9 Strategies to Help Combat Common Edible Garden Problems

Having garden problems? Do you ever feel frustrated with your soil, pests or limited space? Is it too hot, cold, wet or dry to grow food? If you’re having challenges growing an edible garden, it helps to have a ‘tool kit of techniques’ you can use to overcome common problems.

I use a variety of strategies to harvest from my edible garden all year round.

I use a variety of strategies to harvest from my edible garden all year round.

When the Growing Gets Tough

Here in subtropical SE Queensland, Australia, we have challenging wet and dry seasons. We often experience long months of drought. Our growing periods are not governed by a calendar with a traditional three month season like many places in the world. Spring typically only lasts a few weeks in the subtropics and summer is at least four months long! Here the hot/wet/dry months can be very challenging to grow food. Many northern hemisphere gardeners look forward to warm summers as a prime growing season but get frustrated with a long, cold period. So no climate is perfect!

“Extreme temperatures, high humidity, wild storms, hail, damaging winds, sudden heavy downpours, driving rain, drought and flooding are common weather issues to deal with. Not to mention pest insect population explosions. It’s no wonder many food gardeners throw their hands in the air and give up altogether!”

So what CAN you do when growing conditions are difficult?

 

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7 Easy DIY Garden Gift Ideas

Need inspiration for low-cost, personal DIY garden gift ideas? With a little creative thinking, you can easily make your own affordable presents.

7 Easy DIY Garden Gift Ideas

 

DIY Garden Gift Ideas to Inspire You

1. Tin Can Herb Planters

Mini window sill herb gardens are a favourite with just about everyone. To make these low cost gifts, save tin cans from your kitchen and reuse as cute container gardens.

 

Tin can herb container gardens make easy, economical gifts | The Micro Gardener

Make one or a collection. This is a gift you can keep adding to throughout the year with new herbs!

Tutorial: Simply Healthy Fam

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6 Tips for Abundant Edible Container Gardens

Struggling to grow food successfully in pots? Would you love to have abundant container gardens? Overflowing with delicious, healthy, colourful food? Fruit and vegetables that nourish your body? Give you joy to grow, cook and eat? If you think this is in the ‘too hard basket’ read on for my tips …

Grow an abundant harvest of home grown food in edible container gardens | The Micro Gardener

This is the kind of food I love helping people learn how to grow.

 

A continual abundance of organic vegetables, herbs and fruits that sustain you with good health can be yours to enjoy.

When I first started planting edibles in micro gardens, I made a LOT of mistakes. I wasted so much time and money. There were plenty of ‘dried arrangements’ (dead plants!) as a result. I struggled with poor harvests. Over the years I’ve realised container gardening requires a different set of skills to growing directly in your garden.

 

Delicious nutritious vegies are easy to grow at home in edible container gardens

With some basic knowledge, delicious nutritious vegies are easy to grow at home in container gardens.

 

These are 6 key techniques you can use to maximise your harvests. Grow a continual abundance of delicious home grown organic food. Tuck in!

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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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6 Easy DIY Container Garden Projects

Looking for creative DIY container garden projectsMicro Gardening in containers offers you SO many benefits. If you are a beginner or need some ideas to get started, I’ve compiled these tutorials to inspire you – regardless of your space, skills or budget!

Easy DIY Container Garden Project - I change the flowers in these bright pink gumboot planters seasonally - an easy way to upcycle outgrown boots. I also plant in my adult pairs when they split. Just drill holes in the soles! I put tiny pots into the top of this pair & they sit nicely with a clay worm as garden art.

I change the flowers in these bright pink gumboot planters seasonally – an easy way to upcycle outgrown boots. I also plant in my adult pairs when they split. Just drill holes in the soles! I put tiny pots into the top of this pair & they sit nicely with a clay worm as garden art.

 

4 Steps to Create your DIY Container Garden

 

You can make a new or repurposed planter for a herb, vegetable, ornamental or flower garden in just a few easy steps: (more…)

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…)

DIY Repurposed Garden Projects

10 Creative Space and Resource Saving Ideas

I’m always looking for inspiring, low-cost and resourceful ideas for the garden – here are some of my favourite projects for you to try.

1. Peg Plant Marker – This is an easy improvised solution using everyday materials.  Kids can paint the pegs and make them colourful and if you save seeds from your edible gardens like I do, this makes plant identification a snack!

 

Dill peg plant marker. Photo: Stacey Shitani

Always scratching around to find a plant marker? MYO in seconds with a bamboo skewer, wooden peg and a permanent marker! How easy is this?

 

2. Tiered Terracotta Planter – I love this project from Amy at Positively Splendid because it’s a simple design idea to dress up your garden entrance.  (more…)

Add Space with Creative Vertical Gardens – Part 2

How to Design Creative Vertical Gardens

Beautiful window box with potted colourful flowers - easy to care for and a stunning view from inside! Photo: Anslatadams

Many would-be gardeners have micro spaces to grow plants. Clever use of vertical structures like a feature window box with colourful flowers or edible herbs is a simple solution.

 

“Vertical gardening saves time and work, allowing you to spend less time tending and more time enjoying your garden.”

Derek Fell, author ‘Grow Up, Not Out, For More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space’

In Part 1, we looked at some creative vertical structures to help you grow plants ‘up’ and save space in your garden.  This post inspires you with more ideas on how to use two other types of vertical structures – ones to grow down and stackable systems. (more…)

Choose Safe Containers for Growing Food

Do you want to grow food in safe container gardens? Whilst not wanting to dampen your enthusiasm for using repurposed planters, I encourage you to do your due diligence when choosing that perfect container.

Choose Safe Containers for Growing Food Gardens

The majority of pre-loved or second-hand goods may well be safe to use. However, before you reuse a container for planting in, there are some considerations, other than whether it can hold some dirt and leafy greens!

 

My philosophy is “to err on the side of caution – it’s better to be safe than sorry!”

 

Tips to Help you Choose Safe Containers for Growing Food

  • Check the Skin it’s In!  What is the container is made of? If you can, find out what material the container or item is made from (especially on the surface). Can you find out more from the manufacturer? Is the surface porous? Some materials such as terracotta or unfired clay are extremely porous. They can absorb and leach water-soluble chemicals through the surface into the soil.  (more…)