Barbie's garden Do it yourself Fertiliser Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

Keep on Growing

I am proud to say that I am a Seed Gatherer! I have grown Heirloom seeds with some success and with the rewards, I am collecting the next seasons crop! The two tomato variations I have grown are Blondkofchen and Amish Salad Tomato.


An heirloom tomato from eastern Germany. The name of this adorable heirloom cherry tomato means “little blonde girl”.
These tomato seeds produce big, leafy, indeterminate, regular-leaf tomato plants that yield a phenomenal amount of  grape-sized, brilliant yellow/gold, cherry tomatoes in clusters of 20-30. The vines are large and sprawling, so give them plenty of space. Blondkopfchen is undoubtedly one of the best tasting cherry tomatoes. Deliciously sweet with a slight citrusy tart finish. A Non-cracking, disease resistant tomato variety that grows well in most climates including cooler growing regions.

Amish Salad Tomato

These small, red oval Heirloom open-polinated cherries seem to last forever on the vine without rotting or losing flavour. The flesh is very firm, mild and sweet, perfect for sauces, salads and for drying. There are up to 6 blemish-free tomatoes per cluster and are well-suited to both fresh market and home garden. A real advantage in the garden. They are still around during early winter!

Other seeds to gather….

Peppadew Chilli and Paprika-type Pepper


Paprika Pepper

New Heirloom seeds

[one_half]Organic Seeds[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Some freebies[/one_half_last]

[one_half]These going into the ground this week[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Direct sowing in raised beds[/one_half_last]

To keep the new seedlings well fed and watered – I have worm tea ready and rain water in a bucket. By using rainwater (or let the water stand so the chlorine can evaporate out) you don’t kill the beneficial micro-organisms, which is the point of municipal chlorine. I use the mixture of  1 Tablespoon to 1 litre of water.

[one_half]Worm Leachate – drains out of bin[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Rain water[/one_half_last]

Some of the benefits of the worm tea include:

  • a natural repellent for scale, mites, white flies, and aphids
  • natural fungicide in soil and on plant surfaces
  • increase in plant stem size and foliage
  • acts as a soil conditioner
  • will not burn plants
  • creates healthy soil for healthy plants
  • aides in the creation of colloidal humus
  • grows healthier fruits and vegetables than those treated with chemical fertilizers
  • improves water retention in soil
  • reduces the amount of waste going to the landfill, because worms eat our garbage

I really enjoy the idea of everything I use or re-use comes from my home – the worms eat the kitchen scraps, they make healthy compost and tea (homemade fertilizer), which helps my garden to grow!!

And so goes the circle of life!

Happy gardening 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

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Garlic and heirlooms

Last year I planted garlic. Twice. At different times. In different places. Planted in full sun, part sun, shade, full shade. Guess how many sprouted? Not one!

First I read on Alan’s blog that Garlic must be planted in Autumn if you want it to grow successfully. That was my first Garlic Ah ha moment. The second Garlic Ah ha moment came when I read a few weeks ago that the garlic we buy from our local super market is genetically modified to be sterile (so that if you plant it will not grow). That’s quite funny actually. Here I was faithfully planting the finest bulbs from my garlic purchases thinking they would give me wonderful garlic plants. They didn’t stand a chance. Now I know why.

The last time I visited Barbie’s garden I was completely blown away by the size and quality of the vegetables she had growing in her garden here and also here. The tomatoes tasted like real tomatoes, her baby marrows were the size of giant cucumbers and the butternut squash was beautiful and tasted like no squash I buy. Delicious! I wondered a little how she did it and decided it had to be the wonderful full sun she has going on in her veggie beds. Until I stumbled on a sentence in a newspaper article in which Barbie and her garden was featuredHer new venture is to use heirloom seeds. “I’m very interested in buying and swapping seeds. The second-generation plants of the commercial seeds are weak. It really upsets me that seeds are being manipulated like this. It means you can’t collect your seeds from year to year, but have to buy new ones each time.

A bit of scouting around and I came across a South African site that sells Heirloom Seeds*. I spent quite a bit of time on the site and read their story which inspired me to try growing a few more veggies. (Note to self: but more pots for veggie plants). Each vegetable or herb featured on the site is accompanied by useful tips and instructions on when, where and how to sow, etc.

Long story short, I placed a small order with them which arrived and I now eagerly await the weekend so that I can get outside and plant!

Living seeds parcel

[one_half]The seed packetsThe seed packets[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Pink Egyptian garlicPink Egyptian garlic[/one_half_last]

[one_half]White Egyptian garlicWhite Egyptian garlic[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Giant GarlicGiant Garlic[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lovely, plump garlic seedLovely, plump garlic seed[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Parcel from Living SeedsParcel from Living Seeds[/one_half_last]

I have to commend the guys at Living Seeds. I’ve bought quite a few seeds and gardening things online. Ordering was fast, secure and communication was great. The seeds arrived in the post (it took ten days from Gauteng to Cape Town, but that’s the SA Postal Service for you!). They were beautifully packaged and arrived with more printed info and tips again on how to get the most from my garlic seeds. Best online seed buying experience by far!

The instructions for planting times are pretty clear. The Egyptian garlic should have been planted by the end of March and the Giant or Elephant garlic should be planted out by mid April.

In case you are wondering what’s in the seed packets … I also bought Borage, Red Creole Onions and Echinacea. It says this on all the seed packets: We encourage you this season to become more sustainable. Plant these seeds with the intention of saving some seed for the following season. I like this company, their service and their product. If you are a South African looking for superior quality seed, please try them. **

* Heirloom Seeds (definition courtesy of Heirloom vegetables can be simply defined as any plant that has been handed down from generation to generation. However there is much debate and discussion between various organisations and bodies that try to place limits and stipulations as to what defines an heirloom plant. We believe that any plant that is firstly open pollinated, secondly has a history of private exchange and thirdly has not been subject to a plant breeders rights claim to be worthy of heirloom status. This definition is however not cast in stone and is open to constructive discussion.

** Please note that this is an unsolicited review. Living Seeds are not aware of my intention to blog about this order and I paid for my purchases like any normal customer.