Gardening Tips for October

Connecting with nature is healing on so many levels. I hope you’ve been spending time in your garden – big or small. The past few weeks I’ve been busy filming for a project and helping clients set up new gardens on balconies, rooftops, front and backyards, Zooming all over the world! I love every minute of this work. Growing food and medicinal plants is one of the most empowering things we can do to take care of our physical and mental health, especially in uncertain times. Food security has never been more important. I’ve also been designing my urban garden to maximise space vertically and growing lots of food in containers, attracting beneficial insects and improving the soil. In this newsletter, I’m sharing practical resources to help you learn more about container gardening and how to manage a common pest insect – the fungus gnat + gardening tips for this month. So let’s dig right in!

Gardening Tips for October | The Micro Gardener


Why do potted plants die?

As container gardeners, our plants are dependent on us for survival. Their roots can’t just reach out and find the moisture and nutrients they need outside their pot ‘home’! The most common reasons for killing potted plants are:

  • Overwatering them. They drown due to waterlogged roots and lack of air spaces in poorly drained mix.
  • Underwatering them. They don’t have sufficient moisture to rehydrate and take up soluble nutrients.
  • Not feeding them by meeting their nutritional needs, so they ‘starve’ due to an empty ‘soil pantry’.
  • Using a poor quality potting mix or garden soil. Potting mixes tend to dry out, become hydrophobic and repel moisture quickly. Garden soil often compacts, doesn’t drain well and may contain plant pathogens.
  • Not repotting them when they outgrow their home. Roots become ‘pot bound’ if not upgraded to a bigger pot.
  • Putting them in the wrong spot – too hot, cold, frosty, windy, shady or sunny for their particular needs.
  • Neglecting them altogether. Bad plant ‘parenting’!

So how do you avoid these problems and save your plants?


7 Tips to Avoid Killing your Container Plants

If you’ve accidentally murdered one of your plants or turned it into a ‘dried arrangement’, don’t feel too guilty! Compost it and reuse your potting mix to start again. These are some simple tips to avoid future potted plant casualties.

7 Tips to Avoid Killing your Container Plants

  1. Start with a good quality potting mix that has excellent structure, holds moisture and nutrients and drains well. Even better, make your own potting mix for more control than a commercial mix or amend a bagged mix. This is my recipe.
  2. Choose your pot wisely. If you live in a hot climate, terracotta pots may not be the best choice as they dry out quickly. Do your homework and compare different materials and options.
  3. Water consistently and appropriately. It can be tricky to know how often to water. Some plants need more moisture than others. Large-leafed plants, fruiting and flowering crops, and thirsty herbs like mint typically have greater water needs than small-leafed herbs, succulents and perennials. Large pots in the shade won’t need watering as often as small containers in a sunny or windy position. Avoid waterlogging by leaving the plant sitting in water.
  4. Treat houseplants differently. Indoor plants have lower light levels so they use water comparatively slowly. They need to dry out a little between waterings (but not bone dry). Learn to ‘read’ your plant’s clues before the whole plant turns brown and crispy! I only water my houseplants every 10 days or so when a particular Spathiphyllum, Mr Droopy lets me know it’s seaweed spa day! They all go into a deep bucket for a refreshing deep drink, drain and hose down.
  5. Keep a garden journal if you’re busy or forgetful. I’ve found this really helpful for keeping a record of which plants need more or less moisture and general observations. A watering routine before/after work or a set time may help.
  6. Repot when needed. If you notice roots extending out the base of the pot, it’s time to transplant into a bigger one.
  7. Maintain plant nutrition. If you’re initially potting up a plant, add the nutrients to your potting mix. Liquid feeds are really useful to apply trace elements. A seasonal application of compost, worm castings, slow-release minerals and mulch will keep your plants healthy and happy.

Dig into more Container Gardening Tips.

(more…)

Peek Over the Fence into My Garden

Time for an update on what’s happening in my garden as I take you on a bit of a tour. In the past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed ‘winter.’ If you live in a genuinely cold climate, you’d probably laugh at what I call ‘winter’ here! In this subtropical SE Queensland climate, it’s mainly cold nights and moderately cool sunny days for a few weeks, with virtually no pests to worry about.

Peek over the fence into The Micro Gardener's garden

I’ll take you on a quick tour of my garden

 

However, it’s dry! I haven’t had rain for a few weeks now, and nothing forecast in the foreseeable future. With two-thirds of this state and 98% of NSW Australia, drought declared, we have to get used to gardening without regular rainfall. It’s tough so you need to have strategies to cope.

A Seasonal Approach to Gardening

I try to time my planting throughout the year, to work in with the weather I live with. That means getting the timing right with preparing, planting, fertilising, maintaining and harvesting.

I mostly get that right, but when busy, I miss things too! That’s where lessoned are learned.

Spring arrived here early mid July. Normally sometime in August but not this year! The unseasonal warm weather has been a catalyst for turning on the ‘Spring switch’ in many plants already. 

I carefully watch the signs in my garden and climate, so I am ready to plant the right edibles at the best time.

 

(more…)

12 Valuable Tips to Grow Healthy Microgreens

Do you want an abundant harvest of healthy microgreens? Whether you’re growing these nutrient-packed vegetables and herbs for your own health or to sell, these tips can help you succeed quickly.

12 Tips on How to Grow Healthy Microgreens

I’ve been growing microgreens for over 6 years and raised thousands of these tiny vegies and herbs in that time. Not only for our own use and good health, but also to share at public workshops and garden events to help inspire others.

I love these babies and have learned SO much about their needs. So, here are a few of my secrets to help you get a continuous abundance of healthy microgreens.

(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…)

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 the impact on the environment.

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

(more…)

3 Tips on Growing Peas and Beans

Do you love the crisp sweet crunch of young peas and beans? These easy-to-grow crops are perfect for all gardeners in small urban spaces. In pots, plots or garden beds!

3 Tips for Growing Peas and Beans

How do you get the highest yield from your peas and beans, especially if you have limited space?

These are tips I use to grow healthy pea and bean plants that produce an abundant harvest. I hope they help you too.

3 Tips for Growing Peas and Beans

1. Healthy Soil and Fertilising

  • Peas and beans both prefer well drained, moist soils, with plenty of organic matter and a soil pH 6.0-7.5.
  • You can make your own potting mix like I do, or improve your soil with compost and worm castings if you have them. I also add minerals and mulch. Click here for tips on preparing your soil for planting.
  • Every couple of weeks apply a liquid fertiliser such as seaweed, fish emulsion or diluted worm casting concentrate to boost growth.

(more…)

March 2017 Newsletter

Organic Gardening Tips for an Abundant Harvest

Welcome to the March Newsletter. I’m sorry it’s a little late due to my work commitments, but I’ve put together some helpful tips to get you growing and inspired.

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!


How to Grow More Basil Leaves

In this quick 2 minute video clip, I share tips on how to grow more leaves on your basil plants. I show you an easy technique to stimulate new growth so you get an abundant harvest of this delicious herb.

Like this video? Let me know in the comments if you found this helpful.

(more…)

2017-12-03T14:51:26+10:00Categories: Newsletters|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

9 Foods You Can Regrow from Kitchen Scraps

Are you growing an edible garden? One easy way to save money is to grow some of your plants for free. How? From leftover food scraps that are often thrown away!

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

9 Foods You Can Regrow From Kitchen Scraps

You may already be composting your kitchen ‘waste’. That’s a great way to build healthy soil. However, it may save you money to be selective before throwing everything into your compost system. There are many plant parts that can help you propagate new plants. For minimal effort and no cost.

Why Should You Only Regrow Organic Food?

  • First, a word of warning! For health reasons, I suggest you select organic vegetables, fruit and herbs. Too expensive? So is the cost of poor health! I think safe food is one of the best investments we can make.
  • Sadly, non-organic produce is grown using chemicals. Not just one spray either. It’s commonly a cocktail of herbicides, fungicides, pesticides and other -icides. These are applied during the growth cycle and even after harvesting. These are often systemic chemicals. That means you can’t wash them off the skin.
  • The chemicals are absorbed internally into the plant tissues through soil and water. Root crops like potatoes are especially vulnerable. Other crops are genetically modified or imported and radiated.

(more…)

How to Choose the Healthiest Seedlings … and NOT buy duds!

If you’re serious about saving money in your garden, then growing plants from seed is definitely the smartest choice.  It’s about 10 times cheaper than buying seedlings!

 

The reality is though, we’re often busy and don’t always have the time, knowledge or space to raise plants from seed. If you do buy seedlings, how can you avoid wasting money on unhealthy ones or those that are destined prematurely for the compost? Photo: Susy Morris

You can save at least 3-6 weeks time by starting your garden with seedlings rather than seeds – perfect if you’re impatient or have a short growing season.

The reality is though, we’re often busy and don’t always have the time, knowledge or space to raise plants from seed. If you DO buy seedlings, how can you avoid wasting money on unhealthy ones or those that are destined prematurely for the compost?

I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and been seriously cheesed off after ending up with ‘dried arrangements’ not long after planting what appeared to be ‘healthy’ new seedlings!

 

Dead plants give a new meaning to 'thin & crispy'!

I hate wasting money and time on plants that cark it with no warning – especially when I give them my usual love and attention.

 

I figure ‘failures’ are  just learning opportunities! So over time, I’ve done some digging to find out what contributed to my unplanned compost additions. I hope sharing my experiences will help you avoid ‘dried arrangements’ at your place … (more…)

Go to Top