Our gardens have taken on new meaning this year. Perhaps your garden has been a peaceful sanctuary to relieve stress? An abundant resource to feed and heal you, or an exciting and maybe bumpy journey if you’re a new gardener!

Grow more food in a small garden tip: Utilise all garden bed space with vertical stakes to support tomatoes in the centre and salad greens around the perimeter

Growing food to sustain and nourish your health is a positive empowering action to take especially in uncertain times

During the holiday season is a good time to reflect and plan how your garden will serve you next year. What would you like to grow? What would you like to change or do better? What didn’t quite go to plan this year and what were your successes?

Start a garden journal as an empowering learning tool – you’ll be surprised what a massive difference this can make to your successes.

I want to thank you for joining me throughout the year, especially all my clients I’ve had a chance to work with personally. In this newsletter, I’ve put together some planning tips for small gardens, ways to grow food on a budget, use your garden as therapy, moon planting and December planting tips to take you into the new year. There’s also a chance to win a Live Chat Garden Coaching consultation with me – be quick. Dig in for details!

Planning Tips for Small Gardens

Compact gardens require careful decisions to use space wisely. No one has the perfect location including me! We all have pros and cons to work with as we decide what to grow and where. These are a few quick practical tips to consider.

  • Grow only foods you enjoy eating! There’s no point investing time, money and effort into edible plants unless they’ll end up on your plate.
  • Consider how much time you really have to care for a garden each week. If you’re busy working full-time, an hour may be realistic to grow just a few healthy foods in pots.
  • Learn when your seasons are. Follow a seasonal planting guide to avoid sowing at the wrong time.
  • Choose pest and disease-resistant crop varieties suited to your climate. Heirlooms, open-pollinated and certified organic seeds often are well adapted and resilient. Do your research! Buy local when you can, then save your own seed.
  • Invest in your soil. Make your own compost, install a worm farm for free vermicast, make your own potting mix or buy quality soil rich in organic matter and nutrients. Your plants will only be as healthy as the soil they’re grown in!
  • Protect your plant babies. Seedlings and young plants are vulnerable while establishing. Crop covers, cloches and netting help buy them time to grow so they can cope with a few nibbles.
  • Grow less, but better. It’s more rewarding to grow a dozen healthy herbs and vegetables than a BIG garden you feel overwhelmed maintaining. Find joy in little things and take the pressure off!
  • Avoid growing too much of one crop or it may go to waste. If you sow seeds, you can grow just the number of plants you want.  Sow a little at a time, every week or two for a continuous harvest.
  • Start with easy plants and give challenging ones a miss until you feel confident and have the time to manage them.
  • Design your space efficiently. Use vertical structures, consider the microclimate with sun, shade and soil type so you make informed decisions about what to grow where to optimise space and productivity in your kitchen garden.
Grow Food in a Small Space - This narrow space is divided with a pathway and picket fence to keep animals out with a feature pot beyond. Trellises at the back of raised gardens are perfect for climbers to take advantage of sunny vertical space & add interest to break up pale walls.

This narrow space is divided with a pathway and picket fence with a feature pot beyond. Trellises at the back of raised gardens are ideal for climbers to take advantage of sunny vertical space and add interest to break up pale walls.

Gardening Gifts

Need a last-minute gift but left it a bit late to send in the post?

Our ever-popular Garden Journal Planner and Workbook and eBooks are instantly available for download so you can send anytime. Gift Vouchers and Garden Consultations are also a popular gift with 12 months to redeem for a Live Chat or Onsite Visit. From now until Christmas, with every purchase or product review (if you’re already a customer), you get a chance in the draw to win a one-hour Live Chat Garden Consultation. The lucky recipient will be announced in the January newsletter, so visit the Shop to purchase or leave a review now. So, if you’ve purchased a product in the past, but haven’t left a review yet, now’s your chance to be in the draw! Every product and review counts as a chance to win.

If you’re thinking about what to give your gardening friends and family, I invite you to check out the practical and educational laminated gardening guides, moon calendar, DVDs and books available in my online store. I also offer Live Chat Garden Coaching Gift Vouchers (digital and printed) that can be used anywhere in the world. Knowledge is a gift that keeps on giving and I’m grateful for your support and helping sustain my small business.

For your bonus discount, use the Coupon Code: 10%OFF during checkout to save 10% off your order.

All orders over $20 placed before Christmas will also receive my new eBook Guide to Growing a Nutrient-Dense Organic Food Garden as a BONUS Gift. It’s packed with practical tips and a checklist with key principles and action steps. Another tool to help you grow a productive healthy garden. SHOP NOW.

Gardening on a Budget

Trying to save money? I aim to grow my gardens sustainably. It’s incredibly rewarding and easy if you think creatively. These are a few ideas.

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Garden Therapy

“Gardening is the best therapy in the world. You can put so much into it and get so much back…How lucky we are to live on this beautiful earth – you can bring the beauty to yourselves through gardening.” – C.Z. Guest (1920 – 2003)

I’m a big believer in giving ourselves permission to do nothing in the garden. Some days you just need to ‘be’ rather than ‘do’. Instead, observe, harvest or journal about your garden. Take a walk or sit in the sunshine. Most plants are resilient enough to cope without you!

Being outdoors even for a short time is so good for health. Over 100 doctors and scientists have confirmed that Vitamin D (the ‘sunshine vitamin’) is incredibly beneficial for preventing disease (especially what the world has been dealing with this year). Vitamin D is unique because it can be made in the skin from exposure to sunlight.

Remind yourself that if you take time out from your garden due to illness, holidays or just the busyness of life, it’s OK! What’s the worst that can happen? You might end up with a few ‘dried arrangements’, some plants might bolt to seed because they weren’t watered and your garden might end up a little wild. Go with the flow of life and be kind to yourself. A garden is a place to nurture your mind, body and soul. Nature copes – and so can we.

A garden sanctuary provides many health benefits.

Creating your garden sanctuary can be as simple as sitting amongst your plants.

There’s no better place to spend time than in a garden to ease the worries of your day and refresh the spirit. Life’s simple in a garden. There’s no hurrying. Everything happens at its own pace. It’s great for slow down therapy.

“Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.” — Lindley Karstens

Moon Planting

This month, if you haven’t already tried sowing seeds or planting to time in with the moon phases, why not give it a go? I’ve been gardening this way for over 10 years and time my activities to take advantage of sap flow in plants and soil moisture. For example, in the new moon phase (between a new moon and full moon), I sow my leafy greens and ornamental cuttings, herbs and any other plants that I harvest for their above-ground crop like strawberries. Why? During this phase, the gravitational pull of the moon influences the upwards movement of sap in the plant, so there’s more obvious and quicker growth. My husband mowed our lawn two days ago and it’s already grown 5cm (2 in). If we mow after the full moon, it may take 7-10 days to get the same grass growth!

So if you want to encourage your plants to get off to a good start with strong shoot and root growth, plant by the moon! Start observing these little details and see for yourself. I use this Moon Calendar that makes it easy to follow the ideal dates for sowing, fertilising, pruning and propagating.

Gardening Tips for December

“Trivial annoyances slough off in a garden and problems often solve themselves there as you weed and plant. Gardening is such satisfying creative work, too; you can see the beautiful results of your efforts.”Helen Van Pelt Wilson (1901 – 2003)

Garden for just 5 minutes a day. In that short time, you can sow a few seeds, mulch a pot, tip prune a herb, water a few plants, sprinkle fertiliser, pick fresh ingredients, observe insects on a plant, bury a bucket of kitchen scraps to feed your soil or take notes in your journal. These easy activities and many others all add up to growing a healthy garden. Every day I dash out for 5 minutes to take positive action. It’s incredible what you can achieve in just 35 minutes a week. Try it and see. I’d love to hear about your experience. Maybe set this as a goal for 2021!

Subtropical SE Queensland – What to Plant Now

READ Gardening Tips for December for what to do now in SE Queensland, 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 with resources for other areas around the world.

Got a Gardening Problem?

Too much shade? Ants, aphids or fruit flies? Too hot or dry? Challenges raising your seeds or seedlings?

Read all past problem-solving articles here. They’re packed with useful tips.

Dig into my free online Article Library for more topics


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Each week I share photos and videos of what I’m growing, harvesting and eating from my garden and ways I use my homegrown food. Follow me for more tips and inspiration in between newsletters.

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Wishing you a safe and healthy festive season and new year. 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 2020. https://themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.

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