Gardening Tips for February

The last few weeks have created a lot of uncertainty around the world with the threat of a pandemic. It’s a timely reminder to reflect on our health, how sustainable our lives are and whether we can feed ourselves from our home gardens or are dependent on our global food system. So, this month’s newsletter focuses on practical and positive ways you can support your health with nourishing foods and herbs.

Gardening Tips for February | The Micro Gardener


Gardening Tips for February

Here in subtropical SE Queensland, Australia, we’re still in the thick of summer heat, humidity and rain. Last month we were in drought, had bushfires and dust storms, and now it’s too wet in many areas! Soggy soil, high temperatures and humidity create the perfect environment for many fungal diseases like powdery mildew and root rot. Not to mention the increase in hungry insects like grasshoppers and caterpillars feasting on the new growth!

Subtropical SE Queensland – What to Plant Now

If your water tanks are full and soil moist from recent rains, it’s an ideal time to sow seeds to raise seedlings ready for autumn planting and put in the last of fast-growing summer crops. Or sow sunflower seeds as microgreens for fast-growing protein-rich ingredients. Citrus, pumpkins, tomatoes, summer spinach varieties, spring onions, herbs and cucamelons are growing like crazy in my garden. With a move to a new garden soon, I’m taking cuttings in the new moon cycle so they strike roots quickly. You can propagate your garden for free in this way.

READ Gardening Tips for February for what to do now in SE QLD, pests to watch for and more. (Download PDF)

Subtropical Planting Guide – a laminated perpetual guide to the 5 seasons in SE QLD

For other locations, read my article on what to plant and when.


Grow a Medicinal Herb Garden to Build a Strong Immune System

One of the reasons I grow my own food and specifically, a wide range of herbs, is because a Home Pharmacy Garden is the first place I ‘shop’ to support my family’s health. I believe there’s never been a more important time to focus your energy on the medicinal properties of the plants you grow. Herbs, in particular, help support a healthy immune system with phytonutrients like vitamins and antioxidants. (more…)

July 2019 Newsletter

In this newsletter, you’ll find tips to grow potatoes and some disturbing information about pesticides. I encourage you to go small when growing your favourite leafy greens and herbs with sprouts and microgreens, share planting tips for this month, the most nutritious lettuce varieties plus some inspiring news about the health benefits of gardening. I hope you pick up some new practical tips to apply this month!

July 2019 Newsletter | The Micro Gardener


Can you Grow Potatoes from Potatoes?

The short answer is yes! If you’ve never seen a packet of potato seeds, that’s for good reason. To grow your favourite potato variety, you need to start with a tuber. An actual potato called a ‘seed potato.’ It’s a funny name because potatoes don’t have seeds!

‘Seed potatoes’ have ‘eyes’ or dormant sprouts, also known as ‘buds.’ Each eye will sprout and develop either a stem with leaves or form roots. Once the plant is big enough, small potatoes will form and then grow.

Organic chitted potatoes ready for planting

Organic chitted potatoes ready for planting

Are all potatoes safe to grow?

Ideally, grow from organically certified seed potato varieties. Why? You want to start with disease-free, safe spuds. Unfortunately, potatoes were included in the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2019 ‘Dirty Dozen’ list that ranks the most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables. It’s not surprising potatoes made the top 12 because studies show root vegetables are particularly vulnerable to absorbing chemicals in the soil.

There’s another important reason to choose certified organic potatoes. You want to avoid the risk of planting GMO spuds as they absorb more toxins. See: Are GMO Potatoes Safe? A Former Monsanto Bioengineer Tells The Truth.

How do you get potatoes to grow shoots?

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Easy Guide to Growing Microgreens

Second only to sprouts, microgreens are the quickest food crop we urban gardeners can grow! If you have limited time, space or gardening skills let me introduce you to growing microgreens. You can learn how to grow microgreens – tasty, nutrient-dense ‘fast food’ – in just a few easy steps.

What are Microgreens?

With sprouts, you eat the fully germinated seed. I think of sprouts as the ‘babies’ of the plant world. A seed that bursts open with the first root and shoot(s). Whereas sprouts are seeds that germinate by being soaked and rinsed in water, microgreens are grown in soil.

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Gardens for Kids

Gardens help children connect with nature, their environment and most importantly, the source of their food.  Gardens are places for kids to learn new skills, build their confidence, have fun, learn to take care of plants and build respect for their environment as well as improve their health.

 

“In an age of instant gratification, a garden is one of the few places children can learn patience and delayed gratification by watching and waiting for rewards.” – Anne Gibson

One of my passions is showing children how to grow their own food and have fun gardening.

 

Prep year students planning out their new sensory garden

Having fun as the Veggie Doctor with Prep year students planning out their new sensory garden

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How to Garden on your Benchtop – Grow Sprouts!

 Grow Sprouts – An Easy Soil-less Garden

Sprouts are seeds that have been germinated in water. They form a tiny root and a shoot. These baby plants are a nutritious food you can grow all year around. No soil needed! Dig in to learn how to sprout your own seeds.

How to Garden on your Benchtop Grow Sprouts

“Of all the vegetables, sprouts are the richest source of vitamins, minerals and enzymes.  Sprouts provide more nutrient, gram for gram, than any other natural food known.” – Isabell Shipard, authorHow Can I Grow and Use Sprouts as Living Food?

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