Gardening Tips for May

With so many changes happening globally in such a short time, no doubt you’ve been thinking about your health and source of your food. I believe there’s never been a more important time to grow at least some of your own fresh ingredients. To build a healthy immune system, food security and live more sustainably. As I was moving house recently, I wasn’t able to send out the April newsletter but will make up for it as I have been recording many videos at my new garden to share with you soon. You can watch some of my recent videos here.

Gardening Tips for May

This month’s newsletter focuses on practical solutions and tips for growing your own food. If you’re new to growing edibles or gardening, dive into my 10 tips for beginners to shortcut your learning. Make yourself a cuppa and dig in! With love and to your good health.


Grow your own Food Security

Food security isn’t linked to a supermarket and long-distance transport systems. Instead, being able to provide for your own needs and sourcing local, in-season produce within your own community, supports a resilient food system. I grew up in a suburban backyard dedicated to food production. For me, that was normal. We snacked on vegetables and picked fruit from the trees when we were hungry while mum preserved the harvest and dad made compost.

“The average person is still under the aberrant delusion that food should be somebody else’s responsibility until I’m ready to eat it. The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.” – Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World

It’s food for thought isn’t it?


Gardening and Sustainable Living Bundle

Have you have been feeling less secure about your food supply this year? Maybe growing food for health and living more sustainably has become more of a priority for you. If so, I’ve got some timely and helpful resources to share with you. Whether you are new to growing food or a seasoned gardener, there are always new things to learn and apply! Nature and plants are great teachers but I’ve also devoted time to reading, researching and studying to become healthier, more resilient and grow the best food garden I possibly can. Every year I layer my learning and deepen my skill set and this is one of the resources I’ve invested in.

Gardening and Sustainable Living Bundle - 33 Resources for people who like to get their hands dirty

I’ve partnered with Ultimate Bundles and am excited to release my new organic gardening eBook as one of 33 resources in a bundle of gardening, sustainable living, and homesteading eCourses + eBooks. If you’re interested in growing food, preserving techniques, healthy soil, planning, and optimising small space gardens, you can check out the Gardening & Sustainable Living Bundle here. 21 eBooks + 7 eCourses + 5 printables and planners for just $19.99. At a genuine 95% discount for just 5 days 18-22 May. Dig in!

This week I’ll be sending out bonus tips on sustainable edible gardening and sharing some of the insights I’ve had from a few of the resources in this bundle that I’ve benefited from personally. If you want to skip these tips and emails, just wait for next month’s newsletter.

 


Easy Food Gardening Guide for Beginners

Are you a beginner food Gardener or relatively new to growing edibles? Feeling overwhelmed and want to avoid mistakes? Not sure where to start and want to boost your confidence? In my latest article, I share 10 TIPS to help fast track you to grow a healthy edible garden with easy steps and advice. Dig in!

Easy Food Gardening Guide for Beginners

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2020-05-19T00:08:16+10:00Categories: Newsletters|0 Comments

Gardening Tips for March

Given the times we are all living in and trying to adjust to, this month I wanted to share some really practical empowering information to help you grow a survival food and medicinal garden. I’m about to move house, so this newsletter is brief but I’ve put my time and love into one of the most important articles I’ve ever written. I hope you get great value from it and make the time to read it. Make yourself a cuppa and dig in! With love and to your good health.

Gardening Tips for March


Plants for a Survival Food and Medicinal Garden

If you are concerned about food security, there’s never been a better time to grow a survival food and medicinal garden. This article will help you learn how to start, plan and choose the best survival foods and medicinal garden plants. I’ve put together a handy list of the best edibles and plants to grow. I also explain how plant defences can help human health too. This article is packed with resources for beginner gardeners and anyone wanting to grow a productive kitchen garden for food security and health. If you find this useful, please share with your community and family.


A Garden Sanctuary for Mental and Physical Health

I encourage you to utilise your time to learn, read, grow more food and expand your garden in any way you can. Use your garden as a refuge for mental health and wellbeing. Use all your senses fully.

  • Physical exercise helps relieve stress, so dig a little, carry some compost or pot up some plants! Read and play games outdoors! Getting your hands in the soil helps declutter the mind while you focus on something positive and anticipate the harvest. Nurturing seeds and plants daily gives you meaningful work to do.
  • Soak up some sun. Absorbing vitamin D from sunshine helps build and strengthen a healthy immune system and countless studies show this vitamin helps prevent depression.
  • Listen to the sounds of nature – birds singing, bees buzzing, frogs croaking and the breeze blowing in the trees. Soak up that beautiful energy!
Relax outdoors in fresh air - read play and garden

Relax outdoors in fresh air – read play and garden

  • Smell the fragrance from your plants. Enjoy the flower perfume, the scent of herbs and brew up a healing tea to inhale and sip while you spend time outside.
  • Observe. Stop to notice the little things happening in your garden that perhaps you don’t always have time to see. Note these in your garden journal and appreciate the time to see your garden without rushing. Where are those ants going? Notice new flowers opening. Why are those leaves discoloured? You’ll open up a whole new world of discovery and opportunities to investigate and learn. Record your observations – these valuable reflections will serve you well in years to come.

7 Ways to Source Seeds and Grow Plants

I know many are struggling to source seeds or seedlings right now with a rush to buy up online and at nurseries and shops. Time to think creatively! Here are a few ideas to help you start a garden from seeds and plant material you may already have or still be able to find.

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Gardening Tips for February

The last few weeks have created a lot of uncertainty around the world with the threat of a pandemic. It’s a timely reminder to reflect on our health, how sustainable our lives are and whether we can feed ourselves from our home gardens or are dependent on our global food system. So, this month’s newsletter focuses on practical and positive ways you can support your health with nourishing foods and herbs.

Gardening Tips for February | The Micro Gardener


Gardening Tips for February

Here in subtropical SE Queensland, Australia, we’re still in the thick of summer heat, humidity and rain. Last month we were in drought, had bushfires and dust storms, and now it’s too wet in many areas! Soggy soil, high temperatures and humidity create the perfect environment for many fungal diseases like powdery mildew and root rot. Not to mention the increase in hungry insects like grasshoppers and caterpillars feasting on the new growth!

Subtropical SE Queensland – What to Plant Now

If your water tanks are full and soil moist from recent rains, it’s an ideal time to sow seeds to raise seedlings ready for autumn planting and put in the last of fast-growing summer crops. Or sow sunflower seeds as microgreens for fast-growing protein-rich ingredients. Citrus, pumpkins, tomatoes, summer spinach varieties, spring onions, herbs and cucamelons are growing like crazy in my garden. With a move to a new garden soon, I’m taking cuttings in the new moon cycle so they strike roots quickly. You can propagate your garden for free in this way.

READ Gardening Tips for February for what to do now in SE QLD, pests to watch for and more. (Download PDF)

Subtropical Planting Guide – a laminated perpetual guide to the 5 seasons in SE QLD

For other locations, read my article on what to plant and when.


Grow a Medicinal Herb Garden to Build a Strong Immune System

One of the reasons I grow my own food and specifically, a wide range of herbs, is because a Home Pharmacy Garden is the first place I ‘shop’ to support my family’s health. I believe there’s never been a more important time to focus your energy on the medicinal properties of the plants you grow. Herbs, in particular, help support a healthy immune system with phytonutrients like vitamins and antioxidants. (more…)

Gardening Tips for January

The start of 2020 has been challenging for many gardeners, especially here in Australia with drought and fires affecting life, health and the environment on so many levels. My heart goes out to all those personally or indirectly affected. We’re starting to see how quickly such events impact our food supply and the rising cost of vegetables.

Gardening Tips for January | The Micro Gardener Newsletter

On a positive note, the start of a new year is the ideal time to reflect backplan ahead and look forward to what you want to grow and learn. So this month I share resources to help you with those goals, gardening tips for January and what to do in your garden in subtropical Queensland; ways gardening can improve your health; sensational tips on strawberries; bushfire garden recovery and food security threats. Lots to dig into in this month’s newsletter!

3 Tips for Planning this Year’s Garden

In this short article, I share how I plan my garden at the start of each year + there’s a free journal download for you! I discuss ways to learn valuable lessons; reflect on past successes and disappointments for key insights and dig for details when planning this year’s garden. READ NOW.

3 Tips for Planning this Year's Garden: Get some inspiration for ideas

Photos of projects and plants can help spark ideas for this year’s garden plans


“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” ― Benjamin Franklin


How to Set Goals for this Year

If you’re going to invest time, money and effort into your garden – even a few pots – isn’t it worth having a plan? At least an idea of what you’d like to achieve in a broad sense. Maybe you want to grow food to support your health and wellbeing, overcome a problem, learn how to grow and use herbs, design a space to expand what you can grow or try container gardening. Or maybe you haven’t given this year’s garden any thought yet!

Wherever you’re at, this article is packed with easy-to-achieve goals and resources to get you going.

17 Garden Goals for Your Health and Wellbeing

17 Garden Goals for Your Health and Wellbeing


When you make a purchase, you are making a difference by helping support my education work to teach people how to grow healthy food.


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December 2019 Newsletter

It’s the last newsletter for the year and I hope you enjoy it. For many gardeners, it’s been a tough one facing health issues and climate challenges. So I’ve collated some good health news from interesting research studies on how gardening may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and written a timely article on tips for gardening in a dry climate. I have also been writing a series of articles on the art of seed saving – a skill every gardener should master for personal food security and to mitigate extreme climate conditions. Plus I’ve created a quick intro video on moon gardening. Grab a relaxing herb tea and dig in!

As it’s the season of giving, there’s also a special 15% Discount Coupon for you! Simply use the code XMAS on checkout and save on all educational products in The Shop during December!

December 2019 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener


Gardening in Dry Climate Conditions

Gardening in dry climate conditions can be really stressful but there are loads of simple strategies you can apply to make it easier. Many gardeners in Australia and around the world have been struggling to keep gardens alive and thriving. Drought, winds, dust storms, extended heatwaves and fires have been impacting plants, people and our wildlife.

For many gardeners though, water – or lack of it – is our biggest issue. Struggling, water-stressed plants become magnets for pest insects as nature’s ‘clean up crew’ move in to feed. It’s natural to expect some casualties in hot and dry weather. Without sufficient water, crops can’t take up nutrients from the soil to grow, flower and fruit. Small container gardens also need more frequent watering.

18 Top Tips for Gardening in Dry Climate Conditions | The Micro Gardener

I’m in a drought-stricken area, currently experiencing a heatwave with dry winds, high temps and no let-up in sight. It’s tough – I get it! So how do I protect my garden and grow food in these conditions? In my latest article, I share sustainable, practical strategies for gardening in dry climate conditions. These 18 tips will give you options to help your plants not just survive but thrive.

SHOW ME THE STRATEGIES


Affiliate Links: Your support of this site is appreciated!

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October 2019 Newsletter

In this newsletter, I discuss earthworms in container gardens; risks and safety tips for using bagged soil mixes; introduce a new herb and medicinal plant guide; share tips for changing seasons and moon gardening timing. Grab a cuppa and dig in!

October 2019 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener


Earthworms in Pots

Earthworms provide incredible benefits in the garden. They help aerate the soil with their tunnels, opening soil pores and improving soil structure and drainage. This helps plant roots access oxygen and allows moisture and nutrients to penetrate. They digest organic matter and leave their castings (‘vermicast’ or poop) with soluble nutrients plants can access immediately, improving crop yields. Vermicast is humus and a pure plant food and soil conditioner. Earthworms are wonderful soil workers indeed!

If you have container gardens and add garden soil or compost to your potting mix, then you may sometimes find an earthworm or two. Whilst earthworms perform many valuable roles, they can occasionally be problematic in pots, especially small ones. If you have just one or two worms, it may take a while for their tunnels to make an impact. However, if you have a community (yes they will breed!) then the plant roots may become exposed to too much air in the potting mix.

The other thing to watch for is if you are raising seedlings in a small pot and there is little organic matter in the potting or seed raising mix, any earthworms present may resort to eating the plant roots if all the organic materials are consumed. I was doing container garden maintenance once and picked up an old pot that was very heavy. Curious, I discovered it was almost pure worm castings that were retaining moisture and the pot was filled with earthworms! They had turned all the potting mix media and mulch into vermicast.

Earthworms with their rich castings

Earthworms with their rich castings

Feeding Earthworms and Repotting Plants

If you notice fresh worm castings on top of the potting mix or mulch, or around the base of the pot, these are a clue of their presence. If you notice a potted plant declining and suspect you have earthworms in your potting mix, you have a couple of options. Keep providing plenty of alternate organic matter like mulch to the top of the pot for the worms to eat instead of your plant roots.

Alternatively, repot your plant. This is simply a matter of upturning your pot and gently setting aside your plants in a cool location. Give them a quick soak in liquid seaweed as a boost. Then look for a network of tunnels in the potting mix and worms squirming around. If you can, rescue your earthworms and add them back into your garden soil where they can continue to work for you. The worm castings are indeed beneficial, so you want to retain this valuable free plant food in your potting mix.

Get your own easy DIY Homemade Potting Mix Recipe Guide using worm castings.

Learn more about the business and biology of worms with the Worm Farming Secrets eBook.

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August 2019 Newsletter

In this juicy newsletter, you’ll find a list of fast-growing vegetables for quick harvests so you eat your own fresh ingredients in <60 days from sowing seed. There’s a free online course available now to help prevent and heal cancer, and I share a new video with tips for companion planting with fruit trees. I cover fertilising your garden organically; planting in August/September, moon gardening and bite-sized gardening tips. Grab a cuppa and dig in!

August 2019 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener

 


17 Fast Growing Vegetables for Impatient Gardeners

Are you keen to get some fast-growing vegetables on your plate? A beginner gardener wanting some quick results? Maybe you have a short growing season and want to maximise your time? Or want to fill a few spare pots. Or maybe you’re like me – an impatient gardener! If so, dig into my new list of 17+ speedy veggies for quick picks in 60 days or less + 5 bonus tips to help speed up your harvests. Show me the list.

A list of 17+ fast growing vegetables for quick picks in 60 days or less. Includes leafy greens, legumes, roots vegetables + more for healthy 'fast' food! Plus 5 tips to help speed up your harvests.

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July 2019 Newsletter

In this newsletter, you’ll find tips to grow potatoes and some disturbing information about pesticides. I encourage you to go small when growing your favourite leafy greens and herbs with sprouts and microgreens, share planting tips for this month, the most nutritious lettuce varieties plus some inspiring news about the health benefits of gardening. I hope you pick up some new practical tips to apply this month!

July 2019 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener


Can you Grow Potatoes from Potatoes?

The short answer is yes! If you’ve never seen a packet of potato seeds, that’s for good reason. To grow your favourite potato variety, you need to start with a tuber. An actual potato called a ‘seed potato.’ It’s a funny name because potatoes don’t have seeds!

‘Seed potatoes’ have ‘eyes’ or dormant sprouts, also known as ‘buds.’ Each eye will sprout and develop either a stem with leaves or form roots. Once the plant is big enough, small potatoes will form and then grow.

Organic chitted potatoes ready for planting

Organic chitted potatoes ready for planting

Are all potatoes safe to grow?

Ideally, grow from organically certified seed potato varieties. Why? You want to start with disease-free, safe spuds. Unfortunately, potatoes were included in the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2019 ‘Dirty Dozen’ list that ranks the most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables. It’s not surprising potatoes made the top 12 because studies show root vegetables are particularly vulnerable to absorbing chemicals in the soil.

There’s another important reason to choose certified organic potatoes. You want to avoid the risk of planting GMO spuds as they absorb more toxins. See: Are GMO Potatoes Safe? A Former Monsanto Bioengineer Tells The Truth.

How do you get potatoes to grow shoots?

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May 2019 Newsletter

This month, you’ll learn how to test old seeds to find out if they’re still OK to plant. You’ll also discover simple ways to frost protect crops; easy edibles to grow in shallow pots; plus sustainable uses for lawn clippings. I hope you pick up some new practical tips to apply this month!

May 2019 Newsletter The Micro Gardener


Can You Sow Out of Date Seeds?

Do you have a pile of seed packets stashed away? If you’ve been meaning to sow them, but haven’t got around to it, you’re not alone! 🤭 What if your seeds have gone past their use by date? Should you throw or sow them? In my latest article, I share an easy 3 STEP TEST to help you calculate the viability of your seeds. 🍃  You’ll discover whether those ‘bundles of joy’ are dead ☠️ or alive. 😃 No guilt for bad ‘parenting’! You’ll also learn how to store those potential ‘plant babies’ correctly to extend their life so you don’t waste money. 🍃🌿 I hope you enjoy it.  READ NOW

Can you sow out of date seeds? Find out How to Test Seed Viability in 3 Easy Steps + Tips for Storing your Seeds Safely

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April 2019 Newsletter

In this month’s newsletter, I share lots of juicy tips on fruit and answer some common questions to help layer your learning, so dig in!

April 2019 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener


Why are my Lemons Staying Green not Yellow?

If you have a lemon tree, you’ll likely have a lot of questions about this fruit. Maybe your lemons are not ripening? Staying green or small for too long? Not sure when to pick them? In my latest article, you’ll discover 5 reasons why lemons may be slow developing (these can apply to other citrus) plus easy ways to tell when they are ripe and ready to harvest. READ MORE

Mature lemon trees with heavy crops of fruit require more water and nutrients to sustain growth

Mature lemon trees with heavy crops of fruit require more water and nutrients to sustain growth

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