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?

(more…)

10 Tips to Grow More Food in a Small Garden

Want to grow at least some of your own fresh ingredients? If you think you’re limited by a small garden, don’t be! You just need to use your space wisely.

10 tips to grow more food in a small garden

Few people have the perfect area to grow a productive food garden. So, clever design and plant choices are vital for success.

I help my clients to maximise the food they grow even when their garden is tiny, on a slope, in the shade, narrow, has poor soil, too much or not enough water and the list goes on! These tips will help you do the same.

How to Grow More Food in a Small Garden Space

1. Prioritise. Just Grow the Essentials

  • Grow the foods you love and buy most often. If you’re going to spend time growing food, it should provide ingredients you will use and save money on your shopping bill.
  • If you’re mowing lawn or growing plants that don’t serve you, you could be wasting valuable space in your garden! Make tough choices.
Grow More Food in a Small Garden: One of my client's front garden makeover before with lawn and an edible garden after 10 weeks!

A front garden makeover at one of my clients – Before with lawn; After 10 weeks – a productive pretty edible garden!

  • Dig up the lawn and save money on mower fuel!
  • Sell your ornamentals, so you have more space (and money) to grow food.

“We grow lawn that we harvest weekly in the growing season and throw it away. Why not food that we can eat?” Dave Jarratt – Sustainable Soil Solutions

  • For example, if you are buying a weekly organic food box, aim to cut the cost by a third or half by supplementing some of the ingredients from your own garden.
  • If you love salads, then it makes sense to avoid chemically grown produce by growing lettuces and salad ingredients.

(more…)

August 2017 Newsletter

Organic Gardening Tips for an Abundant Harvest

August 2017 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener

Welcome to the August Newsletter. As usual there are 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 and use food wisely in just minutes. Dig in and help others by sharing these tips!


Benefits of Growing Sunflowers

In this quick video lesson, I share some of the ways I use sunflowers to get more food from my garden, pest manage, encourage biodiversity and maintain healthy soil. You can even grow these useful blooms in pots. I hope you enjoy the tips.

 


(more…)

Choosing Fruit Trees for Small Gardens

Thinking about growing your own fruit trees? No matter how little space you have, there’s almost always room for at least one fruit tree.

The taste and satisfaction of picking homegrown fruit is one of life's pleasures!

The taste and satisfaction of picking homegrown fruit is one of life’s pleasures!

5 Tips for Fruit Trees in Small Gardens

I grow a LOT of fruit trees in a small space. Some in containers, others in the garden. It’s highly productive and I grow kilos of fruit every year. Some fruit trees are young and on their way to producing. Others are putting food on the table regularly!

Here, I grow a lot of tropical fruit trees like bananas, papaya, mango, mulberries, citrus and peaches. It takes time to get to know each fruit and how much space they require to be productive.

It can be overwhelming if you’re just starting out growing fruit trees, so I hope these tips help you avoid expensive mistakes.

(more…)

17 Garden Goals for Your Health and Wellbeing

Do you want to improve your health and wellbeing? If you want a garden that feeds your mind, body AND soul, what should you focus on? Want to avoid repeating the same mistakes from last year? Start fresh with these easy goals!

The process of setting your garden goals each year is easy, fun and rewarding.

The process of setting your garden goals each year is easy, fun and rewarding.

 

A New Year is always a good time to look back, reflect and plan ahead. But you can do some planning at any time of year.

Setting goals can help you:

  • improve your health and wellbeing;
  • learn from your garden as you grow;
  • make more sustainable choices; and
  • find greater enjoyment.

Whether you’re a beginner gardener or experienced, there is always so much to learn. A garden is a great teacher! I call my garden ‘Nature’s Classroom.’ Every year there are new lessons and discoveries. I hope these goals will help YOU plan an edible garden you really enjoy.

(more…)

Inspiring Small Garden Spaces

Create a Relaxing Garden Sanctuary . . .

Having a garden is not all about doing. One of the most enjoyable things in life is finding a nook to sit and reflect. A garden sanctuary is vital to your health and wellbeing. A place to observe, sip a glass of wine, grab a mug of steaming coffee, a book … and just ‘be.’

A garden sanctuary provides many health benefits.

A garden sanctuary provides many health benefits.

 

“The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.” – Hanna Rion

 

Whether you love formal, country charm, something modern, simple or rustic – in this busy life, a place to relax is essential. A spot to restore your soul, health, wellbeing and take time out.  (more…)

Clever Plant Container Ideas

DIY – Make Your Own Garden Planters

Why buy new when you can DIY and save money?  Need a little inspiration to get your garden started in a container?  Check out what some amazingly creative people around the globe have used to grow a garden in – just about everything!

 

School desk edible planter - just one of many Clever Plant Container Ideas @ www.themicrogardener.com

This old desk school desk has a new life in the garden as an edible planter filled with luscious lettuces, shallots and colourful flowers.

 

Ideas for Repurposed Planters … INCLUDING the Kitchen Sink!

 

Stuck for where to start?  Looking for inspiration for what to grow your next garden in?  Look no further! I hope you like these creative planters as much as I do.

 

Porcelain planters seem to be quite popular in some gardens.

A new meaning for ‘potted’ plants! These old toilet cisterns have also been given a new life as planters. Porcelain is long lasting and with built in drainage, their prior lives could be concealed behind other plants or a bamboo screen around the base.

 

(more…)

Repurposed Container Gardens – Turn Trash into Treasure

Ever wonder why some people’s gardens look so beautiful, full of character and have that special charm?  If you look closely at pictures in garden magazines or visit open gardens and nurseries, you’ll notice one of the clever design tricks they use is adding interesting features, repurposed containers and collections.

Small courtyard garden with good design creates an appealing space to enjoy.

This small courtyard garden is a good example of clever design and use of a collection of new and old pots. A seating area, water fountain, screening plants and coordinated colours also help unify this tiny space.

These little touches help to:

  • unify a garden
  • give it focus
  • create a theme
  • reflect your personality
  • add character

and enhance the visual appeal so you want to spend time in that special space.

 

“Designing your garden space is even more important if you have a micro garden.”

 

With a limited space and budget, it’s not always possible to buy new plant containers or garden art but you can still achieve a dream look and great functional growing spaces by ‘turning old into new.’  You don’t need special skills – just a little inspiration … and perhaps a little time to hunt around for the right object.

(more…)

Ten Tips for Creating Beautiful Gardens

Do you want to create a beautiful garden? No matter how small your space, there are design principles you can apply to beautify your balcony, porch or yard.

Ten Tips for Creating Beautiful Gardens

Beautiful gardens appeal to our senses. The colours and immense diversity of design combinations, fragrance, flavours, sounds from birds and insects attracted to the plants and variety of textures.

Go for a drive around your neighbourhood and take notice of the gardens that catch your eye or next time you visit a friend’s garden, be observant and tune in to what you love about it.  No doubt they will be applying some design principles and elements that apply whether they are used in art, graphics, building, interior or garden design.

“A garden is a thing of beauty and a job forever.” Richard Briers

Simple concepts can make a HUGE difference to the enjoyment of your garden space and particularly so, when it is a micro garden.  Designers use these principles all over the world to make spaces really stand out and visually beautiful.  Less really can be more if you know how.

An elegant terracotta planter is used as a focal point with purple and white petunias. Understated beauty and a simple garden feature.

An elegant terracotta planter is used as a focal point with purple and white flower theme. Understated beauty and a simple garden feature.

10 Tips for Beautiful Gardens in Small Spaces

(more…)

Tips for Growing a Garden in Pots

Low-Cost Creative Ideas for Container Gardens

Looking for some inspirational ways to give your small space or garden a facelift?  I’ve put together some thrifty and creative ideas to get the most out of growing a garden in pots.

New ways with old pots

Got an odd assortment of containers of all colours, shapes and sizes or black plastic pots and want a more harmonious look for grouping them all together? Try these ideas:

  1. A couple of coats with water based non-toxic acrylic paint to coordinate the colours.
  2. Wrap them in hessian bags for an earthy look (hold in place with wire and tie at the top with rope or plaited string).
  3. Hide them inside another container or cachepot.

    Painting old pots is a low cost way to give them a new life

    Try revamping old pots with a quick coat of paint for a colourful facelift.

(more…)