Seed Swaps

Trip to Bahrain and a seeds shopping spree!

04 Jan 2019
Clear 25°C / 77°F

I went home for xmas, and i made it a point to visit the local nurseries for seeds. My home is an island and in the north we have what we call a green belt zone ( historically where agriculture was booming, now only a few farms left amidst hideous tall buildings and shopping malls)

i was on the hunt for the local basil, otherwise known as Rehan. We have different varieties of it. One called the mashmoom and the other, Rehan. We eat the Rehan and we decorate brides hairs with mashmoom (in the olden days..)

Well i couldnt find either, but i found and bought the following:

شبنت: pronounced “shbent”, i’d be prompted to say it’s dill but this one has a more of a deep earthy note, and can withstand high temperatures when cooked. i love it cooked with plain white rice.

بربير: pronounced “Barbeer” i have always thought this was watercress. a very plump version of it. arabic wikipedia says it is the Common Purslane. People use it as salad greens. I have nostalgic memories of the salad bowl lunchtime at grandma’s: a big basket of Barbeer, Rehan and green chillis and limes that have been halved.

حلبه: pronounced " Helba" aka the fenugreek. I haven’t tasted the local variety before so this would be the first time to grow and taste!

بقل:pronounced “bagul”, arabic wikipedia says it is the" Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum aka leeks. Well they hardly look like or taste like leeks, they are long and thin (1 cm thin) with a neat fold in the middle. they grow up to 30 cm long and are enjoyed raw with a local dish of bbq’d small meat skewers called “tikkah”. Locals believe that it is also a form of a galactagogues (breast milk enhancer) and they give it to new moms to encourage milk production.

the seeds packs are loaded and i am short of space in my small balcony garden. anyone who likes some of my seeds please raise your hands!





Folia Helper

United Kingdom8a

Like you I do all my gardening on a balcony but, other than tomatoes, I don’t grow anything to eat. I just grow flowering plants. My balcony measures just 4m long by 1.5m wide & is just over 2m high. I’m more fortunate than you in that it gets sunshine from 11am till the sun goes down in the evening!

One reason for not growing vegetables is that neither my wife nor I like them! We do eat cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce & potatoes but that is about all! Other than lettuce, which I no longer eat, we never eat green veg. My wife bought a couple of bags of carrots over a month ago but they haven’t been opened yet!

Perhaps once a week I, (but not my wife), eat some mixed veg, (diced carrots, sweetcorn, peas & green,runner beans), we get from the supermarket. Though we often eat legumes, (chick peas, red kidney beans or lentils), once a week.

Posted on 05 Jan 19 (6 months ago)

That sounds like a great trip. Thank you for the information on local herbs and their use. Our organic vegetable grower grows several winter greens including one related to purslane. Purslane was a major weed in my Saskatchewan garden so it obviously likes hot weather but there were so many other vegetables to eat growing in that garden that, sadly, I never tried eating the purslane.

Have you tried hanging pots or bags on your balcony?

Posted on 06 Jan 19 (6 months ago)

Oh you must try the purslane! I love it and can’t find it here. Tastes fresh, peppery, oniony, has a delicate crunch then melts away. Love it with a heavy meal kind of helps balance things off!

Posted on 06 Jan 19 (6 months ago)

Amarylis I must take pictures of my full balcony garden so you get an idea. You are right I haven’t thought about space I just kept sowing.

Heck I have event bought seeds that I know can’t be grown in a balcony garden. Here is to hoping that one day I could have a nice patch to grow things to my hearts delight..

Posted on 06 Jan 19 (6 months ago)

I’ll look out for purslane. It grew as a weed in Saskatchewan but I don’t remember seeing it here. I can grow other succulents well in the garden so should be able to grow purslane.

Have you ever tried growing sprouts in a bottle with cheesecloth on top?

Posted on 06 Jan 19 (6 months ago)

Your shopping spree sounds productive. Hope you enjoy all the plants. If space is in short supply you should be able to fit a few herbs together in a pot or among any vegetables you may be growing. It is amazing what can be grown in a small space and in pots. I’ll look forward to hearing the results of your efforts.

I have found common purslane growing wild in my garden, indeed many gardeners here classify it as a weed. I haven’t eaten any as yet, so I will have to consider that a new experience for this year.

Posted on 06 Jan 19 (6 months ago)

I’ve tried unsuccessfully to grow fenugreek, which is a really important herb in my native cuisine as well (Greek via Turkey), but have never had much success. Purslane on the other hand grows as a weed around here, eminently harvestable for absolutely no effort.

Posted on 07 Jan 19 (6 months ago)

Would you like to add a comment? Sign up for a free account, or log in if you're already a member.