About Anne Gibson

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Anne Gibson has created 133 blog entries.

February 2019 Newsletter

To help you grow a healthy productive edible garden, I invite you to dig into my new articles and the following tips.

February 2019 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener

40+ Best Shade Tolerant Vegetables

We all know that plants need sunlight to grow, but many people struggle with shade. Too much or too little of it! I help my local clients overcome both challenges. There are pros and cons to growing in shady conditions and having shade can be a massive benefit. It might surprise you to learn just how many vegetables you can grow – fruiting crops, root crops and leafy greens.

So in my latest article, you’ll discover the best shade tolerant vegetables to grow in limited sunlight. I explain the advantages and disadvantages of a shady garden so you can make more informed decisions about your own space. I also have a guide to direct sunlight hours so you can work out what to grow in your climate. Plus I share 8 practical tips for growing vegetables in the shade to help you optimise harvests in your kitchen garden.

READ NOW

Shady garden tips to grow vegetables in shade

Shady garden tips to grow more vegetables in shade

 


Why are Ants in my Plants, Pots and Soil?

Ever wondered WHY ants are present, WHAT they’re doing and HOW to get rid of them? The answer is simple when you understand the 2 main reasons ants are present. In this article, I explain why they’re in your potting mix, soil and crawling up plants. You’ll learn what damage can occur, easy solutions and hopefully see ants through a whole new ‘lens’. These tips will help you understand the relationship between ants and pest insects, hydrophobic soil and preventing sooty mould. It’s an informative read if you want to diagnose and treat common problems in your pots, plants and soil.

READ NOW

Why are Ants in my Plants, Pots and Soil?

(more…)

Why are Ants in my Plants, Pots and Soil?

Do you ever see ants running up the stems or along branches and leaves? What about your pot plants? Do you notice them in your potting mix? Or in your lawn making little mounds that blunt your mower blades?

Why are Ants in my Plants, Pots and Soil?

Perhaps you’re wondering WHY they are there and WHAT they are doing? Are they causing damage or are they just annoying? If you want to know the answers and how to get rid of them naturally, read on.

Why are Ants in my Plants, Pots and Soil?

The answer is simple. Ants are extremely smart insects and ALWAYS have a good motive for inhabiting your plants, pots or soil. The two most likely reasons are for:

  1. Food
  2. Shelter

Seems reasonable enough doesn’t it? We all need a roof over our heads and something to eat! Believe me, ants won’t expend energy doing anything unless there’s something in it for them.

If you see them ON your plants, it’s likely because they have found a source of food. Ants are a clue you have a bigger problem. Don’t shoot the messenger!  They are just the couriers delivering you a message. They’ll take you straight to it. By being more observant, you’ll  understand what they’re doing and why. Assuming they are harming your plant may be a BIG mistake, because you only have part of the picture!

Most likely, if you look closely and follow their trail like a good detective, you’ll find it ends in sap-sucking insects like aphids, scale, mites, whiteflies or mealybugs. These pest insects are what you should be really looking for! Ants are your tour guide and can detect the presence of these pests with their antennae. Smart hey?

So, instead of treating them as the enemy to be killed, learn to value their presence. Why? Because they have alerted you to the problem you really need to deal with! Micro gardening is about looking at details; learning to understand who, what, where and why things happen and ‘joining the dots.’

(more…)

40+ Best Shade Tolerant Vegetables

If you’d love a vegetable garden but your space has too much shade, don’t despair! There are plenty of shade tolerant vegetables to choose from that may be perfect for your space.

40+ Best Shade Tolerant Vegetables that Grow in Shade or Partial Sun

Whether you’re overshadowed by neighbouring buildings or trees, or your growing space faces the wrong aspect, there are still options. You may not be able to increase the sunlight, but you may be able to work with the shade you have. You may also try using your vertical space wisely.

Sometimes thinking creatively opens up opportunities to grow where you may not have thought possible. One of my clients has a heavily shaded small urban garden. LOTS of tall trees surround the two-storey house as a cool oasis in our warm climate. More like a rainforest!

How did Jenny grow a vegetable garden with such limited sun? I recommended pruning selected trees to let in more sunlight and growing vegetables and herbs that can tolerate low light conditions in this shady area. We also utilised vertical space by planting pots on the decks and growing climbers up trees or trellises to reach the sun. A mobile wheelbarrow garden also enables Jenny to move it where the sun is during the day. So don’t give up! The solutions to a shady garden may just require seeing your space through a new lens.

Sun and Shade Exposure

How much sun do vegetables really need and what can you get away with? The answer to this really depends on your climate and specific microclimates within your garden.

(more…)

January 2019 Newsletter

To help you plan and grow a healthy productive edible garden this year, I invite you to dig into my new article and the following tips.

January 2019 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener

10 Tips to Grow More Food in a Small Garden

In my latest article, you’ll learn some of the ways I grow a highly productive garden in a compact space. I share small garden design tips, ways to use shady spots, space saving plant varieties + more. I hope these tips will help you optimise harvests in your kitchen garden.

READ NOW

10 tips to grow more food in a small garden


Potting Mix Q&A

If you’re a container gardener, you probably have some plants growing in old potting mix. Can you even remember how long they’ve been in there?!

Maybe you’ve got ‘dead dirt’ lying around in old pots and not sure what to do with it. If you’ve invested money in your potting mix and it’s not performing, it’s too valuable to throw away.

Have you ever wondered:

  • Can you revitalise and refresh old potting mix? If so, how?
  • How do you know if or when to re-pot your plants?
  • What can you do if your potted plants have had pests or diseases?
  • How can you tell if your potting mix is water repellent?
  • Are there any ways you can reuse tired old potting mix? If so, how?

(more…)

10 Tips to Grow More Food in a Small Garden

Want to grow at least some of your own fresh ingredients? If you think you’re limited by a small garden, don’t be! You just need to use your space wisely.

10 tips to grow more food in a small garden

Few people have the perfect area to grow a productive food garden. So, clever design and plant choices are vital for success.

I help my clients to maximise the food they grow even when their garden is tiny, on a slope, in the shade, narrow, has poor soil, too much or not enough water and the list goes on! These tips will help you do the same.

How to Grow More Food in a Small Garden Space

1. Prioritise. Just Grow the Essentials

  • Grow the foods you love and buy most often. If you’re going to spend time growing food, it should provide ingredients you will use and save money on your shopping bill.
  • If you’re mowing lawn or growing plants that don’t serve you, you could be wasting valuable space in your garden! Make tough choices.
Grow More Food in a Small Garden: One of my client's front garden makeover before with lawn and an edible garden after 10 weeks!

A front garden makeover at one of my clients – Before with lawn; After 10 weeks – a productive pretty edible garden!

  • Dig up the lawn and save money on mower fuel!
  • Sell your ornamentals, so you have more space (and money) to grow food.

“We grow lawn that we harvest weekly in the growing season and throw it away. Why not food that we can eat?” Dave Jarratt – Sustainable Soil Solutions

  • For example, if you are buying a weekly organic food box, aim to cut the cost by a third or half by supplementing some of the ingredients from your own garden.
  • If you love salads, then it makes sense to avoid chemically grown produce by growing lettuces and salad ingredients.

(more…)

December 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to the last newsletter for the year. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your shared interest in growing a healthy food garden and supporting my website as a subscriber. I hope you enjoy digging into the latest tips and wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.

December 2018 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener

What’s on the menu?

As we head into the holiday season, I thought it timely to share some practical ways to use 3 delicious herbs to ease stress and anxiety, and help with digestion for those times of over indulgence! I hope they help you feel more calm and relaxed.

If you want to save money by making your own garden gifts, you’ll find some inspiring easy ideas to try. I think you’ll especially love the edible baskets. Dig into tips to grow food in hot, dry or windy weather and learn 3 ways to protect your crops from these challenging conditions. Plus, I share tips for watering your plants to minimise problems. Tuck in!

(more…)

3 Herbs to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Do you feel stressed or anxious on a regular basis? If so, spending time in nature outdoors, especially enjoying your garden as a peaceful sanctuary is one of the best ways to centre yourself and relax. Taking time out to listen to nature sounds like birds and bees, watch plants grow and thrive, and experience the colours, aromas and beauty around you can help lessen life’s worries and put life in perspective.

3 Herbs to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

I’ve discovered many herbs can also provide relief. One of the aspects of growing herbs that I find so beneficial is not only using them for flavour, but for their medicinal benefits too.

Grow a Home Herb Pharmacy Garden

There are many herbs that are easy to grow in your own ‘home pharmacy’ garden for every day relief of common ailments including anxiety and stress.

These herbs are three of my favourites and can also be combined into a relaxing herbal tea.

1. Tulsi, Sacred or Holy Basil (Ocimum Sanctum)

In warm climates, grow Tulsi Basil as a perennial or as an annual in cold and temperate climates.

Use Tulsi or Holy Basil in a herbal tea to help ease anxiety, stress and adrenal fatigue. Brew up a few fresh basil leaves or about 1 teaspoon of dried leaves as a herb tea to aid digestion, calm nerves, reduce tension and stress. You can also add your other favourite herbs.

Tulsi, sacred holy basil herb is one of the best herbs to reduce stress

Tulsi, sacred holy basil herb is a valuable addition to your garden

Cautions: Tulsi basil is a uterine stimulant so avoid if pregnant or seek medical advice.


Affiliate Links: Your support of this site is appreciated!

(more…)

Tips to Grow Food in Hot, Dry or Windy Weather

Regardless of where you live, it’s likely you have some climate challenges to deal with when growing food. Here in my subtropical climate in SE Queensland, Australia is no different. During the year, we experience five seasons of different lengths. Some months are almost perfect food growing conditions and others are extremely challenging. It’s particularly difficult growing food in hot, dry weather.

Tips to Grow Food in Hot, Dry or Windy Weather | The Micro Gardener

Growing Food in Hot Dry Weather

During our summer months – December through March – hot and sticky weather is typical. We can get sudden storms which often bring torrential rain and even hail, flooding the garden and potentially damaging plants or even destroying them. Hail damaged leaves, fruit and stems are more vulnerable to diseases as the plant tissues are exposed to pathogens.

During storm season, strong gusty winds can stress plants out, particularly if they are hot and dry. During storms, wild weather can cause stems and branches to easily snap or fruit to drop.

Baking hot days often result in heat stress and scorching temperatures can cause sunburn. Plants can suffer dehydration very quickly if exposed to strong sun and wind, without sufficient soil moisture.

Not to mention the pest insects and diseases that thrive in hot, humid and windy conditions! At times it seems like everything is stacked against us as food gardeners.

Whilst these conditions may be common, they don’t happen EVERY day. I find the best way to cope is to know what to expect in your climate and be prepared with suitable strategies.

Likely you have difficult weather at times too. So, what can you do to help protect your precious plants?

3 Ways to Protect your Crops from the Weather

1. Provide Windbreaks

(more…)

November 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to the November newsletter.

November 2018 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener

What’s on the menu?

In this issue, I dish up tips on your favourite squash family vegetables with a practical grow guide; help you learn where to water your soil for the most benefit; share 7 ways to prevent plant diseases; and you’ll discover some disturbing and fascinating facts about lemons. I also share some inspiring before and after photos from a couple of my local clients’ gardens. Dig in!

(more…)

2018-11-25T15:21:54+10:00Categories: Newsletters|Tags: , , |0 Comments

The Squash Family – How to Grow Curcubits

Zucchini, squash, marrows, pumpkins, cucumbers, melons and gourds are all members of the Curcubitaceae, Squash or Gourd family. These fruits and vegetables are also known as ‘Curcubits’.

The Squash Family - How to Grow Curcubits

They are delicious tummy fillers and worth finding a space for in your garden.

When to Plant the Squash Family

All curcubits are sun worshippers and suit warm climate conditions. Unless you have a very cold climate, you should be able to grow some varieties of these fruits and vegetables. In cool climates sow in spring, summer and autumn.

If you’re in the subtropics, this family grows with the least problems in spring to early summer and autumn through winter. In tropical climates, they grow most of the year but thrive during the dry rather than wet season, when they are hardest hit by fungal problems.

Where to Plant Curcubits

Cucurbits are best suited to a full sun position with soil high in organic matter and good drainage. Most varieties of these vegetables require ample space in a garden bed, although a few suit large, deep containers.

(more…)