About Anne Gibson

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So far Anne Gibson has created 150 blog entries.

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.

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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


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!


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.


October 2018 Newsletter

October 2018 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener

Welcome to the October newsletter. It’s been a busy few weeks but I have some interesting tips for you to tuck into.

What’s on the menu?

In this newsletter, I tackle a common pest insect enemy – the fruit fly and share strategies for preventing and controlling the damage. If you’ve ever cut open fruit and found it spoiled by larvae inside, it could be this offender. If you are plagued by tiny sap sucking aphids, then you’ll enjoy learning about Hoverflies. These beneficial predators dine out on these pesky insects. Discover how to attract them to your garden. I also share nine clues that may indicate you have problem soil and explain the fascinating reason why flowers make nectar. Dig in!


Organic Aphid Control with Hoverflies

Controlling aphids organically is much easier if you encourage natural predators like hoverflies to take up residence in your garden. One natural pest management strategy for organic aphid control is to make your garden attractive to predatory insects. These can help keep aphid numbers and other sap suckers in balance – no chemicals needed.

Organic Aphid Control with Hoverflies


The Hoverfly or Syrphid Fly (Diptera)

Also known as Flower Flies, hoverflies are members of the Syrphidae insect family. As their name suggests, adults often ‘hover’ like mini helicopters over nectar and pollen-rich flowers.

They lay their eggs near or in the middle of aphid colonies so when their babies hatch, dinner is served! Hoverfly larvae not only eat aphids but also soft bodied sap suckers like scale, mites, thrips and some small caterpillars. They are valuable predator insects to have in your garden as part of your organic pest management strategy. (more…)

Organic Fruit Fly Control Strategies

Fruit flies are one of the most destructive pest insects in home gardens and attack a wide range of fruit trees and fruiting crops. Many gardeners find they are the number one enemy they battle every year.

This pest insect is most active from spring through autumn and species vary in different locations. For vulnerable fruit, you need to be prepared to be vigilant and have controls in place at the right time. You really have to know your enemy to tackle it!

If you’ve experienced damage to your harvest, it can be disheartening to even try to grow your favourite fruit crop. What if managing this pest insect is all too difficult?

Organic Fruit Fly Control Strategies

If you don’t want to deal with fruit fly damage in your garden, you still have options:

1. Remove any host plants that are prone to attack.


September 2018 Newsletter

September 2018 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener

Welcome to the September newsletter. This month of spring, I’m busy presenting 10 workshops at local events and helping clients co-create beautiful productive kitchen gardens. More on that below.

What’s on the menu?

Whether it’s spring or autumn/fall in your garden, or somewhere in between, you’ll likely find my tips and video lesson on creating a bee friendly garden really helpful. If you have a shady spot, check out my list of 10 best vegetables to grow. If you love tomatoes, read on to find out some surprising facts about them and we get to know the Umbellifer family of vegetables and herbs.

My special spring offer on my home visit service for local gardeners ends this month. So be quick to book, as I have limited places left! Grab your discount coupon code below.


2019-03-30T11:31:02+10:00Categories: Newsletters|Tags: , |0 Comments

10 Top Tips to Create a Bee Friendly Garden

If you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, it’s likely bees have played a vital role in pollinating many of the foods on your plate! One way to help these threatened, tiny but hardworking insects, is to create a bee friendly garden. A magnet if you like, to lure them to spend more time hanging out at your place!

10 Tops Tips to Create a Bee Friendly Garden

If you have a garden, even a small one, you can encourage your local bees to visit regularly. Bees help fertilise up to 90% of the earth’s major food crops and you can support their health and survival, while reaping some awesome benefits.

4 Benefits of Attracting Bees to your Garden

An intentionally designed bee friendly garden:

1. Has a beautiful variety of perfumed colourful flowers that bloom continuously throughout the seasons. (A visual and sensory smorgasbord for you!)
2. Improves the quality, size and flavour of your fruits and vegetables. (A more delicious edible feast too!)
3. Increases the quantity of produce you harvest. (More food on your table)
4. Attracts beneficial insects that help reduce pests. (Less effort needed on pest management)


August 2018 Newsletter

August 2018 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener

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?

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 advantageREAD ARTICLE NOW


No space wasted in these narrow intensively planted ornamental kitchen garden beds

No space wasted in these narrow intensively planted ornamental kitchen garden beds

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 permethrina 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?

Silverbeet spinach growing in the garden


4 Tips on the Best Ways to Eat Spinach:

  1. 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.
  2. Spinach with medium sized leaves contain more phytonutrients than baby spinach or plants with larger leaves. Eat when young and tender.
  3. 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.
  4. Enjoy raw in juices and smoothies or steam gently for 30 seconds until just wilted.
Spinach, kiwi fruit and apple Green Smoothie juice

Spinach, kiwi fruit and apple Green Smoothie juice

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

Which Herbs to Use Where

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


My garden in bloom under the fruit trees

My garden in bloom under the fruit trees

Garden Tasks – What to do Now

What to do in the Southern Hemisphere

During cooler weather, it’s a good time to:

  • Plant bare-rooted fruit treesAvailable 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 compostrock 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 your Garden now

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.
  • 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.

Anne at Shannon Dodd client garden


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!

Client edible garden with flowers vegetables and herbs

Gardening Guides

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.

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


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 soon.

Happy gardening!


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© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2018. https://themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.

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