Welcome to the November newsletter.
What’s on the menu?
In this issue, I dish up tips on your favourite squash family vegetables with a practical grow guide; help you learn where to water your soil for the most benefit; share 7 ways to prevent plant diseases; and you’ll discover some disturbing and fascinating facts about lemons. I also share some inspiring before and after photos from a couple of my local clients’ gardens. Dig in!
Meet the Squash Family or Curcubits
In my latest article, you’ll learn how to grow zucchini, squash, marrows, pumpkins, cucumbers, melons and gourds. All members of the Curcubitaceae, Squash or Gourd family. I share tips on where and when to plant, seeds, pollination and common causes for fruit drop, varieties for small spaces, harvesting and more. READ ARTICLE NOW
Water Soil Where it Matters Most
When it comes to growing food, you want the best harvest possible from your fruit, vegetables and herb plants. This is very much dependent on your edibles accessing nutrients and moisture. That’s because they can only take up soluble (or liquid) food from the soil.
- So, when you water, be consistent!
- Keep the soil moist – not too wet or dry. Otherwise, your plants can’t access the nutrients.
- Avoid long periods of under or overwatering.
- Waterlogged soil removes air pockets, kills microbes and dry soil locks up the nutrients.
The upper 30-45cm (12-18in) of soil is the zone where a plant absorbs over 50% of all the moisture that relates to producing growth and harvests. So, focus your watering on this top soil layer and you should see much better results.
7 Tips for Preventing Plant Diseases
- Be an Observant Gardener – Check your plants daily or every few days. If you notice any changes, it’s easier to treat or remove before a disease takes hold. Have strategies you can apply when needed.
- Practice Crop Rotation – Rotate where you grow plants from different families, so your soil doesn’t harbor disease-causing organisms.
- Good Hygiene – Clean your tools and pots with hot soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly. This helps prevent the spread of fungal spores, pests, pathogens or parasites that may cross-contaminate other plants or containers. A simple, but often overlooked practice!
- Healthy Soil – Make your own potting mix or add compost, organic matter, minerals and mulch to your garden soil to improve it. Mineralised, moist, mulched soil creates an environment for beneficial microbes that help feed and protect your plants. Healthy soil grows strong disease-resistant plants.
- Grow Local – Where possible, buy seeds or plants that are disease-resistant and adapted to growing in your local climate conditions. Be selective and choose heirloom and organic varieties from reputable suppliers.
- Air Circulation – Give your plants the space they need with good air flow. Inadequate spacing or cramped plants are more likely to suffer from diseases when there’s too much humidity or they are overwatered. Diseases can also spread more quickly to neighbouring plants.
- Be a Good ‘Plant Parent’ – Just like raising children requires love and care, plants also need your attention! Make sure they have the nutrients and water they need for good health, so they don’t starve or become stressed. Provide a ‘bed’ of soil rich in organic matter, sunlight, protection, and prompt help when ‘ailments’ occur.
Lemons: Did you know?
- After harvesting, conventional or chemically grown lemons are routinely dipped into fungicide. This is aimed at minimising the likelihood of fungal diseases like blue mould during storage and when on display at retailers.
- Lemons may also have a wax coating to protect them from bruising during transport. The wax may be petroleum-based, plant, animal or insect-based. Mmm…. food for thought isn’t it? If that’s leaving a sour taste in your mouth, make sure to wash store-bought or non-organic lemons before use. Another great reason to grow your own lemon, even in a pot!
- Lemons are fully ripe when yellow. If they still have a tinge of green, they may taste more acidic.
- Homegrown lemons last longer if you leave a short stalk on, when removing from the tree.
- Rub lemon juice onto the cut surface of apples, avocados and other fruit that oxidise quickly, to prevent them turning brown.
- Rubbing lemon juice on your hands helps them smell fresh, especially after handling liquid seaweed, fish emulsion or manures in the garden!
- It typically takes 7-9 months for lemons to ripen and be ready to harvest.
- Make sour cream by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 2 cups of plain yoghurt.
- Freeze extra juice in ice cubes to use later. You can also grate the zest (rind) and freeze.
- Freezing lemon juice preserves the phytonutrients and flavour.
- To preserve fresh lemons, store in your fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Lemons are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants which help support a healthy immune system.
Gardening Guide Gifts
If you’re already using one or more of the gardening guides I offer online, you know they’re great value, easy to use, durable and attractive. They also make perfect gifts for gardening friends and family. Please allow up to 10 business days for shipping to the USA from Australia. I can send up to 4 guides/envelope for the same postage to most locations.
- How to Make Potting Mix Guide (Laminated for easy use with a whiteboard marker)
- Subtropical Planting Guide (Laminated for easy use with a whiteboard marker)
- Moon Calendar (Perpetual – buy once/use forever and works anywhere in the world)
- Microgreens Growing Guide Chart
- Guide to Using Kitchen Herbs for Health eBook
- Garden Journal Planner & Workbook (Perfect for planning your 2019 garden)
- eBooks, Special Offers and Gift Vouchers in my Shop.
When you make a purchase, you are making a difference by helping support my education work to teach people how to grow healthy food. eBooks are available for immediate download so keep in mind for last minute gifts!
Kitchen Gardens Before & After Pics
I love helping my clients transform their spaces into beautiful and edible productive gardens. Everyone is different and there are always challenges, because no one has perfect circumstances! With good design advice, careful planning, soil preparation and thoughtful plant choices, you can grow an abundant garden that you love. Incorporating colourful flowers, perennials and edibles together enables you to create pretty and productive spaces. Enjoy the inspiration!
This is Shannon’s front yard. A tiny space adjacent to the street. This is the first raised bed that was filled with soil, nutrients and mulch and planted out. 5 weeks later she was harvesting and the after photo is 10 weeks after planting. The bed contains fruit trees, a wide variety of annual and perennial vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. So much food has been growing that her neighbours come in regularly to share in the harvest.
Paula had a very limited area for her garden. She was building a clinic in her backyard and wanted an edible and attractive space for her own enjoyment and for her clients to harvest from. Four months after building the garden bed and planting, it was packed with delicious ingredients for green smoothies, vegetables, passionfruit and her fruit trees were much healthier.
Need some help with your garden?
Learn how I can help you with a personalised garden consultation on site. Read how some of my clients have benefited to save time and money and avoid frustrating mistakes. I also offer Gift Vouchers and it would be a pleasure to co-create your garden with you.
- Neonicotinoid insecticide causes bees to abandon their young at night study
- Learn how to avoid harmful neonicotinoids in your garden.
- Strawberries are the most pesticide-ridden crop you can eat.
Dig into my free online Article Library for more topics
Click here to VIEW ALL ARTICLES
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.
I look forward to sharing more news and ways to grow good health soon.
Like this article?
Please share and encourage your friends to join my free Newsletter for exclusive insights, tips and all future articles.
© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2018. https://themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.
Some links within this newsletter are affiliate links. I only recommend products or services I use personally or believe will add value to my readers. If you purchase a product via an affiliate link, I will earn a small commission (and I mean REALLY small)! There is no additional cost to you. It’s a way you can support my site, so it’s a win-win for both of us. You directly support my ability to continue bringing you original, inspiring and educational content to help benefit your health. Thanks! Please read my Disclosure Statement for more details.