The plant life cycle
You should teach your little ones the plant or trees life cycle. In case you don’t know yourself it goes like this. It starts with a seed, It sprouts and grows leaves, and then it becomes a small seedling. Next becomes a small tree, then it is a growing tree. Once it has matured to a certain age, it will produce fruits that contain seed, and the cycle simply repeats itself.
My first time growing plants
My nan who raised me was a full time gardener, and after doing little jobs with her, I subconsciously learned a lot. As I got older, at around 18 years old, I tried my hand at growing tomatoes, which at the time I didn’t like, not raw anyway. My first harvest had a poor result, I got no fruit.
I wasn’t sure what I had done wrong, however, I was more than happy to try again, challenge accepted. At that point I started watching YouTube videos, learning the differences between annuals, biannual and perennial.
The differences, by the way, is that an annual plant lives for the year and then goes to seed, whereas a perennial continues to grow year after year, which means that you do not have to replant a seed again.
After some time, I started to get really good at knowing how to care for this, and that. I managed to get a full harvest of beautiful cherry tomatoes, that I now liked because of this experience. I also started buying more seeds than what I could use, accompanied by tons of visits to the local garden centre where I would go to fantasize about all the fruit trees that I could buy but not have anywhere to put.
The green finger obsession expanded and I built a greenhouse with my brother in law. This was completely perfect for storing lots of different plants that I could grow each season.
One year I grew over 10 different types of chilli
Demon chilli, apache, lemon drop, cherry bomb, birds-eye, ghost, jalapeño, habanero, cayenne, and Padron. I started filling my home with plants, I learned about air-purifying ones such as Aloe Vera, and the spider plant.
My favourite things that I have grown from seed is an avocado tree, a lemon tree, and an orange tree.
My passion for cooking Italian food and for growing plants simply goes hand in hand. Located on my patio I have the likes of fresh sage, thyme, bay, oregano, basil, and mint, that are all at the ready for whenever I fancy cooking up a storm! Because of gardening, foods that I cook taste better, fresher, overall work out cheaper, and are much healthier.
Plants have so many other uses such as natural herbal medicine, therapy, for use in aromatherapy making essential oils. Now that I had the skills and experience to grow successfully, I really wanted my kids to get involved. They have seen me pottering around, repotting, watering and have always seemed interested.
Growing plants in a communal garden
At our house, we didn’t have our own garden. It was a shared communal space and I didn’t see why it would be a problem to grow some plants. I spent all day digging making a plot for my many plants so that they could bloom.
I thought that we would be able to make the most of the space and that other people who shared the space would also enjoy some beautiful natural things growing. Unfortunately, our neighbour made a complaint after I had done all of the hard work, and I had to put everything back to how it was.
In 2017 I made a wooden trellis out of scrap wood for climbing plants.
Our spring harvest included black poppy seeds, fenugreek pods which we used the seeds inside and also the leaves which are known as methyl leaves.
Sugar snap peas, I don’t like the flavour of them too much but Sadie loves them, and I guess they taste 100 times better when you grow them yourself.
Moving From House to Flat
After moving to our little flat, I decided to give away a lot of our plants to friends and family. The few plants that no one wanted, I planted outside in various places, handing them back to nature.
I would have loved to keep them all but now we do not have the space for them. Nowadays in our flat, I don’t have many plants but the ones I do have, I love. I mainly keep perennial plants that keep growing year after year without the need to being replanted. This means that I can continue to care for them without the jobs of getting green in spring.
Plants that I keep are an olive tree, nothing is quite as beautiful and ornamental as the Italian olive tree. I have a lemon tree that gives us lemons year round and this is another Italian variety. (Anyone that knows me, knows I love everything about Italy.) Also the lemons from our tree make the best Italian Limoncello.
I have an avocado tree that I grew from pit, it was so tiny and now it is huge, dominating most of the space on our balcony. It may seem silly but that three-year-old tree has become a member of the family, it even spreads out like it wants a hug.
I have a little orange tree that is growing a little each year, but it’s still very small. A money tree (we had one in our hotel room in Italy, and I had to get one for home), hopefully it gives us an abundance of money so that we can use it to help people that need it.
Finally we have an Aloe Vera plant that takes care of purifying the air, and healing our wounds and burns if we ever get any!