Need some help with maintaining your garden? Watering tips, fertilising, pest control or making potting mix? Then check out these articles.

9 Secrets for a Low Maintenance Easy Garden

Do you feel your garden is hard work? Too much digging, weeding, watering and fertilising? For minimal results?

The principles for doing less work, with greater rewards are simple. These are just a few of my secrets for creating an easy garden. Dig in!

 

9 Secrets for a Low-Maintenance Easy Garden - Tips include Good Design; No-dig Gardens; Choosing Plants Wisely; Mulch + more. Dig in!

 

Easy Garden Ideas

 

1. Good Design

  • One of the secrets to less work in your garden is thoughtful planning. You may feel overwhelmed if you aim for perfection. I spend time applying Permaculture principles to ‘design out’ potential problems. You can refine and add to your plan later.
  • Begin one project at a time. A simple DIY edible planter is a good place to start. Once you gain confidence, you can create the next element in your garden.
  • Locate your edible containers and food gardens close to your kitchen for easy access.

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9 Strategies to Help Combat Common Edible Garden Problems

Having garden problems? Do you ever feel frustrated with your soil, pests or limited space? Is it too hot, cold, wet or dry to grow food? If you’re having challenges growing an edible garden, it helps to have a ‘tool kit of techniques’ you can use to overcome common problems.

I use a variety of strategies to harvest from my edible garden all year round.

I use a variety of strategies to harvest from my edible garden all year round.

When the Growing Gets Tough

Here in subtropical SE Queensland, Australia, we have challenging wet and dry seasons. We often experience long months of drought. Our growing periods are not governed by a calendar with a traditional three month season like many places in the world. Spring typically only lasts a few weeks in the subtropics and summer is at least four months long! Here the hot/wet/dry months can be very challenging to grow food. Many northern hemisphere gardeners look forward to warm summers as a prime growing season but get frustrated with a long, cold period. So no climate is perfect!

“Extreme temperatures, high humidity, wild storms, hail, damaging winds, sudden heavy downpours, driving rain, drought and flooding are common weather issues to deal with. Not to mention pest insect population explosions. It’s no wonder many food gardeners throw their hands in the air and give up altogether!”

So what CAN you do when growing conditions are difficult?

 

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17 Water Saving Tips for Container Gardens

Are you trying to grow a garden with little rainfall? Struggling with a dry season, heat, drought or water restrictions? If so, it can be especially tough to grow food. You CAN grow healthy crops in pots – with the right strategies. These easy, water saving tips may help YOU achieve an abundant harvest.

One key to success is to adapt your growing techniques to keep your garden alive and thriving.

One key to success is to adapt your growing techniques to keep your garden alive and thriving.

Discover the best containers to choose; how to improve your growing medium; suitable plants; where to position your pots; and how to maintain them to save water.

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3 Steps to Prepare Your Garden for Planting

Do you ever wonder why your plants don’t grow well? Or just survive instead of thrive? Sowing seeds or plants into ‘dead dirt’ just won’t cut it if you want to grow a healthy garden! If you’re a beginner gardener, there are some basic principles to learn so you succeed every time.

3 Steps to Prepare Your Garden for Planting: Follow this easy-to-understand guide to getting great results from your garden. | The Micro Gardener

You don’t need to spend much time, but a little effort every season to revive your soil in pots and garden beds will reap BIG rewards.

 

Just like we thrive on a nutrient-dense diet in a stress-free environment, healthy plants need food and a happy home to live in too!

 

“If you meet the ‘needs’ of your plants, they will flourish, blossom and produce a bountiful harvest.” – Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener

 

Are you:

  • Getting ready to plant new season crops in an established garden?
  • Planning to sow seeds in new soil?
  • Trying to revitalize tired container gardens?
  • Building a garden bed from scratch?

If so, then follow my three steps to boost your soil and help your garden thrive:

 

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20 Reasons Why You Should Mulch Your Garden

Are you sick of weeding or watering your garden all the time? Losing plants to hot summers and freezing winters? There may be a simple solution to minimize the impact of these challenges – Mulch!

20 Reasons why you should mulch your garden

20 Reasons Why You Should Mulch Your Garden

 

What is Mulch?

Mulch is a material that is spread around a plant or over the soil surface as a protective layer. If you think of soil as a ‘cake,’ the mulch is simply the ‘icing’ or ‘topping’. It provides a huge range of benefits for you and your garden. Mulch comes from a wide variety of organic or inorganic materials. Mulch ranges in cost from free to expensive.

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20 Creative DIY Plant Labels & Markers

Looking for some inspiration for DIY plant labels? Plant markers are quick and easy to make. Try repurposing everyday items like pebbles, bamboo skewers, corks, containers, shells, cans and even broken terracotta pots. There are loads of creative ideas and I’ve rounded up 20 low cost and decorative options to inspire you to make your own DIY plant labels.

 

20 Creative DIY ideas for DIY plant labels and markers | The Micro Gardener

I use labels regularly even though I can identify most plants in my patch.

 

My husband, however … let’s just say (kindly) that he gets somewhat ‘confused’ when so many plants look similar in the garden!

 

Basil & rosemary | The Micro Gardener

This must be the explanation for why he brings in rosemary when I ask for basil (are these remotely similar??)

 

Plant labels are a must if you:

  • are growing food (and are reliant on family members to pick your produce!);
  • have UFOs (Unidentified Food Objects) in your garden;
  • are learning to identify plants or save seeds;
  • share an allotment; or
  • want to avoid losing your bulbs every year!

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Imitate Nature for Higher Yields & Less Pests

Get Hundreds of Free Workers AND an Abundant Harvest!

Want less pests in your garden? To help achieve balance between pests and predators, I’ve found that imitating natural ecosystems can be a useful pest management strategy to use.

 

Aphid pest control has arrived=Ladybird Lunch.

Facilitating natural predator-pest relationships in your garden is a way to harness hundreds of free workers to help manage insect imbalances. An example is the ‘aphid banquet’ on the menu for this ladybird’s lunch!

 

Whilst ‘having a relationship’ with birds, lizards, frogs and insects may not be on your To Do List, seeking a ‘win-win’ outcome by working with these creatures in your garden can help you:

  1. Achieve a higher crop yield (by encouraging more Pollinators); and
  2. Minimise insect damage to your edibles (by creating an unwritten ‘Workplace Agreement’ of sorts with Pest Predators – one that offers the kind of job perks that are an incentive for them to get to work in your garden)!

I’ve learned the benefits of ’employing’ hundreds of workers in my garden. Even though I don’t know them all by name, they still turn up regularly for work, never ask for a raise, are reliable in undertaking their jobs and save me hours of hard labour. In this post, I’ll share with you what my end of the agreement entails and how you can negotiate a similar arrangement at your place.

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Coping with Caterpillars – Part 2

If you’re having a tug-of-war with caterpillars over who gets a fair share of food from your edible crops, you’ll know how frustrating it can be to come off second best! As mentioned in Coping with Caterpillars – Part 1, the first step is observation and diagnosis to ‘know thine enemy’.

 

Use a magnifying glass to get up close and personal to see what's happening in your patch.

The next step is what intervention you choose to use to manage the situation.

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Coping with Caterpillars – Part 1

Most of the time, my garden’s thriving but sometimes the weather tips things out of balance in favour of less welcome garden guests! In our hot, humid and wet subtropical climate, this can happen more frequently than I’d like. No matter where you live, creepy caterpillars are sure to visit sometime during the year. If they start to chomp on your crops, you’ll need some strategies up your sleeve!

 

Caterpillars of Bordered Patch Butterfly

Extended periods of heavy rain can play havoc, creating the environment for pest populations to arrive en masse and thrive. It’s hard to inspect your garden with days of teeming rain so by the time the sun shines again, there’s sometimes a pest problem to deal with.

 

Do you really have a pest problem?

 

I have a few Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies I use to minimise insect invasions and maintain balance, so I thought I’d share how I deal with one of the most common critters – caterpillars.

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Easy DIY Potting Mix Recipe

Do you want to learn how to make potting mix at home? Want a quality potting mix recipe? Look no further! My early experiences with bagged potting mixes were not happy ones. With a sea of choices, clueless salespeople and confusing labels, I made more than one bad choice. Maybe you have too!

Easy DIY Potting Mix Recipe: I fried my seedlings in what I thought from the label was 'potting mix with fertiliser' but was actually almost 100% fertiliser; starved my plants with the next bag that didn't have any food in it at all; and another bag was virtually dead dirt that wouldn't grow anything.

I fried my seedlings in what I thought from the label was ‘potting mix with fertiliser’ but was actually almost 100% fertiliser; starved my plants with the next bag that didn’t have any food in it at all; and another bag was virtually dead dirt that wouldn’t grow anything.

 

I got so seriously cheesed off wasting time and money with ‘dried arrangements‘ as a result. So I decided to make my own mix. It had to be better than going through all that pain!

Now, I try to be self-reliant and budget conscious where possible, by making my own supplies. If you don’t already, give home made potting mix a go. It’s easy, saves you money and a whole lot of headaches!

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