Indoor Gardening Maintenance Outdoor Gardening

DIY Potting Mix Recipes For Different Plant Types

DIY potting mix recipes consist of a combination of ‘ingredients’ that provide the substrate required for your plant while adding nutrients and moisture that allow for plant growth. Comparatively, the all-purpose potting mix doesn’t always work best because it isn’t necessarily suited to the type of plant you are trying to grow. Of course, it is important to use different types of potting mix for the various types of plants you own as they require different levels of humidity, nutrition and water retention. Additionally, buying your own potting mix ingredients in bulk saves money and ensures that you always have a potting mix on hand for the type of plants you are housing.

Why use potting mix?

Potting mix compared to traditional garden soil is airy and light which allows the roots to grow easily and enable them to breathe. Potting mixes are more long-lasting than soil as they are less compacted and break down at a slower rate. The blend of ingredients in a potting mix also ensures that water is retained for a longer amount of time within the pot and contains some nutrients to sustain the plant without having to use liquid fertilizer as frequently.

What ingredients do I need to start my DIY potting mix recipes?

Different blends of potting mixes contain generally the same types of ‘ingredients’ at different ratios. The most popular types of potting mix ingredients include:

Sphagnum Peat Moss

Sphagnum peat moss is often used as the base ingredient of potting mix recipes as it requires a longer amount of time to breakdown while ensuring that the mix is well-draining and aerated. It is also a cheap ingredient and retains moisture to ensure the plant has time to absorb water through its roots.

Coir Fibre

Coir fibre holds more nutrients than sphagnum peat moss and takes an even longer amount of time to break down but comes at a higher cost. You can often find coir fibre sold in compacted locks that need water added to them in order to expand and be useable as part of your potting mix. Coir fibre is more environmentally responsible than sphagnum peat moss as it is long-lasting and a renewable resource as it is made as a by-product of the coconut processing industry.


Perlite is used for its porous properties which improve drainage while not adding weight to the mix. Additionally, it has a larger surface area which benefits indoor plants that require a high humidity level.


Vermiculite, like perlite, improves the porosity of the potting mix but also adds calcium and magnesium to the mix. It occurs as a natural volcanic mineral. It also retains moisture and nutrients which feeds the plants and maximizes growth.


Coarse sand is also used to increase the drainage of the potting mix but also adds weight. Succulent potting mixes therefore often have a high ratio of coarse sand in its recipe.


Limestone is used to neutralize the pH of the soil. Adding limestone to potting mix increases the structure of the soil and encourages nutrient absorption into both the soil and the plant.


Fertilizers are added to the potting mix to increase the nutrient intake of the plant in order for it to grow. They can consist of minerals, animal by-products, manure, and plant materials. Worm casting or vermicast are often used as a fertilizer as it holds and supplies nutrients while retaining water.

Mulch/Wood Chips

Wood chips and mulch can be used to allow air and water to travel through the mix. Wood chips also repel pests, control weeds while breaking down at a slower rate.


Compost can be used to increase water retention and nutrients in the mix.

What equipment do you need?

To start your potting mix project, collect the following items:

  1. Measuring container
  2. Mixing tub/bucket
  3. Watering can
  4. Shovel/fork/trowel
  5. Sieve
  6. Water container
  7. Your ingredients

Additionally, we have compiled a list of 5 different types of DIY potting mix recipes you may need for your home and garden.

  1. Indoors Plants
  2. Succulents and Cacti
  3. Tropical Plants
  4. Growing Seeds
  5. Trees and Shrubs

DIY Potting Mix Recipe For Indoor Plants

  • 2 kilograms of sphagnum peat moss or coir fiber
  • 1.5 kilograms of perlite
  • 250 grams of coarse sand
  • 10 grams of limestone
  • 10 grams of fertilizer

DIY Potting Mix Recipe For Succulents and Cacti

  • 3 kilograms of sphagnum peat moss or coir fiber
  • 2 kilograms of coarse sand
  • 1 kilogram of perlite
  • 1 kilogram of vermiculite
  • 10 grams of limestone

DIY Potting Mix Recipe For Tropical Plants

  • 6 kilograms of sphagnum peat moss or coir fiber
  • 6 kilograms of compost
  • 4.5 kilograms of perlite
  • 60 grams of fertilizer
  • 10 grams of lime

DIY Potting Mix Recipe For Growing Seeds

  • 2 kilograms of sphagnum peat moss or coir fiber
  • 2 kilograms of vermiculite
  • 1 kilogram of coarse sand
  • 10 grams of limestone

DIY Potting Mix For Recipe Trees and Shrubs

  • 3 kilograms of compost
  • 3000 grams of perlite
  • 3 kilograms of sphagnum peat moss or coir fiber
  • 2.5 kilograms of wood chips or mulch
  • 2.5 kilograms of coarse sand
  • 300 grams of fertilizer
  • 10 grams of limestone
Indoor Gardening Outdoor Gardening

9 Gardens for Small Spaces

Not all of us are fortunate to have huge gardens in which we could lose ourselves. Short of climbing to some mountain top retreat, here are 9 garden ideas that you can incorporate in your indoor spaces.

Balcony Gardens

If you live in an apartment and prefer to grow outdoor plants, then the balcony is the perfect space for it. By filling your balcony with plants, you can create your own peaceful oasis right there. Plants also provide a privacy shield and sound barrier in the midst of high-density living.

When growing plants in pots on a high-rise balcony, it is important to select plants wind tolerant. Strong winds can pull on an plant’s leaves and roots, causing damage and breakage. Some suggestions of wind tolerant plants are frangula, ivy, bamboo, golden sumac, gazanias and marigolds.

Bathroom Gardens

If you have a bathtub and enjoy a good soak in it every now and then, being surrounded by plants in the bathroom will help to add a zen-like feeling to your bathroom indulgence.

To ensure that plants thrive in your bathroom, be sure to select plants that prefer high humidity and can tolerate temperature fluctuations throughout the day. Some plants that suit a bathroom are asparagus fern, bamboo, begonias, bromeliads, dumb canes and orchids.

Kitchen Gardens

If you love picking off herbs to add to your cooking, having a tiny kitchen garden will be handy. Chives, basil, cilantro, sage, mint and thyme do well in tiny pots within the kitchen.

Otherwise, you could also consider placing potted plants on your kitchen bench, including flowering plants that will add a splash of colour, or trailing plants that will fill visual gaps.

Window Gardens

If you’re fortunate to have a wide window sill, then capitalise on it. Be sure to select the right plants for your windows. If it’s a window that gets a lot of sun exposure, then sun-loving plants will be great for that spot. If the window is in the shade most of the time, then a shade plant would be perfect.

Vertical Gardens

If space is at a premium in your home, then vertical gardens may be the answer. It could be as simple as growing a creeping plant up a mesh or an entire wall covered with creeping plants. You could also consider vertical garden systems.

Trailing Gardens

Besides vertical gardens, trailing gardens are another possibility for compact spaces. With this method, all you need to do is to place trailing plants at higher spots within your home, either by hanging them off the ceiling or placing them high up on a shelf. Pothos are great for this purpose.

Shelf Gardens

If you prefer to avoid potentially damaging your walls, then placing potted plants all over your home on shelves is another option. It is easy to re-arrange plants or pots to suit your changing decor, while keeping them close to you for both visual appeal and health benefits.

Planter Box Gardens

The use of planter boxes is another great way to visually ‘bulk up’ your plants, by gathering them all in one neat spot. If you’re able to attach wheels to the base of the planter boxes, you will also be able to move your planter boxes around your home quite easily to suit your changing decor or simply to rotate positions so that your plants can get sufficient natural light in order to thrive.

Crazy Plant Person Garden

Finally, this is one method of gardening that every plant enthusiast needs no introduction to. All you have to do is to cramp as many plants as you can in one spot to create an indoor jungle! Oh, to be lost in one of these spaces. What bliss!

This ends our blog post on various indoor gardening ideas. Let us know how you go with creating your indoor gardens by sending us your photos. We would be more than happy to feature them on Facebook or Instagram!

Maintenance Outdoor Gardening

Top 8 Tips for Healthy Outdoor Gardens

Ever wondered how some people appear to maintain beautiful healthy gardens effortlessly while others struggle? Surprisingly, healthy outdoor gardens do not always require a lot of work. Just some clever advance planning and regular light maintenance will go a long way in maintaining a healthy garden.

Here are our top 8 tips for healthy outdoor gardens.

Tip 1: Pick the right spot for your plants

Whether you are starting up a new garden or working with an existing garden, it pays in the long run if you could spend a few days observing (and recording before you forget) which parts of your garden get the most sunshine and which parts of your garden are in the shade most of the time.

Then ensure that the parts of the garden that receive the most sun have plants that love full sun or lots of it. And the shady parts of the garden should have plants that require less sunlight or prefer shade. Not all plants are the same! Some love sun, some prefer partial sun/shade and some are shade plants. The difference in location makes a difference to their survival and the long-term success of your garden. If necessary, transplant plants into spots that suit them best.

Tip 2: Deadhead flowering plants regularly

Pinch off flowers as they droop and dry. This will encourage your plant to produce more blooms. Some flowers develop seeds of fruit as soon as their petals fall, diverting the plant’s energy from making more flowers.

Deadheading will result in a healthy garden over the long run as it also improves the look of your garden, keeping it fresh. Besides, wet petals may stick to leaves and rot on them, leading to unsightly brown patches.

Tip 3: Do not overmow your lawn

The height of your lawn should vary according to the season. In growing season, it’s ok to mow low as the lawn will grow quickly. In the colder months, when your lawn is likely to go dormant, mowing too low may result in the lawn being prone to more weeds.

Resist the urge to mow too low thinking that you will be mowing less frequently. Most grasses prefer to strike a balance between the size of their root systems and length of their blades. When the roots and the grass blades are in the right balance, the lawn will be at its healthiest and provide a lush green look with fewer weeds.

Mowing can help your lawn grow thicker because the tip of each grass blade contains hormones that suppress horizontal growth. When the lawn is mowed, these tips are removed, thereby encouraging the grass to spread and grow thicker near the roots.

Tip 4: Soak your garden weekly

Give your garden a good long weekly soak. That means watering to the extent that the soil gets at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water. This allows the water make its way down to the roots and encourage your plants to grow deep roots. Short frequent waterings result in water that remains at the surface which is more likely to evaporate rather than penetrate to the roots.

Tip 5: Avoid watering during the hottest part of the day

Watering on a hot sunny afternoons may result in moisture lost to evaporation rather than soaking the ground. There is also a minor risk of leaf scorch depending the heat. Having said that, if you’re experiencing a few days of scorching heat, it is worthwhile watering whenever you can to reduce plants withering or dying from heat and lack of moisture.

Tip 6: Improve soil quality

Soil does get depleted of nutrients from time to time. It is wise to pay regular attention to the quality of soil. Some plants also use certain nutrients more than others. Using the right type of fertiliser for each section of the garden will do wonders. There are fertilisers specially formulated for citrus plants, flowering plants, roses, lawn, etc. So use the right product for the various parts of the garden. You may also enrich the soil by adding compost, manure, peat moss, etc.

Tip 7: Get on top of weeds

Healthy gardens tend to have little weeds. Bare spots in your garden are more likely to have weeds. There are a few ways to prevent and control weeds – use a weed mat, weed killer or mulch. Mulch is especially great for covering the area under plants, to keep weeds under control by smothering them. In between plants, you may consider laying weed mats or even ground covers that don’t require much sunlight or water. Shade-loving succulents can act as good ground covers in such instances. Besides these, ensure that you physically remove weeds as and when they appear.

Tip 8: Trim & prune regularly

Trimming and pruning frequently by removing older stems and leaves encourages a plant to direct its energy into new growth. This will help keep the plant looking young and healthy. It also improves air circulation and allows light to reach inner and lower leaves. Pruning away unhealthy or damaged parts of the plant also reduces the risk of disease, while controlling the overall size and shape of the plant.

Send us your photos of your beautiful gardens. We would be more than happy to feature them on Facebook or Instagram!

Maintenance Outdoor Gardening Seeds

Companion Planting to Keep Pests Off Your Vegetables

Pest control are an ongoing issue that every gardener faces. There are many pest control products available on the market. For those of us who prefer non-chemical or organic remedies, natural pest control remedies can be used as an alternative. Companion planting may be the perfect solution as well.

What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is a technique of growing plants in close proximity to vegetables or crop plants to help repel pests.

This planting technique usually results in increased pollination as a result of beneficial insects being attracted to the garden. Besides this, there is usually a reduction in damage from pests resulting in an increase in crop yield.

Here are some suggestions of companion plants that can be used for natural pest control remedies. Moreover, it doesn’t hurt that they also look good or are edible!

Flowering Plants that Deter Pests

If you love having a colourful garden, then growing flowering plants alongside your vegetable garden could be just the thing for you.

Here are 4 suggestions of flowering companion plants.

Chrysanthemums: Chrysanthemum discourage nematodes, spider mites and Japanese beetles. Chrysanthemums have a naturally-occurring chemical known as pyrethrum, which is an insect repellent.

Lavender: Lavender repels caterpillars & moths.

Nasturtiums: Nasturtiums release a peppery scent that keeps away many insects.

Petunias: Petunias deter asparagus beetles, leafhoppers, tomato hornworms & squash bugs.

Herbs that Deter Pests

If you prefer a sustainable lifestyle and growing everything that you cook, then herbs are the best companion plants for you. Everything that you grow can be eaten. The old fashioned concept of ‘from the paddock to the table‘!

Here are 4 suggestions of herbs which can be grown as companion plants.

Basil: Basil repels gnats, thrips, flies and aphids.

Dill: Dill is great for repelling aphids & spider mites, and may keep cabbage loopers, squash bugs and tomato hornworms at bay.

Fennel: Fennel repels aphids, snails and slugs.

Thyme: Thyme is perfect for keeping away whiteflies, stink bugs, corn earworms and cabbage loopers.

Vegetables that Deter Pests

If you don’t like wasting valuable garden space on growing flowering plants, you could consider planting companion vegetables and crop rotation.

Here are 4 suggestions of vegetables that can help to repel pests.

Leeks: Leeks repel carrot flies.

Mustard greens: Mustard greens may prevent an aphid attack.

Radishes: Radishes may repel cucumber beetles.

Tomato plants: Tomato plants are great companions that won’t look out of place in your vegetable garden and they help to keep asparagus beetles at bay.

Other Options

If you live in an area where there are deer, you may consider planting deer resistant shrubs to help protect your crops.

Or if you have a small courtyard, patio or balcony, then indoor gardening with a garden tower may suit and it will help you to keep an eye on pests and pick them off as they appear.

Let us know how you go with keeping pests away with our suggestions! Happy gardening!

Indoor Gardening Outdoor Gardening Seeds

How to Prevent Leggy Seedlings

If you’ve ever grown seedlings that were tall and skinny, you’d understand the disappointment. Leggy seeddlings tend to be floppy and weak. When they grow to full-sized plants, they are prone to diseases and look spindly or untidy. They are also almost guaranteed to produce less flowers.

Why do seedlings grow leggy?

Here are the common causes of leggy seedlings.

Lack of light: If you grow seedlings in a low light situation, it would be a natural reaction for them to stretch and grow towards light. Without sufficient light, they wouldn’t be able to produce important plant sugars. It is a natural survival technique to get closer to a light source as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this results in tall, spindly seedlings that are likely to flop over in strong winds or rain.

Lack of water: A lack of moisture due to soil that is not wet frequently or allowed to dry out will result in skinny seedlings. Being unable to absorb water and nutrients from the soil results in a seedling not having what it needs to grow strong stems and leaves.

Wrong temperature: This is usually in warmer months when high heat may inadvertently result in a growth spurt where the stems grow faster than the leaves. Sometimes it could also be due to thermostat being set too high in your home.

Seedlings growing too close together: This results in seedlings competing for light, water and nutrients, so they try to out-do one another by growing faster and taller.

How to Fix Leggy Seedlings

If you take action soon enough, it is possible to fix leggy seedlings. Otherwise, it may be easier to start all over again by planting new seeds in the right conditions. Here are some ways to fix leggy seedlings.

Increase access to light: This may be as simple as moving the seedlings to another location with more light. You could also move them outdoors (if weather conditions allow for it). Placing grow light or fluorescent light near the seedlings will also help.

Simulate wind: It is a natural reaction of plants to grow thicker stems to withstand the forces of wind. So one way is to place an oscillating fan nearby to create air movement. Another way is to brush your hand past the seedlings a few times a day to create movement. This will trick them into growing thicker stems.

Improve soil quality: Providing moist, nutrient-rich soil will allow your seedlings to absorb what they need in order to grow healthily. Plant food that includes potassium will enhance root growth and plant health. Ensure that you do not increase the level of nitrogen. Excess nitogen can cause a spike in development which exceeds a seedling’s ability to increase girth.

Space seedlings further apart: Giving seedlings more space from one another will also result in them having access to more light, moisture and nutrients.

Products for Optimal Seed Growing

There are a number of products on the market which will aid optimal seed growing. Here are our top picks and suggestions.

Recommended Products

Fertilome Seed & Cutting Starter Mix is an ideal starter formula for germinating seeds, as it is humate-rich for healthy root growth.
Ultra Efficient LED Grow Light (80 watt) has a wide-dispersion design which provides 90 degrees of useful light projection allowing for use very close to plants. Its passive thermal management dissipates heat away from plants reducing the need for fans.
LED Grow Light (7 watt) puts out a warm white light, covering not only the essential red/blue frequencies but also the various light frequencies in between which are essential for optimal plant health.
Window Shelf with suction cups which can be used to allow your plants to grow virtually anywhere, keeping your plants in a sunny and convenient area.

With these products and our tips on mistakes to avoid for successful seed growing, you’ll be able to save your leggy seedlings or prevent future occurrence of leggy seedlings. Happy gardening!

Indoor Gardening Outdoor Gardening

Vertical Gardening in Small Spaces

If you have a small courtyard or live in an apartment with a small balcony, it is still possible to grow your own vegetables. The solution is vertical gardening.

Why consider vertical gardening?

Vertical gardening has become popular in recent years for a few reasons:

Space saving: Vertical gardens take up less space than traditional gardens, as you can maximise the space by allowing your plants/vegetables to grow upwards.

Protection from pests: When plants grow horizontally on the ground, they are more likely to be accessible to pests. However, when plants are growing upwards and off the ground, pests such as snails and slugs are noticeably reduced.

Protection from accidental damage: This is especially so if you have young children or dogs who may trample onto your vegetables which are grown on the ground. When vegetables are growing vertically upwards off the ground, there is no chance of a young child or pet trampling on them.

Protects your back: Yes! A vertical garden means you won’t have to bend down as much to weed or pick off leaves/fruits for cooking. However, you may need a step stool in order to reach the top of your vertical garden.

Improved harvest: When vegetables are grown at eye level, you are more likely to notice when to harvest your crop compared to when they are on the ground, especially with strawberries. Plants get better airflow when grow vertically, which reduces diseases and results in stronger plants.

Improves the environment: A vertical garden can act as a privacy screen or a green fence to block unsightly brick walls or balcony rails. Having a vertical garden in a small apartment also helps to improve the air quality.

How Garden Towers Work

What to Grow in Tower Garden

Here’s a salad tower growing plan serves as a useful guide for planting:

Vertical Garden Products

While it is possible for you to create a vertical garden using pipes, pots and other materials if you are handy with tools, you could also consider ready-made products for this very purpose.

Our Top Picks:

Garden Tower® 2: 50-Plant Composting Container Garden suitable for organic patio vegetable gardening
Ultra Efficient LED Grow Light Kit (240 watt) optimized for indoor produce production with Garden Towers and other vertical or horizontal growing platforms.  

Happy gardening! Don’t forget to send us photos of how your vertical garden develops!

More photos available at

Indoor Gardening Maintenance Outdoor Gardening Plant Highlight

Mint (Mentha) Care Guide

The mint plant (Mentha) is a hardy, perennial herb grown for its leaves, which have a variety of culinary uses, including mint sauce for roast lamb, herbal tea infusions, as garnishes and in salads such as tabouli.

There are several varieties eg. peppermint (Mentha piperita), spearmint (Mentha spicata), pineapple mint (Mentha suaveolens variegata), orange mint (Mentha piperita citrata) and apple mint (Mentha suaveolens).

The plant grows vigorously in sun or partial shade. It should be treated as a weed for that reason. It is recommended that you grow it in pots rather than in garden beds as it can quickly take over the garden bed.

Why Grow Mint?

Due to its strong scent, it attracts beneficial insects and repels pests, including fleas, mosquitoes and mice.

Besides having beautiful ornamental leaves, it provides a number of health and medicinal benefits. It helps to relax muscles, soothes indigestion, acts as a mild decongestant and freshens breath.

It also helps that it grows quickly both indoors and outdoors, so it’s easy to pick some every now and then without running out.

Common Problems

  1. Insects – It is usually quite vigorous and strong. Occasionally, it may be attacked by aphids, spider mites, mint root borers and cutworms.
  2. Fungal diseases – It can also be attacked by mint rust, verticillium wilt and anthracnose.

Common Mistake

There aren’t many things that can go wrong when growing mint as it requires minimal care. The one mistake to watch out for is planting mint into a garden bed. Mint is invasive as it sprouts runners. Mint will overtake a garden bed and smother other plants in no time if it is not controlled.

Care Requirements/Guide

Watering: Keep the soil moist by watering it roughly every 3 to 4 days.

Light: It can grow in full sun and partial shade. Roughly 6 hours of direct sunlight a day will keep them happy.

Temperature: Mint copes with winter when established although the leaves may die back a little. When the warmer months comes around, it’ll spring back to life again.

Soil: It prefers slight acidic to neutral soil which is rich.

Fertilizer: It is not necessary to feed it. However, if you would like to, you can give it an occasional dose of all-purpose, water soluble fertilizer at half strength. Over-fertilizing cause it to lose its flavor.

Pruning: Pruning is not necessary if you are harvesting it regularly. However, be sure to keep the runners in check and ensure that it does not choke other plants.

Propagation: It is easy to propagate from cuttings, or just uproot a plant after it has spread via runners. It is also easy to grow it from seeds.

Toxicity Warning

It is not toxic to humans. However, if used in essential oils, it is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. If a lot is ingested, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Our Picks:

Buy It Now: Mint Garden in a Bag
Buy It Now: Herb Starter Kit
Maintenance Outdoor Gardening

Why Rainwater is Better For Plants Than Tap water

I love rainy days. Besides the melancholic mood, it’s lovely to rug up on a rainy day. Not to mention, listening to the therapeutic sound that rain makes on the roof and surrounding areas. Most of all, I feel pleased about my garden and plants getting a deep soak of beneficial rainwater. It helps too that leaves are being naturally cleaned at the same time.

Rainwater is beneficial to gardens

Have you ever wondered why plants seem to have a lush green appearance, look cleaner after experiencing some rainfall? Somehow plants seem to exude happy vibes after rain. Yet, watering them with a hose or a watering can doesn’t quite achieve the same feeling.

The answer lies in chemistry.

Rainwater has less harmful chemicals than tap water

Tap water usually has chemicals like fluoride and chlorine, which may cause damage to plants. Fluoride may injure plants with long, slender leaves, such as the spider plant. High levels of chlorine may accumulate in indoor potted plants over time, which could be toxic to them.

Rainwater contains more oxygen

Rainwater contains more oxygen than tap water. If you ever wondered why your plants don’t seem to suffer from root rot or other damage after heavy rains, oxygen is the reason. Waterlogging may bring about anaerobic soil conditions (ie. lack of oxygen) and lead to root rot if you overwater your plants with tap water. However, rainwater is highly oxygenated and therefore, even when soil is saturated after a downpour, there is no danger of root rot since anaerobic soil conditions do not develop.

Rainwater has a slightly acidic pH

When it rains, carbon dioxide is also introduced to the garden environment. Carbon dioxide combines with other minerals in the atmosphere and makes rainwater a little acidic. When this acidic rainwater wets garden soil, minerals such as zinc, manganese, copper and iron that are essential to plant growth are released.

Rain falls uniformly & leaches soil

Rain tends to fall uniformly throughout the garden, which means that it leaches the soil down beyond the root zone, getting rid of salts which may have accumulated in the soil and inhibit plant growth. This is the reason why plants seem to explode in growth after a rainy spell.

Lightning & Nitrogen

Plants require nitrogen to produce the green pigment known as chlorophyll which is needed for photosynthesis. If plants suffer from nitrogen deficiency, their leaves will turn yellowish. We would usually introduce nitrogen to the soil in the form of fertiliser. The decomposion of organic matter in the soil also releases nitrogen. However, lightning plays the biggest role in the nirogen cycle in that it generates enough energy to break down atmospheric nitrogen. This nitrogen then mixes with oxygen and water, resulting in rainwater which contains high levels of nitrates and ammonium required by plants.

In conclusion, now that you are aware that rainwater is more beneficial to your garden and plants than tap water, you may wish to consider installing water tanks in your garden, so that you can collect precious rainwater for regular use!

Outdoor Gardening Seeds

6 Vegetable Seeds to Plant in Winter

Growing vegetables from seeds is an economical approach to starting up your vegetable garden and putting food on your table. To encourage the beginner to vegetable gardening, we have put together a short list of vegetables that are easy to grow from seeds in Winter.

Here are our pick of 6 vegetable seeds to plant in Winter.

1. Asparagus

Asparagus prefer an open, sunny site. Do not grow asparagus in a spot where you have previously grown asparagus to avoid build-up of diseases. Sow the seeds approximately ½ inch (13 mm) deep. It takes about 3 weeks for asparagus seeds to germinate. To hasten germination, soak the seed for 48 hours in water prior to planting.

Mary Washington Asparagus plants are perennials and can easily produce for up to 20 years.

2. Cabbage

Cabbage is an annual, cool-season crop, which is hardy to frost and light freezes. Sow cabbage seeds 2½ feet apart, with 12 to 16 inches between plants. Do not grow cabbage in the same site that you grew cabbages last year.

Cabbage – Savoy Perfection seeds produce a large drumhead-type cabbage that has finely-wrinkled, savoyed leaves.

3. Chicory

Sow chicory seeds thinly ½ in (1 cm) deep in rows, 12 in (30cm) apart in an open site. Soil should be fertile and free draining. The seeds take about 2 weeks to germinate. Do not allow the plants to dry out as they may go to seed. Therefore, water well and keep the soil free from weeds.

Verona Red Chicory produces round and red cabbage like heads.

4. Mizuna

Mizuna seeds are quick to germinate, usually within four to eight days. Plant seeds ¼ inch deep in your garden bed, spaced 1 inch apart. Thin them apart to 6 inches later on to achieve full-sized heads of mizuna. Mizuna grows best in sunny spots that receive 3 to 4 hours of direct sunlight a day in well-drained soil.

Mizuna mustard is a vigorous grower, which produces numerous stalks bearing dark green, deeply cut and fringed leaves. This variety is highly resistant to cold and grows well during the winter months.

5. Leeks

Sow leek seeds thinly ½ in (1 cm) deep in rows 6 in (15cm) apart. To o increase the length of white stem, leeks can be blanched by gently drawing up dry soil around the stem in stages. However, ensure that soil does not fall between the leaves.

Leek – Large American Flag is very hardy and will overwinter in milder climates. The 7 to 9 inch stems blanch snowy white and are topped with blue-green leaves resemble giant scallions.

6. Cress

Cress can be grown indoors and outdoors. If growing outdoors, cress should be planted in shade or semi-shade in a moist, well-drained sandy to loamy soil. If growing indoors, cress can be grown on a cotton ball in a bottle.

Sprouts – Upland Cress is very easy and quick to grow, requiring very little space.

To ensure your success in planting these seeds, our list of 10 mistakes to avoid for successful seed sowing may be useful.

What Other Vegetable Seeds Should I Grow in Winter?

Here are some of our suggestions of seed packs which you could try growing.

The Fall/Winter Harvest Seed Bank includes a collection of all the seeds you need to grow your favorite fall and winter crops. These seeds thrive in cold weather and are extremely hardy. 
The All-in-One Fall & Winter Season Variety Pack includes a collection of all the seeds you need to grow your favorite fall and winter crops, including arugula, basil, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, cilantro/coriander, mustard, kale, lettuce, onion, radish & spinach.  
The All-In-One Root Crop Variety Pack includes an assortment of 15 popular varieties including beet, carrot, radish, rutabaga, turnip and parsnip.
Outdoor Gardening Seeds

6 Vegetable Seeds to Plant in Fall

Growing vegetables from seeds is an economical approach to starting up your vegetable garden and putting food on your table. To encourage the beginner to vegetable gardening, we have put together a short list of vegetables that are easy to grow from seeds in Autumn.

Here are our pick of 6 vegetable seeds to plant in Autumn.

1. Broccoli

Sow broccoli seeds ¼ to ½ inch (6 to 13 mm) deep in good quality soil or potting mix. Leave 12 inches (30 cm) between plants and 18 inches (45 cm) between rows. Plant broccoli seeds far apart as closer spacing will reduce the number of side shoots formed.

Broccoli – Calabrese produces a short, 24 inch plant with medium-large heads. It withstands cold well and is best used for a fall crop.

2. Brussel Sprouts

Sow broccoli seeds ¼ to ½ inch (6 to 13 mm) deep in good quality soil or potting mix. Plant broccoli seeds far apart as coser spacing will reduce the number of side shoots formed. Allow 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) between plants and 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm) between rows. If started indoors, they must be hardened off 7 to 10 days before transplanting.

Brussels Sprouts – Long Island Catskill produces miniature cabbage-like heads which are extremely tasty and nutritious in 90 to 120 days.

3. Cauliflower

Cauliflower take up quite a bit of space, need rich, deep soil and need plenty of watering, just like broccoli. Sow cauliflower seeds ¼ to ½ inch (6 to 13 mm) deep in good quality soil or potting mix. Plant cauliflower seeds far apart as coser spacing will reduce the number of side shoots formed. Allow 12 inches (30 cm) between plants and 18 inches (45 cm) between rows.

Cauliflower – Snowball/Self-blanche (White) produces flavorful snow ball type cauliflower in 65 days.

4. Mustard

Mustard green seeds can be planted 3 weeks before the last frost date. Plant the seeds just under the soil about ½ inch (13 mm) apart. After seedlings have sprouted, they may be thinned to 3 inches (7.5 cm apart). Grow them in full sun or partial shade and provide plenty of water during growing season.

Mustard – Old Fashion is super easy to grow and produces good yields of flavorful dark green mustard leaves in 45 days.

5. Pumpkin

Pumpkins need space to grow, a sunny position, moisture-retentive soil and shelter from cold wind. Make individual planting pockets in the soil with depth and width of a spade and 6 ft (1.8 m) apart. Fill the pockets with compost or manure before planting one seed in each pocket. Keep pumpkins well-watered.

Pumpkin – Jack O’ Lantern is a popular pumpkin variety that produces 10 pound fruits that are thick walled, and smooth skinned, round to slightly oblong.

The thick flesh is good for cooking, but really shines as a carving pumpkin.

6. Snow Peas

Snow peas are easy to grow in fall because they are frost-hardy. Plant snow peas seeds about 1 to 1½ inches (2.5 to 3.5 cm) deep and 1 inch (2.5 cm)  apart, with 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm) between rows. Do not plant snow peas in direct sunlight.

Pea, Oregon Giant has unusually large, thick pods that grow up to 5″ long. The vines grow 30-36 inches tall and are heavy producers making this variety one of the best producing snow peas available.

To ensure your success in planting these seeds, our list of 10 mistakes to avoid for successful seed sowing may be useful.

What Other Vegetable Seeds Should I Grow in Fall?

Here are some of our suggestions of seed packs which you could try growing.

The Fall/Winter Harvest Seed Bank includes a collection of all the seeds you need to grow your favorite fall and winter crops. These seeds thrive in cold weather and are extremely hardy. 
The All-in-One Fall & Winter Season Variety Pack includes a collection of all the seeds you need to grow your favorite fall and winter crops, including arugula, basil, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, cilantro/coriander, mustard, kale, lettuce, onion, radish & spinach.  
The All-In-One Root Crop Variety Pack includes an assortment of 15 popular varieties including beet, carrot, radish, rutabaga, turnip and parsnip.