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July 2017 Newsletter

Organic Gardening Tips for an Abundant Harvest

July 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to the July Newsletter. Lots of quick tips to get you thinking about the food you eat and grow.

This month, I’m sharing another quick ‘How To’ video in my Sow Simple series of free tutorials to help you grow and use food wisely in just minutes. Dig in and help others by sharing these tips!


Clean out the Fridge Soup

In this quick video lesson, I share an easy way to use up small quantities of vegetables, herbs and spices in your fridge.  I call it my ‘Clean out the Fridge’ Soup – a simple idea for using up leftovers! Recipe below – I hope you enjoy it.

 


Vegetable Leftovers Soup Recipe

Clean out the fridge vegetable leftovers soup recipe

Click to print, share and save this recipe!

Click to print, share and save this recipe!


How to Use Compost + 7 Benefits of Composting

Many of the problems gardeners have with their plants are caused because of poor soil. Plants are often ‘hungry’ or ‘thirsty’ and suffer ill health as a result! When you improve the quality of your soil, your plants automatically benefit.

Compost is one of the easiest ways to help you resolve these issues. In my latest article, I share 4 easy ways to use compost to grow healthier plants and boost the quality of your garden soil. Compost will help you save money on expensive fertilisers and reduce the amount of water you use too. That’s something to smile about. 🙂

How to Use Compost and 7 Benefits of Composting

I also give you 7 powerful reasons why composting should be on your gardening ‘to do’ list.  CLICK HERE to read now.


Reduce Your Kitchen Waste

Think about how much food you eat in an average week. What happens to the food scraps? Like peelings, stalks, seeds, outer leaves, roots and inedible bits.

What do you do with food scraps?

What do you do with food scraps?

One option is to regrow more free food from some of the leftovers. Another is to feed to pets, chickens or your worm farm.

What about spoiled food in your fridge or pantry? I call them UFO’s (Unidentified Food Objects)! In your house, do these squishy or furry foods get binned or recycled to avoid waste? Old food may look a bit yucky, but these ‘science experiments’ as my husband calls them, are nature’s way of decomposing into nutrient-rich plant food. It’s just the lens you look through!

“When plants die, they’re recycled into basic elements [by the biota in the soil] and become a part of new plants. It’s a closed cycle. There is no bio-waste.” — Alice Friedemann

According to FoodWise foodwise.com.au in Australia, “Up to 40% of the average household bin is food.” Around 345kg or $1000 worth of food is thrown into landfill annually, producing harmful greenhouse gases. It’s pretty similar in other countries too. When binned, the water, fuel and resources it took to get the food from paddock to plate is also wasted. That’s a huge amount of organic matter ending up in garbage, that could be used to grow a healthy garden.

I hate waste. I try to see the embodied value in materials and look for sustainable options to repurpose and reuse whenever possible. Simple habits can make a difference.


3 Quick Ways to Preserve Food

One of the easiest ways to reduce waste is to only buy what you need. Ideally, grow as many of your own foods as possible, so you only harvest what you want. Menu plan around fresh ingredients from your garden and use up food before buying more.

Harvest basket of fresh colourful ingredients

I create meals from daily harvests of colourful fresh ingredients from my garden

Check your fridge weekly. I have a drawer for salad ingredients, one for vegetables and another for fruit. I can quickly see what I have left and menu plan around them. Here are a few quick tips to store food rather than waste it:

1. Herbs: Collect any unused herbs and hang to dry. Or put on a tray in a low oven until crisp. Store your dried herbs in clean jars. This helps preserve the nutrients and flavour.

When herbs are air dried in a sheltered warm spot, they will become crisp and easy to crumble into a jar for storage.

When herbs are air dried in a sheltered warm spot, they will become crisp and easy to crumble into a jar for storage.

2. Vegetables: Chop any leftover vegetables and freeze. I use these as the base for my dog’s vegetable soup or to make my own vegetable stock.

3. Fruit: Not going to use up all your fruit? Try slicing leftover pears, apples, citrus and bananas thinly. Dry in your oven until they are like ‘fruit leather’. Enjoy as quick dried fruit snacks.

Leaving skin on your apples when drying saves prep time and is also nutritious if organic.

Leaving skin on your apples when drying saves prep time and is also nutritious if organic.

What are your tips for avoiding food waste? Share in the comments!

 

“The preservation of health is easier than the cure for disease.” – BJ Palmer



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Thanks for reading! Until next time, I encourage you to embrace dirty fingernails, muddy boots and the joys of growing your own.

Anne Gibson | The Micro Gardener NewsletterI look forward to sharing more ways to grow good health soon.

Happy gardening,

Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener

P.S. I really value your opinion. I’d love to hear your feedback anytime. Leave a comment below or CONTACT ME!


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© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2017. 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. 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.

How to Use Compost and 7 Benefits of Composting

Do you have problems with your plant and soil health? If so, compost may be one of your greatest ‘assets’ to help you resolve these issues.

How to Use Compost and 7 Benefits of Composting

In this article, discover:

  • What compost and composting are;
  • 7 benefits of using compost;
  • Why composting is vital for every garden; and
  • 4 easy ways you can use compost to grow healthier plants and more nutrient-dense food.

What IS Compost?

Compost is simply decomposed or decayed organic matter, created during the process of composting.

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June 2017 Newsletter

Organic Gardening Tips for an Abundant Harvest

June 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to the June Newsletter. Lots of quick tips to get you thinking about the food you eat and grow.

This month, I’m sharing another quick ‘How To’ video in my Sow Simple series of free tutorials to help you grow an abundant, healthy garden in just minutes. Dig in and help others by sharing these tips!


Tips on Harvesting Pumpkin

In this quick video lesson, I share simple ideas to help you with ways to harvest pumpkin to avoid waste and cure it to improve storage life.

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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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Choosing Fruit Trees for Small Gardens

Thinking about growing your own fruit trees? No matter how little space you have, there’s almost always room for at least one fruit tree.

The taste and satisfaction of picking homegrown fruit is one of life's pleasures!

The taste and satisfaction of picking homegrown fruit is one of life’s pleasures!

5 Tips for Fruit Trees in Small Gardens

I grow a LOT of fruit trees in a small space. Some in containers, others in the garden. It’s highly productive and I grow kilos of fruit every year. Some fruit trees are young and on their way to producing. Others are putting food on the table regularly!

Here, I grow a lot of tropical fruit trees like bananas, papaya, mango, mulberries, citrus and peaches. It takes time to get to know each fruit and how much space they require to be productive.

It can be overwhelming if you’re just starting out growing fruit trees, so I hope these tips help you avoid expensive mistakes.

1. Only Grow Fruit you LOVE to Eat

Fruit trees are like a long-term investment – in time, space and money. I think of my fruit trees like V.I.P.’s in the garden. Very Important Plants! They get the best position and special treatment, so why bother growing fruit you aren’t that fond of?

How do you choose, if you love LOTS of fruits? Which fruit do you spend the most money on? Which fruit do you eat the most of? Consider adding these fruits to your wish list.

These are a good starting point for researching varieties that may be suitable to grow in your area.

My husband always wanted a peach tree, so I found a tropical peach that produces plump fruits every year in a large pot.

My husband always wanted a peach tree, so I found a tropical peach that produces plump fruits every year in a large pot.

2. Choose Fruit to suit your Sun, Space and Climate

Sunlight

If you only have limited sunlight, your choices in fruit will be more limited than if you have 6-8 hours of sunlight/day. The majority of fruit trees need at least some sun to produce a healthy fruit harvest, and most prefer full sun. However, there are some fruits that will grow in partial shade too, so don’t despair!

Vertical Space

Remember to consider your vertical space as a potential area to grow fruit. Some fruits can be espaliered (trained to grow vertically on a frame).

Espaliered fruit trees trained to grow in a narrow space against brick wall

Espaliered fruit trees growing in a narrow space against a brick wall

Apples, pears, apricots and plums are a few fruit trees suitable for espaliering up trellises, fences and even unused vertical space along walls.

Lawn vs Fruit Trees

If you spend a lot of time mowing, watering and maintaining grass, how much return you get for your efforts? If you have children or pets that really need the space, you can probably justify your lawn. However, if you have limited space for fruit trees, consider swapping grass for groceries. You could grow kilos of fruit every year in the same space! Lawn or lemons? Mmm … I’ll leave you to ponder that one.

Climate

There are so many fruit tree varieties to choose from, but one of the most important factors is your unique climate. Contact local nurseries, speak with neighbours, visit community gardens or farmers in your area to find out what grows well.

Whilst most apples thrive in cold climates here in Australia, in the subtropics where I live, we can thankfully grow tropical apple varieties! It might take a little effort to research suitable fruit tree varieties in your area, but this can make the difference to your long-term fruit tree success.

You can also create a suitable microclimate for the fruit tree you want to grow e.g. by providing shelter or planting against brick walls to benefit from reflected heat.

Lemon tree in portable container garden indoors in winter in a warm sunny microclimate with reflected heat through glass doors

Lemon tree in portable container garden indoors in winter in a warm sunny microclimate with reflected heat through glass doors

3. Dwarf Fruit Trees

Most fruit trees typically reach a mature height of at least 4.5m (15ft) if not pruned. In a small garden, most of us wouldn’t have room for more than a few trees this size. If you want to grow several varieties, you’d quickly fill the space or have to spend a LOT of time pruning.

So what’s your solution? Dwarf fruit trees! These are grafted onto roots from a related species – a shorter, more compact fruit tree ‘cousin’!  So dwarf fruit trees grow in less space and to a lower height than if they grew on their own roots.

Compact dwarf fruit trees offer you a number of benefits:

  • They don’t need much pruning;
  • Often fruit in under two years;
  • The fruit are the same size as regular fruit trees;
  • Multi-grafted fruit trees grow several different fruits on the one tree, saving space;
  • Are more suitable for balconies, containers and espaliering in narrow spaces;
  • Are easier to net (to protect against birds and animals); and
  • Are much easier to access for harvesting – no ladders!
Grafted dwarf fruit tree varieties in pots suitable for small gardens

Grafted dwarf fruit tree varieties in pots suitable for small gardens

Some dwarf rootstock offer you other advantages, like being resistant to disease; suited to wet or dry soils; strong vigorous growth; or ability to withstand winds.

4. Growing Fruit Trees in Containers

You may be thinking of growing a fruit tree in a container, rather than a garden due to space limitations or because you are renting. If so, there are other things to consider such as:

  • The size of the pot will limit the growth of your fruit tree.
  • You will need to re-pot into a larger container as the tree grows, probably at least every 18 months – 2 years.
  • The shape of container should make it easy to remove your tree.  Grow bags and fabric Smart Pots are a couple of solutions. Only choose pots that have straight sides or taper in towards the bottom for easy removal.
  • Many pots (especially unfired clay) and potting mix dry out quickly. So consider a low-maintenance drip watering system like EasiOyYa to keep moisture up to your potted fruit tree.


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5. Fruit Tree Pollination

Many fruit trees need pollinators such as bees, beneficial insects or bats to fertilize flowers and ‘set’ fruit. Other fruit tree varieties need more than one tree to cross-pollinate. If you want a variety of different fruits in a small space, this can present a challenge. No pollination = no fruit!

An abundant harvest from the mandarin tree

An abundant harvest from the mandarin tree

In a small garden space, one of the easiest solutions is to purchase fruit trees that are ‘self-fertile’ or ‘self-pollinating’.  Some fruit trees that are usually self-fertile are citrus, figs, peaches, apricots and nectarines. You may also find some multi-grafted trees such as citrus (lemon, orange and mandarin on the one tree) are also self-fertile.

Like this article?

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© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2017. https://themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.

May 2017 Newsletter

Organic Gardening Tips for an Abundant Harvest

May 2017 Newsletter - Organic Gardening Tips | The Micro Gardener

Welcome to the May Newsletter. Lots of quick tips to get you thinking about the food you eat and grow.

This month, I’m sharing another quick ‘How To’ video in my Sow Simple series of free tutorials to help you grow an abundant, healthy garden in just minutes. Dig in and help others by sharing these tips!


Easy Ways to Use Beetroot

In this video clip, I share ways to enjoy the health benefits of beautiful beetroot with simple ideas for eating leaves, roots and stems.

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3 Tips on Growing Peas and Beans

Do you love the crisp sweet crunch of young peas and beans? These easy-to-grow crops are perfect for all gardeners in small urban spaces. In pots, plots or garden beds!

3 Tips for Growing Peas and Beans

How do you get the highest yield from your peas and beans, especially if you have limited space?

These are tips I use to grow healthy pea and bean plants that produce an abundant harvest. I hope they help you too.

3 Tips for Growing Peas and Beans

1. Healthy Soil and Fertilising

  • Peas and beans both prefer well drained, moist soils, with plenty of organic matter and a soil pH 6.0-7.5.
  • You can make your own potting mix like I do, or improve your soil with compost and worm castings if you have them. I also add minerals and mulch. Click here for tips on preparing your soil for planting.
  • Every couple of weeks apply a liquid fertiliser such as seaweed, fish emulsion or diluted worm casting concentrate to boost growth.

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April 2017 Newsletter

Organic Gardening Tips for an Abundant Harvest

April 2017 Newsletter - Organic Gardening Tips | The Micro Gardener

Welcome to the April Newsletter. Lots of quick tips to get you thinking about the food you eat and grow.

This month, I’m sharing another quick ‘How To’ video in my Sow Simple series of free tutorials to help you grow an abundant, healthy garden in just minutes. Dig in!

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New Season Garden Planting Tips

Have you ever experienced unhealthy plants? A poor harvest … or worse, no harvest at all? This may be due to a lack of preparation. Before planting, is the ideal time to prepare and reinvigorate your soil to avoid disappointment. 

New Season Garden Planting Tips

Creating healthy soil is one of the key factors to focus on before you begin planting. It’s unlikely plants will grow well in ‘dead dirt’!

“Organic matter, nutrients, moisture and an active microbe population are important elements to add to your soil.” – Anne Gibson

So let’s take a look at some tips and simple ways to prepare your garden for planting and using your space wisely.

Garden Planting Tips from Andrea’s Backyard

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March 2017 Newsletter

Organic Gardening Tips for an Abundant Harvest

Welcome to the March Newsletter. I’m sorry it’s a little late due to my work commitments, but I’ve put together some helpful tips to get you growing and inspired.

This month, I’m sharing another quick ‘How To’ video in my Sow Simple series of free tutorials to help you grow an abundant, healthy garden in just minutes. Dig in!


How to Grow More Basil Leaves

In this quick 2 minute video clip, I share tips on how to grow more leaves on your basil plants. I show you an easy technique to stimulate new growth so you get an abundant harvest of this delicious herb.

Like this video? Let me know in the comments if you found this helpful.

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2017-04-18T14:44:05+00:00 Categories: Newsletters|Tags: , , , |4 Comments