppers
Beans
Pea shoots
Carrots
Cauliflower
Spinach
Chard
Beetroot
Dwarf Kale and Tuscan Kale
Cauliflower
Cabbage
Spring Onions
Radishes
Strawberries
Raspberries
Cape Gooseberries
Grapes
Hops

These are a few snapshots of my very busy garden at the moment!

Plus there are various herbs growing:

Nasturtium
Chives
Oregano
3 varieties of mint
Parsley
Thyme
Basil

Admittedly, the garden is now a narrow path amongst many pots and growing spaces, 🙂 but the joy it brings is incomparable. The harvest isn’t huge but it’s very satisfying to be able to pick and eat fresh vegetables on an ‘almost’ daily basis.

Watering and nurturing plants is one of the most peaceful and practical hobbies in the world. Avoiding plastic-wrapped non-organic and perhaps genetically modified vegetables is a big plus for me as well.

Saving the planet while pottering in the garden just works on all levels!

Check out a few of these posts if you’re unsure where to start growing food for you and your family. All very quick reads designed to inspire 🙂

10 Easy Steps to Happy Gardening

Garden Supplies

Gardening by the Moon

My Garden Journal

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. I’ve written quite extensively on growing stuff and there are lots of downloads available in many different online book stores listed here

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

“Gardening by the Moon”

Gardening by the moon isn’t a new idea. In fact new ideas tend to have driven out the traditional ways of gardening that have been feeding generations before us.

Choosing the right time to plant your vegetables can be tricky, but using the moon as your guide will help solve those problems.

Keep a moon chart with your gardening calendar

If you are going to be gardening by the moon this year, I would recommend grabbing a reference book and then perhaps downloading a moon chart for the year. I found this book on Amazon – I haven’t read it myself but it’s on my wishlist!
Moon Gardening: Ancient and Natural Ways to Grow Healthier, Tastier Food

General Gardening By The Moon

*Sowing: always choose a constellation appropriate to the crop you are sowing (i.e. favourable to fruit, root, flower or leaf plants) and preferably sow in the morning.

*Planting and pricking out: choose days when the Moon is descending and also, if possible, when it is opposite a constellation appropriate to the crop that you are growing (i.e. favourable to fruit, root, flower or leaf plants) and preferably in the afternoon.

*Weeding In wet weather: if possible, weed in the morning in a Fire or Air sign when the Moon is waning. In dry weather: weed in the evening, if possible, and in an Earth or Water sign when the Moon is waxing.

*Watering: To avoid plants developing shallow roots, instead of watering little and often, water them generously but less frequently. The ideal time to water is when the Moon is in the descendant and in the constellation of Virgo, Gemini or Libra.

*Mulching: mulch helps to fertilize and protect the soil, and limits the evaporation of moisture and weed germination. It is best to mulch when the Moon is waxing and in an Earth or Air sign.

*Aeration of the soil: This should ideally be carried out when the Moon is ascending Soil decomposes and breaks down more easily (via worms and micro-organisms) when the Moon is descending.

Vegetable gardening by the moon

Green Salad:
Until July, sow in a Water constellation when the Moon is waning in order to prevent the plants from going to seed.
During the autumn, sow green salad in a Water constellation, but when the Moon is waxing.

Potatoes:
Plant on a day favourable to ‘root’ plants.
To raise seed potatoes, plant when the Moon is in the sign of Taurus.
To avoid producing Green Potatoes, earth up when the Moon is in an Earth constellation and when it is waning.
To remove the eyes (buds) from potatoes that have been lifted and stored so that they will keep longer, choose a time when the Moon is waning and descending.

Cultivating the Soil:

The work of ploughing, planting, pricking out and spreading compost or manure is best carried out when the Moon is descending.

On light, sandy soil, if possible, combine the descending Moon with the waxing Moon.

On heavy clay soil, if possible, combine the descending Moon with the waning Moon.

“All these gardening by the moon gems are taken from my annual copy of ‘In Tune With The Moon’ But of course, these kind of books are annuals so a more general approach may be easier (see the book above) and then acquire a moon chart.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x