Sustainable Gardening Tips for January

Welcome to the January newsletter. A fresh opportunity to plan your gardening projects and grow your knowledge. What seeds of change will you sow, grow and nourish this year? Without intention, goals and action, nothing changes! I have spent time reflecting on what I achieved last year after moving to a new property and starting a garden from scratch. I put in the thought, time and effort and it has paid off. We eat out of our garden daily with significantly less reliance on outside sources. Now is a great time to think about your goals and plan this year’s garden. I encourage you to start small if you’re a beginner gardener to build your confidence and save money. If you already have a garden, perhaps set a goal to expand it with new plants or improve your harvests.

Container gardens with salad greens and herbs are easy, portable and affordable

Container gardens with salad greens and herbs are easy, portable and budget-friendly


Sustainable Gardening Tips for January

There is so much instability in the world. Food producers are closing due to labour shortages and food facility sabotage. You’re likely aware of accelerating inflation and food prices; fertiliser shortages; supply problems due to transport system disruptions; biosecurity threats; unnatural weather and climate impacts of floods, storms and droughts on crops and farms. Many factors are increasing the likelihood of global famines in the near future. Some countries may experience food riots and rationing. NOW is the time to be growing an edible garden with urgency. Find joy in taking empowering actions. Be prepared, upskill and network within your community with like-minded souls.

Time to focus on sustainability! It makes sense to consider how you will sustain your health, food supply, nutrition, and ability to maintain your garden long-term. A few tips:

Relying on supermarkets and long-distance food delivery systems won’t be sustainable when prices are too high, supplies are short or unavailable. When health is compromised, energy levels are low. It’s all in the ‘too-hard basket’ to feel like gardening or growing food. It’s wise to have a plan to hedge against threats like ill health and the unavailability of seeds or garden materials. Remember in 2020 how there was a run on seeds and they sold out?

Do you feel confident your garden can meet your needs with herbal and natural remedies and survival food and medicinal plants? It’s a thought worth pondering. Self-reliance is empowering. Self-sufficiency gives you a level of control over your life, food, emotional wellbeing and ability to thrive rather than just survive. I never underestimate how vital nutritious food is to sustain health. It’s wise to keep in mind Hippocrates’ words: “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.”

Tips for Sustainable Gardening from my Garden

The Micro Gardener's kitchen garden and harvests

One of my raised beds with vegetables, herbs and edible flowers and some of my harvests this week. 4kg of cherry tomatoes and 18 pumpkins!

I’m designing my kitchen garden for optimum production with minimal inputs of time, water and energy. I am intentionally planting low-maintenance species that provide multi-functional benefits. If you choose plants wisely, they can play many useful roles. My biodiverse garden includes edibles and flowers for food, colour and beneficial insects; compact early maturing species that provide quick harvests in tight spaces; herbs for flavour and medicine; and companion plants that minimise pests and diseases or create useful microclimates. Even after a short time, I am seeing the benefits of implementing these design features in my garden. Consistently abundant harvests, vibrant resilient plants, a balanced ecosystem and living nutrient-rich soil. Reach out if you need personalised advice or help.

Getting the principles right and growing strong healthy plants is like giving your children that vital support before you send them off to school. You give them a good grounding so they will survive on their own for periods of time without you! That’s what designing a sustainable garden is all about. Providing the foundations for resilient plants. It’s incredibly satisfying.

Encourage Fast Plant Growth by Getting your Timing Right

I grow plants such as Queensland Arrowroot (Canna edulis) and Comfrey (Symphytum spp.) as ‘chop and drop’ mulch and compost ingredients. They help build bulk organic matter in the soil quickly and add vital nutrients. In this video, I show you how pruning your plants back and taking cuttings at the right time of the monthly moon cycle can make a massive difference to your results. Timing is everything in gardening! You might be surprised at just how fast plants grow when sap flow is running high. I hope you enjoy it. Plus you get a peek into my compact home pharmacy garden next to the house for quick remedies.

During the new moon to full moon phase, it’s an ideal time to sow and transplant all above-ground plants. The moon influences the movement of all water on earth. Not just the tides, but also the water table, soil moisture and plant sap. Seasonal leafy greens, fruiting crops, shrubs, herbs and trees are best planted at this time. I take advantage of this cycle each month to maximise new growth, encourage flowering and fruiting, germinate seeds and propagate from cuttings. With more nutrients available in the plant sap, they ‘strike’ much faster.

If you are still taking potluck and sowing at any time, your results will likely vary! Some plants might thrive while others fail, bolt to seed, wither or seeds never germinate. Adjusting the timing can make the difference between a productive garden and a frustrating one. It may help to learn more about the benefits of moon gardening. You’ll wish you’d done it sooner!

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10 Smart Tips to Garden on a Budget

With weather challenges, food security concerns and shortages plus escalating prices for fresh produce and living costs, it makes sense to grow your own groceries and garden on a budget. Even just a few basic homegrown vegetables and herbs can make a positive impact on your budget and more importantly, your health.

10 Smart Tips to Garden on a Budget - money saving ideas to grow food

These tips will help you:

  • Save money.
  • Live more sustainably.
  • Eat healthier.
  • Be more self-reliant.
  • Improve your food security.

So let’s dig in!

How to Garden on a Budget

1. Sow Seeds vs Seedlings

Seeds save you money, whereas seedlings save you time. You just need to be organised to plan ahead. That’s because seeds take time to germinate and grow big enough to transplant. However, you can grow way more plants from one packet of seeds than a punnet of seedlings!

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November 2016 Newsletter

Organic Gardening Tips for an Abundant Harvest

Hi and welcome to the November 2016 Newsletter. I’m sharing a bucket load of tips and inspiration with you this month including:

The Micro Gardener November 2016 Newsletter

  • Broccoli – Health Benefits + Best Ways to Eat
  • 6 Recycling Ideas for your Garden
  • Shop Specials – SAVE 15% (See COUPON offer)
  • 12 Tips + Uses for Mint – in your Garden & Kitchen
  • Peek over the Fence … into Jennifer’s Garden (inspiring photos!)
  • Growing Edible Plants in the Shade
  • Healthy Soil = Healthy Plants
  • Blog articles
  • Follow The Micro Gardener on Instagram

So tuck in! If you missed the tips in my last newsletter, CLICK HERE.

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9 Foods You Can Regrow from Kitchen Scraps

Are you growing an edible garden? One easy way to save money is to grow some of your plants for free. How? From leftover food scraps that are often thrown away!

9 Foods You Can Regrow From Kitchen Scraps | The Micro Gardener

9 Foods You Can Regrow From Kitchen Scraps

You may already be composting your kitchen ‘waste’. That’s a great way to build healthy soil. However, it may save you money to be selective before throwing everything into your compost system. There are many plant parts that can help you propagate new plants. For minimal effort and no cost.

Why Should You Only Regrow Organic Food?

  • First, a word of warning! For health reasons, I suggest you select organic vegetables, fruit and herbs. Too expensive? So is the cost of poor health! I think safe food is one of the best investments we can make.
  • Sadly, non-organic produce is grown using chemicals. Not just one spray either. It’s commonly a cocktail of herbicides, fungicides, pesticides and other -icides. These are applied during the growth cycle and even after harvesting. These are often systemic chemicals. That means you can’t wash them off the skin.
  • The chemicals are absorbed internally into the plant tissues through soil and water. Root crops like potatoes are especially vulnerable. Other crops are genetically modified or imported and radiated.

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20 Reasons Why You Should Mulch Your Garden

Are you sick of weeding or watering your garden all the time? Losing plants to hot summers and freezing winters? There may be a simple solution to minimize the impact of these challenges – Mulch!

 

20 Reasons why you should mulch your garden

20 Reasons Why You Should Mulch Your Garden

What is Mulch?

Mulch is a material that is spread around a plant or over the soil surface as a protective layer. If you think of soil as a ‘cake,’ the mulch is simply the ‘icing’ or ‘topping’. It provides a huge range of benefits for you and your garden. Mulch comes from a wide variety of organic or inorganic materials. Mulch ranges in cost from free to expensive.

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DIY Upcycled Broken Pot Ideas

What do you do with a Broken Pot?

I don’t know how these accidents happen, but I’m left to pick up the pieces (literally). I’m ‘shattered’ by the number of broken pots around this place! I hope my dilemma and discoveries will help inspire what you too can do with broken pots.

DIY Upcycled Broken Pot Ideas. Image top right: http://flic.kr/p/H5SNr | The Micro Gardener

To put you in the picture, there have been multiple casualties here lately. I’m not talking about my bruised hubby falling off the ladder – his ego not his body! … No, these accidents have happened to my precious pot collections.

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20 Creative DIY Plant Labels & Markers

Looking for some inspiration for DIY plant labels? Plant markers are quick and easy to make. Try repurposing everyday items like pebbles, bamboo skewers, corks, containers, shells, cans and even broken terracotta pots. There are loads of creative ideas and I’ve rounded up 20 low cost and decorative options to inspire you to make your own DIY plant labels.

 

20 Creative DIY ideas for DIY plant labels and markers | The Micro Gardener

I use labels regularly even though I can identify most plants in my patch.

 

My husband, however … let’s just say (kindly) that he gets somewhat ‘confused’ when so many plants look similar in the garden!

Basil & rosemary | The Micro Gardener

This must be the explanation for why he brings in rosemary when I ask for basil (are these remotely similar??)

 

Plant labels are a must if you:

  • are growing food (and are reliant on family members to pick your produce)!
  • have UFOs (Unidentified Food Objects) in your garden.
  • are learning to identify plants or save seeds.
  • share an allotment.
  • grow perennial root crops like ginger, turmeric or yakon and don’t want to accidentally dig them up.
  • want to avoid losing your bulbs every year!

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Fast Food! DIY Instant Veggie Garden: Part 2

After moving house sixteen times, I’ve learned to adapt my gardens to all sorts of spaces – large and small. This is a handy list of plants I’ve found to grow well in containers plus the depth of soil they need.

Some of my edible container gardens

Some of my edible container gardens

 

If you have difficult soil like sand, clay or rocks; limited space or funds, then I suggest you try growing at least some of your food in containers. Pots offer loads of benefits.

 

“Growing your own veggies is the first step to self-sufficiency.” – Clive Blazey, The Diggers Club

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Fast Food! DIY Instant Veggie Garden: Part 1

Do you want to make a quick mini garden? You can grow healthy ‘fast food’ like salad veggies and herbs in a simple box. Best of all, you can make it in about 15 minutes. The bonus is you’ll be eating the rewards in just a few weeks for only a minimal investment of time AND money. Let’s get started!

A wide variety of seasonal herbs, veggies and flowers can be grown in micro gardens and can reap you a rich bounty of food for minimum effort.

A wide variety of seasonal herbs, veggies and flowers can be grown in micro gardens and can reap you a rich bounty of food for minimum effort.

 

This is a system I’ve used for years with great success and it’s so easy. Even if you’re a beginner gardener or on a budget and need a thrifty solution, this is it! An easy container garden with just a few ingredients to get started. (more…)

Easy DIY Potting Mix Recipe

Do you want to learn how to make potting mix at home? Want a quality potting mix recipe? Look no further! My early experiences with bagged potting mixes were not happy ones. With a sea of choices, clueless salespeople and confusing labels, I made more than one bad choice. Maybe you have too!

Easy DIY Potting Mix Recipe - learn how to make your own moisture holding, nutrient rich potting mix at home in simple steps.

Easy DIY Potting Mix Recipe – learn how to make your own moisture holding, nutrient rich potting mix at home in simple steps.

I fried my seedlings in what I thought from the label was ‘potting mix with fertiliser’ but was actually almost 100% fertiliser. I starved my plants with the next bag that didn’t have any food in it at all. Then another bag was virtually dead dirt that wouldn’t grow anything!

I got so seriously cheesed off wasting time and money with ‘dried arrangements‘ as a result. So I decided to make my own mix. It had to be better than going through all that pain!

Now, I try to be self-reliant and budget conscious where possible, by making my own supplies. If you don’t already, give home made potting mix a go. It’s easy, saves you money and a whole lot of headaches!

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