Categories
Plant Highlight Seeds

Daisy Plants (Asteraceae) Care Guide

Daisy plants (Asteraceae) are cheerful flowers that are a ‘must have’ in any garden. However, be aware that there are many different types of flowers which we refer to as ‘daisies’. There are common daisies, african daisies, english daisies, and so on.

Daisies create a cheerful disposition for any garden, so it’s not hard to see why they are popular.

Common Problems with Daisy Plants

There are not many problems with daisy plants as they are generally low maintenance and disease resistant. However, do look out for aphids and leaf spot, and treat them accordingly.

Common Mistakes with Daisy Plants

  1. Planting indoors – Daisies are outdoor plants which will not thrive indoors.
  2. Not controlling it within its own garden bed – Daisies can be considered as weeds as they are prolific growers.

Care Requirements & Guide for Daisy Plants

Watering: Daisies are hardy perennials. When they are established, they are usually drought tolerant. However, water them regularly during dry periods or if they are growing in an area that is dry and hot.

Light: Daisy plants thrive in full sun. It’s best to select a sunny site that they can grow for years to come.

Soil: Enrich the soil with manure and compost, so that the soil becomes rich and well drained for growing daisies.

Fertiliser: Add a general purpose fertilizer in the early growth stage, and once a month afterwards.

Propagation: Daisies can be propagated by division in spring or through seeds in spring or late autumn. It is a good idea to divide your daisies every two to three years to improve flowering and overall plant health.

Fun Facts about Daisies

Daisies can be used make necklaces (daisy chains).

A single daisy flower is actually made up of two separate flowers. The petals in the center are one flower (disk florets) which is surrounded by the petal-like white “rays” of another flower (florets) at the periphery. This arrangement on daisies is a type of inflorescence known as a capitulum.

We hope you enjoy your daisies for many years to come. Happy planting Send us your photos of your daisy beds. We would be more than happy to feature them on Facebook or Instagram!

Categories
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!

Categories
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!

Categories
Plant Highlight Seeds

Agave Care Guide

Agave is native to hot and arid climates in America and tropical areas of South America. Its scientific name is exactly the same. It is classified as a perennial. However, some varieties die after blooming, then replace themselves via pups or offshoots from the base of the parent plant.

Why Grow Agave

The agave is very tough and hardy. Being a perennial that is drought-tolerant and grows slowly, it’s great for a busy gardener who wants something that he or she can ‘set and forget’.

Common Problems with Agave

Root rot – They have surface roots and do not require a deep hole when planted into a pot or into the ground. If over-watered or planted too deep, root rot may result.

Fungal infection – Fungus attacks may cause lesions, black or brown spots on agave. The affected parts will need to be cut off and the remaining parts of the plant treated with fungicide.

Pests – They are susceptible to agave snout weevil, soft scale and the cactus longhorn beetle. If you spot withering leaves or brown spots, plant-eating insects may be the cause. Spray your plant with a broad spectrum insecticide if this happens.

Common Mistakes with Agave

The most common mistake with growing this plant is fussing over it too much. It is slow growing and thrives on neglect. So if you are a wanting to see fast results, this is not the plant for you.

Care Requirements & Guide

Watering: Agave do not require regular watering as they are drought-tolerant. Water a little more regularly during hot, dry spells but ensure that you allow the soil to dry out between watering.

Light: They do best in full sun but are not fond of light bouncing off concrete floors or glass windows.

Temperature: Hot and arid climates suit agave the best. They are dormant in the winter, and will cope with light frost when established. The best temperature range is 50ºF to 90ºF (or 10ºC to 32ºC).

Soil: They prefer soil that is well drained. Clayey soil needs to be mixed with sand and grit to suit agave.

Fertilizer: They benefit from granulated time-release fertilizers usually in Spring.

Propagation: Agave propagate via offshoots (which grow from the base of the plant and can be removed), via leaf cuttings (insert a leaf into moist soil and wait for roots to grow) or via seeds (about 2 to 3 weeks for germination).

Transplantation: Each plant has a large tap root and does not take well to transplanting.

Suggested Plant:

Variegated agave butterfly isthmensis is perfect in containers due to its compact growth habit.

Buy It Now: Variegated Agave Butterfly Isthmensis forms rosettes up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall and wide with grayish green and cream colored fleshy leaves. This slow-growing plant produces pups from the leaf axils instead of via underground runners.
Categories
Plant Highlight Seeds

Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) Care Guide

Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) is native to northern Europe and grown in temperate climates around the world. Daffodils come a few colors – white, several shades of yellow, orange and even pink. They also grow to different heights ranging from 2 to 18 inches (5 to 45 cm).

Why Grow Daffodils

Daffodils are a delight at the end of a harsh, cold winter. The vibrant trumpet-like flowers are amongst the first to bloom at the end of winter, providing a cheerful outlook. They last quite long in flower jars as well.

Once planted, they require very little attention or maintenance and will spring up from the ground to bloom year after year.

Daffodils are Perennials

Daffodil plants are classified as perennials which grow from bulbs in one season but will come up again year after year. They are best planted in fall/autumn and will bloom in late winter or early spring.

Common Problems with Daffodils

Daffodil ‘blindness’ – This happens when they produce a healthy crop of foliage but fail to flower. Causes include poor soil, overcrowding and shade. This can be rectified by digging up and replanting in better conditions but it may be a couple of years before daffodils flower again.

If the daffodils had been flowering in previous years, but did not flower in the current year, it is likely that the bulbs have multiplied and are now overcrowded in one spot. They will have to be dug up, divided and re-planted spaced further apart.

If the daffodils have not flowered before, it’s likely that the bulbs were planted too late, were too small, or did not get enough sunshine.

Common Mistakes with Daffodils

1. Cutting back foliage too early – Don’t be too quick to cut back foliage when flowering is over. Leaves should be left on the stalk until they have turned yellow. Nutrients are produced and sent to the bulb for several weeks after the flower has died, in readiness to become dormant until the next year.

2. Planting too early or too late – Planting in Fall/Autumn is recommended, when temperatures dip to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degress Celsius).

3. Planting bulbs upside-down – Bulbs should be planted with the pointy side up.

4. Planting at the wrong depth – If planted too shallow, dividing bulbs and ‘flopping’ stems may result. If planted too deep, daffodils might never emerge. A depth of 6 inches (15 cm) is ideal.

Care Requirements & Guide

Watering: Daffodils require regular watering when they are growing and blooming.

Light: They prefer full sun while blooming and partial shade afterward. At least 6 hours of sun per day is ideal.

Temperature: They prefer temperate climates.  

Soil: They prefer soil that is well drained.

Fertilizer: They require low-nitrogen fertilizers as too much nitrogen can promote foliage growth. Daffodils prefer high potash fertilizer.

Propagation: They can be grown from seed if you have time and patience. Instead of removing dead flowers, allow the seed heads to develop and then harvest the seeds to be planted later on. This is a slow process as it will take a few years before the daffodils flower. The faster way is to divide established daffodil clumps in autumn. Simply dig up the clumps carefully to avoid damaging the bulbs, peel the bulbs apart and re-plant them straight away.

Toxicity Warning

Daffodils are toxic as they have toxic sap which keeps insects and animals at a safe distance. They may also kill other flowers if kept with them in a vase.

Where to Buy Daffodils

Jetfire Daffodil
British Gamble Daffodil
Rainbow of Color Daffodil
Categories
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.
Categories
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.
Categories
Outdoor Gardening Seeds

6 Vegetable Seeds to Plant in Summer

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 Summer.

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

1. Zucchini or Squash

Plant zucchini or squash seeds when the temperature of the soil outdoors is at least 55 °F (13 °C). Plant zucchini seeds about an inch or 2.5 cm below the soil surface and around 3 to 4 inches apart. Thin them as they grow. Zucchini plants love full sun.

Buy It Now: The Black Beauty Squash is one of the most popular varieties on the market as it produces a dark green, glossy fruit, which is long, straight & slender with excellent flavor.

2. Lettuce

You may grow lettuce in both spring and summer. Plant lettuce seeds about an inch or 2.5 cm below the soil surface. Keep the soil moist but not over-watered. It is also a good idea to plant chives and garlic between your lettuce rows as they can provide protection against aphids.

Buy It Now: Lettuce Summer Bibb is a compact butterhead-type lettuce. It produces good yields of medium size greens with maturity period of 55 days.

3. Tomato

Tomatoes love plenty of regular sun, heat, food and water to produce sweet, juicy fruits. They don’t mind being transplanted, so it’s ok to scatter seeds in the vegetable garden bed and cover them lightly with soil. Space tomato seeds apart when they are big enough and stake them.

Buy It Now: Tomato, Ace55 is one of the most popular varieties chose by vegetable gardeners looking for a tomato with low-acidity. It is also known to be tolerant to diseases such as Verticillium and Fusarium.

4. Carrot

Carrots prefer loose well-worked soil as they are root vegetables. Ensure that there are no rocks or other obstructions that might prevent them from growing well. Sow the seeds about ¼ of an inch deep, an inch or two apart. Keep the seeds moist. To prevent the carrots tasting too woody, keep them well-watered throughout growing season.

Buy It Now: Danvers carrot outperforms all other carrots in heavier soils. They grow to 7 long and 2″ thick with thickly tapered ends. They are tender and very sweet. Just keep them consistently watered and they’ll be happy.

5. Turnip

Turnips can be sown throughout the summer. The smaller turnips can be grown in early summer for salads while main crop turnips can be grown later and harvested all the way up to winter.

Buy It Now: Turnip, Golden Globe provides beautiful and delicious turnips with white/golden color and amazing flavor. 

6. Bok Choy (Pac Choi) or Chinese Cabbage

Bok Choy (Pac Choi) or Chinese Cabbage likes to be planted in well-worked, well-drained but moisture retentive soil rich in organic matter. Plant it in rows 2.5 feet apart, with 12 to 16 inches between plants. 

Buy It Now: Chinese Cabbage, Bok Choy (White Stem) is a very popular Chinese non-heading Cabbage variety which is tender, crisp and mild.

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

What Other Vegetable Seeds Should I Grow in Summer?

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

Buy It Now: Spring/Summer Seed consists of 100% non-genetically modified seeds and everything you need to grow them. Over 20 popular varieties are included eg. basil, chives, cucumber, eggplant, melon, peas, bell peppers, lettuce, spinach, squash, watermelon and tomatoes.
Buy It Now: The All-In-One Root Crop Variety Pack includes an assortment of 15 popular varieties including beet, carrot, radish, rutabaga, turnip and parsnip.

Suggested Product:

Buy It Now: The Urban Leaf Mini Fruit & Vegetable Garden Kit comes with absoultely everything you need to get growing immediately. The kit comes with strawberry, tomato and bell pepper seeds.

Categories
Outdoor Gardening Seeds

Growing an Edible Garden for Pet Rabbits

If you have pet rabbits, you might like to grow an edible garden for rabbits, for example, herbs, vegetables and flowers either in your garden or the window sill or on your apartment balcony. Here are our top picks of easy-to-grow herbs, vegetables and flowers that will not only bring you joy but also delight your pet rabbit.

Growing a Herb Garden for Rabbits

There are a number of medicinal herbs suitable for rabbits. However, we shall limit our suggestions to only those that are easy to grow and which we know for sure that rabbits will love (from our own experience of having pet rabbits).

Fennel – Helps with bloating/gas and milk flow of nursing does.

Marjorim – Helps with digestive problems, uterine discomfort and calms nerves.

Mint – Helps with indigestion as it relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract indigestion, decreases the milk flow of does during weaning and is a good herb for treating mastitis. However, do not feed mint to young rabbies or lactating moms.

Parsley – Enriches the blood and is good for reducing inflammation in bladder & kidneys.

Rosemary – Lowers blood pressure, is good for reducing weakness and depression in rabbits.

Sage – Reduces lactation when weaning, is a digestive stimulant and a uterine stimulant. This herb should be used with caution and should be avoided during pregnancy of a rabbit.

Thyme – Good for diarrhoea.

Growing a Vegetable Garden for Rabbits

Kale – Rabbits love kale. However, due to kale’s calcium content, it would be good to limit the quantity that your rabbit receives. Adding a few leaves of kale to your rabbit’s diet can improve your rabbit’s mood.

Chard – It is safe for rabbits as it is totally non-toxic and therefore does not pose a poisoning threat. Research suggests that it may actually benefit their overall health.

Bok Choy – Rabbits love green leafy vegetables. Bok choy is low in oxalates compared to spinach, while being high in vitamins and anti-oxidants.

Growing a Flower Garden for Rabbits

And now for my favourite part! Growing flowers for rabbits also means that I get to enjoy the cheery disposition that flowers exude!

There are heaps of flowers that rabbits will happily eat in a wildflower meadow. Here are some of our top picks of flowers to grow.

Dandelion – The last thing you want is for dandelion seeds to fly all over your garden. But given that your rabbit will be eating the fresh flowers well before they dry up, the risk is low. Dandelion flowers and leaves are safe for rabbits to eat. They are very nutritious and contain beta-carotene, iron, calcium, potassium and vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, C, E, and D.

Chamomile – It is commonly known for its calming effects. It is suitable for rabbits, is anti-fungal and may have antibiotic properties.

Nasturtium – Nasturtium leaves contain Vitamin C and iron while the flowers contain vitamins B1, B2, B3, C and minerals like manganese, iron, phosphorus, and calcium. Your rabbits will love nasturtiums and it is great that nasturtiums can grow rather quickly.

Marigold – Be careful here as the only version that suits rabbits is pot marigold or calendula. Rabbits love their petals which have carotenoids, flavoxanthin and auroxanthin which are antioxidants. It doesn’t hurt too that their leaves and the stems have lutein, carotenoids, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene.

Our Top Picks:

The Bunny Garden Variety Pack is an assortment of 15 varieties of seeds which you may grow for your pet rabbit (or even your own consumption). This collection of seeds includes alfafa, basil, borage, carrot, celery, cilantro or coriander, cucumber, dill, kale, lettuce, peas, clover sprouts and thyme.
Urban Leaf Microgreens Starter Kit is the easiest thing to grow at home. This starter kit have 4 of the best varieties and enough supplies to last up to 9 harvests. Setting up is a snap, and its hydroponic design means you only have to water once.
Categories
Plant Highlight Seeds

Strawberry Plants (Fragaria × ananassa) Care Guide

Strawberry Plants (Fragaria × ananassa) are popular with many gardeners as they are very easy to grow and provide the fun of picking strawberries fresh from the garden. Somehow they are juicier and sweeter than store-bought ones.

Strawberry plants are versatile and grow well in the borders of garden beds, pots and containers or even hanging baskets.  

Strawberries come in a huge range of varieties and while most of us are familiar with the red ones, did you know that they also come in white varieties?

Common Problems with Strawberry Plants

  1. Birds eating strawberries – Who can blame them? A juicy red strawberry is too hard to resist! To prevent this, use netting or a bird cage.
  2. Flowers appear but no strawberries are produced – The flowers are not pollinated by bees or butterflies. Introduce some flowering plants to your garden to attract bees or butterflies.
  3. Outer leaves are brown and wilted. – This is caused by Verticillium Wilt, due to a fungus in the soil. Dig up your strawberry plants and do not plant strawberries in that area of the garden again for three years. Do not plant strawberries on the ground which has grown potatoes, tomatoes or peppers in the last three years as this fungal issue is more likely to occur.

Common Mistakes with Strawberry Plants

  1. Strawberry Black Eye – The flowers appear black in the centre. It is caused by late frost, which occurs when the flowers are fully open. The frost damages some parts of the flower preventing the formation of fruit. To avoid this next year, only put straw/mulch down when the fruits have started to form as straw/mulch will insulate the plant from the warming effect of the ground and make it more liable to being damaged by the frost.
  2. Not picking strawberries the correct way – The best way to ensure that you don’t damage the strawberries or the plant is to pick the fruit and the stem together. Gently twist it between your fingers to and pull lightly. Never pick just the fruit by yanking it off the plant.

Care Requirements & Guide for Strawberry Plants

Watering: Regular watering especially during fruiting season is important. It is best to water established plants with drip irrigation or a soaker hose rather than being watered overhead. This avoids getting the fruit wet and helps prevent rot. 

Light: Strawberry plants thrive in full sun. The fruits require sunlight to ripen.

Temperature: The ideal temperature for strawberries is between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It is possible for strawberry plants to tolerate temperatures as low as 22 degrees Fahrenheit, as long as the plant is protected from frost.

Soil: Strawberries prefer a loamy soil, which is made up of roughly equal amounts of clay, sand and silt or organic matter.

Fertiliser: Strawberry plants need a lot of nitrogen when they are producing runners and fruits.

Propagation: Strawberry plants are propagated via runners or seeds. Strawberry plants will put out runners. As the runners take root, the connecting stems can be snipped, then the resulting plantlet can be carefully dug up and transplanted into a new location. If you are growing strawberry plants from seed, do note that it takes about a month for them to germinate and will usually crop the following year.

Fun Fact about Strawberry Seeds

Unlike other fruits, strawberry seeds are located on the ‘outside’ of the fruit. What looks like a “seed” (achene) on the outside of the fruit is actually one of the ovaries of the flower, and the seed is located inside it. 

Which Strawberry Seeds Should I Grow?

We recommend the following:

Garden-in-a-Pail (Strawberry) includes a steel pail (5.5″ high x 6″ diameter), seeds, growing medium, coconut husks for drainage and step-by-step directions.
Strawberry Garden in a Bag includes a bag (10″ high x 6.5″ wide), seeds, growing medium, coconut husks for drainage and step-by-step directions. This is a french dwarf variety.

Alternatively, you could consider other strawberry options available from time to time. Happy planting!