Gardening

Gardening – March : what to sow

What to sow in March?

March has to be one of the most exciting times in the year for gardening in the UK: after the cold winter months the weather gets warmer, daffodils and freesias flourish, and the soil heats up, ready for sowing. It’s time to go in the garden again !

Gorgeous Kew gardens in March
Gorgeous Kew gardens in March
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Carrot seeds

There is a whole lot of vegetables that you can sow in March : tomatoes in particular are great if you have enough sun, raddish is fast and easy, beetroot, onions, lettuce… Today we planted carrots, and a peony root. Carrots can be planted in pots or in the ground; we used a large square pot. Put a thick layer of soil, filling 2/3 of the pot, press down. Make holes in the soil with your finger, leaving space between each, add the seeds, and cover with soil. Carrots grow relatively fast: after 1 or 2 weeks seedlings appear, and they are ready to pull out after 10 weeks in average. I will let you know how our carrots grow!

Peony roots are generally planted in the autumn, but if you missed that window (as I did), imagesyou can plant at the beginning of spring. I love peonies and they are hardy plants, so perfect for someone like me who is not a great gardener. Plus they provide colour to a dull garden. Peony roots are oddly shaped; my daughter was fascinated by it. When you plant, make sure to put the ‘eye’ level with the soil. We planted it in a pot; make sure it has good drainage ( use stones at the bottom if needed) and add some compost to the soil as they require a rich soil. Place in full sun if possible, but peonies only require little watering.

IMG_7048That’s it for today!

Health and Beauty

The benefits of Black Soap (Savon Noir)

I talk about the wonders of oil, in particular olive oil, in a previous post, in particular about their health and beauty benefits. Well Black Soap, produced in North Africa, is like a condensed version: it is made out of oil, often using the famous Moroccan Argan oil, and macerated olives, and it is thus packed with therapeutic qualities. Black soap is particularly rich in vitamin E and is known for deeply purificating the skin, as well as preparing the skin for exfoliation. In Morocco, women often use it in the hammam (public baths) before peeling their skin with a loofah. It should be applied on wet skin and left a couple of minutes to rehydrate and purify the body, before being rinsed off.

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Black Soap or Savon noir from Morocco

Don’t be fooled by its aspect: its texture is more like butter than regular soap, but it is all natural, works with all types of skin and has a light scent. The damage of chemical perfumes added to soaps, shower gels and shampoos on the skin and hair is well documented:  Black soap is a great, 100% natural and organic alternative, usually made the old fashioned way by small producers. If you want to try making your own black soap, try my basic black soap recipe.

Black soap can also be diluted with water and used as a cleaner and detergent. It has tons off properties: it can be used to clean floors and tiles, windows and leather furniture, it removes grease from ovens, baking trays or plates, and it is also used as a stain remover.

Furthermore, it can also be used in the garden to help get rid of parasite. Just spray diluted black soap on affected plants and leaves. It is a great product before it acts as a natural repellent without destroying the environment as would do traditional pesticides. In fact, black soap has so many different uses that I can’t list them all! Stay blessed!