Sustainable Gardening Tips for October

Welcome to the sustainable gardening tips for October newsletter. Changing climate conditions and weather patterns are making it challenging for many gardeners. Hot, dry weather with no rain for long periods creates tough conditions for many plants. However, microclimates can be a great ‘tool’ to achieve greater success. You’ll discover five benefits of creating microclimates in your garden so you can match the right plant to the right place.

This month’s plant profile is the healing spice Ginger. Plus I share tips on choosing, growing and eating tomatoes, broccoli and kale to maximise the health benefits. There are plenty of practical seasonal gardening tips as always. Dig in!

Sustainable Gardening Tips for October

Sustainable Gardening Tips October

“In our society, growing food yourself has become the most radical of acts. It is truly the only effective protest, one that can-and will-overturn the corporate powers that be. By the process of directly working in harmony with nature, we do the one thing most essential to change the world – we change ourselves!” — Jules Dervaes Jr. (1947-2016)

5 Ways to Create Beneficial Microclimates

Microclimates are one of the biggest factors affecting success in growing healthy plants. Every garden is totally unique. By playing ‘detective’ we can discover clues in different garden zones. This helps us to fully understand the opportunities and challenges. My latest article digs deeper into what kinds of microclimates might be in your garden. Plus I share how to use them to your advantage. Here’s a brief peek.

1. Use plants to create a living windbreak.
2. Create shade with climbers and mitigate damaging wind.
3. Utilise cloches to protect seedlings.
4. Protect plants from heat, storm, wind and sun damage with shade cloth.
5. Use shade to water less often. Learn more

Healthier Vegetables: Did you know?

Choosing the right variety of some vegetables and eating them raw or as microgreens can make a huge difference to the health benefits. Dig into these tips.


  • Cherry tomatoes are higher in lycopene than large red tomatoes. Generally the darker the colour and smaller the size, the more nutritious the tomato. Studies show Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, helps protect cells from damage.Free radical damage is one of the main causes of diseases such as heart disease, premature aging, cancer and cataracts.
  • A tomato-rich diet is associated with a diverse range of health benefits. These include anticancer properties; reducing the risk of cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and bowel diseases; and improving skin health, exercise recovery, and immune response.


  • Eating raw broccoli provides up to 20 times more sulforaphane (beneficial phytochemical) than cooked broccoli. There is growing evidence that sulforaphane is found to be effective in preventing and treating various cancers such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, skin, urinary bladder and oral cancers.6 This compound is naturally present in broccoli sprouts and microgreens, kale, cabbage, cauliflower and garden cress. Try raw broccoli florets in this delicious salad recipe.
  • Broccoli microgreens contain 10-100 x the anticancer compounds than mature broccoli. Consider the space, water, time and resources required to grow broccoli to harvest mature heads! Doesn’t it make sense to grow this vegetable as baby leaf microgreens?
Sustainable Gardening Tips October: 5 Easy Ways to Eat Broccoli Raw for all the nutritional benefits

5 Easy Ways to Eat Broccoli Raw for all the nutritional benefits

Kale (more…)

2023-10-19T20:16:44+10:00Categories: Newsletters|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Guide to Understanding Microclimates in your Garden

Microclimates are one of the biggest factors affecting our success with growing healthy plants. Every garden is totally unique. We have to play ‘detective’ to discover clues in different zones to fully understand the opportunities and challenges. Let’s dig deeper into what kinds of microclimates might be in your garden and how to use them to your advantage.

Guide to Understanding Microclimates in your Garden

What is a Microclimate?

A microclimate is a suite of very localised conditions that differ from those in the surrounding areas. Often just slightly but sometimes considerably! Think of a microclimate as a miniature climate. It may be less than a metre or few feet in size or a substantially larger area in your garden! Microclimates may occur naturally, or you can intentionally change the conditions to suit your needs.

What Aspects Affect Microclimates in your Garden?

There are a variety of factors that influence microclimates in our gardens. These include:

  • Air and soil temperature. These conditions affect seed germination and plant growth.
  • Solar radiation and sunlight angles during the year affect daylength and shade.
  • Wind speed and direction can provide cooling breezes or hot dry and damaging gusts.
  • Humidity (high vs low).
  • Soil type, moisture-holding capacity, pH, drainage and structural properties.
  • Rainfall and moisture.
  • Vegetation and maturity of established species. A new house block with no plants will have a very different microclimate to when mature shrubs and trees are growing.
  • Directional aspect the garden area faces (N, S, E or W).
  • Slope, elevation and topography (affect temperatures, frosts and water movement). e.g. A low level property in a valley may have lower temperatures as cold air sinks. Gardens may get frost and have more moisture from run-off. Whereas a property on a hill may be cooler and have drier soil.
  • Air circulation (well-ventilated areas are cooler).
  • Thermal properties of building surfaces and nearby structures like walls or fences. For example, most glass reflects some heat but does absorb a small amount and diffuses a lot of direct solar radiation. Bricks and concrete absorb and store heat on warm days and release it overnight creating a warm microclimate in the immediate area. Some hard surfaces like a path, paving or driveway may radiate extra heat.
  • Surrounding buildings in cities and densely populated areas can also be impacted by the urban heat island effect.

Gardens Can Help Mitigate Urban Heat Islands

No Two Garden Microclimates are the Same

These various dynamics can create comfortable, favourable growing conditions or especially challenging ones! It’s worth playing detective to investigate the microclimates in your garden. Not all of those factors may influence the conditions in your garden. But at least some of them will.

I live in a subtropical climate in SE Queensland, Australia. However, even within our local region and suburb, the microclimates are very different. Based on regular feedback from my neighbours who are also keen gardeners, the prevailing winds, rainfall and sunlight exposure varies widely from one side of our street to the other! It can be wildly windy on one side of the street and peacefully calm on the other. We even experience different rainfall depending on which way the wind is blowing! We often compare our data and although we live in the same street just metres apart, our aspect, soils and rainfall vary considerably.

Depending on the aspect your garden faces, you may encounter a wide variety of microclimate conditions. e.g. harsh sunlight or full shade, strong prevailing winds and damaging storms or cooling breezes that bring relief on hot days.



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