Want some quick tips & techniques? All gardeners love sharing their best tips to save money, how to grow beautiful functional & edible gardens and just to swap ideas on what works well.

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 & 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 Abundant 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.
Sugar Snap Pea Seedlings - save time by planting seedlings if you have a short season.

Apply seaweed when planting seedlings to avoid transplant shock.

2. Get your Timing Right

  • Choose varieties suited to your season and climate. I’m lucky to be able to grow beans all year round in my subtropical climate. I just choose my varieties carefully for the season – climbing snake beans over summer; dwarf and runner beans for the rest of the year. So timing is important when selecting your seeds or seedling varieties – learn what will grow when.
  • Peas are another story. Sadly, I can only grow these through the cooler months, unless I raise seeds as microgreens. This is one way to extend your season to grow pea shoots for longer. A brilliant way to benefit from the extra nutrients too.
Quick growing pea shoot microgreens

Quick growing pea shoot microgreens

  • Sow early morning or late afternoon if in a warm/hot climate to avoid heat stress for seedlings.
  • Plant in the new moon phase for faster seed germination and strong growth. This is also the best time to apply liquid fertilizers as you’ll see much quicker results. Root development and leaf growth comes before flowers and pods, so use this timing to your advantage!

3. Succession and Companion Planting

  • Succession Planting – To get a continuous supply of peas and beans, you need to succession plant or “sow little, and often.” Every couple of weeks I sow more peas or beans, so I stagger the planting – and the harvest.
French climbing beans growing up a bamboo trellis

French climbing beans growing up a bamboo trellis

  • When choosing your peas or beans, dwarf or bush varieties will usually produce flowers and pods quicker than climbing peas or runner/pole beans. If you sow some dwarf seeds/seedlings first, you’ll enjoy a fast harvest, while the climbing varieties take longer to produce flowers and pods. While climbers are slow out of the starting gates, they’ll go the distance and produce a harvest over a longer period!
  • Companion planting – To improve pollination of pea and bean crops, there’s a simple principle you can apply. Plant flowers nearby. To attract pollinators, lease out some of your precious garden ‘real estate’ to flower ‘tenants’. They will ‘pay’ you in more peas and beans! As the bees visit the flowers for a free feed, they’ll also stop by and pollinate these crops. Win-win!
Bee pollinating a green bean flower

Bee pollinating a green bean flower

How to Grow Guides

For tutorials with lots of inspiring vertical structures and tips, see my growing guides:

Easy Guide to Growing Perfect Peas – An easy step by step guide with everything you need to know to grow, maintain and harvest peas + delicious recipe ideas.

Jack and the Beanstalk Theme Garden – Tutorial tips for growing beans and a themed garden for children.

If you like this article, please share the love!

Happy gardening until next month.  Anne

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Raising Seeds

Have you tried raising seeds but they failed to germinate successfully? It may be due to one of these five common causes.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Raising Seeds

Raising Seeds: 5 Common Mistakes You can Avoid

  1. Choosing Unsafe Food Seeds

  • Did you know the majority of seeds (non-certified organic and some heirloom and open-pollinated brands) are sprayed with fungicides? This chemical process is used to stop rodents and insects from eating the seeds during storage. GMO (genetically modified) seeds are also creeping into our food system. Read the packets carefully when buying your seeds. Look for wording like “Certified Organic” and “Non-GMO”.

(more…)

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.

(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.

(more…)

17 Garden Goals for Your Health and Wellbeing

Do you want to improve your health and wellbeing? If you want a garden that feeds your mind, body AND soul, what should you focus on? Want to avoid repeating the same mistakes from last year? Start fresh with these easy goals!

The process of setting your garden goals each year is easy, fun and rewarding.

The process of setting your garden goals each year is easy, fun and rewarding.

 

A New Year is always a good time to look back, reflect and plan ahead. But you can do some planning at any time of year.

Setting goals can help you:

  • improve your health and wellbeing;
  • learn from your garden as you grow;
  • make more sustainable choices; and
  • find greater enjoyment.

Whether you’re a beginner gardener or experienced, there is always so much to learn. A garden is a great teacher! I call my garden ‘Nature’s Classroom.’ Every year there are new lessons and discoveries. I hope these goals will help YOU plan an edible garden you really enjoy.

(more…)

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:

 

(more…)

Design Tips for a Productive Kitchen Garden

Do you ever feel frustrated when pest insects damage your plants? Wish your kitchen garden was more productive? You’re not alone! Even the healthiest gardens struggle with a few ‘unwelcome visitors’ at times.

Design Tips for a Productive Kitchen Garden

 

If you have limited space for your food garden, then losing precious crops, can be even more disheartening.

The good news is there are design strategies you can use to:

  1. Maximise your space;
  2. Minimise pest insects;
  3. Enhance the beauty; and
  4. Even improve some of your harvests.

(more…)

6 Tips for Abundant Edible Container Gardens

Struggling to grow food successfully in pots? Would you love to have abundant container gardens? Overflowing with delicious, healthy, colourful food? Fruit and vegetables that nourish your body? Give you joy to grow, cook and eat? If you think this is in the ‘too hard basket’ read on for my tips …

Grow an abundant harvest of home grown food in edible container gardens | The Micro Gardener

This is the kind of food I love helping people learn how to grow.

 

A continual abundance of organic vegetables, herbs and fruits that sustain you with good health can be yours to enjoy.

When I first started planting edibles in micro gardens, I made a LOT of mistakes. I wasted so much time and money. There were plenty of ‘dried arrangements’ (dead plants!) as a result. I struggled with poor harvests. Over the years I’ve realised container gardening requires a different set of skills to growing directly in your garden.

 

Delicious nutritious vegies are easy to grow at home in edible container gardens

With some basic knowledge, delicious nutritious vegies are easy to grow at home in container gardens.

 

These are 6 key techniques you can use to maximise your harvests. Grow a continual abundance of delicious home grown organic food. Tuck in!

(more…)

Top Tips for Wet Weather Gardening

Don’t you love it when it rains?

… and hate it when it rains TOO MUCH?

 

Photo: Andrew Rollinger

How do you find a balance with harvesting a valuable resource and preventing problems associated with excess water?

All gardens need adequate moisture but periods of heavy rainfall, storms and runoff can bring you a truckload of challenges including:

  • waterlogged plants;
  • leaching of soil nutrients;
  • erosion; and
  • pest and disease problems.

 

Garden Design & Management Tips to Minimise Problems

I’m into ‘designing out’ problems whenever I can … so a bit of thought and planning can help reduce the impact of water-based problems.  These are some of the strategies I use in my garden to help avoid these issues … (more…)

How to Choose the Healthiest Seedlings … and NOT buy duds!

If you’re serious about saving money in your garden, then growing plants from seed is definitely the smartest choice.  It’s about 10 times cheaper than buying seedlings!

The reality is though, we’re often busy and don’t always have the time, knowledge or space to raise plants from seed. If you do buy seedlings, how can you avoid wasting money on unhealthy ones or those that are destined prematurely for the compost? Photo: Susy Morris

The reality is though, we’re often busy and don’t always have the time, knowledge or space to raise plants from seed. If you DO buy seedlings, how can you avoid wasting money on unhealthy ones or those that are destined prematurely for the compost?

 

I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and been seriously cheesed off after ending up with ‘dried arrangements’ not long after planting what appeared to be ‘healthy’ new seedlings!

 

Dead plants give a new meaning to 'thin & crispy'!

I hate wasting money and time on plants that cark it with no warning – especially when I give them my usual love and attention.

 

I figure ‘failures’ are  just learning opportunities! So over time, I’ve done some digging to find out what contributed to my unplanned compost additions. I hope sharing my experiences will help you avoid ‘dried arrangements’ at your place … (more…)