Sustainable Gardening Tips for November

The November newsletter is packed with my best tips on container gardening and how to grow food in a dry climate. Plus a drought tolerant plant list, how much and often to water your plants, what to plant now and a bonus laminated garden guide gift with purchase offer. Dig in!

Sustainable Gardening Tips November from The Micro Gardener

This month’s plant profile is the spice of life, Chilli Peppers. What a powerhouse! I dig deep into how to grow, store and use chillies for health.

Sustainable Gardening Tips for November

In my local climate in SE Queensland, Australia, weather conditions have been harsh for gardeners. This is the toughest season I think I’ve ever experienced. It’s been so dry that even the natives, trees, and hardy perennials are showing signs of drought-stress. Months on end without our normal seasonal rains. These are the rains that replenish the water table and deeply rooted trees. With heatwave after heatwave and no rain respite, it’s extremely challenging trying to grow food.

When you are on town water, that’s not a problem. However, for many gardeners like myself on tank water, every drop is precious. I’m invested in my garden. Each plant is like a member of my family! I’ve nurtured hundreds since ‘birth’ and to watch some of them struggle is emotionally hard.

Most of the vegetables and fruits we grow need consistent moisture. Some plants like our leafy greens and fruiting crops are super thirsty. It’s no surprise that when it’s dry, hot and windy, that plants suffer. There’s no moisture reservoir from recent rains to draw on in the soil. Thankfully, the effort I’ve put into building humus in the soil and thick layers of mulch has helped most plants survive. I find it interesting to watch which plants cruise through hard times like this versus those ‘princesses’ that have a hissy fit as soon as the weather is not to their liking!

List of 75+ Drought Tolerant Foods for Dry Climates

I’d love to help you if you’re trying to grow edibles in dry times. In my latest article, I share an extensive list of vegetables, herbs, fruit, nuts and herbs that are resilient and hardy. I explain how much and how often to water different types of plants. Also, how to select drought resistant species and how plants adapt with some of their incredible survival strategies. I hope you find the practical tips and list helpful. Here’s a peek at just a few on the list! You’ll find the rest here.

Sustainable Gardening Tips November: 20 Drought Tolerant Vegetables for Dry Climates

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring


How to Grow Food in a Dry Climate

  • Strategies for Gardening with Climate Change – Learn how to adapt to changing climate conditions – rain, dry spells and cloudy skies that reduce photosynthesis. I share solutions to help you ‘design out’ problems . Plus crop protection strategies to help you achieve a harvest even in challenging weather conditions.
  • Garden Strategies to Cope with Drought – Part 1 and Part 2 – Practical tips to help you rethink your water management strategies. Design and utilise microclimates; choose plants wisely; and downscale your garden to pots.

Container Gardening Tips

There are so many benefits to growing your food in pots, planters or even raised beds . These are really large containers!

In dry times, one of the key benefits to crops in pots is that plants don’t compete for water with trees and shrubs. Positioning them under trees and taller species can provide welcome shade relief during the heat. Trees also offer canopy protection during storms and a microclimate that mitigates wind damage.

Download these helpful printable PDF tips on container gardening:

Dig into these articles to learn more:



What to Plant Now in Subtropical SE QLD

November has been much drier than average. Heatwaves, storms and unpredictable weather are typical for this time of year! I try to be prepared for just about anything as the growing gets tough. Download your November Gardening Tips PDF for planting ideas, tasks to do in the garden plus issues to watch out for. These articles may also help your garden survive a tough few months ahead.

If you can, try to time planting in harmony with the moon phases. Working with Nature’s timing can improve seed germination, help cuttings take root when propagating plants, and encourage healthy plant growth and establishment. The new moon phase each month is the best time to optimise the quick uptake of liquid nutrients. This helps plants access nutrition and get off to a good start. Working with moon phases and a Moon Calendar has distinct benefits. It helps me stay organised! I plan forward for the best times to take specific actions in my garden and reap the rewards. The natural cycles of energy and water that ebb and flow each month are there for us to tap into. Learn more here.

The Vegetables Growing Guide is a reference chart to help you grow 68 of the most popular vegetables in Australia and New Zealand climate zones. It includes information on companion planting, making compost, soil and moon planting. 

What to Plant Now in Other Locations

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Gardening Tips for January

The start of 2020 has been challenging for many gardeners, especially here in Australia with drought and fires affecting life, health and the environment on so many levels. My heart goes out to all those personally or indirectly affected. We’re starting to see how quickly such events impact our food supply and the rising cost of vegetables.

Gardening Tips for January | The Micro Gardener Newsletter

On a positive note, the start of a new year is the ideal time to reflect backplan ahead and look forward to what you want to grow and learn. So this month I share resources to help you with those goals, gardening tips for January and what to do in your garden in subtropical Queensland; ways gardening can improve your health; sensational tips on strawberries; bushfire garden recovery and food security threats. Lots to dig into in this month’s newsletter!

3 Tips for Planning this Year’s Garden

In this short article, I share how I plan my garden at the start of each year + there’s a free journal download for you! I discuss ways to learn valuable lessons; reflect on past successes and disappointments for key insights and dig for details when planning this year’s garden. READ NOW.

3 Tips for Planning this Year's Garden: Get some inspiration for ideas

Photos of projects and plants can help spark ideas for this year’s garden plans


“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” ― Benjamin Franklin


How to Set Goals for this Year

If you’re going to invest time, money and effort into your garden – even a few pots – isn’t it worth having a plan? At least an idea of what you’d like to achieve in a broad sense. Maybe you want to grow food to support your health and wellbeing, overcome a problem, learn how to grow and use herbs, design a space to expand what you can grow or try container gardening. Or maybe you haven’t given this year’s garden any thought yet!

Wherever you’re at, this article is packed with easy-to-achieve goals and resources to get you going.

17 Garden Goals for Your Health and Wellbeing

17 Garden Goals for Your Health and Wellbeing


When you make a purchase, you are making a difference by helping support my education work to teach people how to grow healthy food.


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18 Top Tips for Gardening in Dry Climate Conditions

Gardening in dry climate conditions can be really stressful but there are loads of simple strategies you can apply to make it easier. Many gardeners in Australia and around the world are struggling to keep gardens alive and thriving. Drought, winds, dust storms, extended heatwaves and fires have been impacting plants, people and our wildlife.

18 Top Tips for Gardening in Dry Climate Conditions | The Micro Gardener

Extreme temperatures and long periods without any significant rain in many places are some of the biggest problems. It’s no wonder many gardeners are giving up trying to grow an edible garden.

Yet a garden – no matter how small – gives us hope as well as healthy food. It feeds our mind, body and soul. A garden provides wonderful stress relief and is a welcome sanctuary to escape to. Even a single, well-cared-for plant can bring great joy and healing.

For many gardeners though, water – or lack of it – is our biggest issue. Struggling, water-stressed plants become magnets for pest insects as nature’s ‘clean up crew’ move in to feed. It’s natural to expect some casualties in hot and dry weather. Without sufficient water, crops can’t take up nutrients from the soil to grow, flower and fruit. Small container gardens also need more frequent watering.

So, what can we do to help our gardens survive and even thrive?

Gardening in Dry Climate Conditions and Hot Temperatures | The Micro Gardener

18 Top Tips for Gardening in Dry Climate Conditions

For years I’ve endured all sorts of harsh growing conditions in my gardens. I’ve spent time carefully observing, applying Permaculture design principles and journalling where my gardens have been exposed to harsh dry or hot weather. This data has been vital for decision-making. I’ve learned how to grow a kitchen garden that not only survives but thrives! This has enabled me to help my clients who suffer similar problems but in different locations to get the most out of their edible gardens.

I hope by sharing some of these strategies, you will be able to enjoy an abundant productive kitchen garden too.

1. Audit your Garden and Make Tough Choices

That’s right! If you can’t save ALL your plants, prioritise and focus on keeping the most valuable ones alive. What if conditions are really tough and you have limited water resources? Concentrate on your high-value fruit trees, perennials and essential herbs and food crops.

Turn thirsty, low-value plants into compost to feed your soil. Some plants may just have to survive without your help or be sacrificed to save others.

Collect seeds and take cuttings to pot up as a backup plan! You can always start again with these. Small plants use less water resources. Learn propagating skills to help your garden survive.

Save seeds from your garden to sow again in more favourable weather

Save seeds from your garden to sow again in more favourable weather

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Summer Heatwaves in My Garden

Weather extremes – hot or cold – make it challenging to grow food. Don’t you agree? Severe conditions with intense heat and long periods of drought are especially tough to deal with.

Summer Heatwaves in My Garden - Growing Food in Hot Dry Conditions

Normally, January and February are our ‘wet’ rainy storm and cyclone season. On average, we’d have received about 360mm (14 in) by now. How much rain have we had here in subtropical SE Queensland, Australia over this time? In my garden, just 55mm (2in) all year!

On top of these unseasonally extreme dry conditions, we’ve had soaring temperatures since December. We’ve experienced the most 30°C+ (86°F) consecutive days for years. Today, it’s 40°C (104°F). Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to a forecast cooler day – just 33°C! Not to mention drying winds. Nice!

So, as a gardener, it’s essential to be flexible and learn to adapt to changing weather conditions. I’m no exception! We have to learn to accept we get too much or not enough sun or rain sometimes, and go with the flow of life. Plants adapt and we can too.

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