June 2017 Newsletter

Organic Gardening Tips for an Abundant Harvest

June 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to the June Newsletter. Lots of quick tips to get you thinking about the food you eat and grow.

This month, I’m sharing another quick ‘How To’ video in my Sow Simple series of free tutorials to help you grow an abundant, healthy garden in just minutes. Dig in and help others by sharing these tips!


Tips on Harvesting Pumpkin

In this quick video lesson, I share simple ideas to help you with ways to harvest pumpkin to avoid waste and cure it to improve storage life.


7 Sustainable Garden Design Tips

With fresh food prices escalating and more health issues being linked to foods grown with chemicals, it makes sense to grow at least some of your own. I think of my garden as a home pharmacy and backyard supermarket rolled into one! I just step outdoors to self serve fresh ingredients for an ailment, to add flavour or a whole basket to make a meal.

If you want to create a garden that not only sustains you physically, but also matches your ability to maintain it, then it takes careful thought and good design. By applying some simple principles you can save money and resources, while creating a low impact garden.

7 Sustainable Garden Design Tips

7 Sustainable Garden Design Tips

In my latest article, I share seven design tips to help you grow a sustainable edible garden. I encourage you to pick one or two tips and put those into practice. Even just one small change can make a BIG difference! CLICK HERE to read now.


Eat a Rainbow of Health Benefits

The more research studies I read, the more convinced I am of the health benefits of eating a rainbow of colours on every plate. When you eat a variety of different coloured fruit, herbs and vegetables, they provide your body with a wide range of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fibre, water and other nutrients. I’m all for eating them as whole foods, to maximise the nutritional value and health benefits.

A colourful rainbow of vegetables harvested from my garden

A colourful rainbow of vegetables harvested from my garden

Phytochemicals* are plant chemicals or compounds that give fruit and vegetables their colour, aroma and taste. *(phyto = ‘plant’ in Greek). They also help protect the human body against disease, just like they do in the plants they come from. Pretty awesome hey?

How powerful are phytochemicals (fight-o-chemicals)?

“Special plant ingredients can prevent and treat disease, and transform your health. Phytochemicals interact with your biology and act like switches on your DNA to heal the body. The nutrients and phytochemicals in food are more powerful than the medicine you’ll find in a pill bottle. Food can be the most powerful medicine available to defend against getting cancer.”

– Dr Mark Hyman, M.D., chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, and founder and medical director of the UltraWellness Center


10 Easy Ways to add Colour to your Diet

If you’re not used to adding colourful foods to your meals, here are a few suggestions to make some simple changes:

1. When writing out your shopping list or menu planning, set a goal to add specific coloured fruits or vegetables that are missing in your diet. Look up recipes to inspire you to get creative with new foods. e.g. If you eat a lot of potatoes, but few greens, pick one and try adding to a meal to expand your diet. Find one you like and make it a habit!

2. Try to make one vegetable the hero of a dish and complement the flavour with at least one other herb or vegetable. e.g. If you’re making a tomato-based sauce, add a herb or two like basil, thyme or oregano. Or add a red or brown onion to boost flavour and nutrition.

A variety of colourful heirloom tomatoes

A variety of colourful heirloom tomatoes give you lots of choices

3. If you are making a salad, then maybe lettuce is the main ingredient. If so, try to buy or grow a few different lettuce varieties with leaves of various colours e.g. light and dark green, brown or red. Not only will your salad taste better and look prettier on the plate, but you’ll be eating a wider range of beneficial nutrients to support your health.

4. If you have fussy taste buds, add vegetables you might not normally eat to a casserole, soup or baked dish. This helps you disguise the flavours but benefit from the nutrients!

5. Try roasting vegetables for extra flavour before adding to a soup. Or grate them so the taste is distributed throughout the dish.

6. If you enjoy carrots, why not try an heirloom variety that’s a different colour? e.g. purple or yellow.

Organic heirloom yellow and orange coloured carrot varieties

Organic heirloom yellow and orange coloured carrot varieties

7. Make your own food art. We ‘eat with our eyes first’ so why not create a pretty platter you find more appetizing with a rainbow of colours. Try adding more colour to your fruit salads with berries and seasonal varieties.

8. Substitute meat with fruit or vegetables in recipes, so you eat a more plant-based diet.

9. Edible flowers like organically grown nasturtiums are an easy way to add colour to sandwiches and salads.

10. Add fruit and vegetables to juices – mix them up to find your favourite flavours.

Healthy colourful fruit and vegetable juices are a great way to enjoy a variety of flavours, detox your body and boost nutrition

Healthy colourful fruit and vegetable juices are a great way to enjoy a variety of flavours, detox your body and boost nutrition

Which tip was the most helpful? Let me know in the comments.

 

“Mother Nature has the best box of crayons.”

 


How the Moon Affects Plant Growth

I’ve always been intrigued by the moon. As a little girl, I used to go fishing with my nana and we’d often go as the sun was setting, when the moon was lighting up the sky. She caught fish to feed the family and rarely came home without a good catch. Nana also had an abundant garden I spent a lot of time in. She just seemed to know how to time things to get a good result.

I didn’t understand then, but many years later I realised what she had been doing. She was timing the dates we went fishing to coincide with the moon cycle so we’d have a greater chance of them feeding and taking the bait. She also had a very small, but well designed edible garden. I was fascinated by how big and healthy the plants were. Generations past seemed to observe and tune in to nature’s cycles more than we do today. Perhaps it’s the busyness of life!

Many years later, I learned that the moon’s gravitational pull not only affects the tides, but also the moisture in the soil, water table and plant sap. The water gets pulled up or down into the plant at different times of the monthly moon cycle. ‘So what’ you say?

Well, as a gardener, I want to maximize the time, money and energy I spend on growing food. I don’t want to grow weak poor-producing plants! I want healthy strong plants that produce lots of food and don’t suffer from pests and disease. In my experience, plants sown in harmony with the moon cycles and moisture flows, consistently grow better and have higher yields. Plant growth is also affected at night around the full moon with the additional moonlight.

My productive edible garden planted with the moon cycles for optimum growth

My productive edible garden is planted with the moon cycles for optimum fast growth and vibrant health

I’ve learned that timing planting activities to coincide with the rise or fall of the moon (and soil moisture) can work in your favour. I’ve experimented many times, and am always impressed with the results. Now I follow a simple sustainable moon calendar to optimise my gardening activities each month. CLICK HERE to learn about the benefits of gardening using the monthly moon cycle.

Find out what other gardeners have experienced when timing their activities with the moon cycle.

Moon gardening tip: This is an often unknown fact. If you know when soil moisture is rising, this can help you have greater success with seed germination. If you buy or plant seed, this can save you a LOT of money over time.

If you know WHEN soil moisture is rising, this can help you have greater success with seed germination. Sow your seeds at the best time. If you buy or plant seed, this can save you a LOT of money over time.

CLICK HERE to get your own Moon Calendar Gardening Guide.


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“Gardening is medicine that does not need a prescription and has no limit on dosage.” – Unknown



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Thanks for reading! Until next time, I encourage you to embrace dirty fingernails, muddy boots and the joys of growing your own.

Anne Gibson | The Micro Gardener NewsletterI look forward to sharing more ways to grow good health soon.

Happy gardening,

Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener

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2 Comments

  1. Lynda Rushton July 4, 2017 at 9:59 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the tip about variety of colours in foods. I will definitely keep that in mind next time I go to the markets and consider what lettuce to grow. I am working to kickstart my health and I am finding lots of of small things are helping, lots of small things that don’t cost the bank to implement and yet bit by bit are both improving my health and reducing my footprint. warm regards and thank you Lynda

    • Anne Gibson July 5, 2017 at 5:43 am - Reply

      Hi Lynda
      Glad you found the tips about eating colourful foods helpful. These are just simple ideas that have helped me make better choices about my food and improved my health. Red cabbage has particularly powerful phytonutrients and is a member of the brassica family (broccoli, rocket, cauliflower, kale etc). This family is really worth being part of your diet for its anti-cancer benefits and are ideal to grow as microgreens, so you don’t need much space or time!
      Hope this helps. Cheers Anne

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