You Grow Gurl; Repotting Your Succulents Like a Boss

You Grow Gurl Repotting Your Succulents Like a Boss

If you’re a prospective plant parent, you might think that starting out with a succulent is a safe bet because they require very little water, so they must be low maintenance. Nothing could be further from the truth. As someone who got her green fingers dirty with a few Mammillaria cacti that didn’t last longer than two months, I can admit that tending to succulents is just as demanding as tending an orchid. 

You’d be better off raising a hardy snake plant of geranium. 

Though, in all honesty, there is nothing more rewarding than watching your dedicated efforts in tending to succulents pay off. So let me share some tips and tricks to repotting that might help you in the near future.


People often fail at this first hurdle. If you pick a pot that is too shallow, your succulents run the risk of becoming root bound, too deep and your roots will shoot down without giving your plant the height you desire. You’ll also want to pick a pot with drainage holes so that water doesn’t sit in the soil and begin to rot the plant. Remember: succulents do well without water for days (sometimes weeks) at a time so if they sit in damp soil for a prolonged period, they will spoil very quickly.


You wouldn’t expect the veggies from your potager to thrive in sea sad, would you? By that same logic, repotting your succulents in any old soil would be just as silly. Because succulents gather moisture from the air, and not always necessarily directly, you’ll need to purchase specific succulent/cactus soil that is rich in nutrients but that dries out quick enough that your roots don’t begin to rot. If you want to make your own potting soil, use 1 part coconut husk and 1 part pumice stones for outdoor succulents, while indoor succulents should consist of  1 part crushed pine park, 1 part surface and 1 part crushed granite.


Now that you have all the components to repot your succulents, you can get started. 

  1. Fill your new pot up to ¾ with potting soil
  2. Gently remove your succulent out of its current pot
  3. ‘Tickle’ roots to get rid of any residue soil. This process is also effective in stretching out the roots of your plant.
  4. Place your succulent in the pot and tuck soil around the plant so it is packed comfortably into the new pot. Soil must reach the base of the succulent without covering any of the leaves or body of the actual succulent.
  5. If the plant hasn’t been watered in some time, add a little bit of water, though it is advisable that you wait a few days (up to two weeks) before watering your plant just so it becomes accustomed to the new soil.


If you want to grow a few succulents for friends and family from your own plants, it’s fairly easy to do. Once you get the initial process down pat, you’ll be growing vegetative offspring in no time.

  1. Cut a leaf off as close to the stem as possible. Most people get this first step wrong and rack their brains for weeks after because nothing grows from their leaf, or it ends up going brown and dying.
  2. Place leaf on top of soil making sure the ends don’t touch the soil at all. Don’t plant it into the soil because it has no roots. The leaf still needs to mature before you start treating it like a succulent.
  3. Water the soil on a regular/daily basis. Again, this is a kind of gestation period so the succulent needs all the help it can get. Don’t be too heavy-handed with the H20 because it is a succulent after all and they thrive with little to no water, If anything, you’ll he dampening the soil do the leave doesn’t completely die, but it needn’t be drowned either.
  4. In three weeks, you’ll begin to see rosettes and roots begin to form at the ends of your leaves. When that happens, make sure your roots are always covered in soil and tend to them as you would your other succulents. 

5 House Plants That Will Purify Your Home (And Are Easy to Care For)!

Top Johannesburg Farmers Markets

What a Novel Idea – Top 4 Sustainable Reads

Sources/reading material: 

Top Johannesburg Farmers Markets

Top JHB Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets have been around for decades. They’ve grown in popularity over the past years, mainly because food education is one of the leading health and wellness conversations consumers are having at the moment. And the perks of these weekly gatherings reach far beyond the physical benefits.

By opting to purchase produce directly from farmers, as opposed to supporting food conglomerates, you are uplifting your local economy. You also get to interact with the farmers who is growing your radishes, turnips and spring onions. These conversations offer you peace of mind because grilling the agronomists about their growth process ensures you are eating organically and ethically grown food. In many instances, the fruits and veggies you buy end up being cheaper than what you get from the store too.

If you’re living in the City of Gold and looking for your local market, consider one of the following:


This popular market boasts fresh fruits and vegetables grown by farmers that fringe Johannesburg. You can find anything from cured meats and creative preserves to seasonally grown produce to use in the kitchen daily. To make the most of each farmers’ time, and to get the best of their produce, visit on Friday from 3pm – 10pm and all of Saturday. Sunday is when the market becomes incredibly busy, and most of the stalls are full of artisans serving up paella, burritos, and cocktails for those wanting to put a festive end to their weekends.


The grandfather of the organic market scene, this one should be avoided if you prefer a small setting because it really is bursting with people rushing to and fro. The market has grown to include a number of different sections, but the area you’ll want to start at is packed with poultry farmers, producers of wheat-flour alternatives, and whole milk dairy producers. You can, quite literally, stock your entire pantry if you visit this market.

The central area of the market is decorated with tables to sit at and have a light meal. You cannot (I’ll say it again for emphasis) CANNOT leave without having tried the famous lemon meringue pie – one of my favored vendors who returns weekly to supply. You can pop in on Thursday s and Saturdays between 9am and 3pm for a few hours of foodie fun.


Mostly filled with ready-made nibbles, this market is a favourite because of the orange and ginger liquor distilled in White River that I tried and fell in love with. You might want to go because there are countless organically certified fruit and vegetable stalls to choose from. Farmers from Rustenburg tend to frequent this market because of its relative proximity to the Randburg location. You can also bring your pawed pets along as this market is dog-friendly.


Melville is a proverbial melting pot of the most bohemian personalities the big smoke can conjure up. The rooftop of Bamboo Centre plays host to the conscious foodies every Saturday morning through ‘til lunch. The market is a careful curation of vendors selling natural butters, heirloom seeds and plants, as well as a whole manner of herbs.


Though some might caution you for venturing to this side of town, you’ll be glad you did. It is arguably one of the oldest food markets in the city and it spoils you with a whole manner of organically grown food naturally found on the other side of our borders. If you have an adventurous palate, African vendors fill the block with Congolese yams, cassava or cassava-made bread, foreign chillies, nut oils and other curious eats for you to try and fall in love with. I always go for my fix of matapas, which is a Mozambican peanut and cassava leaf curry.

Farm-To-Fork 101

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Farm-To-Fork 101

farm to fork

You are what you eat. Everything from the soil your produce is planted in, the calibre of the seed being sown, to the pesticides used and harvestings process – it all feeds into the quality of the product. Because we are beginning to really understand that the state of our produce directly affects our health and wellness, more consumers are educating themselves on how their fruit, veg and meat is being reared.

Though the social movement of replacing GMO’s with nutrient-filled ingredients that were grown organically and locally isn’t a particularly new concept, it has gained a great deal of traction in the last 3 – 5 years. So let’s break it down:


Farm to fork emerged out of concern that we were eating too much processed food. We needed to change our lifestyles or we would, quite literally, end up eating ourselves into early graves. Health fundis got the ball rolling by encouraging consumers to make the switch to organic produce, but it was dedicated eco-warriors that managed to get the farm to fork movement off the ground.

In essence, farm-to-fork is a direct channel between agronomist and consumer. By growing your fruits and vegetables in the same place you will use them, you meet certain ethical and environmental standards. Once you claim to do this, consumers are guaranteed that you are being green about the way you farm – from using organic/natural pesticides and insecticides to the ethical treatment of your livestock.


If you read my piece about the benefits of buying local, you already know why farm to fork should be something we all try to pursue. The produce is fresher because it hasn’t had to travel far to get to you – which also means the carbon footprint between you and the farm to fork establishment is minimised too. Fruits and vegetables are generally organic, though the agricultural practices really are up to the farmers themselves to decide. This is why I tend to prefer farm-to-fork’ers who let the public walk through their grounds as the transparency puts my mind at ease.

Eco-benefits aside, many farm-to-fork fundis also believe that if you know where your food is coming from, it adds to the experience of eating it.


The heavy-hitters in local food distribution have claimed to stock organic products for over a decade, but when you thoroughly investigate their criteria, you can see for yourself that they are misleading.

Challenge yourself to switch out your weekly shop at the chain grocery store and visit your local farmers market instead. While it may not be farm-to-fork in the truest sense of the word, you can have a conversation with the vendor sourcing your butternut squash, or pick the brain of the baker to see how he farms his own wheat or oats that is later ground into flour.

Restaurants have really taken to this concept, and there are a few farm-to-fork eateries all over the country that you can support. Westerncapers can patronise Babel at Babylonstoren for a 100% guilt-free and green dining experience, while those in the Gauteng area have Fermier Restaurant and Leafy Green to enjoy. Knysna can look forward to the weekly forages of Brett Garavie at VegTable, and East London-based diners can pop into Earth Forrest for food farmed through permaculture. 



Eating Seasonally: The 101

Honey: The Bee’s Knees or a Sticky Issue?

Should We still Eat Seafood?


Winter Overnight Oats

With cold winter mornings on the increase, stay in bed a little longer and prepare your breakfast the night before with overnight oats!

Serves 2


Optional Toppings


  1. In a large bowl mix together all the overnight oats ingredients.
  2. Transfer into two separate sealable containers or jars and refridgerate overnight.
  3. The next morning either add the toppings and enjoy or heat it up before adding the toppings.

Peaches & Cream Overnight Burcha

Tumeric Spiced Collagen Latte

Coconutty Granola

The Hemp Report

On 18 September, 2018 the South African Constitutional Court ruled the private use of marijuana legal. This gave many Rastafarians and weed smokers a reason to rejoice, but it left a lot of citizens scratching their heads too.

For many, the ‘holy herb’ and hemp are one and the same – they have been for many years, so what will the new law change, really? I’m hoping to give you some clarity. We wouldn’t want consumers with discriminating tastes to accidentally buy a product they weren’t bargaining for.

What is Hemp?

Hemp is the non-hallucinogenic strain of the cannabis sativa plant. To the untrained eye, hemp bears a striking resemblance to its debaucherous cousin. But it is the lighter shade, the thinner leaves, and the taller height that sets it apart. Hemp is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, making it the perfect material to utilise on an industrial and commercial scale.

Can I get high from Hemp?

Absolutely not. While marijuana is made up of 15% – 40% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the compound with psychoactive properties, hemp contains less than one percent.

How can I use it?

While hemp has trace amounts of THC in it, it is rich in Cannabidol (CBD). We’ve seen the emergence of, and growing popularity in CBD products since the legalisation of marijuana. Hemp oil, or the more concentrated CBD oil have proven to offer effective pain relief, combat anxiety and depression, aid digestion, fight cancer-forming cells, reduce the risk of diabetes, treat sleep issues and has anti-seizure properties too.

But many people have been using hemp in many ways for many years:

Hempcreate or Hemplime is a non-toxic building material made up of hemp hurds, lime and sand. Its origin is up for debate as cannabis has been outlawed and decriminalised several times across the entire globe.

The sturdy substitute is easier to use than regular concrete, but don’t be fooled by the biodegradable materials used to produce hempcrete bricks. Any structure you build today will still be sitting pretty 100 years from now if you so wish. Knock it down and you won’t have to worry about the rubble loitering as nature’s elements will get to work breaking down the material.

Hemp has also been woven into wearable clothing and usable accessories. Hydrating moisturizers and face masks have been made hemp, as it contains high levels of essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) that get to work evening out your wrinkles.

The seeds from this versatile plant contain 31.6g protein per 100g. They are also a great source of vitamin E, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron and calcium. Eat them raw, cooked or roasted for a healthy dose of amino acid that will protect your heart. Women who suffer from menstrual cramps or symptoms of menopause can look forward to the Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in hemp seeds that alleviate your hormonal issues.

Hemp Trailblazers

Before the legalisation law was passed, there was a stigma associated with hemp products and anyone dealing with hemp. Thankfully the government has made an effort to chip away at those terrible misconceptions. The department of health and agriculture has issued permits for a group of farmers in Newcastle, KZN, to cultivate 1,000ha of hemp, making it the world’s largest licensed commercial cannabis sativa farm.

If you’re based in Cape Town, you may have heard of the coffee overs infusing their love of java with their desire to preserve their bodies. For R280 you can get 250g of CBD-infused ground coffee or roasted beans to enjoy at home. The Canna Coffee family produce an organic blend that makes you more energetic and focused, while reducing your stress levels. ‘No more coffee shakes’ they promise.

And while the felines enjoy catnip, your canine might bark a little more enthusiastically for hemp-infused dog biscuits developed by Noordhoek-based company From The Barkery. Each packet comes with 15 biscuits that contain 5mg of CBD, so you needn’t worry that you’re giving your furry friend anything he can’t handle. Even From The Barkery founder, Ceri Phillips, shares that she was inspired to make the treat when her own dig was diagnosed with a lung tumour.

The verdict

Though it seems like investing in a few hemp products is a no-brainer, I would always advise you do your research before purchasing and using a product for the first time.  If you can, consult a medical professional to ease your mind.


Q&A with Hemporium co-founder Tony Budden on the legalisation of personal marijuana use and the future of hemp in SA

Ultimate CBD ‘Pot’ Brownies

Incredible Health Benefits of Hemp Oil

Cannabidiol (CBD): A Pain Relief Alternative to Addictive Prescription Opioids



Reduce Your Food Waste

We’ve all rolled our eyes while our mother’s have whined, “Don’t waste your food, there are children starving in (insert poverty-stricken country here).” But how far does our irresponsible consumption reach? Well, you’d be alarmed to find that western countries like America and the United Kingdom waste as much food as the continent of Africa produces – which is roughly 230 tonnes. Is it any wonder that garbage is literally weighing our planet down? Reduce your food waste by considering some of the tips we’ve listed below:


It is said that the great aim of education is not knowledge but action. If you know what your food waste is actually doing to the planet, you might think twice about being so careless when disposing of it. In the same breath, if you are given advice about how you can limit your waste and shown how easy it is to be environmentally responsible, you’ll be harder on yourself if you don’t change your habits. Kate Turner, the author of My Zero-Waste Kitchen, gives green-living readers a guide to smart shopping and meal planning. There are also countless articles on the net, not too different from this one, that will give you simple but effective information about getting a handle on your food waste.

Brabantia Stackable Glass Jars


You wouldn’t need to store leftovers if you ensured your serving portions were appropriate, but cooking in bulk is a great way to save energy in the kitchen. Having said that, pizza, pasta salad, chicken, chilli con carne and potato wedges taste so much better the day after you’ve had them for dinner. Store and label your leftovers so you can eat all the food before it goes bad.


Everyone has felt the pangs of betrayal when the avocados that have refused to ripen all week are suddenly all ready-to-eat at once. To keep them from spoiling you have smashed avo and toast for breakfast, an avocado succotash for lunch and nachos with guacamole for dinner. If you don’t want this to keep happening to you, buying fruit that’s at different stages of ripening is something you should consider.

Making sure your groceries last as long as they should requires that you brush up on your knowledge of storage too. Bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions stay out of the fridge, while peaches and pears need to stay away from apples, peppers and leafy greens to prevent premature spoilage.


If you’re reaching for your favourite breakfast cereal tomorrow morning and notice the date printed under the “Best Before” warning has already passed, don’t be alarmed. The expiry of a product speaks to the quality of it and not the food safety.


One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and this is especially true for food. Seek out local soup kitchens or feeding schemes and ask if you can help out through donating any food you can’t get through. By doing your part to ensure your fellow (wo)man has a warm meal at night, you’ll also be giving Mother Nature a break from playing trash can for a change.


Kitchen Craft 5L Sleeved Stainless Steel Compost Bin

If I see one more driver or car passenger throwing a soda can out their window during traffic, I wll riot. Just stop it. Recycle your metal, paper and plastic. Invest in an effective compost bin that will convert your food waste into earth nutrients to feed your garden with. There are so many alternatives to littering that people who insist on continuing the infuriating practice should be punished. The Waste Act 59 of 2008 stipulates that no person can spill, throw, dump or discard rubbish in a public place. So really, what litter bugs are doing is breaking the law.


If you still think that the only way food can be consumed is if it’s been boiled, baked or braai’d  then you need to get your head out of the freezer. Health enthusiasts have been blending vegetables and juicing fruits for decades. Water infusions are a great way of getting your daily dose of vitamins and minerals. If you have a stockpile of fresh produce then a homemade jam, chutney and other preserves would make great gifts for friends, and will certainly impress at your next company potluck. Dried apricots and pineapples are great amuse-bouche’s for your next dinner party if you’re willing to invest in a dehydrator.

Faithful to Nature is extremely passionate about zero-waste and plastic-free living. If you’re serious about converting to an eco-friendly lifestyle, Nadia Krige quips her 5 Takeaways from Zero Waste Home, written by Bea Johnson.


Related Articles

My Top 5 Takeaways from Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

Start Curing the Waste Crisis: Recycling – A 101 Guide

The Green Goddess Guide to Creating an Eco-Friendly Kitchen


5 House Plants That Will Purify Your Home (And Are Easy to Care For)!

It’s amazing how uplifting it can be to bring just the smallest bit of greenery into your home. More than their aesthetic appeal, however, leafy plants are also exceptionally useful additions to your environment. They are, of course, natural air fresheners, absorbing carbon dioxide and converting it into oxygen and some of them even have additional benefits.

In 1989 NASA compiled a list of more than a dozen air-filtering houseplants that also proved to eliminate significant amounts of benzene (naturally given off by gasoline, paint, rubber, tobacco smoke, detergent, and a variety of synthetic fibers), formaldehyde (a toxic chemical compound found in a wide variety of household products – from disinfectants to wallpaper) and trichloroethylene (a widely used solvent and degreasing agent) from their environment. These discoveries were made during an extensive study on ways in which to clean the air in space.

With this in mind, we approached the guys from Plantify to suggest a few of their favourite easy to maintain, air-clearing plants.

They came up with this list of five:


Parlour Palms have been a popular addition to the home since Victorian times, when it was considered fashionable to keep tropical plant specimens indoors.

They are fuss-free and easy to care for, with attractively full, yet slender foliage arranged in a compact design.
What’s more, they are able to target and remove carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and benzene from the air. This is particularly helpful if you have a smoker in the home or a neighbour whose fumes blow over to your place every now and then.


Also known as a Snake Plant, the comically-named Mother-in-Law’s tongue is one of the most carefree house plants around. It thrives in just about any light, prefers dry air and soil, and rarely requires repotting.

With its long leaves and sculptural quality, it’s a striking plant to have on display and makes for an attractive focal point.

The Mother-in-Law’s tongue also happens to be one of the top air purifying plants identified by NASA. It is said to remove more than 100 known air pollutants. Apart from carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene, it also effectively absorbs nitrogen monoxide, chloroform and xylene, among many others.


Originating from South America, Peace Lilies are lush and leafy, producing beautiful white and yellow flowers. They are super easy to take care of and also extremely forgiving. If you’ve neglected to water them sufficiently for a day or two and they start to droop, they’ll pick up in a jiffy with a generous soaking.

Like the Snake Plant, Peace Lilies are also among NASA’s top-ranked air-purifying plants. They remove almost all household chemicals from the air but were proven to be especially effective when it came to benzene and trichloroethylene.


If you’re looking for a tropical addition to your home, you can’t go wrong with a Lacy Leaf Philodendron. This low maintenance ornamental houseplant creates an instant lush green look throughout the year.

With its large leaf surface, it’s also particularly good at absorbing carbon dioxide out of the air and converting it to oxygen. Keep one in your bedroom to assist in having a good night’s sleep.


Named for the shape of its leaves, the Umbrella Plant is easy to maintain and not extremely thirsty – only water when the soil is completely dry. It’s also forgiving of low light environments.
If left to grow, it could reach a large height. If you’d prefer to keep it small and bushy, pinch off new growth at the top which encourages the plant to fill out at lower levels.

They are said to be exceptionally adept at removing benzene from the air.

What are your favourite plants to keep around the house?

The Definitive Guide to Hosting a Successful Plant-Based Braai

South Africa is a paint palette layered with a swirl of colourful cultures. And fire connects us all. Countless meals have been cooked, stories been told, and cultures united around a crackling braai fire. And it is a warm and familiar place where meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike can come together to celebrate being proudly South African.

But warm camaraderie aside, we know keeping braai food varied and interesting can be daunting for non-meat-eaters, so we’ve put together a few ideas to ignite your creativity this National Braai Day.

1. Chips and Dip

Love chips but don’t love their ‘nutritional’ value?  The answer lies in Santa Annas!  Santa Anna’s Organic Corn Chips are hand cut from their delicious tortillas, and fried in de-flavoured coconut oil – boasting what they like to call “the healthiest chip on the planet”.  You can serve these at your next summer gathering safe in the knowledge you’ve not sacrificed flavour for health; they’re delicious on their own, or when used to scoop up dip.

  • Guacamole, salsa, and pesto are simple to make or buy and taste just delicious with Santa Annas Corn Chips

2. Veggie burgers

We all know vegetarian burger patties can be dressed up and enjoyed like their meaty counterparts. But if you feel like something different why not try these ideas:the

  • Patties can easily be replaced with big, brown mushrooms, thick aubergine slices, or both (grill them over hot coals as you would a steak)
  • Enjoy on fluffy buns, or go ‘bunless’
  • Serve with tasty trimmings like relish, guacamole, mayonnaise, tomato, pepper, camembert, toasted sesame seeds, basil, or fresh rocket.

We’re betting they’ll look (and taste!) so good, even the meat eaters will be impressed (not that they need impressing, of course).

3. Braaibroodjies

Practically mandatory at a South African braai, these cheese, tomato, onion and chutney ‘braai-sandwiches’ are always a welcome snack while waiting for the food to cook. And the traditional recipe is very forgiving too:

  • Make them with brown bread, wheat-free bread or sweet potato bread
  • Get fancy and replace the cheddar with Danish feta or blue cheese
  • Skip the cheese entirely for a vegan version and fill them with dairy-free pesto, fried onions, baby spinach, tomato, and chutney

4. Vegetable skewers

Could anything be simpler than cubing a bunch of your favourite vegetables and arranging them colourfully along skewers?  And, for the perfectionists out there. it’s a neat way to control your food; no veggies rolling around in your plate fraternising with the other foods.

  • Spice your skewers up with a generous helping of Clark’s Plum Sauce, or a drizzle of harissa stirred into Greek yoghurt.
  • And remember; soak those wooden sosatie sticks before you spear your food so they don’t burn!

5. Stuffing stuff

Aubergines, peppers, gem squash, butternut; all stuffable – and wrapped in foil; all braai-able.

  • Fill them with things like broccoli, sundried tomatoes, onion, olives, feta, oregano, basmati rice, rosemary, mushrooms, chickpeas… You get the idea.

Pretty much anything goes; it’s all up to your taste buds.

6. Vegetable potjiekos

Ever tried your hand at making a good ol’ South African potjie?  Simply put, you could call it a stew cooked over the fire in a cast iron three-legged pot.  But your combination possibilities of vegetables, herbs and spices are endless, and can be as simple or as advanced as you like.  Use Google for inspiration or try these ideas out from potjie world and let your culinary imagination run free.


We hope these ideas help take your summer braais to new heights. Now, all that’s left to do is to put Johnny Clegg on, turn the volume right up, and get the fire started. Oh, and to have a very happy Braai Day

For more braai day recipe inspiration why not download Fry’s Plants on Fire Braai Day Recipe Guide. It’s packed with mouthwatering meals to try.

Our Fireside Chat with Organic Jane

Spring has sprung and the earth is simply bursting with new life. This time of year often inspires people to start cultivating some greenery of their own – be it a flower pot on your windowsill or an organic veggie patch in the garden, we all have to start somewhere. Faithful to Nature got a very special chance to chat to Jane Griffiths, the local author whose debut book, Jane’s Delicious Garden, sparked an organic gardening revolution in South Africa. We got to know a bit more about Jane, what inspired her and most importantly she has shared some of her top sustainable gardening tips as well as some inspiration for newbie gardeners.

Who is Jane?

I am a television producer, an artist, a traveller, an author and a gardener.

What led you be such a passionate advocate of organic and natural gardening?

I had been growing my own organic vegetables for many years when a friend approached me for help. I didn’t realise how much knowledge I had gathered until he started asking questions – and I could answer every single one. I thought if he needed help, others would too, so I started writing a script for a DVD. Within a few days I had written 20,000 words – way more than a DVD script. I realised I was writing a book. That was Jane’s Delicious Garden which has now sold over 21,000 copies. It led to three more best sellers and I now travel around the country giving talks and sharing information on how to grow organically.

What is your favourite meal to grow?

It all depends on the season – in mid winter, a delicious hearty salad with a mixture of tasty leaves such as mustard, tat soi, baby bok choy and kale, topped with baby peas and roasted sweet potato (or butternut) cubes with sprinkles of coriander, parsley and chives. In summer I am spoiled for choice – I grow a variety of squash and often use a spiral slicer to create zucchini “pasta” with fresh cherry tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese. I also have three hens and three bantams – so we have fresh free range eggs that we eat regularly. Whatever is in season in my garden is what inspires the next meal.

PicMonkey Collage1

What are your top tips for running a sustainable garden?

  1. Early on in my gardening journey I discovered the joys and benefits of no-dig gardening. In many gardens it is a tradition to dig up the soil regularly, beating the earth with a fork to break up the clods and loosen the soil. The good news is – you can say goodbye to all that work because digging up and turning over the earth is more harmful than beneficial to the soil. Every time you dig, you are destroying and upsetting the balance of billions of beneficial soil organisms. You also lose moisture plus the nutrients dissolved in the moisture. And, finally, digging causes dormant weed seeds to surface and germinate. Instead of digging, simply add organic matter to the surface of the soil – nature is designed to incorporate it into the lower layers. If you create small beds with raised edges and don’t stand on the soil it won’t become compacted.
  2. Create your own compost and always recycle and reuse before buying something new
  3. Learn to sow from seed and how to save seeds – this will save you spending money on seed and seedlings.
  4. Gain as much knowledge as possible about your garden and its cycles, plants, soil and insects. You can buy all the gadgets you want – but the best tool you can have is knowledge.

PicMonkey Collage2

What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?

  • To visit the beautiful gardens of the Loire valley in France.
  • To eat a meal at the French Laundry in Napa Valley.
  • To paint the glaciers in Alaska.

Where is the best place to start for newbie gardeners?

Start small with one bed or one container and learn to manage that before expanding. Begin with easy vegetables such as beans, Swiss chard, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, basil and chives.

PicMonkey Collage4

All images courtesy of Keith Knowlton & Jane Griffiths. 

You can purchase Jane Griffiths best selling books from us here.

Visit Jane’s website here.

Edible flowers: Make a Super Pretty Salad!

Food may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you see flowers blossoming in your back garden. Perhaps food for bees and butterflies? Yet edible flowers have been valued across cultures as a special kind of cuisine since ancient times. Rose petals in Indian food and squash blossoms in Italian, there are many flowers that are edible, and some are famous for their use in teas such as hibiscus or jasmine.

Floral Flavours

Although you may think they’re too pretty to eat, flowers in your cuisine bring a fresh, fun and romantic flair, and who knew, they can be nutritious and have a surprising range of tastes, from spicy to fragrantly floral, to herbaceous. For instance, marigolds are sometimes called “poor man’s saffron” because of their peppery, saffron-like flavour, apple blossoms taste as delicate as they sound, and chive flowers imbue a garlicky touch.

There are so many ways you can add blossoms to your homemade goodies – roll them in pasta dough, add fragrant petals such as rose petals and lavender to your homemade ice-cream or make syrup infusions, pickle blossoms – did you know that capers are made from flower buds?

Fresh flowers go especially well with salads: nasturtiums, dandelion and primrose are very popular and are a beautiful way to celebrate the new life waking up in the Springtime.

Flower Power

Flowers are more nutritious than you may think and contain many phytochemicals that can benefit your health.  A good example is dandelion; the whole plant has been used as a traditional health tonic for hundreds of years and the flowers are  packed with antioxidants and flavonoids, including four times the beta carotene of broccoli, as well as lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. They’re also brimming with vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, pyroxidine, niacin, and vitamins E and C.

Violets contain rutin, which is anti-inflammatory and may help strengthen capillary walls, while rose petals contain bioflavonoids and antioxidants, as well as vitamins A, B3, C and E. Nasturtiums contain lycopene and lutein which are cancer fighters and are also supportive for good eyesight. Lavender contains vitamin A, calcium and iron, and as with the essential oil, is calming for the nervous system.

Before you rush out and start plucking, here a few safety tips:

  • Only eat flowers you know are non-toxic and edible, some could be poisonous, check your facts before you forage!
  • Eat flowers you have grown yourself, or that you know how they were grown to avoidf pesticides and poisonous chemicals
  • Don’t pick flowers next to the road as they have been polluted by car exhausts
  • Flowers in parks may have been treated by pesticides
  • Eat the petals only and remove pistils and stamens before eating
  • Flowers can pack a powerful punch, eat a small amount at first if you haven’t eaten them before as they can cause allergic reactions or digestive upsets, especially if you tend to have pollen allergies

Popular Edible Flowers











Edible Flower Salad with Dijon Mustard Dressing

It’s best to pick flowers for salads fresh and serve them as soon as possible as their petals are very fragile. Handle them carefully as they bruise easily. If you need to keep them fresh for a little while longer, you can place them carefully between two moist paper towels or place them in an airtight container, and put them in the fridge. When you’re ready to use them, rinse each flower gently with water, and blot dry with paper towelling. A knife or tweezers will do to remove the stem, leaves and pistil, and separate the petals for use.


1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

5 1/2 ounces tender baby salad greens (about 12 cups)

unsprayed violas or other edible flowers such as nasturtiums


  • Combine vinegar and mustard in a bowl
  • Gradually whisk in oil, then season dressing with salt and pepper
  • Toss dressing with greens and top with flowers
  • Serve immediately

(via marthastewart)

(Sources: mercola,bonappetit, marthastewart)

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