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.


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15% off Guides & Books

Growing health with an edible food garden is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and to help those we love. Our sustainable laminated guides are gifts that keep on giving, are low-cost, can be used year after year and are easy to post anywhere in the world.  This 15% Discount Coupon can be used on any garden guides, books or DVDs this month but expires at the end of December.

Digital eBooks + Garden Journals are shipped instantly – great for last-minute gifts! 🙂 Use XMAS code at checkout to save.  SHOP NOW

15% OFF SALE XMAS Coupon on all educational gardening guides, books and DVDs | The Micro Gardener Shop

CLICK HERE for more Easy DIY Garden Gift Ideas

Health Benefits of Gardening and Exercise

According to a recent study of 6,000 Australians 55-77 yrs old, fear of dementia is overtaking cancer. The Maintain Your Brain study is assessing whether diet and exercise can dramatically reduce a person’s risk of developing dementia – and potentially reverse some of its symptoms through eating a plant-based diet and simple exercises.

Dementia study reveals gardening may prevent disease

Elizabeth Goldsmith, 76 said she was already feeling the benefits of being in the study. “Since being in the trial, we have a huge amount of green vegetables and eat a salad every day. We have spinach galore from the garden, broccoli, whatever’s growing at the time. I concentrate better, and I have lost nearly 2 kilos. I really feel it’s helped a lot because it’s a time of life when we should be slowing down and ageing, but I feel I’ve got energy.”

In a 2016 UCLA study, scientists revealed virtually any form of aerobic physical activity – including walking, dancing and gardening, can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 50%.

There are numerous studies supporting physical movement and outdoor activities like gardening with minimising the potential for serious diseases as we age. A British study revealed participants “who did moderate physical activity at least once a week – such as gardening, washing the car, walking or dancing – were two and a half times more likely to age healthily. This was defined as not having any long term illnesses including cancer, heart disease, lung problems or Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.” Researchers from University College London who examined 3,500 men and women over 65 over the 8-year study, say “it is never too late to start being active.”

Food for thought? Even weeding, raking, mowing or tending a small garden could make a difference to your health.

Saving Seeds Series

Seed saving is an investment that returns rich rewards over time. With a little patience learning a new skill, you will grow stronger, more locally adapted plants that are resilient to climate extremes. Seed saving is one of my passions and something I practice to live sustainably. I’ve been writing a featured series of articles on this topic in Garden Culture Magazine to inspire home gardeners to understand the urgency and importance of saving seeds and simply get started.

Seed saving series in Garden Culture Magazine

In part 1, I lay out the case for rekindling the lost art of seed saving. It’s sobering, thought-provoking and hopefully will help you appreciate the vital role seeds have in our food security. In part 2 of this series, I dive into selecting seeds and controlling pollination. I explain criteria for choosing seeds, isolating plants for purity, pollination, and importantly, how to care for plants when seeds are forming. In coming articles, I will take you through the steps and processes to becoming a seed steward, building resilience in your seed stock and how to grow food more sustainably.

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Curious about Moon Gardening?

Q: Should you plant by the moon if you’re sowing seeds in seed raisers or container gardening? Or is it just for gardening in the ground?

A: Using the moon phases to time your planting works for starting seeds,  transplanting seedlings or plants in both the ground and containers.  Why? Simply because they are ALL in contact with the soil (and thus moisture) which the moon has a strong influence over.

Getting your timing right can help seeds swell, absorb water and germinate much faster, whether you sow in pots or garden soil.  Likewise, roots develop more quickly at certain times of the month. The moon’s gravity has an impact on the whole water cycle!  Not just groundwater tables, but also the flow of water in soil via the root zone as well as sap flow in plants. The moon’s gravitational pull is drawing moisture UPwards at this time of the month so use this to your advantage! If you do your own experiments and record the timing and results from sowing seeds or plants in the ideal moon phase vs a ‘hit and miss’ approach, you will see for yourself the difference in growth! Working in harmony WITH nature’s moon phases can bring you many benefits.

Use the perpetual Moon Calendar for the best dates during December for faster seed germination and growth. My best harvests and healthiest plants come from working with nature rather, than taking a ‘hit and miss’ approach.  If you’re not yet following a Moon Calendar to TIME your planting, fertilising, propagation and optimise seed raising success, then learn more about the benefits you could be enjoying.

We are in the middle of the new moon phase, so now is the ideal time to sow any above-ground plants for optimum growth – seeds, seedlings or transplants. Plants will benefit from a liquid feed via the leaves and soil for fast take up of nutrients.  Sow quick-growing microgreens and sprouts for digestive-enzyme-rich raw ingredients. A few easy microgreens are rocket, basil, coriander, buckwheat and pea shoots.

Preparing to plant?

Take a shortcut to success with these tips and tutorials.

Gardening Resources

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I look forward to sharing more news and ways to grow good health next month.

Happy gardening!


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© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2019. All rights reserved.

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