Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

Growing up

No matter what the weather – come winter or summer – rain or shine – seeds will grow!!! I still get excited when I see my seeds sprouting!! It has taken two weeks for them to go from seed to sprouts! The amazingness of nature!! So every two weeks I should be sowing seeds! Wow, I would have a harvest garden for all to envy! I still have to get to that perfect balance of harvesting food from my garden to sustain us on a daily basis and some for the family and lots for the chickens and compost heaps. I know that with all the knowledge I have gathered since gardening and blogging, I can have this perfectly harmonious vegetable garden. But it still takes enormous effort, energy and time to get the balance right!  I am just pleased that I can have this piece of paradise that I call my garden (and home) and that I can share it and what I grow in it will those I care about! I have grown up, along with my seeds, and through my failures and my achievements I am still here! I still make time to go and listen to my plants and play with the chickens and to enjoy heaven on earth – come rain or shine!

[one_half]Sweet Rocket[/one_half]


It is so interesting to see the seedlings of Kale – Chinese Cabbage – Sweet Rocket all look alike. I was not aware that Sweet Rocket was of the same family!!

I have been looking for Kale seeds for ages!! I am excited to grow it because of all the power-packed nutrients and it looks pretty! This is what I found in my research:

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse and is beneficial to your health in many ways. One cup of kale has zero fat and only 36 calories and is high in vitamins and antioxidants. You can eat this green raw or cooked.

Detoxification and Weight loss

The fiber (5 grams in one cup) and sulfur in kale aid with digestion and liver health. The Vitamin C it contains hydrates your body and increases your metabolism, leading to weight loss and healthy blood sugar levels. The fiber in kale also lowers cholesterol.

Strengthen your Immune System

Kale’s impressive concentration of nutrients strengthens the immune system and fights viruses and bacteria. Kale has more iron than beef, making it a great source of this valuable mineral for vegans and vegetarians. It helps more oxygen get to your blood and greatly helps those who are anemic.

Healthier Hair, Skin & Nails

The healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids keep your body strong, healthy and beautiful from the inside out. Kale’s concentration of major nutrients gives your skin’s health and appearance a boost.

See Clearly and Stand Strong

Kale’s Vitamin A content helps keep the eyes from optical disorders that come with age. It also helps store vitamins in the retina. The calcium and vitamin K and D keep your bones strong.


The omega-3 fatty acids in kale help fight and alleviate arthritis, autoimmune disorders and asthma. The vitamin C content helps relieve stiff joints.

Fighting Disease

Kale, like other dark green veggies, may be helpful in preventing various cancers such as colon, prostate and ovarian. Its abundant vitamin K content is important for bone health, forestalling the effects of osteoporosis. And the folic acid and B6 provide cardiovascular support and prevent heart disease.



[one_half_last]Seedlings in trays[/one_half_last]

In my seedling trays are: Kale, Chinese Cabbage, Sweet Rocket, Swiss Chard, Peas and Cos Lettuce.

Arugula, also known as Sweet Rocket or Garden Rocket, is a nutritious green-leafy vegetable of Mediterranean origin. It belongs within the Brassicaceae family similar as mustard greens, cauliflower, kale…,etc., and has the scientific name: Eruca sativa.

Fresh rocket is a very good source of folates. Like kale, salad rocket is an excellent source of vitamin A.  Carotenes convert into vitamin A in the body. Studies found that vitamin A and flavonoid compounds in green leafy vegetables help protect from skin, lung and oral cavity cancers.

This vegetable also rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), and pantothenic acid those are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions.

Fresh rocket leaves contain good levels of vitamin C, a powerful, natural anti-oxidant. Foods rich in this vitamin help the body develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity) and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.

Salad rocket is one of the excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K, which has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Arugula leaves contain adequate levels of minerals, especially copper and iron. In addition, it has small amounts of some other essential minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.

WOW!! I am growing a powerhouse of goodness!!

Have a Happy Gardening Day! xxxxxx

Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

Seed collection development

The plan for this month of May is to get all my seeds planted for the winter garden. I have an array of seeds that I have collected, swopped, and bought. Slowly I will be only sowing my very own seeds, but for now I am still researching and experimenting with various supplies. I started off with store bough commercial seeds from a well-known supplier. The only problem I have is that I cannot collect these seeds and expect a bountiful harvest with hybrids – I have to buy the seeds every season. Not a good idea!

F1 seeds

F1 hybrid varieties are commercially produced seeds that combine certain traits of two parent plants such as resistance to disease, pests or bolting and a tendency to produce heavy yields.  F1 varieties can usually be identified by the variety name or by a close reading of the seed packet. Saving seed from F1 hybrids will not produce seeds that ‘come true’ when they produce vegetables. F1 seeds can be infertile.

Open-pollinated seeds

Make sure you only save seed from open-pollinated varieties. Open pollinated vegetable varieties are often heirloom varieties that have naturally evolved over the years and been passed down through generations of gardeners. The vegetables produced from the seeds are similar to the produce of the parent plant and gradually evolve to cope with local conditions such as moisture levels and temperatures.

[one_half]My Heirloom Seed collection[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Commercial Store seeds[/one_half_last]

I am only collecting from my heirloom seeds which I planted last season. Some vegetables produce seeds more easily than others and are more likely to produce good yields. For example, I have just read that it is generally not recommended that you save seed from vegetables in the squash family as the same variety will rarely grow the following year and what does grow can be inedible. This is bad news for me because I have saved a lot of my best butternut squash seeds!

On the other hand, it is easy to save seeds from peas and beans and the seeds produce good plants the following year. So, my research continues …….

[one_half]My own swop seed collection[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Home grown seeds[/one_half_last]

The proof of the pudding is in the eating and if the conditions are right, I do believe any seed will grow and produce fruit or vegetables – that is nature’s way!

Happy Gardening xxx

Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous Perenniels

Gardening mistakes

Most of the time, gardening is a feeling and with some research and new-found knowledge you plant and sow and usually your garden will grow – with love and lots of watering. In this past year, I have made a few mistakes and tried a few recommended tips and found that they were a waste of time.

My first mistake is that sun-loving plants should not be planted in the shadow of trees or large bushes. I was too impatient to fill the gaps that I did not ask the plant (or read the label!) where they prefer to be planted. So I have a few plants that are not thriving – my Lychnis Coronaria is not doing well at all and I have seen some amazing specimens to know that mine looks anorexic! I now have to re-position them and this is double work – so I have learnt a valuable lesson!

My second mistake or planting boo boo is putting a large shrubby lavender in a small bucket. They are just not thriving. They seem stunted and a mould has begun to form, so my fancy threesome are not happy in their bucket homes. Hmmmm…. I’ll have to find smaller plants that are better suited.  Any suggestions?

[one_half]Unhappy Lychnis in the shadows![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lavender just not thriving in the buckets[/one_half_last]

My third and hard learned lesson is that I mow the grass too close! I am lazy with the mowing and cut the grass short and then I get these bald patches that look ugly and take ages to come right. If I would just cut the grass more frequently and not so short, it would be lush and consistently green. It is not my favourite job but once the lawn is mowed it usually makes the whole front garden look nice and neat! So, now I have to come clean, clean up my act and get that lawn looking tip top!

My forth gardening lesson learnt is that all is not always a “good idea”. I want to be a responsible gardener and try to recycle as much as I can. I have tried the toilet roll inners and have failed miserably with them. I thought it was the best idea ever – all you have to do is plant the seedling directly into the ground (once you have the little darling happily growing in the toilet roll) and you have an added protection from nasties getting to your tender stem. Well, this turned out to be a big flop!  I painstakingly mixed the soil, placed it in the inner roll (quite difficult I must add) and then planted a seed or two into this – it took all afternoon. Watering was difficult too. I didn’t want to drown the seed so I used a small measuring cup and gently poured the water (or feed) into each individual roll…..yup! What a schmuck!!

[one_half]Bald patch in my lawn[/one_half]

[one_half_last]My excited attempt at recycling toilet rolls – planted with basil and tomatoes[/one_half_last]

Well, this did not  produce a great crop of plants – most of them did not even pop a head out! They remained stunted and looked malnourished! After all the attention and love and great worm tea …..!! I don’t think I will try that again. Oh yes! AND!! The toilet roll was so stiff that I had doubts that they would ever decompose! So, I had to tear them up gently and plant the surviors. You will see the difference in the photos below – the seed in the ground (literally shoved into the ground and watered) looking full of promise in producing a host of tomatoes and the delicately cared for wimp of a plant that looks as if it will take another year before it bears fruit!

[one_half]Stunted growth from the toilet roll planting[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Seeds shoved in the ground at the same time have flourished[/one_half_last]

Oh the joys of gardening! I have learnt valuable lessons this year!