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Clever design ideas

2018-05-28T12:09:40+10:00Comments Off on Clever design ideas

7 Sustainable Garden Design Tips

Want a productive, edible and sustainable garden? One that nourishes you with healing delicious foods? Growing your own organic food garden is one easy way to live more sustainably and tread lighter on the planet.

7 Sustainable Garden Design Tips

When you ‘shop’ for fresh ingredients from your garden, you save time and energy. Home gardeners don’t need to use huge amounts of precious water, toxic petrochemical fertilisers, expensive fuel, transport, tonnes of material and lots of land. Designed cleverly, a small sustainable garden avoids wasting resources and minimises the impact on the environment.

I believe being ‘sustainable’ is a lifestyle that helps sustain you physically and provides you with short and long-term benefits. Being a sustainable gardener is about making conscious choices about the actions you take and the resources you use. Giving back to the earth and not just taking from it.

Recycling food waste back into the garden is a sustainable practice

Recycling food waste back into the garden is a sustainable practice

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4.6/5 - (11 votes)

Design Tips for a Productive Kitchen Garden

Do you ever feel frustrated when pest insects damage your plants? Wish your kitchen garden was more productive? You’re not alone! Even the healthiest gardens struggle with a few ‘unwelcome visitors’ at times.

Design Tips for a Productive Kitchen Garden

 

If you have limited space for your food garden, then losing precious crops, can be even more disheartening.

The good news is there are design strategies you can use to:

  1. Maximise your space;
  2. Minimise pest insects;
  3. Enhance the beauty; and
  4. Even improve some of your harvests.

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4.4/5 - (5 votes)

Garden Design Ideas for Small Spaces

Good design is essential for small space gardens. If you have limited room to grow as many of us do in urban areas, maximising the area you can garden in and wise plant selection are top priorities. These space saving solutions may be just what you need.

 

It's important to use good design principles to make the most of small garden spaces. | The Micro Gardener

Sometimes it just takes a little inspiration to make some simple but creative changes to your space.

 

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5/5 - (2 votes)

15 Helpful Design Tips for Vertical Gardens

Important Factors to Consider with Vertical Gardens

Got a small space? To help you decide what kind of structure to use for your vertical garden, consider these 15 practical design tips.

 

Vertical gardens can be anything you imagine. Take some inspiration from these ideas to start your own project.

This garden gate has been used not only for functional vertical growing space with a mounted planter box filled with flower pots but also a handy place to hang some garden art.

 

1. Don’t overlook your garden entrance

A gateway is usually the point of entry and the place where you make first impressions!  With a little imagination this space can be another creative vertical garden.  (more…)

4.5/5 - (6 votes)

Gardens for Kids – Design Ideas & Themes

“Gardening has a magical quality when you are a child.”- Barbara Damrosch

Gardens for Kids - Design ideas and themes for gardening with children

Inspirational Themed Gardens

A garden is Nature’s Classroom. If you have children, grandchildren, visitors or are homeschooling, this article will give you some ideas and inspiration for designing your space with little ones in mind.

You can include a wide range of learning experiences. There are loads of creative ways to encourage kids to start small or think BIG!

Growing plants and being in contact with nature is a therapy in itself. Now more than ever, we need to spend time connecting with the outdoors and plants for our mental and physical wellbeing. Not only adults, but especially children. They often don’t express the stress and anxiety they feel, so a garden can be a quiet space to calm and centre them emotionally.

“Many studies both in Australia and overseas in school gardens have found students who grow organic fresh produce not only increase their consumption of vegetables at home but also improve their ability to identify new fruits, herbs and vegetables and develop knowledge of how to grow them.”

What a great gift we can give to children! I hope you enjoy some of the ideas I’ve put together from my experiences.

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5/5 - (1 vote)

SMALL GARDEN DESIGN

Small Garden Design Ideas

The smaller your space, the more important the choices you make. Good design, colour, use of vertical space and other design elements can make a huge difference. When you make wise choices with your small garden design, you improve your garden’s productivity, visual appeal and functionality.

With a diploma in Interior Design and Permaculture, I’ve learned how to design a space efficiently for abundance, beauty, character and practicality. I help my clients maximise their garden spaces and ‘design out’ problems. If you need some inspiration for your place, dig into these tips!

 

SMALL GARDEN DESIGN: A few simple design principles and techniques in a small space can make it visually appealing and productive. | The Micro Gardener

A few simple design principles and techniques in a small space can make it visually appealing and productive.

 

We are all unique, with different needs and visions of what our ideal garden looks like.  What a “small” garden means to one person, may be a large space to another! Our perspective of space is often relative to our previous experiences.

If you have lived on an acre and move to a quarter acre block, you may think you now only have a ‘small’ garden to maintain!  If you have only had an indoor plant but now have a courtyard, your new garden is full of possibilities.

 

“In his garden every man may be his own artist without apology or explanation.  Each within his green enclosure is a creator, and no two shall reach the same conclusion; nor shall we, any more than other creative workers, be ever wholly satisfied with our accomplishment.  Ever a season ahead of us floats the vision of perfection and herein lies its perennial charm.” Louise Beebe Wilder

 

5 Small Garden Design Tips

1. Keep it Simple

If you’re not sure where to start with your space, focus on one small area first. Make a list of the most important ways you need that space to work. A patio may need to provide you with a nice view, privacy, easy access to edible and ornamental pots, and a relaxing place to sit.

 

Small garden design: Make good use of vertical space by growing a colourful (or edible) privacy screen. Here lattice has been used for plant support. Repeat colour with plant foliage, flowers or pots. These design principles help bring harmony and functionality to a small garden space. | The Micro Gardener

Make good use of vertical space by growing a colourful (or edible) privacy screen. Here lattice has been used for plant support. Repeat colour with plant foliage, flowers or pots. These design principles help bring harmony and functionality to a small garden space.

 

2. Choose a Theme

Start with your favourite foods or a colour that appeals to you. For example, a culinary or medicinal herb garden; stir fry garden; pest-repellent pots; or miniature fruit trees. For a colour theme, if you love red, choose plants with flowers, fruit or foliage in different shades of red. Or put your favourite plants into red pots.

3. Start with Container Gardens

Containers have many benefits. Choose a suitable pot or planter if you have limited space, or need confidence as a beginner gardener.  You can repurpose materials as containers, get crafty with DIY or buy new. Group a few together as a feature.

 

Small Garden Design Idea: A collection of galvanized metal containers and water feature focal point in garden design | The Micro Gardener

A collection of galvanized metal containers with a water feature create a focal point in this small garden design.

 

4. Use Vertical Space Wisely

Create an attractive design feature while maximising your vertical space. Some structures use both vertical and horizontal growing space. These include herb spiralstrellises, tepees, fences, ladders, espaliered trees and vines, and arbors. These structures increase your growing space and enhance your garden visually.

 

A ladder with pots can optimize your vertical space while adding an attractive feature in a small garden design | The Micro Gardener

A ladder with pots can optimize your vertical space while adding an attractive feature.

 

5. Garden Art

Reflect your personality and add character with garden art. If you have children let them create their own stepping stones; plant labels; a planter box; or paint a garden sign. Create a garden feature as a focal point by drawing the eye to a central position.

 

Small Garden Design Idea: Flower pot men made out of terracotta pots and plants for 'hair' add a sense of fun. Get creative!

Flower pot men made out of terracotta pots and plants for ‘hair’ add a sense of fun. Get creative!

 

Perhaps you have a collection of rustic tools, musical chimes, a bird bath or feeder? Maybe pottery items you no longer use indoors but could add character outdoors?  Take another look around your home and think about what items could have a new life in your garden.

Charming touches help you enjoy your garden more and decorative ornaments can help tell your story visually.

 

Bird house habitat hanging in a tree doubles as garden art in this small garden design. | The Micro Gardener

Bird house habitat hanging in a tree doubles as garden art.

 

Part of the enjoyment of creating a special garden is adding to it over time.  Search around to find things you like. You can often find treasures at opportunity shops, garage sales, online and Freecycle.org.

 

Small Garden Ideas . . . what you can grow

What can you grow in a small space? Here are a few ideas.

1. Tiny Indoor Gardens

It really doesn’t get any simpler than adding some fresh sprouts into your diet. You don’t even have to leave the kitchen bench or use soil! Soak seeds in water and rinse them daily. You will be sprouting green ‘plant babies’ in just a few days!

Or try growing microgreens. These small but mighty ‘toddlers’ of the plant world are an even easier ‘indoor garden’. Both offer you delicious rewards.

 

Rocket microgreens in a mini garden on a window sill. A perfect solution for small garden design.

Rocket microgreens in a mini garden on a window sill. A perfect solution for small spaces.

 

Indoor plants of any kind will also help to improve your indoor air quality. How? Research shows pot plants help remove some of the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and toxic fumes from appliances, furniture, flooring and building materials. Studies have also found indoor plants can dramatically improve your health and wellbeing by reducing stress.

2. Mushroom Kits

You don’t have to leave the house if you grow mushrooms with a kit. You can enjoy several harvests of fungicide-free mushrooms in a humid environment indoors. It’s incredibly exciting cutting your first flush of home grown mushies. They require a little patience but are so worth the wait!


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3. Herb Gardens

A pot of fragrant culinary herbs for the kitchen will provide you with tasty garnishes, herb teas and fresh ingredients for meals.

  • Many herbs are multi-functional. They can be used to add flavour to meals, have medicinal value, provide attractive flowers (which in turn attract beneficial insects and pollinators) and can be brewed for herb teas.
  • Plant chives and parsley as an edible ‘ornamental’ border around a small garden bed.

 

They look sensational planted en mass and repetition is another easy design principle to implement. Small garden design ideas. | The Micro Gardener

They look sensational planted en mass and repetition is another easy design principle to implement.

 

  • Aloe Vera is a well regarded medicinal herb that is attractive in form and shape. It makes a beautiful feature plant and can be used to soothe skin ailments.

 

4. Flowers

Add so many benefits to any garden space. Flowers that perform multiple functions are a great choice. Flowers add beauty, colour, fragrance, attract bees, look great in a vase and soften hard landscaping features. Start with a punnet of annuals in a pot, a bulb or sprinkle some seeds. Some flowers even grow well indoors.

 

Circular garden with colourful flowers as feature in small garden design | The Micro Gardener

A circular feature garden with colourful flowers draws the eye and brings in bees

 

If you are buying flowering plants, why not coordinate species that have a similar colour? Blue and white is a classic combination that always looks sensational. With a little extra thought to plant selection, you can have flowering colour all year round.

 

Repetition of colours in pots is a way to add drama and create a focal point as a feature in a small garden design.

Repetition of colours in pots is a way to add drama and create a focal point as a feature.


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Creative Design in Pots and Garden Beds

  • Try experimenting with a hanging basket to save space and add colour at eye level.

 

Hanging and wall mounted container gardens maximise vertical space and create impact in a small garden design. | The Micro Gardener

Hanging and wall mounted container gardens maximise vertical space and create impact in a small space.

 

  • Recycle old containers and find new ways to reuse them in the garden. Think about the functionality of an object and how it can be utilised in a new way.  There are many examples on this website to help inspire you.

 

Turn a vintage colander into a stylish hanging planter. The holes provide decoration as well as practical drainage. Small garden design idea. | The Micro Gardener

Turn a vintage colander into a stylish hanging planter. The holes provide decoration as well as practical drainage.

 

  • Recycle centres, council clean up days and garage sales are all great places to find old containers to re-purpose.
  • When an old wheelbarrow rusts out or gets a few holes, rather than ending up in landfill, re-use it as an edible planter box.  It adds loads of character and can still provide functionality as a mobile garden.  Just wheel it to where the sun is!

 

Small garden design idea: Fill an old wheelbarrow with fresh herbs or flowers and use it as a portable garden feature.

Fill an old wheelbarrow with fresh herbs or flowers and use it as a portable garden feature.

 

  • Almost anything can, with a little imagination be turned into a place to grow something in your own backyard.
  • Choose containers with good drainage and made from materials that won’t break down too quickly.  You will find lots of ideas and tips in Container Gardening.
  • Raised no-dig garden beds not only save your back, but are practical, low cost and attractive.  No dig beds are highly productive growing spaces and have many advantages.

 

With great drainage, easy access and compact growing space no-dig garden beds are a great choice for micro gardeners. Small garden design ideas. | The Micro Gardener

With great drainage, easy access and compact growing space no-dig garden beds are a great choice for micro gardeners.

 

Raised beds come in different shapes, materials and sizes.

 

Small garden design: A wooden raised container garden filled with herbs or vegetables is practical and attractive. | The Micro Gardener

A wooden raised container garden filled with herbs or vegetables is practical and attractive.

 

Small Garden Design – An interesting history . . .

  • Historically, gardening in small spaces goes way back to the Egyptians. These ancient gardeners used earthenware pots to highlight symmetry within a garden design, define and separate garden spaces and grow rare plants.
  • The Romans embraced container gardening with great passion. They developed many new techniques for making terracotta pots. They invented greenhouses, topiary (pruning plants into shapes) and also loved their garden art.
  • Many of the techniques used in small gardens today are borrowed from ideas the Romans developed. They painted courtyard walls with trompe-l’oeil trees and flowers to make the space look larger. They filled these courtyards with fountains, statues, pottery urns, artifacts and vases. They also grew a wide range of culinary, fragrant and medicinal plants. All ideas to inspire you!

 

Well, I hope these small garden design ideas have inspired you to get started with your next project!

Want more Design Ideas? Discover more tips: Ten Tips for Creating Beautiful Gardens, Clever Design Ideas, Micro Gardening and Container Ideas.  For children’s garden design ideas, get some inspiration in Themes for Kids’ Gardens or check out some photos of creative containers to grow your garden in. Dig in.

Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I only recommend products or services I use personally or believe will add value to my readers. Please read my Disclosure Statement for more details.

 

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© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2016. https://themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.

2019-01-28T14:43:34+10:0014 Comments

July in the Garden

Are Insect Pests Bugging You?

If you’re frustrated with pest problems, you’re not alone. In my latest article, How to Control Pest Insects Naturally, you’ll discover WHY plants attract pest insects so you can address the cause. It’s packed with loads of practical strategies to prevent damage without resorting to toxic chemicals. I share methods I use to control pest insects by working with Nature for a healthy productive garden. I think you’ll find some useful tips to dig into.

How to Control Garden Pest Insects Naturally - why they attack plants + organic and natural strategies to prevent and control damage

SHOW ME HOW TO PROTECT MY GARDEN FROM PEST INSECTS




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Fight Pests, Diseases, and Improve Soil Health with Vermicast

Have you discovered the joys and benefits of employing worms in your garden? I’ve been utilising these soil workers to create healthy soil and produce rich fertilisers for my plants for years. Worm manure (also known as vermicast or worm castings) is a valuable product they provide for free!

Did you know worm castings boost pest-resistant enzyme production in plants? This increases their resistance to insect attack and helps fight soil-borne plant diseases like root rot.

Liquid worm leachate and vermicast from my worm farm are free products to build soil and plant health

Liquid worm leachate and vermicast from my worm farm are valuable products to build soil and plant health

In a 2004 study (Edwards and Arancon), 20% and 40% vermicompost was added to growing media for a variety of vegetables. The results showed statistically significant reductions in arthropod (aphid, mealybug, spider mite) numbers! There were also subsequent decreases in plant damage compared to the control.

In field trials, researchers also observed the suppression of plant-parasitic nematodes. The numbers of spider mites and aphids were significantly reduced when they applied worm tea. These results are especially encouraging for home gardeners.

Earthworms are the intestines of the soil.” – Aristotle

Want to learn more about worms? I invite you to read my recent article in Garden Culture Magazine. I explain the difference between vermicast, vermicompost and vermicomposting. I also share the advantages of these amazing fertiliser factories.

Worm Farming Secrets: The Business & Biology of Raising Composting Worms eBook by Duncan CarverSome interesting findings from the article. “When liquid vermicast leachate is applied as a foliar spray, it provides natural resistance to certain plant diseases without the need for chemical alternatives. Various studies confirm vermicast plays a beneficial role in stimulating seed germination, shoot and root development, and vegetative growth.”

Looking for a way to feed your garden and earn an income?

Learn how with the Worm Farming Secrets eBook.

(more…)

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2021-07-21T19:54:35+10:00Categories: Newsletters|0 Comments

How to Control Garden Pest Insects Naturally

Do you panic when you see an insect you don’t recognise in your garden? Do you assume it’s a pest causing damage? If so, it may help to understand WHY insects attack plants. I also share a toolbox of natural and organic strategies to help prevent and control the damage.

How to Control Garden Pest Insects Naturally - why they attack plants + organic and natural strategies to prevent and control damage

Firstly, a reality check! Don’t expect a pest-free garden. Even the healthiest gardens still get pest insect visitors. It’s more important to focus on creating a healthy balanced ecosystem. Aim for a productive harvest rather than a zero-tolerance policy!

There will be more beneficial predatory insects and pest controllers in residence with the right elements in place, than those causing damage. You need both – in balance.

If your garden is new, has few flowering species or has poor quality soil, it may be a different story. If you have a horde of herbivores eating your plants, don’t give up! Give it a little time and nature will restore the natural equilibrium. Read on to learn how.

Let’s colour in the picture so you know why the pest insects are there and what to do about it.

How do Pest Insects Damage Plants?

Some insects suck the sap out of plants or chew leaves, while others bore into the roots, seeds or stems. You can tell if you have some unwanted visitors in your garden by the visual damage. You won’t see underground pest insects. However, you WILL be able to observe the evidence they’re in residence by the appearance of your plant aboveground.

Why do some Plants Attract Pest Insects?

Pest insects target plants that are minerally deficient. They are indicators of an imbalance. Weak malnourished plants are magnets for herbivorous insects. They are a CLUE you need to change something.

Pest insects often target nutrient-deficient plants

Pest insects often target nutrient-deficient plants

Professor Philip Callahan, the author of Tuning into Nature, observed that insect antennae enable them to sense a variety of environmental signals. He also found that plants emit infrared radiation (not visible to us). What’s really interesting is these signals vary depending on the nutrient levels inside the plant. He notes “A sick plant actually sends forth a beacon, carried in the infrared, attracting insects. It is then the insect’s role to dispose of this plant deemed unfit for life by nature.”

Survival of the Fittest

So, ‘pest’ insects are actually Nature’s ‘garbage collectors’. Their role is to remove ‘rubbish plants’ and help strong healthy plants survive! They leave plants with optimum nutrition levels alone. What can you learn from this? Grow nutrient-dense food and insect pests won’t bother your plants.

If you have a lot of pest insect problems in your garden, look at your soil health as a first step. Then, cultural practices like watering, feeding and position. It’s far easier to implement preventative strategies than deal with a big outbreak.

Pest insects select plants with a nutritional imbalance of one or more nutrients. They don’t have the pancreatic enzymes necessary to digest complex carbohydrates in healthy plants. Untouched plants are a clue you are meeting their needs. (more…)

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Grow Microgreens Chart and Booklet Bundle

Looking for quick start guides to grow microgreens successfully? These two comprehensive resources make it simple and cost-effective. Ideal for personal use or growers raising microgreens as a small business.

1. Microgreens Growing Guide Chart

  • This laminated fold-out 8-page full-colour chart is your go-to reference guide.
  • It shows you how to grow 28 popular varieties of microgreens seeds.
  • Packed with easy to follow step-by-step instructions.
  • Illustrated materials you need for both soil and hydroponic growing methods.
  • How to grow and harvest information.

This is an easy-to-use guide to growing microgreens. Improve your own health; buy as a gift, or as a tool to earn income as a small business.

Grow Microgreens - Growing Guide Chart

2. Easy Guide to Growing Microgreens Booklet

  • A condensed info-packed guide with shortcuts to get started quickly.
  • Designed in a practical Q&A format with tables for easy reference.
  • Well-researched and based on 9 years+ experience to help you grow microgreens successfully.
  • Easy-to-read but comprehensive.
  • A hard copy printed booklet.
  • A quick start guide to growing baby vegetables/herbs as fresh nutrient-rich ingredients.

This guide stands alone but has been designed to complement the Microgreens Growing Guide Chart. It contains additional shortcuts, unique little known tips and troubleshooting solutions. Everything you need for success!

Grow Microgreens with the Easy Guide to Growing Microgreens Booklet

2021-07-26T10:34:34+10:00Categories: |0 Comments

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