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Urban Gardening

Featured GAPS* Gardener

Get to know our Certified GAPS* Coaches & Practitioners that enjoy gardening!

Monika Holland | Featured GAPS Gardener | GAPS Diet & Protocol | Living in Wellness
Monika Holland (CGC)

Gardening Bio

Location/Zone: United Kingdom, Zone 8/9

What type of Garden:  Beds

Gardening Experience: On and off for the past 5 years.

What do you like to grow: Vegetables, herbs & flowers.

Favorite item to grow: Mint, lemon balm, beetroot, cabbages, tomatoes, leeks, garlic, courgettes & cucumbers.
Least favorite item to grow: Cauliflower & broccoli
Recommended item to grow for beginners: Zucchini, beetroot & mint.


"I am a passionate advocate of the GAPS diet and a lover of gardening, I find immense joy in tending to my plants, regardless of the fact that slugs or flies may devour half of my crops. Gardening holds a significant role in my personal healing journey."


The story of my cabbage failures ...

“The first year we moved here, I decided that I would plant cabbages. So I bought over 300 seeds of cabbages, different types like the white cabbage, the red cabbage, etc. The first thing I did was this… Instead of taking the seeds and putting them into trays (1 seed per tray so you can replant the seedling into soil), I basically took the seeds and threw them onto the soil, both in my greenhouse and outside in the bedding. I just didn't care about them much, but they did start to grow.

As well, I didn't prepare the soil properly. I actually used horse manure, but I didn't do anything else.

Then we went away on holidays for two weeks. When we left, they were small seedlings, such that it was good timing to replant them and to make space between them. Because when I threw the seeds, the seeds ended up tight next to each other. So it was good timing to redo them… But because we were going on holidays, I said “OK, we'll be back in two weeks, it will be fine”.

When we went on holidays, there was a heat wave in the UK and I came back to find that my seedlings grew higher than my knees, roughly 60-70 centimeters. They were massive!

And I chatted with my Mom and she said “It's too late to replant them, they're going to die. So just let them, let them grow”. So I let them grow and basically I ended up with very thick, very long sticks. And none of the plants grew any heads. It was just a stick with the leaves growing on the sides. Nonetheless, I still ate the cabbages. They were nice and tasty, but that was year one failure #1.

Year two, I decided “OK, now I will do it correctly”. And basically, I planted the seedlings in a separate location and then after the seedlings grew, I replanted them into the beddings so they had enough space to form a proper head.

That year they started growing beautifully and I was like “yeah, I'm doing it right”. And then one month later, I saw so many beautiful white butterflies, and I was taking pictures of them. But I was like “Oh my God, they are so awesome, I love butterflies!”. Well, it turned out it wasn't butterflies, but it was those white moths. They ate 90% of my crops. So that's failure #2 in year two.

Failure #3, was last year, year three. 50% of my crops were eaten by slugs because it was a very wet spring.

In summary..

The first year, I basically didn't separate the seedlings so the heads didn't develop and I only got big sticks with several leaves on them. Year two, lots of the crops were eaten by those white butterflies, which I admired and loved. Year three, half of my crops were eaten by slugs. But I did spray my cabbages with a fermented garlic solution, and this helped to prevent those white butterflies. So the last year, year 3, I didn't have problems with the white butterflies, but 50% of my cabbages were eaten by slugs. Nonetheless 50% of the remaining cabbages, were beautifully growing and I had a lot of organic sauerkraut from it!

So here are my three failures, 1 failure per year!

Next year I plan to do better based on what I learnt from each failure!"

Garden Photos

(click to enlarge photos)

Profile Updated: 

January 21, 2024

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