Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I'm thinking about a three sisters guild - you plant corn seedlings, and at the foot of each one you plant some climbing bean seeds. Throughout the plot you plant some pumpkin seeds. The corn is harvested first. The climbing beans provide nitrogen and use the corn stalks as living trellis. The pumpkin provides a living mulch. It's an American Indian guild. Planting them together saves space and water. I've done it before, but never had it really go off like I've seen in pictures. Try again.

Other things I've been saving for Spring include:
* zucchini
* cucumber
* squash
* maybe eggplant/ capsicum - admit I don't really enjoy them

Closer to summer I'll probably go for:
* rockmelon
* watermelon
* luffa (love growing these)
* snake beans
* asparagus pea (like the picture in the banner)
* yam again
* afraid I don't really like okra much
* maybe new guinea bean

What else?

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I will be trying a few new ones (remember my garden journey started in May/ June). but I already have been growing and will continue to plant new seedlings of asian lettuce, various herbs, bok choy, silverbeet, tomatoes, brocolli & beetroot. Oh and my sunflowers are already starting to flower but they are only about a metre high, will certainly plant more of these but will have to make sure I harvest some seeds as there aren't many in a packet.

I am trying to get some flower seeds up so I can plant them around (something I read said to) but not having much luck - have love in a mist, nasturtium, coneflower & californian poppy but only the nasturtium came up so far - my comfrey seeds haven't come up yet either.

I have some seeds in already (too impatient probably but then my tomatoes grew fantastic over winter but the packet said they wouldn't) for capsicum (mixed italian fryer), chilli, rockmelon (Israli Ha-ogen), strawberry (temptation) & watermelon (golden midget). I am also going to try again with the zuchini in a different bed as my current ones have a fungus that makes the older leaves go completely white - obviously that bed will be changed to something else for spring/ summer.

Also thinking of getting some Sun & Moon melon and a pumpkin seeds which I will let run over the grass or train on a trellis. The asparagus bean you mentioned sounds fantastic - I will be placing (yet another) order for some more seeds from diggers very soon - I think this time I have some free ones from my subscription so wont cost me as much lol.

For summer I have some peanut seeds that I can't wait to try, and I saw something about ground nuts somewhere that look interesting.
that sounds great
I've planted zucchini and cucumber so far, as well as continuing with the usual like you mention. also i've had another go at climbing beans, but now the artichokes have gone beserk and may ruin my plans about the space for the beans. the bean saga continues lol.
i've got some volunteer sunflowers up from last year (i cut the heads off before the rosellas ate the whole thing and left them to rot in garden beds) but like yours they are only little. i wonder if i'll get more as the season goes on. I've been sowing my sunflowers from seed (using a whole packet of bird seed from coles, so they end up very variable but plentiful) in around november and getting great results - and pale headed rosellas visiting the garden at dusk and dawn, which they never used to do.
i think i read somewhere that comfrey seeds are hard to strike - but I find that even the most terrible root cutting will multiply madly - to the point where, like mint, i advocate comfrey should be grown in a contained area. i'm scared of it - can be a real weed if it gets into somewhere you don't want it. makes a good orchard border type thing.
i think i struck strawberry seeds once then let them die when they were still tiny, oops. runners seems to work well though - and free is good :) my grandma always took a pair of nail scissors and a plastic bag in her handbag in case she saw something she wanted a piece of. i bet there'll be some comfrey at northey st or beelarong you could get a piece of. i was bushwalking recently and brought home a nice red bromeliad garden escapee this way :)
the flowers that seem to be reliable enough from seed up here for me are nasturtium (predatory wasps), marigold (anti-nematodes esp round tomatoes), alyssum (which attracts hover flies that attack scale and aphids), calendula (good anti-fungal), and coreopsis (which just looks nice as far as i know, doesn't last too well in vases though). letting carrots go to flower is good value too - otherwise known as Queen Anne's Lace. i've tried several wild flower seed mixes etc and nothing else seems to work.

hey yeah -peanuts! we grew them in cuba, but i wasn't around for harvest. i'll have to give them a go!

I am definitely going to try moon and stars watermelon this year. I bought some last time I was at Diggers. You know Northey St nursery sells non-hybrid seeds? and the Green Grocer in West End (Boundary st)
I never have luck with pumpkin seeds. I think they need fermenting first. My best luck always come from dumping some compost or a worm tray where I want the pumpkins to grow - but then i don't get any really interesting varieties but at least they grow. should probably try a bit of fermentation before i plant next time. i love that seed savers handbook - really useful. i'm going to try and save my tommy toe seeds (fermented and all)
I haven't heard of fermentation - do you mean to soak them in water (like beetroot) or in a sugar/ water mix?? I am having crap luck with seeds at the moment, but I think I may have it figured out now - leaving them in water once they have sprouted, have heard this causes 'dampening' but am not sure what that is...

I had 8 tomato seedlings last weekend but were too small so left them and this weekend only 3 had survived (in my little seed raising container). This week I have tried again with a weak seaweed solution on the bottom (1cm deep) then will keep a very good eye on them and as soon as I see any sprouting I will drain the water to leave it damp and sprinkle water every other day - hopefully will have more luck this time.

Will certainly have to get comfrey, it figures very heavily in my cheap green manure plans - putting leaves in a big black plastic bin and filling with water for a couple of weeks before watering on the garden beds.
damping off is a fungus/ mould disease - Pythium sp.
my seedlings like a water every morning and to be in semi-shade / filtered sunlight. otherwise it's really easy to lose them isn't it?
also if you use a polystyrene box only half full of medium in a morning sunlight spot they like that - you can use the sides of the box itself to produce shade earlier - or put up a little shadecloth sail to protect them
i found that my tomatoes germinated fine in the vegie garden - i just made a little spot for them amongst the other plants and kept them watered - good way to give them filtered light and make sure you don't forget them
and fermentation - it's in that book. lots of seeds you have to simulate what would happen to them in the wild - like a tomato would fall off the bush and then rot on the ground with the seeds inside. this softens the seed coat and then they germinate once the goo has dried off. so if you leave the seeds in a mixture of the tomato goo and some water for a few days until you see bubbles, then rinse and dry off, the germination rate will be a lot better. same for lots of other similar soft fruit - eg pawpaw, mango etc. The other thing that happens to these soft fruited seeds in the "wild" is they get eaten - and passing through a digestive tract has about the same effect (sometimes better than fermentation). You could try a bit of sugar. Some seeds need smoke to germinate - funky. Some need cold, some need hot water, some need to be scratched to break the seed coat dormancy. Some just need a jolly good soaking, some can't be let dry out or they'll never come good. Seed saving is a whole world of wonder.

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