Sustainable Gardening Tips for June

Welcome to the June newsletter. So much to dig into this month. Tips for small gardens with inspiring photos, comfrey plant profile, an update on my garden, garden therapy and what to plant this month.

Sustainable gardening tips June: Small spaces and container gardens

Sustainable Gardening Tips for June

Firstly, these are a few easy ways to garden sustainably in small spaces. I’ve spent 13+ years helping people grow food in compact urban gardens. The smaller the space, the more important the decisions we make regarding design, plant varieties and functionality.

  • Give priority to your sunniest locations for fruiting crops and fruit trees. Fill in the gaps with plants that can tolerate shady conditions.
  • Group plants with similar water needs together. This saves time, a precious resource and avoids over- or under-watering problems.
  • If you have limited room, consider removing plants that don’t serve you. Replace them with edible species that do!
  • Grow at least one pot of edible flowers in your favourite colour. Beautiful blooms make you feel happy, attract pollinators to improve your harvests and provide you with nutrients.
  • Use space wisely. Position tall and climbing plants at the back of a garden bed to protect and shade low-growing species.
  • Use vertical structures to access sunlight higher up. Boundary fences, railings and hanging baskets are a few opportunities.
  • Consider portable planters to give you more flexibility for accessing sun or shade seasonally. Container gardens on brackets and mobile trolleys are ideal solutions.

What to Plant Now in Subtropical SE QLD

In June, we experience cooler days and nights as winter sets in. We typically enjoy lower humidity and fewer pest insects as they overwinter. Yay! When there’s rain we have almost perfect growing conditions with only a few regular pests to worry about like cabbage butterflies. It’s the ideal time to plant winter crops and bare-rooted fruit varieties. Download your June Gardening Tips PDF for planting suggestions, tasks to do in the garden this month and issues to watch out for

I always aim to time my planting in harmony with the moon phases to optimise seed germination, help cuttings take root, and encourage healthy plant growth and establishment. There are also times each month to optimise the quick uptake of liquid nutrients. This helps plants access nutrition and get off to a good start. Working with Nature’s timing and a Moon Calendar has distinct benefits. It helps me stay organised. I plan forward for the best times to take specific actions in my garden and reap the rewards. The natural cycles of energy and water that ebb and flow each month are there for us to tap into. Learn more here.

The Vegetables Growing Guide is a reference chart to help you grow 68 of the most popular vegetables in Australia and New Zealand climate zones. It includes information on companion planting, making compost, soil and moon planting. 

What to Plant Now in Other Locations

Click here for what to plant and when. Or visit (USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa)


Comfrey (Symphytum Officinale) is a flowering medicinal perennial herb with a deep tap root and attractive foliage and blooms. ‘Comfrey‘ comes from Latin and means “to grow together”. Makes sense it is also known as ‘Knitbone’, ‘All Heal’ and ‘Woundwort’. Comfrey grows year-round in most climates and is one of the most valuable plants you can grow.

Sustainable gardening tips June: Comfrey is a perennial medicinal herb with healing leaves and flowers

Comfrey is a perennial medicinal herb with healing leaves and flowers

Common comfrey has so many uses I can’t imagine my garden without it. The most popular way to grow it is from small root cuttings (even the tiniest piece) and crown division. It also grows from seed. Make sure you plant it in a permanent position though or a pot as it will be very difficult to dig out after it matures and can self-sow. Comfrey is one of the 72 herbs covered in the Herb and Medicinal Plants Growing Guide.

Comfrey Uses:

This is just a VERY brief glimpse into comfrey as it is highly valued as a medicinal healing herb. It is also incredibly useful to support the healthy growth of other plants.
  • Use leaves as medicine – a poultice, applied topically has been used since 400 BC to heal many ailments including burns, broken bones, bruising, tissue damage and arthritis. See How Can I Use Herbs in My Daily Life for 8 pages of information on this and 500+ herbs. It’s my go-to herb bible!
  • Comfrey roots gather potassium and other minerals from deep in the subsoil. So this plant is ideal to fertilise flowering and fruiting crops like tomatoes and potassium-hungry potatoes.
  • In situ fertiliser. Chop and drop leaves and stems around plants as a nutrient-rich mulch.
  • Comfrey tea. Add to water and allow to steep for several weeks. Dilute and use around plants as a liquid fertiliser. Watch them grow!
  • Compost activator and dynamic accumulator. Chop leaves and add to compost systems and worm farms to release nutrients.
  • Poultry forage rich in protein, calcium and phosphorous.
  • Cooked leafy green like spinach, or enjoy in salads, juice, soups, casseroles and stuffing.

Comfrey Likes:

  • Seeds typically germinate in about 25-30 days at a soil temperature of 20-22°C. Best sown in the new moon phase.
  • At least 3 hours of sun or shade and soil pH 6.0 to 7.0. Enjoys protection from hot summer sun.
  • Aged manure releases nitrogen for quick leaf growth.
  • Thrives in moist, fertile, well-drained soil but tolerates poor soils and can help break up clay.
  • Regular moisture until established but will tolerate dry conditions when mature.

Comfrey Dislikes: 

  • Can die back in cold weather. Prune and use leaves at the end of autumn or in winter if this occurs.
  • Thin soils over rock.

What’s Been Happening in My Garden?

May was very dry so I did a LOT of watering and mulching. It was a busy month of sowing more peas, tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, leeks, onions, shallots, celery, broccolini and cabbage. A few pumpkin vines are still hanging in there with fruit maturing. To my delight, I discovered several butternut pumpkins hidden under vines I never planted! Who knows how they get there? I just love surprises in the garden. It’s been a tough few months for pumpkins and arrowroot. They certainly need a lot of water to thrive. So I’ve been watching their needs in this soil and working on strategies for going forward. Staple plants deserve support. I’ve harvested well over 100kg of pumpkins this season and had plenty to share. They store well so I have enough to last until spring planting time.

Lettuce, sorrel, rocket and spinach are keeping us busy in the kitchen making salads and cooked meals to use up the leafy greens. I’m out daily picking raw ingredients and edible flowers like nasturtiums, cosmos and herb blooms to add colour, nutrients and flavour to salads. Pawpaw fruits are growing well. Our mandarin and lime trees are loaded with fruit. Two of the mandarins didn’t get watered except sparsely by nature. Consequently, the fruit is smaller this year and I’m in awe of the abundance. Clay soils have their benefits! I’m incredibly grateful the citrus have valiantly produced a full crop, despite the hard times. It’s a testament to the miracle of mulch to lock in moisture and help trees during times of stress. Mulch is a vital strategy for every garden.

My kitchen garden June 2023: Leafy greens and herbs; nasturtium flowers and herbs harvest; lettuce and garlic; potatoes in grow bag.

My kitchen garden June 2023: Leafy greens and herbs; nasturtium flowers and herbs harvest; lettuce and garlic; potatoes in a grow bag.


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.


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?


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.


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.




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.


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.


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 @

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.



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.


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



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