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So far Anne Gibson has created 160 blog entries.

January in the Garden

Welcome to this month’s newsletter. Now is a great time to think about your goals and plan this year’s garden. I’ve redesigned my kitchen garden for optimum production, created a plant list of species that will provide multi-functional benefits including biodiversity and have started implementing my plan.

This month, I share tips and resources to help you with your goals; gardening guides to make it easy; ways to garden in just five minutes; keep garden records; moon planting and what to do in your garden in subtropical Queensland. Plus I announce the winner of my Live Chat Garden Consultation. Dig in!

I grow plants for many reasons quote


Garden Goals for 2021

We are living in very uncertain times with many suffering from stress and health issues. One of the simplest ways we can empower ourselves is to grow food and medicine in our own well-designed garden. I urge you to consider prioritising your garden this year. If it’s been low on your radar, maybe NOW is the time to take positive action rather than procrastinate. Consider how you can make space for spending time IN your garden to expand its value.

In 2020, there was huge pressure on seed and garden supplies, food shortages in supermarkets and farmers trying to navigate new regulations to transport their produce. I believe food security begins at home – in our garden and pantry. Taking responsibility for what we eat and producing at least some of our own needs is vital to living more sustainably.

If the stresses of life or health issues are weighing you down, spending time gardening is a scientifically researched* way to improve these outcomes. A review of many studies* has found our diets improve through healthier eating; connection to nature** helps relieve mental fatigue; while physical exercise and psychological health improve, amongst other benefits.

Plant Life Balance ambassador and researcher Dr Dominique Hes says “Being able to see plants or be surrounded by them can be an effective mechanism of dealing with stress. Experts say tending to plants can be one of the most accessible and simplest ways to engage in mindfulness.”

* Soga, Masashi, Gaston, Kevin J., Yamaura, Yuichi, Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis, Preventive Medicine Reports (2016)

** Kaplan, S., 1995. The restorative benefits of nature: toward an integrative framework. J. Environ. Psychol. 15, 169–182.

Dementia study reveals gardening may prevent disease


Gardening Guides to Get you Growing

Healthcare can be expensive so doesn’t it make sense to learn how to save money and improve health by growing and eating nutrient-dense food and herbs? These are some tools to help you.


Easy Ways to Garden in Just 5 Minutes

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Gardening Tips for December

Our gardens have taken on new meaning this year. Perhaps your garden has been a peaceful sanctuary to relieve stress? An abundant resource to feed and heal you, or an exciting and maybe bumpy journey if you’re a new gardener!

Grow more food in a small garden tip: Utilise all garden bed space with vertical stakes to support tomatoes in the centre and salad greens around the perimeter

Growing food to sustain and nourish your health is a positive empowering action to take especially in uncertain times

During the holiday season is a good time to reflect and plan how your garden will serve you next year. What would you like to grow? What would you like to change or do better? What didn’t quite go to plan this year and what were your successes?

Start a garden journal as an empowering learning tool – you’ll be surprised what a massive difference this can make to your successes.

I want to thank you for joining me throughout the year, especially all my clients I’ve had a chance to work with personally. In this newsletter, I’ve put together some planning tips for small gardens, ways to grow food on a budget, use your garden as therapy, moon planting and December planting tips to take you into the new year. There’s also a chance to win a Live Chat Garden Coaching consultation with me – be quick. Dig in for details!


Planning Tips for Small Gardens

Compact gardens require careful decisions to use space wisely. No one has the perfect location including me! We all have pros and cons to work with as we decide what to grow and where. These are a few quick practical tips to consider.

  • Grow only foods you enjoy eating! There’s no point investing time, money and effort into edible plants unless they’ll end up on your plate.
  • Consider how much time you really have to care for a garden each week. If you’re busy working full-time, an hour may be realistic to grow just a few healthy foods in pots.
  • Learn when your seasons are. Follow a seasonal planting guide to avoid sowing at the wrong time.
  • Choose pest and disease-resistant crop varieties suited to your climate. Heirlooms, open-pollinated and certified organic seeds often are well adapted and resilient. Do your research! Buy local when you can, then save your own seed.
  • Invest in your soil. Make your own compost, install a worm farm for free vermicast, make your own potting mix or buy quality soil rich in organic matter and nutrients. Your plants will only be as healthy as the soil they’re grown in!
  • Protect your plant babies. Seedlings and young plants are vulnerable while establishing. Crop covers, cloches and netting help buy them time to grow so they can cope with a few nibbles.
  • Grow less, but better. It’s more rewarding to grow a dozen healthy herbs and vegetables than a BIG garden you feel overwhelmed maintaining. Find joy in little things and take the pressure off!
  • Avoid growing too much of one crop or it may go to waste. If you sow seeds, you can grow just the number of plants you want.  Sow a little at a time, every week or two for a continuous harvest.
  • Start with easy plants and give challenging ones a miss until you feel confident and have the time to manage them.
  • Design your space efficiently. Use vertical structures, consider the microclimate with sun, shade and soil type so you make informed decisions about what to grow where to optimise space and productivity in your kitchen garden.
Grow Food in a Small Space - This narrow space is divided with a pathway and picket fence to keep animals out with a feature pot beyond. Trellises at the back of raised gardens are perfect for climbers to take advantage of sunny vertical space & add interest to break up pale walls.

This narrow space is divided with a pathway and picket fence with a feature pot beyond. Trellises at the back of raised gardens are ideal for climbers to take advantage of sunny vertical space and add interest to break up pale walls.


Gardening Gifts

Need a last-minute gift but left it a bit late to send in the post?

Our ever-popular Garden Journal Planner and Workbook and eBooks are instantly available for download so you can send anytime. Gift Vouchers and Garden Consultations are also a popular gift with 12 months to redeem for a Live Chat or Onsite Visit. From now until Christmas, with every purchase or product review (if you’re already a customer), you get a chance in the draw to win a one-hour Live Chat Garden Consultation. The lucky recipient will be announced in the January newsletter, so visit the Shop to purchase or leave a review now. So, if you’ve purchased a product in the past, but haven’t left a review yet, now’s your chance to be in the draw! Every product and review counts as a chance to win.

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2020-12-23T13:28:31+10:00Categories: Newsletters|0 Comments

Gardening Tips for November

The year is rocketing away and it’s been a time of great change for everyone. A time to reflect on our health, wellbeing, choices and connecting with nature. Perhaps you have taken the opportunity to live more sustainably by growing some of your own food and medicinal plants or at least getting started as a beginner gardener. In this newsletter, I share powerful reasons to grow parsley, quick foods to grow before Christmas, how to seed save and gardening tips for this month.

Plus, I’m excited to offer a bonus gift for purchases and a chance to win a Live Chat Garden Coaching consultation with me. Dig in for details below!

Gardening Tips for November | The Micro Gardener


Gardening Gifts

If you’re thinking about what to give your gardening friends and family, I invite you to check out the practical and educational laminated gardening guides, moon calendar, eBooks and books available in my online store. I also offer Live Chat Garden Coaching Gift Vouchers (digital and printed) that can be used anywhere in the world. Gift Vouchers for Onsite Consultations are popular too. Knowledge is a gift that keeps on giving and I’m grateful for your support and helping sustain my small business.

For your bonus discount, use the Coupon Code: 10%OFF during checkout to save 10% off your order.

All orders over $20 placed before Christmas will also receive my new eBook Guide to Growing a Nutrient-Dense Organic Food Garden as a BONUS Gift. It’s packed with practical tips and a checklist with key principles and action steps. Another tool to help you grow a productive healthy garden. SHOP NOW.


Win a Live Chat Garden Consultation!

Since it’s the season for giving and I value your support, I want to give back to my readers. So, for every product ordered or product review from now until Christmas, customers will get one ticket in the draw to win a personalised live coaching class. A one-hour one-on-one tailored consultation to answer your questions, design your space, troubleshoot problems and spend time helping you with shortcuts to grow an abundant healthy garden. I’m excited to offer the chance to win a Live Chat to every customer. So, if you’ve purchased a product in the past, but haven’t left a review yet, now’s your chance to be in the draw! Every product and review counts as a chance to win.

If you order 2 products and leave 1 review, you get three chances to win and so on. So, if you decide to buy your Christmas gifts in my store, you may well be the lucky winner of this special consultation. I’ll announce the winner in the January newsletter. What better way to start the new year, than with your own personalised class to plan next year’s garden? Visit the Shop here. Remember to use the discount coupon code: 10%OFF too!

Garden Consultation - One-on-one personalised class with Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener




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Quick Foods to Grow Before Christmas

Want to enjoy fresh homegrown ingredients in coming weeks? Then now is the time to get planting! There are many fast-growing crops you can grow. Here are a few suggestions and tips: (more…)

Gardening Tips for October

Connecting with nature is healing on so many levels. I hope you’ve been spending time in your garden – big or small. The past few weeks I’ve been busy filming for a project and helping clients set up new gardens on balconies, rooftops, front and backyards, Zooming all over the world! I love every minute of this work. Growing food and medicinal plants is one of the most empowering things we can do to take care of our physical and mental health, especially in uncertain times. Food security has never been more important. I’ve also been designing my urban garden to maximise space vertically and growing lots of food in containers, attracting beneficial insects and improving the soil. In this newsletter, I’m sharing practical resources to help you learn more about container gardening and how to manage a common pest insect – the fungus gnat + gardening tips for this month. So let’s dig right in!

Gardening Tips for October | The Micro Gardener


Why do potted plants die?

As container gardeners, our plants are dependent on us for survival. Their roots can’t just reach out and find the moisture and nutrients they need outside their pot ‘home’! The most common reasons for killing potted plants are:

  • Overwatering them. They drown due to waterlogged roots and lack of air spaces in poorly drained mix.
  • Underwatering them. They don’t have sufficient moisture to rehydrate and take up soluble nutrients.
  • Not feeding them by meeting their nutritional needs, so they ‘starve’ due to an empty ‘soil pantry’.
  • Using a poor quality potting mix or garden soil. Potting mixes tend to dry out, become hydrophobic and repel moisture quickly. Garden soil often compacts, doesn’t drain well and may contain plant pathogens.
  • Not repotting them when they outgrow their home. Roots become ‘pot bound’ if not upgraded to a bigger pot.
  • Putting them in the wrong spot – too hot, cold, frosty, windy, shady or sunny for their particular needs.
  • Neglecting them altogether. Bad plant ‘parenting’!

So how do you avoid these problems and save your plants?


7 Tips to Avoid Killing your Container Plants

If you’ve accidentally murdered one of your plants or turned it into a ‘dried arrangement’, don’t feel too guilty! Compost it and reuse your potting mix to start again. These are some simple tips to avoid future potted plant casualties.

7 Tips to Avoid Killing your Container Plants

  1. Start with a good quality potting mix that has excellent structure, holds moisture and nutrients and drains well. Even better, make your own potting mix for more control than a commercial mix or amend a bagged mix. This is my recipe.
  2. Choose your pot wisely. If you live in a hot climate, terracotta pots may not be the best choice as they dry out quickly. Do your homework and compare different materials and options.
  3. Water consistently and appropriately. It can be tricky to know how often to water. Some plants need more moisture than others. Large-leafed plants, fruiting and flowering crops, and thirsty herbs like mint typically have greater water needs than small-leafed herbs, succulents and perennials. Large pots in the shade won’t need watering as often as small containers in a sunny or windy position. Avoid waterlogging by leaving the plant sitting in water.
  4. Treat houseplants differently. Indoor plants have lower light levels so they use water comparatively slowly. They need to dry out a little between waterings (but not bone dry). Learn to ‘read’ your plant’s clues before the whole plant turns brown and crispy! I only water my houseplants every 10 days or so when a particular Spathiphyllum, Mr Droopy lets me know it’s seaweed spa day! They all go into a deep bucket for a refreshing deep drink, drain and hose down.
  5. Keep a garden journal if you’re busy or forgetful. I’ve found this really helpful for keeping a record of which plants need more or less moisture and general observations. A watering routine before/after work or a set time may help.
  6. Repot when needed. If you notice roots extending out the base of the pot, it’s time to transplant into a bigger one.
  7. Maintain plant nutrition. If you’re initially potting up a plant, add the nutrients to your potting mix. Liquid feeds are really useful to apply trace elements. A seasonal application of compost, worm castings, slow-release minerals and mulch will keep your plants healthy and happy.

Dig into more Container Gardening Tips.

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Gardening Tips for August

It’s been hectic for me this year helping so many new gardeners keen to learn to grow food with live chat coaching calls all over the world. I’ve loved every minute so I’m playing catchup with newsletters and this one is packed with tons of resources for you to dig into and keep you learning! I share some of the projects and articles I’ve been busy writing; new videos I’ve filmed for you to enjoy; details of my weekly radio plant chat on ABC FM; answer a reader question on spring onions; share planting tips + a time-sensitive flash sale offer with bonuses I’ve created that finishes midnight Friday 28th August. Jump in!

Gardening tips for August


Gardening and Sustainable Living Bundle (Time-Sensitive!)

Have you been thinking about your food security this year? In recent months so many people have reached out for help to start growing food for health and living more sustainably. New priorities! Perhaps you are looking for helpful resources to expand your skills to grow edibles, medicinal plants and be more self-reliant. Whether you’re a beginner gardener or wanting to layer your learning, there’s no better time to invest in knowledge to sustain your own wellbeing. A garden is one of the best ‘classrooms’ to learn in. Personally, I take time to read, research and study every year so I can stay healthy and grow the most nutritious food possible. I wanted to share one of the resources I’ve invested in.

Gardening and Sustainable Living Bundle - 33 Resources for people who like to get their hands dirty

I partnered with Ultimate Bundles this year to release my recently published organic gardening eBook as one of 33 resources in a bundle of gardening, sustainable living, and homesteading eCourses + eBooks. If you’re interested in growing food, preserving techniques, healthy soil, planning, and optimising small space gardens, you can check out the Gardening & Sustainable Living Bundle here. 21 eBooks + 7 eCourses + 5 printables and planners for just US$19.99. At a genuine 95% discount but only until Friday, August 28th at 11:59pm EST). This is the last time these resources will be on sale. Learn more here!

My Special BONUS Gifts

If you decide to get your Gardening and Sustainable Living Bundle, I am going to make it even better value! Just email me your Order ID and I’ll send you a BONUS set of 5 Gardening Resources + a Companion Planting Chart. They complement the other products in the Bundle so you can widen your learning experience. Here’s a list right now so you know what’s coming if you decide to purchase! What you’ll get:

  1. Companion Planting Made Easy (39 page eBook)
  2. How to Fertilise and Maintain Your Container Gardens (2 page PDF Tip Sheet)
  3. How to Grow Microgreens Tutorial and Tips (3 page PDF)
  4. Prevent & Fix Leggy Seedlings Check List (3 page PDF)
  5. How to Test and Balance Your Soil’s pH (2 page PDF)
  6. Companion Planting Chart + Natural Insect Repellent Tips (1 page printable)

Image

CHECK OUT THE BUNDLE NOW

Many readers got their Bundle earlier this year when it first came on sale and I got fantastic feedback! I was thrilled to hear how so many of you loved these bonus products I’m personally offering, as well as the digital resources inside the Bundle to help you grow more food, save money, and gain greater food security. When you buy one of these digital bundles you are supporting many small family businesses directly. At this challenging time globally, when so many small businesses are hurting, you’re helping make a positive difference. So thank you!


Mondays On ABC Radio

On Mondays, I invite you to listen to ABC Radio Sunshine Coast (90.3 FM) and tune in from 5.50pm for a bite-sized ‘Plant of the Week’ segment. I chat with radio host, Sheridan Stewart to share quick tips on growing a different plant each week plus other skills like propagating, using herbs in the kitchen and pruning. You can listen in live. I also post tips on the plant of the week on my Facebook page, so if you’ve missed these, check out recent posts.


Edible Flowers & Small Space Gardening

As face-to-face workshops were cancelled due to lockdown, I have been busy filming and producing content locally. Check out these online resources with many of my videos and tips on growing flowers and how to use them in the kitchen and small space gardens.


Latest Articles to Dig into

  • Beneficial Insects – Why We Need them in Our Gardens: Insect populations are in trouble around the world. It’s worse than many of us imagined. In this article, I share some of the findings from a 2019 global review where scientists revealed the leading causes of insect declines in recent decades based on data in 73 different studies. It appears the decline in numbers and diversity is accelerating, so I encourage you to learn why this is happening and what we as individual gardeners can do about it.
  • Organic Gardening for Healthy Soil, Plants and People: In my latest article in Garden Culture Magazine UK, I share 4 key organic gardening principles that I’ve found make a difference in creating a productive paradise – be it a balcony garden, backyard or larger space. I believe organic gardeners are stewards of the earth. We care about our soil, the health of our plants – particularly edibles, and create an environment that encourages all creatures to live safely.

Gardening Tips for August

Continue planting above ground edibles with the new moon growth phase. Gardening is incredibly relaxing, improves mental health and is the perfect antidote for stress, so make some time to sow seeds or a new plant!

Subtropical SE Queensland – What to Plant Now

READ Gardening Tips for August for what to do now in SE Queensland, pests to watch for and more. (Download PDF)

Subtropical Planting Guide – a laminated perpetual guide to the 5 seasons in SE QLD

For other locations, read my article on what to plant and when.


Is the Sticky Sap in Spring Onions Safe to Eat?

Diane asks: I’ve been growing green onions [spring onions/shallots] in a pot, in my kitchen, for several months now. My green onions have taken off! They have now started producing a thick, clear, slime from the inside. I wanted to make sure that this was normal since they smell right and appear very healthy. I’m assuming this is just essentially the plant’s sap, so if you’re familiar with it, would you be able to confirm what it is? I tried pulling it up on a Google search, but I can’t get any clearer definition as to what it is or if it’s safe to eat.

There’s nothing to worry about and the mucus membrane inside the spring onion (Allium fistulosum) is not only edible but incredibly beneficial for the immune system. There have been several scientific studies on this topic and to quote one study in part:

“Bunching onion [Allium fistulosum L. (Liliaceae)] secretes mucus in the cavities of its green leaves. The effects of the mucus, which is consumed as food, were examined. The mucus augmented the production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1 from RAW 264 cells and of interleukin (IL)-12 from J774.1 cells; however, extracts from green leaves and white sheaths did not. An oral administration of this mucus to mice augmented the immune functions of peritoneal cells by increasing TNF-α and IL-12 production and phagocytosis. It also augmented interferon (IFN)-γ production from spleen cells and natural killer (NK) activity. These results suggest that an oral administration of the A. fistulosum mucus can enhance natural immunity.

Spring Onions Protect our Health

So basically, what this means is that the proteins contained in the mucus lining have been found in several studies* to have a beneficial impact on cancerous cells by supporting the activity of natural killer (NK) cells in the body. Tumour necrosis simply means the death of most or all of the cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury, or failure of the blood supply. So, this vegetable (like other allium species including garlic) may play a role in preventing or destroying cancer cells.

Another study found that the “mucus could stimulate the anti-tumour and infection-preventative functions of NK cells” and supported the body’s immune system. Studies confirmed that it doesn’t matter whether you eat spring onions raw or cooked – they still provide the same benefits.

I grow and eat this vegetable almost on a daily basis. Like all foods, they not only provide us with vitamins and minerals but also medicinal and protective health benefits. I hope that this encourages you to revere this delicious vegetable and enjoy spring onions in your diet.

If you want to dig deeper into scientific studies, you can read more below.
https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/fstr/22/2/22_235/_pdf/-char/ja
https://ffhdj.com/index.php/ffhd/article/view/569/1156
https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bbb/77/9/77_130084/_pdf/-char/ja


Got a Problem?

Too much shade? Ants, aphids or fruit flies? Too hot or dry? Challenges raising your seeds or seedlings?

Read all past problem-solving articles here. They’re packed with useful tips.


Ready to start sowing seeds and planting? These tutorials may help:


Dig into my free online Article Library for more topics

Click here to VIEW ALL ARTICLES




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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.

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I look forward to sharing more news and ways to grow good health next month.

Happy gardening!

Anne


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© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2020. https://themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.

Some links within this newsletter are affiliate links. I only recommend products or services I use personally or believe will add value to my readers. If you purchase a product via an affiliate link, I will earn a small commission (and I mean REALLY small)! There is no additional cost to you. It’s a way you can support my site, so it’s a win-win for both of us. You directly support my ability to continue bringing you original, inspiring and educational content to help benefit your health. Thanks! Please read my Disclosure Statement for more details.

2020-10-04T13:59:24+10:00Categories: Newsletters|2 Comments

Gardening Tips for May

With so many changes happening globally in such a short time, no doubt you’ve been thinking about your health and source of your food. I believe there’s never been a more important time to grow at least some of your own fresh ingredients. To build a healthy immune system, food security and live more sustainably. As I was moving house recently, I wasn’t able to send out the April newsletter but will make up for it as I have been recording many videos at my new garden to share with you soon. You can watch some of my recent videos here.

Gardening Tips for May

This month’s newsletter focuses on practical solutions and tips for growing your own food. If you’re new to growing edibles or gardening, dive into my 10 tips for beginners to shortcut your learning. Make yourself a cuppa and dig in! With love and to your good health.


Grow your own Food Security

Food security isn’t linked to a supermarket and long-distance transport systems. Instead, being able to provide for your own needs and sourcing local, in-season produce within your own community, supports a resilient food system. I grew up in a suburban backyard dedicated to food production. For me, that was normal. We snacked on vegetables and picked fruit from the trees when we were hungry while mum preserved the harvest and dad made compost.

“The average person is still under the aberrant delusion that food should be somebody else’s responsibility until I’m ready to eat it. The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.” – Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World

It’s food for thought isn’t it?


Gardening and Sustainable Living Bundle

Have you have been feeling less secure about your food supply this year? Maybe growing food for health and living more sustainably has become more of a priority for you. If so, I’ve got some timely and helpful resources to share with you. Whether you are new to growing food or a seasoned gardener, there are always new things to learn and apply! Nature and plants are great teachers but I’ve also devoted time to reading, researching and studying to become healthier, more resilient and grow the best food garden I possibly can. Every year I layer my learning and deepen my skill set and this is one of the resources I’ve invested in.

Gardening and Sustainable Living Bundle - 33 Resources for people who like to get their hands dirty

This year, I’ve partnered with Ultimate Bundles to promote my recently published organic gardening eBook as one of 33 resources in a bundle of gardening, sustainable living, and homesteading eCourses + eBooks. If you’re interested in growing food, preserving techniques, healthy soil, planning, and optimising small space gardens, you can check out the Gardening & Sustainable Living Bundle here. 21 eBooks + 7 eCourses + 5 printables and planners for just US$19.99. At a genuine 95% discount for just 5 days (5 days 18-22 May). Dig in!


Easy Food Gardening Guide for Beginners

Are you a beginner food Gardener or relatively new to growing edibles? Feeling overwhelmed and want to avoid mistakes? Not sure where to start and want to boost your confidence? In my latest article, I share 10 TIPS to help fast track you to grow a healthy edible garden with easy steps and advice. Dig in!

Easy Food Gardening Guide for Beginners

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2020-08-27T16:12:49+10:00Categories: Newsletters|0 Comments

Easy Food Gardening Guide for Beginners

New to growing food? If you’re just starting your first garden or relatively new to growing edibles, it can feel overwhelming. Once you get started, I promise you it’s not only an addictive hobby (in a good way) but also incredibly rewarding for your physical, mental and emotional health. You’ve made an empowering decision to become somewhat self-sufficient. Congratulations! Whilst it’s likely you’ll make a few mistakes along the way, don’t let that stop you from getting started or trying again. If you lose a few plants, consider those moments as learning opportunities to do better next time rather than failures.

This 10 Tip Guide for Beginners will help fast track your new garden with easy steps & advice.

This 10 Tip Food Gardening Guide for Beginners will help fast track your new garden with easy steps & advice.

Easy Food Gardening Guide for Beginners

Everyone was a beginner gardener at some point but it doesn’t last for long! There are some key guidelines to keep in mind when you first start a food garden. I hope these ten tips will shortcut you to successfully growing an abundant productive kitchen garden.

1. Start Small … Really Small!

Starting a food garden is exciting and overwhelming all at once! Think of yourself more like a new plant ‘parent’ starting out and preparing for the arrival of your new plant ‘kids.’ It’s unlikely you would cope with a whole tribe from day one, right? So, plan where your new babies are going to live first and start with just one or two pots and plants. Maybe a couple of your favourite herbs or a few leafy greens to add to daily salads.

Gardening Guide for Beginners Tip: Start small with a few fresh ingredients like herbs or leafy greens for salads

Start small with a few fresh ingredients like herbs or leafy greens for salads

Keep it really simple and get to know the basics first in a small space. You can always grow your plant ‘family’ once you know what to expect and have ironed out any teething issues! Go slow and gain your confidence gradually. It’s better to lose one or two plants than a whole garden. That could be an expensive lesson to learn.

2. Choose the Best Location

It’s exciting thinking about picking your own food. However, just like the home where YOU live, plants have needs for their personal space too! Especially plant ‘babies’ or seeds and ‘toddler’ seedlings. You need to care for them and provide a protected ‘room’ or spot to live in.

Pick the sunniest location in your garden, courtyard or balcony for most plants, ideally out of the wind. Food plants need adequate sunlight or good natural light to grow. If you have a lot of shade, don’t despair. There are plenty of edibles that will do well in partial shade too.

Once you’ve got that figured out, make sure you have easy access to water nearby so you can keep the moisture up to your plants.


Affiliate Links: Your support of this site is appreciated!

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Gardening Tips for March

Given the times we are all living in and trying to adjust to, this month I wanted to share some really practical empowering information to help you grow a survival food and medicinal garden. I’m about to move house, so this newsletter is brief but I’ve put my time and love into one of the most important articles I’ve ever written. I hope you get great value from it and make the time to read it. Make yourself a cuppa and dig in! With love and to your good health.

Gardening Tips for March


Plants for a Survival Food and Medicinal Garden

If you are concerned about food security, there’s never been a better time to grow a survival food and medicinal garden. This article will help you learn how to start, plan and choose the best survival foods and medicinal garden plants. I’ve put together a handy list of the best edibles and plants to grow. I also explain how plant defences can help human health too. This article is packed with resources for beginner gardeners and anyone wanting to grow a productive kitchen garden for food security and health. If you find this useful, please share with your community and family.


A Garden Sanctuary for Mental and Physical Health

I encourage you to utilise your time to learn, read, grow more food and expand your garden in any way you can. Use your garden as a refuge for mental health and wellbeing. Use all your senses fully.

  • Physical exercise helps relieve stress, so dig a little, carry some compost or pot up some plants! Read and play games outdoors! Getting your hands in the soil helps declutter the mind while you focus on something positive and anticipate the harvest. Nurturing seeds and plants daily gives you meaningful work to do.
  • Soak up some sun. Absorbing vitamin D from sunshine helps build and strengthen a healthy immune system and countless studies show this vitamin helps prevent depression.
  • Listen to the sounds of nature – birds singing, bees buzzing, frogs croaking and the breeze blowing in the trees. Soak up that beautiful energy!
Relax outdoors in fresh air - read play and garden

Relax outdoors in fresh air – read play and garden

  • Smell the fragrance from your plants. Enjoy the flower perfume, the scent of herbs and brew up a healing tea to inhale and sip while you spend time outside.
  • Observe. Stop to notice the little things happening in your garden that perhaps you don’t always have time to see. Note these in your garden journal and appreciate the time to see your garden without rushing. Where are those ants going? Notice new flowers opening. Why are those leaves discoloured? You’ll open up a whole new world of discovery and opportunities to investigate and learn. Record your observations – these valuable reflections will serve you well in years to come.

7 Ways to Source Seeds and Grow Plants

I know many are struggling to source seeds or seedlings right now with a rush to buy up online and at nurseries and shops. Time to think creatively! Here are a few ideas to help you start a garden from seeds and plant material you may already have or still be able to find.

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Plants for a Survival Food and Medicinal Garden

If you are concerned about food security, there’s never been a better time to grow a survival food and medicinal garden. There’s no need to worry about buying fresh food if you grow your own groceries in your ‘backyard supermarket’! Your own food garden not only saves money and time but also provides peace of mind and nutritious fresh ingredients.

Plants for a Survival Food and Medicinal Garden

When you live sustainably, you don’t have to rely totally on supermarkets always having full shelves, just for daily basic needs. Living simply and eating a plant-based diet rich in nutrients and healing compounds can help to promote good health and a strong immune system. Connecting with nature via a food garden may help relieve stress, bring joy and a feeling of control by growing at least some of what you eat.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ― Hippocrates

How Plant Defences Can Help Humans Too

Plants naturally have their own in-built defence mechanisms – phytochemicals – that help them resist pest and disease attack. When we eat healthy, nutrient-dense organically grown foods, our immune systems benefit too! I’ve found that a diet rich in fruits, herbs and vegetables provides energy, health and wellbeing.

Phytochemicals are biologically active, naturally occurring chemical compounds found in plants, which provide health benefits for humans as medicinal ingredients and nutrients (HASLER & BLUMBERG, 1999). They protect plants from disease and damage, and also contribute to the plant’s colour, aroma and flavour. In general, the plant chemicals that protect plants from environmental hazards such as pollution, stress, drought, UV exposure and pathogenic attack are called as phytochemicals (GIBSON et al., 1998; MATHAI, 2000). Recently, it has been clearly shown that they also have roles in the protection of human health, when their dietary intake is significant (SAMROT et al., 2009; KOCHE et al., 2010).”

Why are phytochemicals important for you? Because as you can see from the above research studies, they have high value in terms of their protective properties. When you grow your own food, you can be sure your plants are raised in healthy living soil, devoid of chemicals and high in nutrients. These plants, in turn, can then provide you with optimal health via their nutrients.

If you have a lawn, turn it into lunch! I helped one of my clients turn her front yard into a productive edible food garden in just 10 weeks - enough to share with her neighbours. You can too!

If you have a lawn, turn it into lunch! I helped one of my clients turn her front yard into a productive edible food garden in just 10 weeks – enough to share with her neighbours. You can too!

Starting a Survival Food and Medicinal Garden

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Gardening Tips for February

The last few weeks have created a lot of uncertainty around the world with the threat of a pandemic. It’s a timely reminder to reflect on our health, how sustainable our lives are and whether we can feed ourselves from our home gardens or are dependent on our global food system. So, this month’s newsletter focuses on practical and positive ways you can support your health with nourishing foods and herbs.

Gardening Tips for February | The Micro Gardener


Gardening Tips for February

Here in subtropical SE Queensland, Australia, we’re still in the thick of summer heat, humidity and rain. Last month we were in drought, had bushfires and dust storms, and now it’s too wet in many areas! Soggy soil, high temperatures and humidity create the perfect environment for many fungal diseases like powdery mildew and root rot. Not to mention the increase in hungry insects like grasshoppers and caterpillars feasting on the new growth!

Subtropical SE Queensland – What to Plant Now

If your water tanks are full and soil moist from recent rains, it’s an ideal time to sow seeds to raise seedlings ready for autumn planting and put in the last of fast-growing summer crops. Or sow sunflower seeds as microgreens for fast-growing protein-rich ingredients. Citrus, pumpkins, tomatoes, summer spinach varieties, spring onions, herbs and cucamelons are growing like crazy in my garden. With a move to a new garden soon, I’m taking cuttings in the new moon cycle so they strike roots quickly. You can propagate your garden for free in this way.

READ Gardening Tips for February for what to do now in SE QLD, pests to watch for and more. (Download PDF)

Subtropical Planting Guide – a laminated perpetual guide to the 5 seasons in SE QLD

For other locations, read my article on what to plant and when.


Grow a Medicinal Herb Garden to Build a Strong Immune System

One of the reasons I grow my own food and specifically, a wide range of herbs, is because a Home Pharmacy Garden is the first place I ‘shop’ to support my family’s health. I believe there’s never been a more important time to focus your energy on the medicinal properties of the plants you grow. Herbs, in particular, help support a healthy immune system with phytonutrients like vitamins and antioxidants. (more…)

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