How to Grow articles share practical steps to growing food, flowers and ornamental plants in your garden – indoors and out! Learn more about what to plant when, moon gardening and choosing seedlings and plants to save money.

How to Prevent and Fix Leggy Seedlings

After seeds germinate, do your leggy seedlings look weak and straggly like this?

 

Leggy seedling stems are long and thin, but there are few or very tiny leaves.

Leggy seedling stems are long and thin, but there are few or very tiny leaves.

What Causes Leggy Seedlings?

‘Leggy’ seedlings typically have stretched skinny stems and look fragile. They may be bending forward rather than growing up straight with a strong stem.

If your newly germinated seedlings look like this, it may be due to one of three common causes: (more…)

9 Foods You Can Regrow from Kitchen Scraps

Are you growing an edible garden? One easy way to save money is to grow some of your plants for free. How? From leftover food scraps that are often thrown away!

9 Foods You Can Regrow From Kitchen Scraps | The Micro Gardener

9 Foods You Can Regrow From Kitchen Scraps

 

You may already be composting your kitchen ‘waste’. That’s a great way to build a healthy soil. However, it may save you money to be selective before throwing everything into your compost system. There are many plant parts that can help you propagate new plants. For minimal effort and no cost.

 

Why Should You Only Regrow Organic Food?

  • First, a word of warning! For health reasons, I suggest you select organic vegetables, fruit and herbs. Too expensive? So is the cost of poor health! I think safe food is one of the best investments we can make.
  • Sadly, non-organic produce is grown using chemicals. Not just one spray either. It’s commonly a cocktail of herbicides, fungicides, pesticides and other -icides. These are applied during the growth cycle and even after harvesting. These are often systemic chemicals. That means you can’t wash them off the skin. The chemicals are absorbed internally into the plant tissues through soil and water. Root crops like potatoes are especially vulnerable. Other crops are genetically modified or imported and radiated.

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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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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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Seed Starting Guide: Quick Tips for Starting Seeds Successfully

Do you struggle to raise seeds successfully? Are you a beginner gardener? Then follow this tutorial on how to be a successful plant ‘parent’. Avoid the most common mistakes when starting seeds.

Seed Starting Guide: Quick Tips for Starting Seeds Successfully

As a parent, there’s no greater joy than sharing the journey of nurturing a baby from infancy into a healthy young adult. But I confess – I’ve been a bad ‘parent’ many times … Before I learned how to raise my plant ‘babies’ successfully, they starved, drowned, died of thirst or neglect, too much love – or too little! If this sounds like you, then read on for my best tips.

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Easy Guide to Growing Perfect Peas

With pretty flowers, crisp green pods, climbing tendrils and delicate leaves, peas are an attractive and delicious addition to any kitchen garden.

Easy Guide on How to Grow Peas

Best of all, every part of a pea plant is edible!

Peas are little powerhouses! They may be low in calories, but peas are packed with a surprising number of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Peas are also high in micro-nutrients, vitamins, fibre, protein and minerals that provide us with a wide range of health benefits.

Peas are annual vegetables. Best eaten raw and straight off the plant before their natural sugars turn to starch and lose their sweet flavour.

Peas are easy to grow, so are an ideal first crop for children and beginner gardeners.

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Easy Guide to Growing Microgreens

Second only to sprouts, microgreens are the quickest food crop we urban gardeners can grow!  If you have limited time, space or gardening skills let me introduce you to growing microgreens. Tasty, nutrient-dense ‘fast food’ in just a few easy steps.

 

Rainbow salad with buckwheat microgreens | The Micro Gardener

I loved all the flavours in this rainbow salad with buckwheat microgreens & sesame oil, tamari (organic soy), vinegar, olive oil + maple syrup dressing.

 

What are Microgreens?

With sprouts, you eat the fully germinated seed. I think of sprouts as the ‘babies’ of the plant world. During seed germination, the cotyledon(s) or seed leave(s) emerge from the soil first. [A cotyledon is part of the embryo within the seed of the plant.]  Through photosynthesis, the cotyledon(s) provide initial food to give the plants a burst of energy for the true leaves to develop.

Microgreens are the next stage in a plant’s development, kind of like the ‘toddlers’ of the plant world. Microgreens can be harvested when the germinated seeds have developed tiny roots and at least their first true leaves. They have similar health benefits to sprouts, but greater nutritional value.

Whereas sprouts are seeds that germinate by being soaked and rinsed in water, microgreens are grown in soil. So you can add minerals to boost the nutrient value and flavour. These young seedlings are harvested smaller than baby salad leaves. (more…)

Guide to Growing Spring Onions

Want to grow spring onions? If you love tasty, versatile vegetables that only need minimal space and effort, then spring onions are an excellent choice! Even the tiniest plot or pot will accommodate  them.

How to Grow Spring Onions

Guide to Growing Spring Onions

 

I grow all the flavoursome Alliums (Onion family). This includes garlic, leeks, onions and chives. You can swap them around in recipes and always have an ingredient to add flavour to whatever you’re cooking. If you haven’t grown them before, or are a beginner gardener, just follow the tips in this tutorial and give them a go! (more…)

5 Step Guide to Growing Gorgeous Garlic

Do you know where your garlic comes from? One of the most important reasons for you to learn to grow garlic is: to avoid toxic chemicals and irradiation (that inhibit sprouting and extend shelf life).*

 

How to Grow Garlic - 5 Step Guide to Growing Gorgeous Garlic Tutorial

Garlic … how safe is yours to eat?

A few years back I didn’t even think about the garlic I ate. But then I became interested in the story behind the food I was eating. I started to look deeper at the source of my food. Where it came from, who grew it and how. I didn’t like what I discovered!

Garlic – Did you know?

The majority of the world’s garlic is grown in China and is sprayed with chemicals and bleached white with chlorine during importation quarantine processes. Not to mention the thousands of food miles clocked up travelling long distances in storage.

But if you really want to gag on your garlic, read on! According to the CEO of the Australian Garlic Industry Association, “some garlic growers over there (China) use raw human sewage to fertilise their crops, and I don’t believe the Australian quarantine regulations are strict enough in terms of bacteria testing on imported produce.”

So you might want to think again before you reach for that perfect white bulb in your supermarket! [Learn more and download an ‘Irradiation-free Food Guide’ at the end of this post].

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Fast Food! DIY Instant Veggie Garden: Part 2

After moving house sixteen times, I’ve learned to adapt my gardens to all sorts of spaces – large and small. This is a handy list of plants I’ve found to grow well in containers plus the depth of soil they need.

 

Some of my edible container gardens

Some of my edible container gardens

 

If you have difficult soil like sand, clay or rocks; limited space or funds, then I suggest you try growing at least some of your food in containers. Pots offer loads of benefits.

 

“Growing your own veggies is the first step to self-sufficiency.” – Clive Blazey, The Diggers Club

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