Saturday, 24 August 2019

Seeds, Indoor Plants and Mint with Celery

We’re talking about why some seeds fail in the Plant Doctor segment, growing a different type of celery; in Vegetable Heroes. Mint is good for you in plant of the week and getting back into indoor plants in design elements.

Plant Doctor

Why Seeds Fail.
Some say that rules are meant to be broken but in the instance of seed sowing, I say these rules are meant to be adhered to.

Seeds photo M Cammpm

Are you the type of gardener that breaks rules such as the first rule?
The first rule when it comes to sowing seed, is to sow at the correct times of the year for your district.
But there are plenty of other reasons why seeds fail.
Let’s find out why? I'm talking with Steve Falcioni from

There are quite a few good reasons why seeds can fail for example, some seeds are more sensitive to temperatures and refuse to budge if it’s not within their preferred range. 
Seeds that are old or have been stored incorrectly, say in your garden shed which heats up to over 30 Celsius in summer. 
Seeds drying out if planted too shallowly, or running out of energy because they’re planted to deeply.
Some seeds need darkness to germinate, like pansies, but others need light to germinate. Lettuce need light, for success with these seeds, just press the seeds into the soil surface.
Good drainage for great success, eg cactus and lithop seeds need excellent drainage.
This can mean if they’re sitting in the soil longer, there’s more chance of them rotting off.
So apart from old seeds, the main reasons belong in the environmental category.
If you have any questions for me or for Steve email us at


Celery Leaf is botanically-(Apium graveolens var. secalinum).
Herb-Celery Leaf , Leaf Celery or Chinese Celery.
  • Did you think there was only the celery with the stalks?
  • Maybe you’ve heard of Celeriac, well that’s a type of Celery too, but instead of stalks, it’s a bulbous root.

Well, there’s also a type of Celery that’s all leaf and nothing much else.
  • Before you say, I chuck the leaves away from the stalk celery, I say, hang on, this one tastes a bit better than those.
  • Celery Leaf looks a bit like parsley but tastes similar but slightly better than regular stalk celery!
  • Some say it tastes a little stronger than stalk celery or celeriac.
Leaf Celery has been around for a long time and was in fact used by the ancient Romans as a medicinal herb.
Supposedly, Celery seed has been used for around 3000 years as a seasoning for food.
  • Did you know that crushed celery seeds are steam distilled to make celery oil?
  • This oil is used for flavouring sauces, meats, liqueurs, perfumes, cosmetics and soaps.
Some gardeners have run out of room in their veggie bed already-full of tomatoes, Basil and whatnot.
Never fear, Leaf Celery will grow in pots because it’s a compact plant that only gets to around 20 – 25 cm.
Leaf Celery
If you live in a cool temperate district, container veggies can be moved under cover during winter.
Leaf Celery is a darker green with thin stalks and leaves that look like a cross between the Italian Parsley and the Curley Parsley.
  • Celery leaf is perfect for container gardens because it’s a cut and come again plant and is great used as a herb in stews, dressings and salads.

When To Plant
In cool temperate districts, Spring and Summer are your sowing times.
In temperate and sub-tropical zones, you have from Spring right through to Autumn, in arid areas, the only time you can’t really sow it is in summer, and tropical districts win the jackpot, because they can sow it all year round.
How to grow:
  • From putting the seed into the ground or pot, it’ll take around 2-3 months.
  • Like most veggies, Leaf Celery needs full sun but can do alright in part shade in soil that’s not too dry.
  • You can start them off in punnets if you like because they don’t mind being transplanted.
  • Keep in mind, Leaf Celery isn’t frost tolerant.
  • Sow the very fine seeds thinly, and only 5mm (1/4”) deep.
  • Be careful not to cover the fine seeds too much because they need light to germinate.
  • For fine seeds I tend to use a light cover of vermiculite which I then mist to make moist.

They can be slow to germinate taking up to 21 days at 100C-180C, so be patient.
In warmer areas, seedlings should emerge in 1-2 weeks.

Once the seeds have germinated it’s a good idea to thin them out around 30cm (12”) apart.
TIP: number 1: Don’t let them dry out.
TIP: number 2:-If you believe in companion planting, then leaf Celery is supposed to be an insect repellent for cabbage white butterfly.
Try planting some around your Brassicas like Broccoli, Cauli, and Cabbage.
TIP: number 3 and now for the Celery Seed.
If you leave your Celery leaf over winter, the plant will bolt to seed in Spring.
What can you do with that?
Apart from replanting fresh seed, the seeds are actually edible.
Ever heard of Celery salt?
What you can also do is grind it up in your mortar and pestle with a little sea salt. Better than from the supermarket shelf.
Plus you can enjoy the dainty white umbels of flowers.
After a couple of months, pick leaves as you need them to put in soups, stews, stocks and sauces.
A few leaves go well in salads with a strong blue cheese or some or cured meats.
Why is it good for you?
The leaves are brimming with five times more magnesium and calcium than the stalks. They're also a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidant’
The good thing is Leaf Celery is low in carbs, and has even a small amount of fibre


Mint:Piperita officinalis-Peppermint: Mentha spicata-Common Mint or Spearmint
Even non gardeners would be familiar with the mint herb and many would have imbibed peppermint tea, and perhaps even eaten after dinner mints.
But which mint helps you sleep and which mint helps with a sore stomach?
Let’s find out
I'm talking with was Simone Jefferies, naturopath and herbalist of 

A herb that grows well where it is a bit damp and shady.
Simone says, "mint has a sense of humour, because in Simone's garden, it pops up almost anywhere, including cracks in the pavement. "
Peppermint tea
You can easily buy peppermint plants as well as the many other different varieties of mint.
There are many types of mint: eau de cologne mint, mojito mint, ginger mint, and banana mint.
Banana mint sounded quite delicious and may be an ideal addition to ice cold water on a warm summer’s day.
Benefits of Mint
Peppermint Mint is a calming and soothing herb that has been used for thousands of years to aid with upset stomach or indigestion.
Mint is a mild sedative and can be used just before going to sleep as a calmative.
Cooking with Mint
Mint Sauce-handful of mint, add some sugar, vinegar and boiling water.
Add to steamed peas.
Tabbouleh: 1/3 mint; 2/3 parsley, cracked wheat, spring onions, cucumber  (if desired.)
If you have any questions for me or for Simone, please write in to


Indoor Plants:  Introduction
Did you know that NASA has carried out a Clean air Study to figure out which plants help to clean the air in our homes and offices?
Selection of indoor plants about to be potted up. photo: M Cannon
These plants are best at cleaning the air to eliminate toxins.
Toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.
So let’s find out more in this new series on indoor plants.
I'm talking with Julia Levitt, Landscape Designer and Director of

Indoor plants not only look attractive, brighten up gloomy areas and generally improve our moods, but they also have an added benefit of cleaning the air.
Those chemicals that I mentioned are all common volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are emitted into the air in our homes by everyday items such as furniture, carpets and common household appliances as well as air fresheners, hair products and nail polish. Wow!
If you have any questions about indoor plants why not email us or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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