Dead Seedlings and Seed Germination Problems

Have you ever experienced sickly, wilted or dying seedlings? Seed germination problems? It’s frustrating and disheartening when plant babies die. Maybe you blamed the seed company or yourself and felt helpless! However, the culprit could be Damping Off disease caused by soil pathogens that destroy young seedlings or seeds before germination. In my new article What is Damping Off and How to Prevent It, I introduce you to the little rotters! You’ll discover the symptoms to look for and easy preventative strategies to avoid this common problem. I hope you find it an enlightening read.


What is Damping Off and How to Prevent It - Symtoms, Causes & Treatment

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Growing a Garden for Health and Wellbeing

Many are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety, especially related to health problems. The good news is that gardening provides us with a wealth of health and wellbeing benefits.

I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in tune once more. – John Burroughs, American naturalist

Happy healthy senior couple harvesting vegetables in their garden.

Do you want to improve your health and wellbeing? If so, I invite you to read my recent article in Garden Culture Magazine. I share the physical, emotional and mental health benefits of gardening as well as specific medicinal plants you can use for simple remedies. Read online from p56-63.

Here’s an interesting finding mentioned in the article. “Swedish research studies (Stigsdotter and Grahn, 2004; Stigsdotter, 2005) found that people who had access to a garden had significantly fewer stress occasions per year. They found those living in apartments without a balcony or outdoor area had more stress annually than those with a patio or small garden. Those who had the least stress were people with a large leafy garden, and the more frequently people spent time there, the less stress they suffered.”

‘Growing a Garden for Health and Wellbeing’ p56-63, Garden Culture Magazine

‘Growing a Garden for Health and Wellbeing’ p56-63, Garden Culture Magazine

Plants Help relieve Stress and Anxiety

Have you ever noticed that after spending time outdoors in nature and especially in your garden, you feel more relaxed and peaceful? Being surrounded by green (in itself a colour promoting calmness); inhaling fresh air and feeling the warmth of Vitamin D-rich sunshine on the skin, and listening to the sounds of nature like birds and bees, all contribute to a sense of relaxation.

Just being in the garden surrounded by plants, or cultivating, propagating, tending and watching plants grow is immensely satisfying and rewarding. Anticipation and hope for the outcome of our efforts also provide an incentive to watch progress daily. A deep connectedness with nature, especially the colourful foods we grow and eat, also promotes wellness and joy as we plate up the flavoursome ingredients.

Growing a garden has many benefits for health and wellbeing

Growing a food garden has many benefits for health and wellbeing

There’s incredible pleasure in looking at the beauty of flowers, smelling their fragrant perfumes or popping cut blooms in a vase. I always find flowers lift the spirit and make people smile. Flowers are unaware their colourful beauty holds so much power to make people feel good. Sow flowers! You’ll be glad you did. Even a pot of annual blooms will do wonders for the soul.

My other favourite plants in the garden (although I love them all!) are herbs. I love their powerful scents, healing medicinal properties, delicious flavours and volatile oils released when brushing past their leaves. Every culinary herb I grow has health benefits. Even just a few leaves snipped into salads, sprinkled on cooked meals for digestive enzymes, sipped as a tea, or nibbled on a garden wander can be beneficial. These are some of my favourite relaxing herbs I use in stressful times. I hold herbs in great reverence. An easy way to start is to grow a Herb Tea Garden.

Gardening Tips for June

Here on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland Australia, May marks the end of our short Autumn and we transition into winter early June. It’s one of the most pleasant times of year to be outdoors in the garden. Few pests are in residence as they tend to overwinter, making for an easy time to enjoy abundant harvests without the need for shade and crop covers. Download what to do in your garden in subtropical Queensland, Australia for local gardeners in my climate.

Anne's 4m2 plot raised garden bed with recycled gumboots, flowers and veggies

My raised garden bed with upcycled gumboots, edible flowers, herbs and veggies. Climbing beans grow up on the left side and peas on the right with dwarf beans at the base.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been planting out a 4 m2 (13 ft2) raised garden bed. I’ve designed it carefully to optimise space and production. The yellow cosmos flowers are a bee magnet helping improve pollination. I’m using vertical structures to support cherry tomatoes, climbing beans and peas. This design improves air circulation and increases available growing space in a small area. These beans are growing in the airspace gap between two trellises. I wove string between them and this makes it incredibly easy to access for harvesting.

Purple King climbing beans heavy crop on trellis maximise vertical space

Purple King climbing beans are producing a heavy crop on this trellis that maximises vertical space

Leafy greens like lettuces, spinach, chard and Asian greens are densely planted. As I pick leaves individually from the outside in, they never grow to full size so I can push the spacing boundaries!

My potager kitchen garden Salad Bar with leafy greens and edible blooms

My potager kitchen garden Salad Bar with leafy greens and edible blooms in 1m2 (3.2 ft2)

Locally, my advice at this time of year is: Make the most of the cool weather and sow in every space you can! Grow vegetables like zucchinis, pumpkin, cauliflower, leeks, carrots, celery and sweet potato to make nourishing soups. While leafy greens are in abundance, add stir-fries to the menu. Grow microgreens if you have really limited space. Varieties like broccoli and cabbage provide quick nutrients rather than taking up a lot of room and time to grow to maturity.  Keep building healthy soil by adding compost and top up with mulch. Annual flowers attract pollinators for winter crops like peas, beans, strawberries and tomatoes. Sow in harmony with the moon phases for healthy plants and quick germination.

Subtropical SE Queensland – What to Plant Now

READ Gardening Tips for June 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

Basket of home grown food in rainbow colours

Not sure what to grow in your climate?

See What to Plant and When for resources to help you, wherever you live.

Northern Hemisphere Gardens

In the northern hemisphere, sow seeds for warm-season crops or take a shortcut by planting seedlings. Prepare your potting mix and garden for planting and remember to feed your plants during the growth cycle with compost and liquid fertiliser.

Helpful Articles

Dig into my free online Article Library for more topics


Want more inspiring ideas?

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

Happy gardening!


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