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 Gardenate.com (USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa)


PLANT PROFILE: Comfrey

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.

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Sustainable Gardening Tips for April

Welcome to the April newsletter. A sustainable garden aims to provide sustenance and nourishment for minimal time, money and energy.

How can you maintain and support a sustainable garden to meet your needs for a long time? By:

    • Choosing efficient inputs, minimising waste and making as little impact on the earth as possible.
    • Being a good steward of your resources.
    • Using practices that won’t deplete or permanently damage the resources and environment.
    • Working in harmony with nature to create a healthy ecosystem that is self-sustaining.
    • Applying Permaculture principles.

Sustainable Gardening Tips for April | The Micro Gardener

Sustainable Gardening Tips for April

This month I’m sharing tips to garden more sustainably by avoiding food waste.

According to Foodwise.com.au, an estimated 20-40% of fruit and vegetables are rejected even before they reach the shops. This is mostly because they don’t match the consumers’ and supermarkets’ high cosmetic standards for size, colour and shape. Sadly, by expecting all fresh food to look perfect, we contribute to this unsustainable problem.

When food is thrown out, the water, fuel and resources that it took to get it from the paddock to the plate are also wasted. What a huge cost!

So why is so much food wasted? Many people don’t check the fridge or menu plan so end up buying and cooking too much food. Some people don’t know how to use leftovers or throw food out before the use-by or best-before date. Planning and sticking to a shopping list can help this problem.

"Imagine walking out of a grocery store with four bags of groceries, dropping one in the parking lot, and not bothering to pick it up. That's essentially what we're doing in our homes today." Dana Gunders quote on food waste


Permaculture Principles

Permaculture has some practical design guidelines for creating a sustainable garden, particularly when it comes to avoiding waste in its many forms.

‘Produce no waste’ Permaculture Principle:

When it comes to food waste, my goal is to have none. All the food we grow or buy is reused in one form or another to produce a yield. It adds value to our meals or garden in some way. Let’s look at a few ways you can ‘close the loop’ on food waste at home.

  • Grow as many crops as you can so there’s no packaging or wasted fruit and vegetables in your fridge. Pick fresh ingredients as you need them.
  • Eat all edible parts of the crops you grow. e.g. Beetroot, radish, squash, pumpkin, carrot and brassica leaves can be used fresh in salads or added to soups, stir-fries and cooked meals. Spinach and chard stems are just as tasty and nutritious as the leaves. Edible flowers from your herbs and vegetables add nutrition and flavour to your plate. Roasted pumpkin seeds make a delicious high-protein snack.
  • Regrow food from peels, seeds and roots to save money on buying new plants.

In this video, I share a few simple tips on ways to use 100% of your food in the kitchen to save seeds, propagate new plants, cook creatively and compost to close the loop on food ‘waste’. If you need seeds and plants to grow an edible garden, you may be surprised just how easy it is to grow food for free from what you already have in your fridge!

  • Learn to cook creatively with leftover ingredients.
  • The nutrients and moisture in kitchen food scraps such as peelings, cores, stems, roots and eggshells for example, can be recycled back into the garden. Food waste can be:
    • Composted by earthworms and decomposers in the soil food web to create ‘humus’, the finished product. Humus is a natural fertiliser rich in nutrients and helps stabilise your soil, reducing the need for purchasing inputs. No plastic bags! Compost also creates heat during the decomposition process, which can be used to keep neighbouring plant roots warm.
    • Added to a worm farm to produce worm castings (vermicast) as a solid fertiliser and liquid concentrate to feed plants.
    • Fed to animals like chickens. They convert the nutrients in the food scraps into manure, another valuable money-saving input for your garden. Chickens also produce eggs as a food source.
    • Processed into another form to fertilise your garden. e.g. eggshells can be ground into a fine calcium-rich powder. You can add this product to compost systems, worm farms or potting mix; sprinkle it into the soil; and make it into a liquid fertiliser. Banana peels also make a wonderful free fertiliser.

7 Benefits of Adding Food ‘Waste’ to your Garden

Recycling the nutrients in your food scraps:

  1. Improves your soil fertility and structure.
  2. Adds moisture to your soil.
  3. Feeds the microorganism community and enhances biodiversity.
  4. Encourages free self-sown ‘volunteer’ seedlings to germinate from compost, saving time and money.
  5. Provides you with free fertilisers.
  6. Increases your yields.
  7. Avoids landfill with the associated transport and energy required.

Hungry for value from your vegetable garden?

One of the easiest ways to double your harvest from lettuce is to REGROW a second head from the base. Loose-leaf lettuce varieties like this baby Cos (as well as Asian greens, celery and spring onions), will quickly grow new roots and leaves if given the right conditions. In this video, you’ll see how quick and simple it is to encourage new root and leaf growth so you can replant your lettuce and pick a second time! Make every vegetable count and provide you with the maximum harvest possible to save money. When your lettuce finally goes to seed, save them and you’ll never have to buy lettuce ever again! An easy low-cost way to grow good health.

‘Catch and Store Energy’ Permaculture Principle:

Composting captures the energy and nutrients in kitchen and garden waste and converts them into healthy soil. One method is to chop and drop green ‘waste’ as mulch. Layering the nutrients feeds plants and protects the soil from moisture loss and erosion.

Another way to store the energy embodied in our food crops is to preserve it when it’s in season. Sometimes we have a surplus. A lemon tree may have many fruits at once. Preserving them as marmalade or preserved lemons helps reduce potential food waste.

If you have an abundance of fresh herbs, you can dry them for when they are not in season to use in herbal teas, as seasonings and medicine.

I often make a ‘clean out the fridge’ soup with leftovers that are perfectly fine to eat. Download my Free Recipe. You’re welcome to adapt it to whatever ingredients you have on hand.

video
play-sharp-fill

These sustainable practices help minimise food waste and build a healthier garden that feeds you for longer.


Resources to Help you Grow Food

These are a few articles to dig into:

9 Foods You Can Regrow From Kitchen Scraps | The Micro Gardener



Affiliate Links: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Your support of this site is appreciated!


What to Plant Now in Subtropical SE QLD

April is a time of transitioning from summer to autumn. We expect cooler days and nights, lower humidity (yay!) and fewer pest insects. Hopefully, perfect growing conditions if we get rain. Download your April Gardening Tips PDF

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. 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 Gardenate.com (USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa)


PLANT PROFILE: Spring Onions

(Allium fistulosum) – this vegetable is one of the easiest, most compact and nutritious vegetables to grow. I have them tucked in tight spaces all over my garden. I treat them like chives when young but they can get as thick and tall as leeks as they mature. The flavour is mild and ideal for salads, stir fries, egg dishes and as an onion substitute. Sow regularly for a continuous harvest. Their pretty white pom pom flowers you can see here gift you free seeds.

Spring onions (Allium fistulosum) are a member of the onion family

Spring onions (Allium fistulosum) are a member of the onion family

Spring Onions Like:
  • Well-drained, humus-rich soil. Add compost and mulch.
  • Soil pH 6-7. Add lime if your soil is too acidic or sulphur if too alkaline.
  • Regular watering + a sunny position.
  • Liquid fertiliser 2-3 times while growing. To keep the leaves green, I feed mine diluted seaweed or a weak ‘tea’ made by soaking worm castings, comfrey or compost in water.
Spring Onions Dislike: 
  • Being planted near peas and beans.
  • Drying out and getting stressed.
  • Weed competition.
  • Feeling hungry!

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Sustainable Gardening Tips for March

Welcome to the March newsletter. To grow a sustainable garden, we need to make thoughtful informed choices in tune with our values, time, resources and energy. If we can’t sustain our garden, it won’t sustain us!

Sustainable Gardening Tips for March

This month I’m sharing ways to garden more sustainably with seeds. Within a seed is the gift of life. Every tiny seed gives birth to a new plant. Amazing! Food crop seeds have an especially high value. Every gardener has a role to play in preserving the biodiversity of their own home seed bank. If we are to have a resilient, healthy garden with plants that have the characteristics to survive climate challenges, it’s vital to select and save seeds wisely. What we sow, we reap!

“The seeds that bring forth life and food for our planet and its people are indispensable for the continuity of all living things. Thus our care for seeds is one of the most vital things we can do amid our many challenges of the present.” — Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-director, Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University and Emerging Earth Community

Sustainable Gardening Tips for March - Sowing and Saving Safe Seeds | The Micro Gardener

How to Choose Seeds for Sowing and Saving

One of the vital steps in growing a sustainable garden is choosing the types of seeds to plant. Biodiversity builds resilience. Certified organic, open-pollinated, heirloom seeds and these types that are grown in home gardens without chemicals are safe to grow and save seeds from. They will grow ‘true-to-type’, like their parent plants. Safe seeds have inbuilt DNA from generations past.

The seed banks we have today are the result of dedicated gardeners who carefully selected their best crops to save seeds from. The tallest. Strongest. Those that had superior size or flavour. I’m grateful to these past gardeners and farmers for the work they did on our behalf. What we eat today is a result of their efforts. Food for thought! Farmers and gardeners a hundred years ago had a significantly greater diversity of plant varieties than we do today. Sadly, we are losing vast numbers of crop varieties to genetically modified industrial monocultures. Every seed we save makes a difference.

Safe seeds are not the only options in the market. When I first started saving seeds in 2009, I had a LOT to learn! Hybrid, genetically modified (GMO) and chemically treated seeds have no place in my organic garden. Watching Genetic Roulette is a great summary of information. Whilst hybrids have their place, especially in ornamental gardens, they are not suitable for home gardeners to save seeds from. That’s because they have been bred from different plant parents so you won’t know what you’re getting.

Before purchasing seeds, if you want to be able to save them and avoid varieties that can be harmful to health, read the description carefully. Visit the ‘About Us’ or ‘About our Seed’ page to find out more about the philosophy and source of the seeds you intend to purchase. We can support seed sustainability by buying from companies that help preserve seed diversity. Look for those selling traditional varieties that have been handed down for generations. These heirloom open-pollinated seeds help to sustain our seed diversity and food security. Small decisions with a big impact. Here’s a list of companies around the world with heirloom, open-pollinated and organic seed production.

My goal as a seed steward is to source and save seed varieties that have robust flavours, aromas and colours, pest and disease resistance, high yields and are drought-hardy. I also look for varieties that are compact for small gardens, mature earlier or later to extend the harvest and those well adapted to my region. Why? So my garden is resilient, productive, easy to maintain and I have fewer problem plants.

Saving seeds saves money and helps to garden on a budget


Positive Seed Saving Steps

1. I encourage you to start saving seeds from your garden and swap them with other local gardeners. These varieties will adapt well to your local conditions. An easy-to-save crop like lettuce is an ideal variety to start with. At least you’ll be sustainable in one food crop! If you want to upskill with an easy-to-follow guide, check out the Seed Saving & Collecting Guide.

2. Contribute your seeds to a local seed saving group or seed bank.

Download your FREE printable Seed Packet Template.

3. Join a seed library. Seed ‘libraries’ have recently started up in our local community. These are a great initiative. Library members can not only borrow books but also take locally grown seeds home to sow and save. At the end of the season, they return them to their library to share with others in the community. If you haven’t got a seed library in your community, why not get one started? From little things, BIG things grow!

Learn more about rekindling the lost art of seed saving.

“There is no more beautiful gift from nature than the seed — and its protection is vital to our survival.” – Vandana Shiva

Saving organically grown edible cosmos flower seeds from my garden

Saving organically grown edible cosmos flower seeds from my garden


Self-Sown Seeds

Annual crops may ‘bolt to seed’ or progress to the flowering stage of maturity, in hot or dry weather, or just at the end of their natural life. If you don’t get a chance to collect the seed, the plant may naturally disperse them by wind, animals or birds. When you move your compost into the garden, there may still be viable seeds in it with the perfect growing environment.

You may see seedlings popping up in places you never sowed them! These ‘volunteer’ seedlings often make the best plants. They have saved you the time and effort of seed raising. The resulting seedlings are often strong and healthy. What do you do with them? (more…)

Sustainable Gardening Tips for February

Welcome to the February newsletter. This year, I’m focusing on helping you grow a sustainable garden. Plants and strategies that sustain you in food, health and medicine. Helping you design a garden you can manage with your unique time, energy, money and resources. A garden isn’t sustainable if you lose your joy, it costs too much and you don’t get the results from your investment.

Sustainable Gardening Tips for February

This month we are looking at ways to save and use water wisely to grow a healthy garden. I rely on rainwater tanks for our house/garden water supply. I’m very conscious of every drop. I intentionally capture, recycle and use water to help the garden thrive. Read on as I share some of my watering practices and principles with you.

There is so much instability in the world. Food producers are closing due to labour shortages and food facility sabotage. Here in Australia, we’re facing a potato shortage. You’re likely aware of accelerating inflation and food prices; fertiliser shortages; supply problems due to transport system disruptions; biosecurity threats; unnatural weather and climate impacts of floods, storms and droughts on crops and farms. Many factors are increasing the likelihood of global famines in the near future. Some countries may experience food riots and rationing. NOW is the time to be growing an edible survival garden with urgency. Find joy in taking empowering actions. Be prepared, upskill and network within your community with like-minded souls. I look forward to helping you grow.


"As I work on the garden the garden works on me" quote garden art sign

“As I work on the garden, the garden works on me.”

The clouds in our minds seem to disappear in connection with Nature. A garden gifts us that healing feeling. If you are experiencing stress and anxiety, especially related to health problems, the good news is that gardening provides us with a wealth of health and wellbeing benefits

“Swedish research studies (Stigsdotter and Grahn, 2004; Stigsdotter, 2005) found that people who had access to a garden had significantly fewer stress occasions per year. They found those living in apartments without a balcony or outdoor area had more stress annually than those with a patio or small garden. Those who had the least stress were people with a large leafy garden, and the more frequently people spent time there, the less stress they suffered.”

Read my article on ‘Growing a Garden for Health and Wellbeing.’ Food for thought!


10 Water Saving Tips for your Garden

Water is a precious resource we need for healthy plants. These easy practical water-saving tips help you save money and manage water wisely in hot, dry weather and drought. By re-evaluating your garden design and watering habits, you can eliminate inefficient practices that waste water and grow your garden more sustainably.

Hand watering with watering can



Affiliate Links: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Your support of this site is appreciated!


14 Water Saving Tips for Container Gardens

Download this PRINTABLE PDF with easy ways to conserve water and grow more sustainable container gardens. It’s packed with simple steps you can take to minimise moisture loss and plant stress, choose plants and pots wisely, and make more informed decisions. Enjoy!

Water saving tips for container gardens


What to Plant Now in Subtropical SE QLD

It’s summer! Heat, humidity, dry spells, storms + rain, sometimes! A challenging growing season in our climate. Time to protect your crops from pests and a wide variety of weather conditions. Download your February Gardening Tips PDF

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. 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 Gardenate.com (USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa)


PLANT PROFILE: Aloe Vera – Living First Aid Plant

Aloe vera barbadensis is one of the lowest maintenance, easy-to-grow perennial herbs on the planet. Everyone should grow at least one plant! It’s a long-lasting evergreen herb with a compact habit, spiky leaves and attractive flowers. Perfectly suited to pots or garden beds. Aloe is an attractive indoor plant, especially in a well-lit bathroom where you can use it as an anti-aging moisturiser, after-shave balm and to promote collagen production. We cut ‘fillets’ from the leaf daily for this purpose. Aloe is an excellent healer for all skin ailments including rashes, bites, stings, sunburn, dry skin, grazes, infections, acne, blisters, scar tissue and burns (keep a few fillets in the freezer). There are numerous research studies that reveal it has anti-aging properties as well as anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and six antiseptic agents to name a few. Dip cuttings into aloe vera gel to promote rooting hormones when propagating. If you only have room for one medicinal herb, this should be top of your list! Read More

Aloe vera herb fillets with healing gel

Aloe vera leaf fillets with healing gel


Shop Gardening Guides and Resources

Use Coupon Code: 10%OFF during checkout to save 10% on all gardening guides and books.

If you are still taking potluck and sowing at any time, your results will likely vary! Some plants might thrive while others fail, bolt to seed, wither or seeds never germinate. Adjusting the timing can make the difference between a productive garden and a frustrating one. It may help to learn more about the benefits of moon gardening. You’ll wish you’d done it sooner!


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Sustainable Gardening Tips for January

Welcome to the January newsletter. A fresh opportunity to plan your gardening projects and grow your knowledge. What seeds of change will you sow, grow and nourish this year? Without intention, goals and action, nothing changes! I have spent time reflecting on what I achieved last year after moving to a new property and starting a garden from scratch. I put in the thought, time and effort and it has paid off. We eat out of our garden daily with significantly less reliance on outside sources. Now is a great time to think about your goals and plan this year’s garden. I encourage you to start small if you’re a beginner gardener to build your confidence and save money. If you already have a garden, perhaps set a goal to expand it with new plants or improve your harvests.

Container gardens with salad greens and herbs are easy, portable and affordable

Container gardens with salad greens and herbs are easy, portable and budget-friendly


Sustainable Gardening Tips for January

There is so much instability in the world. Food producers are closing due to labour shortages and food facility sabotage. You’re likely aware of accelerating inflation and food prices; fertiliser shortages; supply problems due to transport system disruptions; biosecurity threats; unnatural weather and climate impacts of floods, storms and droughts on crops and farms. Many factors are increasing the likelihood of global famines in the near future. Some countries may experience food riots and rationing. NOW is the time to be growing an edible garden with urgency. Find joy in taking empowering actions. Be prepared, upskill and network within your community with like-minded souls.

Time to focus on sustainability! It makes sense to consider how you will sustain your health, food supply, nutrition, and ability to maintain your garden long-term. A few tips:

Relying on supermarkets and long-distance food delivery systems won’t be sustainable when prices are too high, supplies are short or unavailable. When health is compromised, energy levels are low. It’s all in the ‘too-hard basket’ to feel like gardening or growing food. It’s wise to have a plan to hedge against threats like ill health and the unavailability of seeds or garden materials. Remember in 2020 how there was a run on seeds and they sold out?

Do you feel confident your garden can meet your needs with herbal and natural remedies and survival food and medicinal plants? It’s a thought worth pondering. Self-reliance is empowering. Self-sufficiency gives you a level of control over your life, food, emotional wellbeing and ability to thrive rather than just survive. I never underestimate how vital nutritious food is to sustain health. It’s wise to keep in mind Hippocrates’ words: “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.”

Tips for Sustainable Gardening from my Garden

The Micro Gardener's kitchen garden and harvests

One of my raised beds with vegetables, herbs and edible flowers and some of my harvests this week. 4kg of cherry tomatoes and 18 pumpkins!

I’m designing my kitchen garden for optimum production with minimal inputs of time, water and energy. I am intentionally planting low-maintenance species that provide multi-functional benefits. If you choose plants wisely, they can play many useful roles. My biodiverse garden includes edibles and flowers for food, colour and beneficial insects; compact early maturing species that provide quick harvests in tight spaces; herbs for flavour and medicine; and companion plants that minimise pests and diseases or create useful microclimates. Even after a short time, I am seeing the benefits of implementing these design features in my garden. Consistently abundant harvests, vibrant resilient plants, a balanced ecosystem and living nutrient-rich soil. Reach out if you need personalised advice or help.

Getting the principles right and growing strong healthy plants is like giving your children that vital support before you send them off to school. You give them a good grounding so they will survive on their own for periods of time without you! That’s what designing a sustainable garden is all about. Providing the foundations for resilient plants. It’s incredibly satisfying.

Encourage Fast Plant Growth by Getting your Timing Right

I grow plants such as Queensland Arrowroot (Canna edulis) and Comfrey (Symphytum spp.) as ‘chop and drop’ mulch and compost ingredients. They help build bulk organic matter in the soil quickly and add vital nutrients. In this video, I show you how pruning your plants back and taking cuttings at the right time of the monthly moon cycle can make a massive difference to your results. Timing is everything in gardening! You might be surprised at just how fast plants grow when sap flow is running high. I hope you enjoy it. Plus you get a peek into my compact home pharmacy garden next to the house for quick remedies.

During the new moon to full moon phase, it’s an ideal time to sow and transplant all above-ground plants. The moon influences the movement of all water on earth. Not just the tides, but also the water table, soil moisture and plant sap. Seasonal leafy greens, fruiting crops, shrubs, herbs and trees are best planted at this time. I take advantage of this cycle each month to maximise new growth, encourage flowering and fruiting, germinate seeds and propagate from cuttings. With more nutrients available in the plant sap, they ‘strike’ much faster.

If you are still taking potluck and sowing at any time, your results will likely vary! Some plants might thrive while others fail, bolt to seed, wither or seeds never germinate. Adjusting the timing can make the difference between a productive garden and a frustrating one. It may help to learn more about the benefits of moon gardening. You’ll wish you’d done it sooner!

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June 2017 Newsletter

Organic Gardening Tips for an Abundant Harvest

June 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to the June Newsletter. 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 an abundant, healthy garden in just minutes. Dig in and help others by sharing these tips!


Tips on Harvesting Pumpkin

In this quick video lesson, I share simple ideas to help you with ways to harvest pumpkin to avoid waste and cure it to improve storage life.

video
play-sharp-fill
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7 Sustainable Garden Design Tips

Want a productive, edible and sustainable garden? One that nourishes you with healing delicious foods? Growing your own organic food garden is one easy way to live more sustainably and tread lighter on the planet.

7 Sustainable Garden Design Tips

When you ‘shop’ for fresh ingredients from your garden, you save time and energy. Home gardeners don’t need to use huge amounts of precious water, toxic petrochemical fertilisers, expensive fuel, transport, tonnes of material and lots of land. Designed cleverly, a small sustainable garden avoids wasting resources and minimises environmental impact.

I believe being ‘sustainable’ is a lifestyle that helps sustain you physically and provides you with short and long-term benefits. Being a sustainable gardener is about making conscious choices about the actions you take and the resources you use. Giving back to the earth and not just taking from it.

Recycling food waste back into the garden is a sustainable practice

Recycling food waste back into the garden is a sustainable practice

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