Hi and welcome to the latest newsletter. I’ve been busy presenting 7 workshops on Incredible Edibles – Small Space Gardening over the last 10 days. With rising inflation especially food and the cost of living increasing, it makes sense to grow your own groceries. In these challenging times, feeding ourselves nutritious healing foods and growing plants for medicine is vital for a strong immune system and to live more sustainably.

I’ve also been establishing my new kitchen garden and helping people grow nutrient-dense food to support good health. I have a barrowload of tips to help you grow a healing productive garden.

Garden Tips for August - What to do in the garden this month

What’s on the menu this month?

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Gardening Tips for August

Continue planting above ground edibles with the new moon growth phase. Spend just five minutes to spend time around your plants, pots, walk barefoot, breath fresh air, feel the sun on your skin and relax. Gardening is incredibly good for our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Nature therapy does wonders for the mind, body and soul!

Observe your plants. Are they flowering before producing seed? I encourage you to collect and save your own seeds and start propagating plants to grow them for free. Not only does this save money but helps you grow a sustainable resilient garden. You can share what you grow with others or sell your surplus for an income.

Subtropical SE Queensland – What to Plant Now

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

We’re already in Spring. Time to transition your planting from winter now and sow new season edibles.

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.

Garden Tasks – What to do Now

What to do in the Southern Hemisphere

During cooler weather, it’s a good time to:

  • Raise seeds indoors as microgreens or sow direct if weather is suitable. Use these easy to follow guides to get started.
  • Sprouts are quick and nutritious, digestive enzyme rich baby plants you can also germinate in water. Grow year round indoors.
  • Plant bare-rooted fruit treesAvailable online and at nurseries. You can save a LOT of money by buying berries and fruit trees that have been dug up without soil while dormant. Their roots are protected in sawdust, ready for planting. Prepare your soil for planting trees and shrubs in spring.
  • Prune back deciduous fruit trees, berries, vines, perennial bushes and herbs if you haven’t already. Give mulberries and crepe myrtles a hard haircut to shape your tree! This is the time for shaping and making space for spring growth. Don’t delay.
  • Divide perennials like garlic chives, arrowroot and lemon grass if you haven’t already.
  • Manage weeds. Pull by hand after rain and mow to reduce vigour until you can get them under control. Solarise them under black plastic and destroy seed heads. Cover with thick mulch or living ground covers.
  • Fertilise berries like strawberries, raspberries and blueberries with compostrock minerals and seaweed to produce blooms and fruit.
  • Maintain garden structures. Replace wooden or bamboo stakes if they are rotted. Make vertical trellises and frames.
  • Get your crop protection plans in place. Exclusion netting, bags and other supplies like baits and traps. Pest insects wake up in warmer weather so be ready!
  • Feed your soil and prepare for new season planting. Make compost, feed worm farms, add mulch, and make potting/seed raising mix.
  • Protect frost-sensitive plants. Don’t cut off frost-damaged plant parts. Wait until the last frosts are over to provide protection for the rest of the plant. Treat with liquid seaweed.
  • Provide wind protection – large leafy greens and fruiting crops can dry out quickly with harsh windy days. Consider covering these plants, keeping up soil moisture or providing a screen to reduce plant stress.
  • Plan pest management strategies. Get your fruit fly controls ready and other pest remedies for spring growth. This includes protecting stone fruit and citrus from fruit fly and other damaging insects.
Prepare soil for planting with compost and nutrients

Prepare soil for planting with compost and nutrients

What to do in the Northern Hemisphere

In warm weather, it’s a good time to:

  • Water deeply as required in your location. Pots need more moisture as the soil dries out faster. Follow these Water-wise tipsTry making your own moisture-holding potting mix to save money on watering. Adding the right extra ingredients to your bagged mix can help extend the life of your plants. Less ‘dried arrangements’!
  • Sow seeds for cool-season crops directly into the garden. See my Seed Starting Guide for tips.
  • Succession plant seedlings regularly for a continuous harvest.
  • Stake and tie up climbing plants to maximize space and minimize pest and disease problems. Good air flow is important!
  • Group container gardens in hot weather to create shade or cover with shade cloth.
  • Top up mulch if it is an organic material and starting to break down. This helps feed your soil too.
  • Recycle nutrients from dead annuals, prunings and grass clippings into your compost.
  • Remove dead flowers (dead heading) to encourage more blooms and save seeds. This saves money too!
  • Liquid feed flowering and fruiting plants.
  • Maintain hygiene. Bag up and bin any diseased or pest-infected leaves and plant material. This breaks the cycle.
  • Keep protecting fruit from birds with exclusion netting or individual bags.
  • Manage weeds to reduce competition for nutrients and water. Use mulchcover crops, ground covers and weed mat.
  • Feed your soil organic slow release plant food and water in well.
  • Harvest, dry and freeze herbs for use during the year.
  • Preserve fruit and vegetables to extend your harvest.
  • Maintain your garden. Repair/repaint any garden structures, trellises, sheds, fences and garden furniture while it’s warm and dry.

My New Kitchen Garden

Every day I harvest fresh ingredients from my ‘Backyard Supermarket’ to create nutrient-dense, flavour-packed seasonal meals. Growing a variety of edibles even in a small space is rewarding, fun and cheap ‘health insurance’! I have set up several raised garden beds over the last few months and am also growing in a variety of containers and grow bags. As we are just starting spring, I’m trying to maximise harvests of winter vegetables like baby broccoli, peas, cabbages and spinach.

In this bed I'm growing carrots, garlic, leeks, spring onions, spinach, rainbow chard, rocket, parsley, coriander, oregano, thyme, marigolds and sorrel.

In this bed I’m growing carrots, garlic, leeks, spring onions, spinach, rainbow chard, rocket, parsley, coriander, oregano, thyme, marigolds and sorrel.

I interplant edible flowers and herbs with my vegetables and have virtually no pest issues. Mixing up the foliage and strongly scented herbs helps repel pest insects while flowers attract pollinators and beneficial predatory insects.

Composta worm farm container garden with lettuces, Asian greens, spinach, herbs and viola seedlings planted 2 weeks ago.

Composta worm farm container garden with lettuces, Asian greens, spinach, herbs and viola seedlings planted 2 weeks ago. They have doubled in size in the new moon phase!

This container is about 20cm (8″) deep with a worm farm in the middle. I recycle kitchen scraps to the worms and enjoy a liquid fertiliser from the bottom, closing the loop on food waste! I fill my containers with homemade potting mix. It’s rich in moisture-holding ingredients, all the minerals plants need for health and vitality (as well as humans!) and bioavailable nutrients for my plants.

Purple and green peas climbing a trellis with colourful flowers for pollinators and food

Purple and green peas climbing a trellis with colourful flowers for pollinators and food.

I’ve harvested so many peas from this vertical garden already and plenty more to come. Vertical structures are a great way to utilise space for climbing varieties like peas, beans, cucumbers and perennial spinach.

Spring strawberries ripening for an early harvest in my garden

Spring strawberries ripening for an early harvest in my garden

I’ve already enjoyed a handful of these delicious sweet berries. Thought I’d take a photo before they all disappear!

Strawberries are so easy to grow. These are interplanted with lots of flowers for improved pollination and bigger yields. They are long lasting perennials perfect for pots and plots. Dig into tips to help you design your own productive kitchen garden.

How to Grow Turmeric Tips for a Healthy Harvest

In my latest article, How to Grow Turmeric: Tips for a Healthy Harvest, I’m excited to share tips about one of the most amazing healing foods to grow and use in the kitchen. Turmeric is an incredible edible with medicinal properties that can help everyone build a healthy immune system and prevent disease. It’s an attractive, self-pollinating perennial herb worthy of a place in every garden. Learn how to grow, harvest and use it.

How to Grow Turmeric Tips for a Healthy Harvest

New Gardening Guides + Coupon Code

I’m excited to introduce two new gardening guides to help you learn more about ways to grow vegetables and use nutrient rich foods to support your health.

Vegetables Growing Guide: Beginner gardener? Or looking for a handy reference guide to help you grow vegetables? This easy-to-understand laminated fold-out 8-page full-colour chart is an ideal reference. This Guide summarises 68 of the most popular vegetables to grow in Australia and New Zealand climate zones. Includes information on companion planting, making compost, soil and moon planting.

Nutrition Garden Guide: Superfoods are crops that provide you with the maximum nutritional value. A Superfood Nutrition Garden makes a lot of sense if you want to grow good health! This easy-to-understand laminated fold-out 8-page full-colour Guide is an ideal reference. It provides a summary of 24 outstanding foods to grow and their nutritional and health benefits. Suits any climate.

For a 10% Discount, enter Coupon Code: 10%OFF during checkout and click Apply. You can use this code for any product in your cart this month. Enjoy! No limit on guides and they make great gifts.

Sow at the Best Time with Moon Cycles this Month

During the new moon to full moon phase, it’s an ideal time to sow and transplant all above-ground plants. The moon influences the movement of all water on earth. Not just the tides, but also the water table, soil moisture and plant sap. Seasonal leafy greens, fruiting crops, shrubs, herbs and trees are best planted at this time. I take advantage of this cycle each month to maximise new growth, encourage flowering and fruiting, germinate seeds and to strike cuttings. With more nutrients available in plant sap, they ‘take’ much quicker.

If you are still taking pot luck and sowing at any time, your results will likely vary! Some plants might thrive while others fail, bolt to seed, wither or seeds never germinate. Timing is everything in gardening! Swinging this aspect in your favour can make the difference between a productive garden and a frustrating one. It may help to learn more about the benefits of moon gardening.

Helpful Articles

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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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