Organic Gardening Tips for an Abundant Harvest
Welcome to the November Newsletter. There are lots of quick tips to get you thinking about the food you eat and grow, to help your health and wellbeing.
This month, I’m sharing another quick ‘How To’ video in my Sow Simple series of free tutorials to help you grow and use food wisely in just minutes. Dig in and help others by sharing these tips!
How to Protect Seedlings from Pests
In this video lesson, I show you how to use an upcycled bottle to protect seedlings from pests like slugs, snails, caterpillars and grasshoppers. An easy DIY solution with instructions showing you how to make your own. I hope you enjoy it and let me know by leaving a comment!
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DIY Upcycled Plastic Bottle Cloche
Are slimy slugs, snails or greedy grasshoppers snacking on your seedlings? If so, it’s a common problem. Keeping critters away while your plants establish, is one strategy to give them a fighting chance. Tiny plants are very vulnerable to attack. So, what can you do?
A simple, cheap solution is to make a ‘cloche’ from an upcycled container. A sustainable and re-usable option. A cloche is a protective cover around your seedling to make it more difficult for pests to get access. A devious but very effective organic pest management strategy!
A couple of economical options are:
- Repurpose an old plastic pot. So many plant pots end up in landfill. One way to rescue and reuse them is to have a few on hand as cloches for when you plant out seedlings. Simply cut the bottom out. Slide the ‘bottomless’ pot over seedlings or small plants in the garden. When they reach the top and have enough leaves to fend for themselves, remove the cloche.
- Using a Stanley knife or scissors, cut the top and bottom off a plastic drink bottle. These tall skinny tubes make it difficult for butterflies and moths to lay eggs on your plant. Grasshoppers have to be contortionists and do gymnastics to get in and out! A cloche challenges slugs and snails to climb a tower for a free feed, so they will have to work that much harder.
Another benefit is a cloche still allows the plant to access sun and water for healthy growth. Give this easy, low-cost temporary pest management strategy a try!
Want more Organic Pest Management Tips? Check out:
- Imitate Nature for Higher Yields and Less Pests
- Coping with Caterpillars Part 1
- Coping with Caterpillars Part 2
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9 Reasons you should Grow Cosmos Flowers
Often gardeners with small spaces sacrifice growing flowers, without realising what an asset they are. I believe flowers are beneficial for every garden no matter how small! They help improve pollination and pest management by attracting beneficial insects, gift you free seeds, add colour and beauty, help lift the spirits + much more!
In my latest article, I share 9 benefits of growing cheerful and colourful Cosmos blooms.
Storage Tips for Root Vegetables
If you want your onions and garlic to store longer, you should store your potatoes away from these vegetables? Why? Potatoes produce ethylene, a natural plant hormone released in the form of a gas. Ethylene encourages onions and garlic to sprout more quickly so they won’t last as long.
Try storing your root vegetables in a bamboo steamer basket. It has several trays so you can keep onions in one, garlic in the next. They allow for good ventilation and keep the light out. Paper bags also work well but store potatoes in a separate sealed paper bag that prevents the ethylene from escaping.
Want More Tips on Garlic?
Why Soak Seeds before Sowing?
Seeds come in all shapes and sizes – a bit like us! Small seeds like lettuce, radish and rocket are generally quick and easy to germinate. Larger seeds however, have a tough exterior and pre-soaking in water can boost germination.
Soaking large seeds like beetroot, nasturtiums, beans, peas and corn helps to soften the outer hard protective coating. Soaking for a few hours can help encourage faster germination or sprouting.
Get your Seed Sowing Timing Right
You’re probably aware you need to sow seeds in the RIGHT SEASON so the soil temperature is ideal. Not too cold or hot right?
But did you know you can also speed up seed germination by sowing at the correct time of the MONTH? How do you know exactly WHEN that is?
The soil moisture is affected by the gravitational pull of the moon during different phases each month. As it grows brighter towards a full moon it’s ideal to sow some seed varieties and then again as the light decreases after the full moon, it’s better to sow others.
The water in the soil helps seeds swell and germinate. So if you get your timing right, you can save up to a month waiting for some seeds to sprout! That can make a big difference to how fast you get to enjoy your food on the table.
If you’ve ever blamed a seed company for poor germination, it could well have been that you just got your timing badly wrong! Oops.
By using a simple, easy-to-use Moon Calendar, you can learn to follow the best dates every month, saving you time and money GUESSING when to sow your seeds. This is the one I’ve used for 8 years. It was developed by farmers who saved their business when they started working WITH nature, instead of taking pot luck planting at any time.
Want to see more of My Garden?
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.
Missed the tips in my last newsletter?
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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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I don’t use plastic water bottles but a couple of these ideas made me want to go buy some!
I’m not encouraging anyone to BUY plastic – just re-use, rather than send to landfill! There are other ways to take this principle of a cloche with different materials you have around the kitchen (such as containers you no longer use), cylindrical terracotta pipes, op shop finds, old pots, etc. Glad you were inspired with the ideas … may have to think creatively what you can use to make your own.
Have fun! Cheers Anne