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

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Peek Over the Fence into My Garden

Time for an update on what’s happening in my garden as I take you on a bit of a tour. In the past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed ‘winter.’ If you live in a genuinely cold climate, you’d probably laugh at what I call ‘winter’ here! In this subtropical SE Queensland climate, it’s mainly cold nights and moderately cool sunny days for a few weeks, with virtually no pests to worry about.

Peek over the fence into The Micro Gardener's garden

I’ll take you on a quick tour of my garden

 

However, it’s dry! I haven’t had rain for a few weeks now, and nothing forecast in the foreseeable future. With two-thirds of this state and 98% of NSW Australia, drought declared, we have to get used to gardening without regular rainfall. It’s tough so you need to have strategies to cope.

A Seasonal Approach to Gardening

I try to time my planting throughout the year, to work in with the weather I live with. That means getting the timing right with preparing, planting, fertilising, maintaining and harvesting.

I mostly get that right, but when busy, I miss things too! That’s where lessoned are learned.

Spring arrived here early mid July. Normally sometime in August but not this year! The unseasonal warm weather has been a catalyst for turning on the ‘Spring switch’ in many plants already. 

I carefully watch the signs in my garden and climate, so I am ready to plant the right edibles at the best time.

 

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New Guide to Using Kitchen Herbs eBook

I have a lot of projects on the go each year. From speaking at events, presenting workshops, coaching local clients to grow their gardens, to writing, donating time in my community, growing food for my family and my online education work.

But this year, I finished a project I’m really proud of. It had been sitting there for a while as the ‘seed’ of an idea, but I needed a huge push to make it happen. The only way to do that is set a deadline. How do you make change in the world without setting a goal? Nothing like having a date to finish a book by to make you really focus!

My New Guide to Using Kitchen Herbs for Health eBook

It’s hard work. It takes dedication and very long hours. Planning, nurturing, thought and time. It’s like carrying a baby for months and putting huge effort into it, until finally it’s time to deliver and birth it into the world! A real labour of love.

So, I thought I’d take you behind the scenes a little, into my private world and why I wanted to write this new eBook and how it came about.

Growing up with Herbs

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Tour Through my 2017 Garden

Growing Food in a Challenging Climate

2017 was the worst and longest drought I have ever experienced. The growing conditions were the toughest I can ever remember. The rain just didn’t come for 7 long months. In fact, it was so bad in our local region, the Sunshine Coast of Australia, that thousands of people ran out of water for their homes and personal needs, let alone their gardens. Many had to get water and take showers in local parks. It was really, really dry.

As you’d expect, I had a few plant casualties. The grass was crispy. Sadly, an ornamental tree died and it wasn’t worth planting some of my favourite foods because the conditions were too unfavourable.

However, what delighted me was that through this entire time, my little kitchen garden kept feeding us. Not just now and then, but every day. Now you probably think I spent hours and hours every week out there planting and tending it. But nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve never had a busier year. Some weeks, I was lucky to spend an hour or two – and that was harvesting rather than planting or maintenance. Take a look at a few of the foods we enjoyed this year.

2017 tour and harvests from my garden | The Micro Gardener

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The Micro Gardener wins Sustainable Business Award

2017 has been an exciting and action packed year so far. Here’s a quick peek behind the curtain, to share a little of my world and what I’ve been up to and what’s coming up.

I’ve delivered and spoken at 20+ workshops and gardening and sustainable living events so far this year.

This is just one of the beautiful groups of people I worked with, sharing freshly brewed herb teas and taste tested microgreens at a healthy morning tea.

Living Choice Twin Waters residents having a healthy morning tea

I’ve been coaching and mentoring my clients and helping them create abundant gardens. One of the absolute joys in my life!

Anne ready for client consultation with basket of goodies

I’ve been involved in my local community with urban streetscape and community garden projects. (more…)

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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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

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Summer Heatwaves in My Garden

Weather extremes – hot or cold – make it challenging to grow food. Don’t you agree? Severe conditions with intense heat and long periods of drought are especially tough to deal with.

Summer Heatwaves in My Garden - Growing Food in Hot Dry Conditions

Normally, January and February are our ‘wet’ rainy storm and cyclone season. On average, we’d have received about 360mm (14 in) by now. How much rain have we had here in subtropical SE Queensland, Australia over this time? In my garden, just 55mm (2in) all year!

On top of these unseasonally extreme dry conditions, we’ve had soaring temperatures since December. We’ve experienced the most 30°C+ (86°F) consecutive days for years. Today, it’s 40°C (104°F). Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to a forecast cooler day – just 33°C! Not to mention drying winds. Nice!

So, as a gardener, it’s essential to be flexible and learn to adapt to changing weather conditions. I’m no exception! We have to learn to accept we get too much or not enough sun or rain sometimes, and go with the flow of life. Plants adapt and we can too.

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Harvests From My 2016 Garden

To start the year off, I thought I’d share a few photos of what I’ve grown and harvested from my garden in the last year.

Harvests from My 2016 Garden

Despite the drought, with less than 50% of the average annual rainfall, I’ve managed to:

  • harvest a continual supply of nutrient-packed food from our garden while working;
  • sell, share and swap a surplus of vegetables and herbs;
  • save thousands of seeds;
  • propagate hundreds of cuttings and new plants; and
  • preserve the harvest in many ways.

In addition to the many flowers, annuals, perennials, natives, trees and shrubs in our garden, these are a variety of the seasonal edibles I’ve grown.

Fruits and Berries

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2018-04-19T10:50:49+00:00Categories: Blog|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Welcome to my website!

Welcome and thanks for visiting! On this site, you’ll find a barrow load of free tips, tutorials and articles. My goal is to help you learn how to grow good health. No matter what size your garden is, or your skill level. Even if you’re on a tight budget and have limited time or physical ability. My goal is to help you grow at least some of your own life-giving food to nourish your health.

Welcome to The Micro Gardener website

Membership and Online Classes Coming Soon!

I’m excited to be introducing a unique membership program soon including online courses. My courses will help you design and grow a healthy, abundant nutrient-dense food garden. Interested in learning to grow, use and cook food and medicinal herbs to build your health? If so, you’ll discover everything you need. Step-by-step. The perfect solution if you’re busy and looking for quick, bite-sized lessons you can dig into … in just a few minutes. Practical tips, hands-on exercises and worksheets, videos and support.

The online classes will be tailored to suit your needs. From beginners to advanced gardeners. I am very much looking forward to sharing this program with you soon.

Stay tuned for upcoming information on these new features and of course keep reading my regular newsletter!

In the meantime, JOIN my Newsletter for exclusive, juicy tips and invites to classes. You get some really cool gifts too. My eBook A Sow Simple Guide to Using Herbs for Health and Container Gardening Tips Guide.

Dig in!

2018-04-19T11:04:09+00:00Categories: Blog|Tags: , |6 Comments