Hi and welcome to the latest newsletter. Thanks for your patience! I’m playing catch up, so this issue is packed with tips and my latest articles to get you growing a productive garden.
What’s on the menu?
- Suggestions for jobs in your garden right now (scroll down);
- How to use flowers for a healthier and more abundant edible garden;
- Vitally important tips on spinach and how it may be affecting your health;
- A peek over the fence into my garden;
- Plus a special offer on my home garden visit service for local gardeners as we spring into spring!
13 Benefits of Growing Flowers in your Vegetable Garden
In my latest article, I share easy ways to get a lot more from your kitchen garden or edible container garden by growing particular flowers. Flowers play multiple beneficial roles in EVERY garden, especially if you want an abundant harvest of fruit and vegetables. You’ll learn how to save money, reduce weeds and pests, get free fertiliser and plants, and use flowers to your advantage. READ ARTICLE NOW
Spinach: Did you Know? … and the news isn’t all good!
- Spinach leaves that have been stored for one week give you JUST HALF the antioxidant (immune building) benefits of freshly harvested spinach greens.
- So, those bagged leaves in the supermarket are not giving you ALL the health benefits you could enjoy, if you grow a pot or two yourself and pick just before eating. Food for thought hey?
I warn you that the next statistics I share might just kill your appetite:
- EWG (Environmental Working Group who champion research into safe food and products) discovered in their testing, that “conventionally grown spinach has more pesticide residues by weight than all other produce tested.” Alarmingly, 76% of the spinach samples in their tests were contaminated with permethrin, a neurotoxic insecticide already banned from use on food crops in Europe. EWG states that “at high doses, permethrin overwhelms the nervous system and causes tremors and seizures.” The EPA classified permethrin as “Likely to be Carcinogenic to Humans”. If you think non-organic spinach is grown differently in your country, remember the chemical giants (agricultural companies) have their products world-wide and farmers tend to use similar chemicals across their crops, unless banned from doing so by their government.
Spinach – Now this will be hard to swallow:
- A single conventionally grown spinach sample contained an average of 7.1 to 18 different pesticides or breakdown products. Holey leaves don’t kill people. Chemicals do. Please grow your own!
- If you’re feeding non-organic spinach to your family, then you may want to reconsider growing this vegetable. In one study, children with detectable permethrin residues in their urine were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD as children with non-detectable levels of the pesticide. It’s also used to kill head lice, kill fleas on dogs and embedded in mosquito-repellent fabrics. It has no place on food.
- If you think that’s bad, residues of DDT and its breakdown products were found on 40% of spinach samples tested. Even though this toxic chemical was banned in the 1970s, residues remain in the soil and are picked up by spinach grown today. Get your FREE copy of 2018 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce here.
So, after that cheery news, are you thinking about growing your own spinach now?
4 Tips on the Best Ways to Eat Spinach:
- If you don’t grow spinach, buy a whole bunch rather than bagged leaves and ideally organic or spray free. Wash them in cold water, spin and pat dry as soon as you get home. Eat as quickly as possible as spinach spoils rapidly.
- Spinach with medium sized leaves contain more phytonutrients than baby spinach or plants with larger leaves. Eat when young and tender.
- Spinach loses 3/4 of its phytonutrient content after boiling for just 10 minutes. The beneficial nutrients leach into the water. The greener the colour of your water, the higher the nutrient loss. Boiling spinach for 10 minutes leaves 4 times more nutrients in the cooking liquid than in the leaves themselves! You’d be better off drinking the water.
- Enjoy raw in juices and smoothies or steam gently for 30 seconds until just wilted.
My NEW eBook now available at Online Retailers
After launching my digital eBook GUIDE TO USING KITCHEN HERBS FOR HEALTH in June, I’ve been working on distributing it via online bookstores as well as in my Shop. More retailers are coming on board all the time! I am also planning to eventually print the book in a hardcopy version down the track. That’s a whole other project!
You can now buy my GUIDE TO USING KITCHEN HERBS FOR HEALTH at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple iBooks, Scribd and more online bookstores including Amazon coming soon. By purchasing my book you can support my education work while learning to use and heal yourself with everyday kitchen herbs. It also makes a great gift.
It’s in 3 digital formats so you can read it on any eReader device, computer, mobile, Kindle etc. You can also read a free sample.
If you’d like to leave a review, you can leave feedback online or email me and I’ll send you a thank you gift for your time: A BONUS companion to the book ‘WHICH HERBS TO USE WHERE – A Guide to selecting the right herb for the right place.’ CLICK TO READ MORE
Quick Tour of My Garden
In my latest blog post, you can lean over the virtual fence to see what’s been growing in my garden. Lots of photos and tips for growing fruit, vegetables and herbs. You’ll learn how I use flowers for multiple benefits; feed hungry crops like zucchini, broccoli and fruit trees; and how to save lettuce seeds + more. Dig in! CLICK TO READ NOW
Garden Tasks – What to do Now
What to do in the Southern Hemisphere
During cooler weather, it’s a good time to:
- Raise seeds indoors as microgreens or sow direct if weather is suitable.
- Plant bare-rooted fruit trees. Available online and at nurseries. You can save money this way. Prepare your soil for planting trees and shrubs in spring.
- Prune back deciduous fruit trees, berries, vines, perennial bushes and herbs. Give crepe myrtles a hard haircut to shape your tree! This is the time for shaping and making space for spring growth. Don’t delay.
- Divide perennials like garlic chives, arrowroot and lemon grass if you haven’t already.
- Manage weeds – pull by hand after rain and mow to reduce vigour until you can get them under control. Solarise them under black plastic and destroy seed heads.
- Fertilise berries like strawberries, raspberries and blueberries with compost, rock minerals and seaweed to produce blooms and fruit.
- Maintain garden structures. Replace wooden or bamboo stakes if they are rotted. Make vertical trellises and frames.
- Feed your garden. Make compost, feed worm farms, add mulch, and make potting/seed raising mix.
- Protect frost-sensitive plants. Don’t cut off frost-damaged plant parts. Wait until the last frosts are over to provide protection for the rest of the plant. Treat with liquid seaweed.
- Provide wind protection – large leafy greens and fruiting crops can dry out quickly with harsh windy days. Consider covering these plants, keeping up soil moisture or providing a screen to reduce plant stress.
- Plan pest management strategies. Get your fruit fly controls ready and other pest remedies for spring growth. This includes protecting stone fruit and citrus from fruit fly and other pest insects.
What to do in the Northern Hemisphere
In warm weather, it’s a good time to:
- Water deeply as required in your location. Pots need more moisture as the soil dries out faster. Follow these Water-wise tips. Try making your own moisture-holding potting mix to save money on watering. Adding the right extra ingredients to your bagged mix can help extend the life of your plants. Less ‘dried arrangements’!
- Sow seeds for cool-season crops directly into the garden. See my Seed Starting Guide for tips.
- Succession plant seedlings regularly for a continuous harvest.
- Stake and tie up climbing plants to maximize space and minimize pest and disease problems. Good air flow is important!
- Group container gardens in hot weather to create shade or cover with shade cloth.
- Top up mulch if it is an organic material and starting to break down. This helps feed your soil too.
- Recycle nutrients from dead annuals, prunings and grass clippings into your compost.
- Remove dead flowers (dead heading) to encourage more blooms and save seeds. This saves money too!
- Liquid feed flowering and fruiting plants.
- Maintain hygiene. Bag up and bin any diseased or pest-infected leaves and plant material. This breaks the cycle.
- Keep protecting fruit from birds with exclusion netting or individual bags.
- Manage weeds to reduce competition for nutrients and water. Use mulch, cover crops, ground covers and weed mat.
- Feed your soil organic slow release plant food and water in well.
- Harvest, dry and freeze herbs for use during the year.
- Preserve fruit and vegetables to extend your harvest.
- Maintain your garden. Repair/repaint any garden structures, trellises, sheds, fences and garden furniture while it’s warm and dry.
Special Offer on Consultations
Need help to create a healthy abundant kitchen garden? This is one of my client’s front yards. A tiny but hugely productive space, grown in just 12 weeks. I tailor time together to co-create a garden you love.
Until 31 August, I have a special Spring into Spring discount offer for a limited time until remaining available dates are all booked.
Save $34 when you book a 2 Hour Onsite Garden Consultation for $175 using the Coupon Code 2018GCPROMO. You can also pay by instalments but your personalised one-on-one visit must be during August-October, unless you are purchasing a gift voucher. This service represents exceptional value and includes:
- Pre-Visit Questionnaire – to help you clarify your needs and optimise time spent together.
- Plant Material for your garden – yes you get free seasonal seeds, cuttings or seedlings from my garden).
- Expert advice and/or hands-on help and an Action Plan Report for you to follow up and implement as you are ready.
- Local Suppliers & Resource List – save time and money when sourcing local garden supplies (my little black book!)
- Garden Journal Planner & Workbook [Value $4.97] to record your garden notes year after year.
- BONUS Garden Health Check – Find out which plants need help and what to do to optimise health.
This offer includes 50km round trip and is available for SE Queensland (Brisbane to Gympie) and Sunshine Coast residents only. Please enter this coupon code during the checkout process to apply your discount. LEARN MORE!
To make it easier to grow a sustainable edible garden, I offer a series of helpful gardening guides and resources. Making a purchase is one way you can make a difference by helping support my education work to teach people how to grow healthy food.
- How to Make Potting Mix Guide (laminated)
- Subtropical Planting Guide (laminated)
- Moon Calendar (Perpetual – buy once/use forever!)
- Microgreens Growing Guide Chart
- Garden Journal Planner & Workbook +
- eBooks, Special Offers and Gift Vouchers in my Shop.
If you’re looking for information on a specific topic, check out my free online library.
Dig into my free online Article Library for more topics
Click here to VIEW ALL ARTICLES
Want more inspiring ideas?
Each week I share photos and videos of what I’m growing, harvesting and eating from my garden and ways I use my homegrown food. Follow me for more tips and inspiration in between newsletters.
I look forward to sharing more news and ways to grow good health soon.
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© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2018. https://themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.
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