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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January 2019 Newsletter

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

January 2019 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener

10 Tips to Grow More Food in a Small Garden

In my latest article, you’ll learn some of the ways I grow a highly productive garden in a compact space. I share small garden design tips, ways to use shady spots, space saving plant varieties + more. I hope these tips will help you optimise harvests in your kitchen garden.

READ NOW

10 tips to grow more food in a small garden


Potting Mix Q&A

If you’re a container gardener, you probably have some plants growing in old potting mix. Can you even remember how long they’ve been in there?!

Maybe you’ve got ‘dead dirt’ lying around in old pots and not sure what to do with it. If you’ve invested money in your potting mix and it’s not performing, it’s too valuable to throw away.

Have you ever wondered:

  • Can you revitalise and refresh old potting mix? If so, how?
  • How do you know if or when to re-pot your plants?
  • What can you do if your potted plants have had pests or diseases?
  • How can you tell if your potting mix is water repellent?
  • Are there any ways you can reuse tired old potting mix? If so, how?

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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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September 2016 Newsletter

Organic Gardening Tips for an Abundant Harvest

Hi and welcome! In this issue of The Micro Gardener Newsletter, check out tips and inspiration for your garden:

The Micro Gardener September 2016 Newsletter

  • NEW PRODUCT! How to Make Potting Mix at Home Guide
  • Creative Upcycled Plant Tie Ideas
  • Easy Way to Clean Tools
  • 8 Ways to Use Hessian in your garden
  • Eat a Rainbow for Good Health
  • Peas – Did you know?
  • Blog articles

So tuck in! If you missed the tips in my last newsletter, CLICK HERE.

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Easy DIY Potting Mix Recipe

Do you want to learn how to make potting mix at home? Want a quality potting mix recipe? Look no further! My early experiences with bagged potting mixes were not happy ones. With a sea of choices, clueless salespeople and confusing labels, I made more than one bad choice. Maybe you have too!

Easy DIY Potting Mix Recipe - learn how to make your own moisture holding, nutrient rich potting mix at home in simple steps.

Easy DIY Potting Mix Recipe – learn how to make your own moisture holding, nutrient rich potting mix at home in simple steps.

I fried my seedlings in what I thought from the label was ‘potting mix with fertiliser’ but was actually almost 100% fertiliser. I starved my plants with the next bag that didn’t have any food in it at all. Then another bag was virtually dead dirt that wouldn’t grow anything!

I got so seriously cheesed off wasting time and money with ‘dried arrangements‘ as a result. So I decided to make my own mix. It had to be better than going through all that pain!

Now, I try to be self-reliant and budget conscious where possible, by making my own supplies. If you don’t already, give home made potting mix a go. It’s easy, saves you money and a whole lot of headaches!

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Revitalising & Re-using Old Potting Mix

Do you garden in containers? If so, revitalising old potting mix and checking your pots on a regular basis are essential routine maintenance activities for ongoing plant health. If you are starting to see problems in your plants, it’s probably time to check what they’re growing in!

This is a trouble shooting article to help you improve your potting mix and solve some common problems.

Revitalising and re-using old potting mix

 

Can you Reuse Old Potting Mix? If so, HOW?

One of the principles of Frugal Gardening involves RE-USING materials = less waste and reduces our footprint on the planet. It also has the added benefit of saving us money!

Bags of commercial potting mix can be quite expensive particularly if you have lots of pots. It also dries out fast and your plants suffer.

Making your own homemade potting mix make sense (and cents)! Why? Because it lasts longer, provides all your plant needs and contains no nasty chemical additives like water crystals and soil wetters. Re-using your old potting mix definitely is more satisfying, sustainable and cost-effective. (more…)