Friday, February 22, 2013


The following seeds are free for the asking. Just ask.

  • Acorn Squash
  • Long Island Cheese Pumpkin
  • Marina di Chioggia
  • Kabocha Squash
  • Delicata Squash
  • Carnival (also heard it called Festival) Squash
  • Galeux D'eysines
  • Red Russian Kale
  • Casaba Melon
  • Santa Claus Melon
Most of these I have either grown myself and harvested from the fruit or I purchased the fruit at a local vendor and then saved the seeds.  So far I have had massive successes with germination and growth for most of these seeds.  All of these seeds are no more than one year old.
Due to high demand, the tomatoes are now GONE!  I still have loads to share of the others though!
Also, keep in mind when making your list up and thinking of postage that if you would like all the seeds on this list it will fit into approximately 3 small envelopes.  I want to help keep the cost down to both you and I, especially during these more turbulent economic times. 
Many Thanks & Enjoy!

Unusual Addition to herbals

Its commonly said "Third times the charm".
Well this seems to apply to a plant that I have tried to grow for some time.
Jiaogulan. (jee-ow goo lan)

Also called Southern Ginseng and The Herb of Immortality or in China, Xiancao. 
Jiaogulan is a native to Southern China and is part of the Cucurbitaceae family which means its actually related to the cucumber and pumpkin family and like many other healthful plants out there, this plant too is considered to be a weed. 
It is reported in several different sources that in this has been used medicinially for over 600 years in China and can be attibuted to the unusual longetivity of residents in the Guizhou Province. 

I actually tried growing this about a year and a half ago and thanks to fungas gnats, and an environment that was much to its DISLIKE, it died.  I think for the first time it was actually the combination of too many gnats, too much cold, on the floor, not enough light.
So I tried again. And it died.  That time it seemed as if some sort of mold grew over the plant.  Weird. 
Well three times the charm. This time it worked!  And it is actually thriving even after it was dumped upside down on the floor when the hook in the ceiling came out.
In fact it seemed as if it liked that as its growth sped up almost a month after that tramatic event!  Who knows, maybe being dumped helped aerate the soil a bit? 
What lesson does this teach to novice or even experienced gardeners?
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  Especially in the gardening world. 
The Jiaogulan plant is dioecious which means that if I want seeds for future plants I have to have a male and female.  Remember last years lesson with the tomatillos? Well that applies here too. 
Unfortunately for me I only have one plant, gender unknown so no seeds for me. 
Also, I have seen several different sites report different things on the likes and dislikes of the Jiaogulan plant.  Some say it prefers full sun, others say shade, some say hot temperatures, others say cooler temperatures.
I can report the following.  My current Jiaogulan seems happy as a clam with somewhat filtered sunlight, off the floor, up where its a tad bit warmer, and I water it about once a week.  I do not drench the soil.  I typically will give it about 1 1/2 cups of water.  The temperature downstairs during the winter averages about 65 to 70 degrees. I have a spot light on this plant and a spider plant which seem to make both of these plants quite happy. 

Now, why should one grow a Jiaogulan plant?

First, I have to say, I am attracted to plants that appear to just be a houseplant but has a further use. 
I have many different plants hanging around in my house that look like they are simply some sort of vine type of houseplant when in fact it actually is a ....sweet potato. Or Turmeric.  Or a lowly potato. Or Jiaogulan.
And soon to arrive, Moringa trees! (more on that later!)
While I think that a plain old Pothos looks pretty and I do have some of them, I really get excited by plants that do more than just look decorative.
I mean, really, how cool is it that you can go to a houseplant and take from it to spice your dinner or make your tea?
So, onto about the lovely Jiaogulan plant.

The health claims on this one go through the roof.  They range from controlling cholesterol, blood pressure, digestion, strength and endurance, immunity boosting and even can supposedly inhibit cancer growth. 
The Jiaogulan plant boasts powerful adaptogenic and antioxidant properties and its even said it can help in weight loss. 

Now, the unfortunate bit however is I cannot actually claim that I have noticed any of these benefits because I only started to harvest a leaf or two every so often just as of recently. 
As my own plant starts to get larger I intend on using it in tisanes, which are more or less herbal teas.
 This plant will most assuredly be following me, if possible, to where ever we move to next.  I just have to remember to save room in our truck!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Who likes free stuff?
I know I do!

Okay, well.  I did an inventory of our entire seed bank and found we have a lot of extra seeds.
Now, I do have to say, this offer is not exactly free.  There is a cost somewhat.
Like last years Black Futsu Seed giveaway the only thing I ask on this one is that if you are interested you must cover the postage.
This means, unlike last year when people sent me a self addressed envelope with postage included (.45 postage on one envelope, .45 on self addressed envelope. .90 grand total), you will only have to send .46 to me via Paypal.
If you prefer you still can send me a self addressed envelope with postage but I suggest the Paypal method to save a bit of $$$ and I did have quite a few people report that they sent me envelopes that I never received.
I will cover the cost of envelopes.
If you are interested in this offer you can email me.
If you are interested in getting some almost free seeds this is all I ask.

  1. Email me your address and advise me which seeds you are interested in.
  2. Send me .46 via Paypal. 
  3. Upon receipt of the .46 I will send you whichever seeds you would like(that I still have available) to the address you sent me on step 1 

As you can see. Simple.  I will send you about 5 to 10 of each seed you wish.  Supplies are limited and of course rules of first come, first serve apply.

Now, I do have to shamelessly advertise here.  I have opened an etsy shop that soon I will be listing homemade Jellies, Jams and even some barbecue sauce.  Supplies are limited.  First come first serve applies here too. 
Within about a month or two I will be also selling tomato seedlings.  
If you are interested you can go to my Facebook page where I will have my listings updated at least once a week. 

Okay, onto the good stuff. 
The following seeds are free for the asking. Just ask.

  • Acorn Squash
  • Long Island Cheese Pumpkin
  • Marina di Chioggia
  • Kabocha Squash
  • Delicata Squash
  • Carnival (also heard it called Festival) Squash
  • Galeux D'eysines
  • Red Russian Kale
  • Casaba Melon
  • Santa Claus Melon
  • Tomato, Golden Girl
  • Tomato Black Krim
  • Tomato, Rutger

Most of these I have either grown myself and harvested from the fruit or I purchased the fruit at a local vendor and then saved the seeds.  So far I have had massive successes with germination and growth for most of these seeds.  All of these seeds are no more than one year old.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Moving forward

As usual, when I haven't written in a while it's almost always difficult.  I feel the panic rise as I think "OH MY where do I begin?"
So, where do I begin?

Three weeks ago we started our first sets of seeds.  These ones were the ones we already had on hand and also the ones we knew would be the more difficult to start.  Several types of bell peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes and eggplant.
Yes, we started early but each year, like many other gardeners out there, we strive to learn from our mistakes.  Previous years we started seeds in the wrong places, we started seeds too late, and we did not provide enough light for the poor little things to flourish and grow.
So this year we decided to start them a bit early and this time we also tried one other new tactic. Newspaper  pots!  We've tried plastic cups with holes in the bottom, buying the pots at Home Depot or Lowes, and we've even saved some of the seedling trays we've gotten when we've bought seedlings.
So far so good. The only negative I can report is the tendency for the pots to become rather moldy.  This is most likely because we were simply watering too much.
I have heard others say they like these because they break down in the soil.  One other plus to this is they are just a bit bigger which is nice.  This will allow our seedlings to grow for a while in these without the stress of transplanting. A benefit for both the plant and I!
January 21, 2013
  Not many here as we didn't have all our seeds yet.  The seed pots holding up well.

February 8, 2013
A few weeks  later right after we installed our new grow light that we purchased from Walmart.  $10.99
I had the clever idea this year to use popsicle sticks that were given to me and plastic wrap to encourage a bit more warmth for the seedlings.  At this point we were hitting a 80% germination rate.  The homemade newspaper seed pots were sprouting some sort of weird brown mold or fungus. Odd. 
February 16,, 2013 
As of now the following plants have germinated and are doing exceedingly well:
Tomatoes: Black Cherry, Rutger, Japanese Black Trifele, Christmas Grapes, Brandywine.
Purple Tomatillos
Pinata Mix Sweet Peppers
Jalapeno both hot and mild
Sweet Chocolate Bell Peppers
Bhut Jolokia
Eggplant: La Traviata, Purple Stripe Edirne, Brazalian Oval Orange
Watermelon Cream of Sasketchewan (Yes, I know! Very early for this. I will be "babying" this plant.  Every year my established plant is killed in all manner of ways. I want to try at least one of its fruits!)
Cauliflower, Purple of Sicily

The only ones that have not germinated are one of the Hot Jalepeno peppers, the Chocolate Habanero (both pots. Germination time 20-30 days! HOLY COW!), and one lonely pot with a Eggplant Purple Stripe Edirne.  
Soon I will be starting my sons Virginia peanuts which will take the normal place of our okra and some flower seeds as our goal this year is to get almost our entire garden started from home grown seedlings and not store bought.  

Many people here have followed my blog so they know our history.  For those who don't I will fill you in.
We are a US Military family.
We moved from Alaska to Maryland with about a five month notice.  
We hit numerous financial hardships as we arrived here to Maryland which prompted us to learn how to provide for ourselves as much as possible. Hunger is a great motivator to learn new skills.  And seeing your child have to go hungry, even if it is for one meal or just one snack is even a greater one.
I had always grown a herb garden during the summer.  Maybe a lone tomato plant.  A small cucumber plant.  Nothing to the scale we grow now though.  
Now there is the question that will most assuredly come up each year.  What will we try now? What will we grow now?  We've been bit by the homesteading bug/gardening bug it would seem.
I've been seriously wanting honeybees.  My husband wants to raise tilapia and rabbits.  My son wants chickens. 
Due to the fact that we live in military housing however, we are stuck with a simple fruit and vegetable garden.
Still that might just change.  
Because in less than a year, my friends, our life will be a'changin once again. It will be time for us to move, once again.
And as usual in the military way, we do not know where we are going or exactly when.  The military is great for teaching one patience.  Our life will go one of two ways, and unfortunately, that will not be revealed to us for another month or two.  
So for this year we give our all, as usual, to our garden so that we may see it give us its all. 
In between a camping trip every other weekend that is.  
I will be sad to say goodbye to our garden here but look forward to the challenges of a new one.  Maybe one with honeybees, tilapia and rabbits, and chickens.

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