October 2019 Newsletter

In this newsletter, I discuss earthworms in container gardens; risks and safety tips for using bagged soil mixes; introduce a new herb and medicinal plant guide; share tips for changing seasons and moon gardening timing. Grab a cuppa and dig in!

October 2019 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener


Earthworms in Pots

Earthworms provide incredible benefits in the garden. They help aerate the soil with their tunnels, opening soil pores and improving soil structure and drainage. This helps plant roots access oxygen and allows moisture and nutrients to penetrate. They digest organic matter and leave their castings (‘vermicast’ or poop) with soluble nutrients plants can access immediately, improving crop yields. Vermicast is humus and a pure plant food and soil conditioner. Earthworms are wonderful soil workers indeed!

If you have container gardens and add garden soil or compost to your potting mix, then you may sometimes find an earthworm or two. Whilst earthworms perform many valuable roles, they can occasionally be problematic in pots, especially small ones. If you have just one or two worms, it may take a while for their tunnels to make an impact. However, if you have a community (yes they will breed!) then the plant roots may become exposed to too much air in the potting mix.

The other thing to watch for is if you are raising seedlings in a small pot and there is little organic matter in the potting or seed raising mix, any earthworms present may resort to eating the plant roots if all the organic materials are consumed. I was doing container garden maintenance once and picked up an old pot that was very heavy. Curious, I discovered it was almost pure worm castings that were retaining moisture and the pot was filled with earthworms! They had turned all the potting mix media and mulch into vermicast.

Earthworms with their rich castings

Earthworms with their rich castings

Feeding Earthworms and Repotting Plants

If you notice fresh worm castings on top of the potting mix or mulch, or around the base of the pot, these are a clue of their presence. If you notice a potted plant declining and suspect you have earthworms in your potting mix, you have a couple of options. Keep providing plenty of alternate organic matter like mulch to the top of the pot for the worms to eat instead of your plant roots.

Alternatively, repot your plant. This is simply a matter of upturning your pot and gently setting aside your plants in a cool location. Give them a quick soak in liquid seaweed as a boost. Then look for a network of tunnels in the potting mix and worms squirming around. If you can, rescue your earthworms and add them back into your garden soil where they can continue to work for you. The worm castings are indeed beneficial, so you want to retain this valuable free plant food in your potting mix.

Get your own easy DIY Homemade Potting Mix Recipe Guide using worm castings.

Learn more about the business and biology of worms with the Worm Farming Secrets eBook.

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March 2019 Newsletter

In this newsletter, I’ve got lots of thought provoking tips and answer some interesting questions, so dig in!

March 2019 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener

I’m also grateful to Profile Magazine for sharing my story in their March issue (p30-31). It’s a privilege and joy helping others prevent illness by growing a vibrant edible garden, but more importantly growing good health. In this story, I dive into what ‘nutrient-dense food’ is and the medicinal benefits – hope you enjoy the read online.  [Flip to p30-31]

Anne's story in Profile Magazine March 2019


Can you use Garden Soil in Pots?

Pot grown plants are totally reliant on YOU during their life. Their roots are confined, so they can’t reach out like they would in a garden to find moisture, air and nutrients. The growing medium your plants depend on needs to hold adequate moisture, air pockets and a high level of nutrients to sustain healthy growth and stability.

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2019-04-01T07:55:04+10:00Categories: Newsletters|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

3 Herbs to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Do you feel stressed or anxious on a regular basis? If so, spending time in nature outdoors, especially enjoying your garden as a peaceful sanctuary is one of the best ways to centre yourself and relax. Taking time out to listen to nature sounds like birds and bees, watch plants grow and thrive, and experience the colours, aromas and beauty around you can help lessen life’s worries and put life in perspective.

3 Herbs to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

I’ve discovered many herbs can also provide relief. One of the aspects of growing herbs that I find so beneficial is not only using them for flavour, but for their medicinal benefits too.

Grow a Home Herb Pharmacy Garden

There are many herbs that are easy to grow in your own ‘home pharmacy’ garden for every day relief of common ailments including anxiety and stress.

These herbs are three of my favourites and can also be combined into a relaxing herbal tea.

1. Tulsi, Sacred or Holy Basil (Ocimum Sanctum)

In warm climates, grow Tulsi Basil as a perennial or as an annual in cold and temperate climates.

Use Tulsi or Holy Basil in a herbal tea to help ease anxiety, stress and adrenal fatigue. Brew up a few fresh basil leaves or about 1 teaspoon of dried leaves as a herb tea to aid digestion, calm nerves, reduce tension and stress. You can also add your other favourite herbs.

Tulsi, sacred holy basil herb is one of the best herbs to reduce stress

Tulsi, sacred holy basil herb is a valuable addition to your garden

Cautions: Tulsi basil is a uterine stimulant so avoid if pregnant or seek medical advice.


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March 2017 Newsletter

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.

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2017-12-03T14:51:26+10:00Categories: Newsletters|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Easy Guide to Growing Basil

How to Plant, Grow, Use and Harvest Basil

Easy Guide to Growing Basil - How to Grow Basil + Planting, Using & Harvesting Tips

Why Grow Basil?

As a gardener and cook, I couldn’t bear to have a garden without Basil. This fragrant herb is not only grown for its flavour but also its many health benefits. I use it in our kitchen as much for its delicious taste as I do for its medicinal properties. Interested in growing basil? Try it in a pot, garden or on your kitchen bench as sprouts or microgreens. Every year, I allocate ‘prime real estate’ space to basil in pots, as well as around my garden. Read on for how you can use this versatile herb.

 

Basil Varieties – Which Basil should you Grow?

Basil (Ocimum Basilicum) is a member of the Mint family (Lamiaceae). Like its mint ‘cousins’, basil comes in a large range of aromatic varieties, with flavours to please even the fussiest taste buds. Annual varieties will last you a season and then provide you with free seeds. Perennial cultivars last much longer and are even better value. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Sweet Basil and Genovese are two of the most popular basil choices for pesto as they have mild sweet flavours.

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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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How to Plant out a Herb Garden

Have you ever ended up with ‘dried herb arrangements’ (those that died of thirst or sunburn)? Or herbs that rotted and drowned due to waterlogged roots?  Whether you want to plant herbs in a pot, garden bed or a herb spiral, my 5 Step Guide to Planting Herbs can help you successfully choose the best position and maintain your herb garden.

How to Plant out a Herb Garden

How to Plant out a Herb Garden

In this article I also share key tips on where to plant herbs so they thrive. Understanding the kind of microclimate each herb prefers, can make all the difference to growing them successfully! So ‘dig in’!

 

Lushly planted mature herb spiral | The Micro Gardener

“The construct itself gives variable aspects and drainage, with sunny dry sites for oil-rich herbs such as thyme, sage, and rosemary, and moist or shaded sites for green foliage herbs such as mint, parsley, chives, and coriander.” – Bill Mollison

 

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4 Step Guide to Building a Herb Spiral

Want to make your own vertical herb spiral garden? This compact space saving design can be made with just a few basic steps.

Construction materials and methods vary. So after deciding on the best position and gathering your materials, you can have one built the same day.

Stone filled gabion walls are an elegant twist on this herb spiral | The Micro Gardener

Depending on your budget and taste, herb spirals can be made very economically or be quite elaborate like this one with stone filled gabion walls.

 * [The original link to this image (via Cara-Ornamentals) is no longer available. I have no control over this & apologise for any inconvenience but you’ll find alternative resources below.]

If you like this particular design and want to learn to make the curved wire baskets, see the end of this post for videos and wire basket suppliers for Gabion Herb Spirals. These are some basic instructions for making a gabion wall or visit BlondeMafia or Garden Drum. More instructional videos for gabions are here and here. For the tutorial steps, read on!
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15 Benefits of a Herb Spiral in Your Garden

Herb Spiral Design

Do you have limited sun, space or time to garden? Want a highly productive, energy efficient way to grow food?  Then consider a herb spiral design in your garden. Creating a Herb Spiral close to your kitchen might be your perfect solution.

 The Herb Spiral design is easily accessible from all sides: to plant, water, fertilise and harvest. This large long herb spiral has a dry microclimate at the top and a moist zone at the bottom. | The Micro Gardener

The Herb Spiral design is easily accessible from all sides: to plant, water, fertilise and harvest. This large long herb spiral has a dry microclimate at the top and a moist zone at the bottom.

What is a Herb Spiral?

The Herb Spiral is a highly productive and energy efficient, vertical garden design. You can stack plants horizontally AND vertically to maximise space. It’s a practical and attractive solution for urban gardeners. A herb spiral design is typically 1.5 – 2m (5 – 6.5ft) wide in diameter at the base and rises to 1.0 – 1.3m (3.2 – 4.2ft). The centre of the spiral is at the highest point. The spiral ramp provides a planting area large enough to fit in all your common culinary herbs.
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