Organic Gardening Tips for an Abundant Harvest
Welcome to the March Newsletter. I’m sorry it’s a little late due to my work commitments, but I’ve put together some helpful tips to get you growing and inspired.
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!
How to Grow More Basil Leaves
In this quick 2 minute video clip, I share tips on how to grow more leaves on your basil plants. I show you an easy technique to stimulate new growth so you get an abundant harvest of this delicious herb.
Like this video? Let me know in the comments if you found this helpful.
Easy Guide to Growing Basil
Basil is one of the most popular and easy herbs to grow. If you love using Basil in the kitchen, then you’ll enjoy this article. I share how to grow and use basil; which varieties to choose; basil’s many health benefits; propagation, storage and harvesting tips; plus a delicious recipe for making Basil Pesto.
CLICK HERE for my Easy Guide to Growing Basil. You’ll discover there’s a lot more ways to use this humble herb than just partnering it with tomatoes!
New Season Garden Planting Tips
In my latest blog article, I take you on a virtual tour of one of my client’s gardens. We take a look at some easy ways to prepare your garden for planting and how to build healthy soil. I know you’ll be inspired! CLICK HERE to read now.
Natural Remedies for Bites and Stings
As a gardener spending time outdoors, like me, you probably have your fair share of bites and stings from insects during the year. I use a few plant leaves and essential oils to prevent being bitten in the first place, by rubbing them over my skin. Natural essential oils have chemical compounds that release a strong scent. This can help repel biting and stinging insects, without the need to have to use horrible toxic chemical sprays on your skin.
Preventing Bites and Stings
I use lemon myrtle, citronella and peppermint essential oils or any combination diluted on the skin as natural repellents. I bruise and crush fresh lemon myrtle or lemon balm leaves to release the (citral) essential oils and rub on my hands, ankles and arms. The lemony scent is relaxing and refreshing with the bonus of helping repel insects.
Another favourite is Citronella Geranium (Scented Geranium Citronella), an attractive hardy perennial I grow near our outdoor table. Just break off the leaves and rub the oils on your skin. I’ve found this very effective against mosquitoes. Try scattering some leaves on your outdoor table for guests to use. Much safer than sprays!
Natural Remedy to Soothe and Heal
If I do get a bite or skin condition that needs help, I have my favourite ‘go to’ remedy I use from my garden to soothe, reduce inflammation and pain.
Aloe Vera (Aloe vera barbadensis)
Also known as ‘Living First-Aid Plant’, ‘Medicine Plant’, ‘Burn Plant’, ‘Wand of Heaven’ and ‘Divine Healer,’ this humble plant lives up to its name.
Aloe vera can be grown indoors in pot in a warm spot with good light or outside anywhere in full sun. It’s tough and drought hardy, demanding little attention but giving you so much value. You just need one plant as the mother produces ‘pups’ (how cute!) and you can replant these babies around your garden or in more pots. I’ve used aloe vera to heal every skin condition from bites and stings to burns, sunburn, rashes, chicken pox sores, and grazes.
How to use aloe vera leaf: Just cut a leaf from the base of the mother plant with a knife. Wash the sap that ‘bleeds’ from the plant cut in water, as it can be an irritant if you’re particularly sensitive. Use the knife to trim down the sides to remove the spiky leaf edges and slide the blade under the skin (like you’re filleting a fish)!
I cut off a piece about 2-5cm (1-2 in) long and spread the gel over the affected skin straight from the leaf. You can also use a spoon to scoop it out and keep in a container in the fridge or ice cubes. You can also keep a leaf in the freezer during summer for quick pain and sting relief.
The gel has an antibacterial action and this helps stop inflammation and redness, and I’ve noticed healing is quicker. Research studies have found that aloe vera can penetrate from the skin surface down seven layers deep into the tissues. Even when I’ve had deep cuts (that should have had stitches!) and bad burns, I’ve found this gel relieves the pain so quickly and heals with minimum or no scarring. What a miracle healer this plant is.
I’m so grateful for this plant and have LOTS of it growing as we also use it as a daily moisturiser, after shave balm and did I mention its anti-aging properties ladies? What are you waiting for?
I’ve had a very busy March with 5 workshops and April will be no different! If you’d like to join me at an upcoming event, check out the details on my Events page. New workshops and talks are being added regularly, so bookmark the page.
“There will come a time when only those who know how to plant will be eating.” – Chief Oren Lyons
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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.
I look forward to sharing more ways to grow good health soon.
Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener
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Hello can I grow aloa Vera in my garden in the South of England.Thanks for the lemon balm tip, I chop it up and add it to my salads.
Yes you CAN grow Aloe Vera in the UK. How cold your climate gets there will depend on whether you grow it for part of the year indoors or 100% outdoors. Aloe vera is a cactus so it’s essential your plant gets a lot of light (either full sun or indirect light indoors). Insufficient light will stunt growth. In freezing temperatures/snow, aloe will likely freeze in the winter if outside. I suggest you choose a suitable pot you can easily bring indoors during freezes. Or you can leave your aloe vera in a spot where you can cover it. If you do need to take your aloe vera indoors for at least part of the year, choose a room which gets good natural light and is as warm as possible. I’d also suggest a dark coloured pot as this helps hold heat. A thick layer of mulch as a blanket will also insulate the soil temp. Hope this helps! Cheers Anne
Thank you for all of your timely advice.
Happy gardening to you,
My pleasure Irene. Glad you found the tips helpful. Cheers Anne