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.

  1. Check your pantry. Forage around in your jars and packets of herbs, legumes and seeds. You may well discover potential seeds to sprout like coriander, alfalfa, pepper, chickpeas, lentils and chillis.
  2. Health food stores. Check the bulk bins and packets of herbs for potential seeds you can sow.
  3. Audit your fridge. I know this can be a scary place if you haven’t cleaned it out in a while, but hey you may have more time right now! Look for squishy overripe or inedible fruit and vegetables that contain seeds. They may be perfect to scrape seeds out from, rinse and grow. You can add the rest to your compost or worm farm. If your Asian greens, lettuce or celery are a bit tired, cut the tops off (recycle) and put the base into a shallow glass of water to refresh and encourage new leaf growth.
  4. Regrow food from kitchen scraps. So many edibles can be regrown from food ‘waste’ or leftover plant material. Plant your potato peels with eyes, replant soft onions to grow green tips and save seeds from vegetables you are eating like capsicums, tomatoes, pumpkin and chillis.
  5. Propagate from plants you already have. Take cuttings, divide clumps and collect seeds.
  6. Microgreens. If you’re raising seeds as microgreens, eat some but save a few youngsters and transplant into pots. They’ll keep growing as seedlings into mature plants.
  7. Old seed packets. If you have any out of date seeds, it’s worth digging them out and sowing anyway. Seeds may have lost most of their viability if they are old or not stored correctly, but you may get some coming up anyway!
Scrape seeds out of ripe cucumbers to save and plant

Scrape seeds out of ripe cucumbers to save and plant

Now while you’re thinking about seed scarcity, it’s the perfect time to start saving your own seeds so you will have food security for the future. This is a wake-up call to every gardener! I have been sounding this alarm for years. We simply can’t expect there will always be a constant reliable source of seeds. Sustainability and self-reliance start in our home gardens. You can get started with this series of Seed Saving articles I’ve written. Part 4 soon to be published.

Gardening Tips for March

We’re on the verge of autumn conditions setting in here in subtropical SE Queensland, Australia. I’ve been watching for signs with temperatures and humidity levels dropping and am finally confident to plant my favourite crop – peas! It’s perfect growing conditions with comfortable temps, moist soil and new moon growth phase. No excuses for not being outdoors. We all need the therapy anyway right?

Subtropical SE Queensland – What to Plant Now

If you want to make the most of this new moon cycle we’re in, start taking cuttings and propagating new plants now. They will develop roots and strike faster at this time than after full moon.

READ Gardening Tips for March 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.

Missed last month’s newsletter?

Read here. It’s packed with useful tips you can apply right now.

Ready to start sowing seeds and planting? These tutorials may help:

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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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