October 2018 Newsletter

October 2018 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener

Welcome to the October newsletter. It’s been a busy few weeks but I have some interesting tips for you to tuck into.

What’s on the menu?

In this newsletter, I tackle a common pest insect enemy – the fruit fly and share strategies for preventing and controlling the damage. If you’ve ever cut open fruit and found it spoiled by larvae inside, it could be this offender. If you are plagued by tiny sap sucking aphids, then you’ll enjoy learning about Hoverflies. These beneficial predators dine out on these pesky insects. Discover how to attract them to your garden. I also share nine clues that may indicate you have problem soil and explain the fascinating reason why flowers make nectar. Dig in!

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Organic Aphid Control with Hoverflies

Controlling aphids organically is much easier if you encourage natural predators like hoverflies to take up residence in your garden. One natural pest management strategy for organic aphid control is to make your garden attractive to predatory insects. These can help keep aphid numbers and other sap suckers in balance – no chemicals needed.

Organic Aphid Control with Hoverflies

 

The Hoverfly or Syrphid Fly (Diptera)

Also known as Flower Flies, hoverflies are members of the Syrphidae insect family. As their name suggests, adults often ‘hover’ like mini helicopters over nectar and pollen-rich flowers.

They lay their eggs near or in the middle of aphid colonies so when their babies hatch, dinner is served! (more…)

Organic Fruit Fly Control Strategies

Fruit flies are one of the most destructive pest insects in home gardens and attack a wide range of fruit trees and fruiting crops. Many gardeners find they are the number one enemy they battle every year.

This pest insect is most active from spring through autumn and species vary in different locations. For vulnerable fruit, you need to be prepared to be vigilant and have controls in place at the right time. You really have to know your enemy to tackle it!

If you’ve experienced damage to your harvest, it can be disheartening to even try to grow your favourite fruit crop. What if managing this pest insect is all too difficult?

Organic Fruit Fly Control Strategies

If you don’t want to deal with fruit fly damage in your garden, you still have options:

1. Remove any host plants that are prone to attack.

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November 2017 Newsletter

Organic Gardening Tips for an Abundant Harvest

November 2017 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener

Welcome to the November Newsletter. There are lots of quick tips to get you thinking about the food you eat and grow, to help your health and wellbeing.

This month, I’m sharing another quick ‘How To’ video in my Sow Simple series of free tutorials to help you grow and use food wisely in just minutes. Dig in and help others by sharing these tips!

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New Season Garden Planting Tips

Have you ever experienced unhealthy plants? A poor harvest … or worse, no harvest at all? This may be due to a lack of preparation. Before planting, is the ideal time to prepare and reinvigorate your soil to avoid disappointment. 

New Season Garden Planting Tips

Creating healthy soil is one of the key factors to focus on before you begin planting. It’s unlikely plants will grow well in ‘dead dirt’!

“Organic matter, nutrients, moisture and an active microbe population are important elements to add to your soil.” – Anne Gibson

So let’s take a look at some tips and simple ways to prepare your garden for planting and using your space wisely.

Garden Planting Tips

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Design Tips for a Productive Kitchen Garden

Do you ever feel frustrated when pest insects damage your plants? Wish your kitchen garden was more productive? You’re not alone! Even the healthiest gardens struggle with a few ‘unwelcome visitors’ at times.

Design Tips for a Productive Kitchen Garden

 

If you have limited space for your food garden, then losing precious crops, can be even more disheartening.

The good news is there are design strategies you can use to:

  1. Maximise your space;
  2. Minimise pest insects;
  3. Enhance the beauty; and
  4. Even improve some of your harvests.

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Imitate Nature for Higher Yields & Less Pests

Get Hundreds of Free Workers AND an Abundant Harvest!

Want less pests in your garden? To help achieve balance between pests and predators, I’ve found that imitating natural ecosystems can be a useful pest management strategy to use.

 

Imitate Nature for Higher Yields and Less Pests

Facilitating natural predator-pest relationships in your garden is a way to harness hundreds of free workers to help manage insect imbalances. An example is the ‘aphid banquet’ on the menu for this ladybird’s lunch!

How to Work with and Imitate Nature

Whilst ‘having a relationship’ with birds, lizards, frogs and insects may not be on your To Do List, seeking a ‘win-win’ outcome by working with these creatures in your garden can help you:

  1. Achieve a higher crop yield (by encouraging more Pollinators); and
  2. Minimise insect damage to your edibles (by creating an unwritten ‘Workplace Agreement’ of sorts with Pest Predators – one that offers the kind of job perks that are an incentive for them to get to work in your garden)!

I’ve learned the benefits of ’employing’ hundreds of workers in my garden. Even though I don’t know them all by name, they still turn up regularly for work, never ask for a raise, are reliable in undertaking their jobs and save me hours of hard labour. In this post, I’ll share with you what my end of the agreement entails and how you can negotiate a similar arrangement at your place.

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Coping with Caterpillars – Part 2

Are caterpillars damaging your plants? If you’re having a tug-of-war with caterpillars over who gets a fair share of food from your edible crops, you’ll know how frustrating it can be to come off second best! As mentioned in Coping with Caterpillars – Part 1, the first step is observation and diagnosis to ‘know thy enemy’.

Use a magnifying glass to get up close and personal to see what's happening in your patch.

The next step is what intervention you choose to use to manage the situation.

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Coping with Caterpillars – Part 1

Most of the time, my garden’s thriving but sometimes the weather tips things out of balance in favour of less welcome garden guests! In our hot, humid and wet subtropical climate, this can happen more frequently than I’d like. No matter where you live, creepy caterpillars are sure to visit sometime during the year. If they start to chomp on your crops, you’ll need some strategies up your sleeve!

 

Caterpillars of Bordered Patch Butterfly

Extended periods of heavy rain can play havoc, creating the environment for pest populations to arrive en masse and thrive. It’s hard to inspect your garden with days of teeming rain so by the time the sun shines again, there’s sometimes a pest problem to deal with.

 

Do you really have a pest problem?

I have a few Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies I use to minimise insect invasions and maintain balance, so I thought I’d share how I deal with one of the most common critters – caterpillars.

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20 Reasons to Grow this Amazing Herb

Do you grow herbs? They can provide a whole heap of benefits from culinary to medicinal uses and even a splash of colour and fragrance. Some flowering herbs like nasturtiums really earn a special place in the garden because of the added value they provide. So check out these 20 uses for nasturtiums – they may surprise you!

20 reasons to grow nasturtiums

20 reasons to grow nasturtiums

 

Colourful nasturtiums are one herb that’s easy to fall in love with. This plant is an absolute winner in my book. Whilst many think of nasturtiums as just pretty flowers, these attractive herbs have an amazing array of benefits to offer you.

There are several types of nasturtium. The one I can never get enough of in our garden is ‘Tropaeolum majus’ (commonly known as Indian Cress).  Not ‘Nasturtium Officinale’ that grows in water and is often referred to as watercress!

Nasturtiums – More than just a pretty face!

Aside from stealing the limelight in any garden with their dazzling display of colour, nasturtiums are one of the most multi-functional plants you can grow.

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