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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February 2019 Newsletter

To help you grow a healthy productive edible garden, I invite you to dig into my new articles and the following tips.

February 2019 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener

40+ Best Shade Tolerant Vegetables

We all know that plants need sunlight to grow, but many people struggle with shade. Too much or too little of it! I help my local clients overcome both challenges. There are pros and cons to growing in shady conditions and having shade can be a massive benefit. It might surprise you to learn just how many vegetables you can grow – fruiting crops, root crops and leafy greens.

So in my latest article, you’ll discover the best shade tolerant vegetables to grow in limited sunlight. I explain the advantages and disadvantages of a shady garden so you can make more informed decisions about your own space. I also have a guide to direct sunlight hours so you can work out what to grow in your climate. Plus I share 8 practical tips for growing vegetables in the shade to help you optimise harvests in your kitchen garden.

READ NOW

Shady garden tips to grow vegetables in shade

Shady garden tips to grow more vegetables in shade

 


Why are Ants in my Plants, Pots and Soil?

Ever wondered WHY ants are present, WHAT they’re doing and HOW to get rid of them? The answer is simple when you understand the 2 main reasons ants are present. In this article, I explain why they’re in your potting mix, soil and crawling up plants. You’ll learn what damage can occur, easy solutions and hopefully see ants through a whole new ‘lens’. These tips will help you understand the relationship between ants and pest insects, hydrophobic soil and preventing sooty mould. It’s an informative read if you want to diagnose and treat common problems in your pots, plants and soil.

READ NOW

Why are Ants in my Plants, Pots and Soil?

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December 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to the last newsletter for the year. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your shared interest in growing a healthy food garden and supporting my website as a subscriber. I hope you enjoy digging into the latest tips and wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.

December 2018 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener

What’s on the menu?

As we head into the holiday season, I thought it timely to share some practical ways to use 3 delicious herbs to ease stress and anxiety, and help with digestion for those times of over indulgence! I hope they help you feel more calm and relaxed.

If you want to save money by making your own garden gifts, you’ll find some inspiring easy ideas to try. I think you’ll especially love the edible baskets. Dig into tips to grow food in hot, dry or windy weather and learn 3 ways to protect your crops from these challenging conditions. Plus, I share tips for watering your plants to minimise problems. Tuck in!

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Best Tips for Growing Root Crops

Do you love digging for hidden treasures in your soil, but sometimes feel disappointed in your harvest? If so, these tips should help make growing root crops much easier and more successful.

Best tips for growing root crops

Discovering an edible surprise is a bit like unwrapping a present, isn’t it? You get that feeling of anticipation as you unearth a handful of potatoes or pull up a bunch of crunchy carrots. Then you start dreaming up how you’re going to enjoy eating those tasty homegrown crops.

So let’s dig into some juicy tips on ways to get more of these delicious vegies and spices on your plate. (more…)

June 2017 Newsletter

Organic Gardening Tips for an Abundant Harvest

June 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to the June Newsletter. Lots of quick tips to get you thinking about the food you eat and grow.

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 and help others by sharing these tips!


Tips on Harvesting Pumpkin

In this quick video lesson, I share simple ideas to help you with ways to harvest pumpkin to avoid waste and cure it to improve storage life.

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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Raising Seeds

Have you tried raising seeds but they failed to germinate successfully? It may be due to one of these five common causes.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Raising Seeds

Raising Seeds: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid

1. Choosing Unsafe Food Seeds

  • Did you know the majority of seeds (non-certified organic and some heirloom and open-pollinated brands) are sprayed with fungicides? This chemical process is used to stop rodents and insects from eating the seeds during storage. GMO (genetically modified) seeds are also creeping into our food system. Read the packets carefully when buying your seeds. Look for wording like “Certified Organic” and “Non-GMO”.

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The Benefits of Moon Gardening

I’d like to share a secret I use in my garden to get great results. Strong, healthy happy plants. This ‘secret weapon’ saves me a LOT of time and money.  It’s moon gardening or planting by the moon!

OK, ‘moon gardening’ may sound a little strange if you’ve never heard of it before! Stay with me and I’ll reveal the secret in more detail and how YOU can use this to your advantage.

Learn the Benefits of Moon Gardening and how to work with nature's moon cycles to boost your success

Learn the Benefits of Moon Gardening and how to work with nature’s moon cycles to boost your success

You are probably already familiar with your climate zone and are planting in the right season for your location. One easy way for you to maximise your gardening success is by working with nature’s lunar cycles. By that, I don’t mean getting outdoors with a shovel in the middle of the night! Moon planting has been practiced by farmers and gardeners who were in tune with nature’s patterns. In our busy modern world, many gardeners have lost sight of this age old science-based technique.

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