Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Number 1:

When do you think is the best time to strike cuttings from a White Mulberry? Supposedly when the tree loses its leaves but mine is desultory in that regard and before you know it, the mulberry starts working on new season growth.

Number 2:

I want to plant out a few lines of popping corn -- what you reckon about the week after Easter? Catch the last of the heat for germination, right? I've trialed store bought popcorn and it will strike but I'd like to get another crop in this coming school term.

Number 3:

Some children have donated a pair of Mandarin  saplings grown from seed. They have taken well -- but since I'm pretty much fruit ignorant, are citrus seed growns worth persevering with?

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Autumn is a great time to take cuttings. Keep them in a warm spot. Mulberry should be comparatively easy to strike. Keep them moist but not soaked. 

Curious about the popping corn - will it actually grow a cob worth eating?

Any seed grown plant is a raffle. You could end up with something worthwhile... but probably not. If you have room for curiosity's then plant away.

Will be interesting to see how corn grows have planted sweet corn in February a couple of times and start out with hot weather then  a week overcast   and then a cyclone flooding rain  and the corn flowerer's  early  winter can be warm during the day but will the cold nights have an effect.

No answers Dave, just more questions ... popping corn when fresh - is that palatable?

Don't know if it is tasty when fresh but you dry it out by bundling up the cobs and hanging them for drying for at least 3-4 weeks.-- or slowly in an oven.

 I think I'll buy organic for sowing. (LINK) in case.

Since Popcorn is dirt cheap to buy for popping, why grow it and then dry it out? I figured that Popcorn was a cheap source of seeds for sowing ... maybe not, then. So I figured that it must be being grown to eat fresh.

It's good to buy organic but the commercial stuff becomes organic once it is grown in our own yards and you save the seed. The corn for eating would not have any toxic stuff added so buying 'seeds for sprouting' or equivalent (eg Limas for cooking) would be a way to go. Plenty of us grow Pineapples from commercial tops and they seem to work out OK. I reckon that generations of Biodynamic or even organic seeds would be more hardy and healthy than commercial conventional but they are not so available and we have to start somewhere.

A packet of corn seed corn offers you 20 seeds.A packet of pop corn offers 100s.

There's no way you can work with over 200 kids with 20 seeds.

I was thinking 'organic' as a way to get around hybridization...and once harvested and dried the children eat the popped corn.

It's a learning exercise.

Ears of corn don't go far enough after harvest.You need volume and celebration of the harvest especially if the children can communally eat their labours.

Good points, Dave - I get the picture!

White Mulberry  have you looked at Air layering. to get a new plant .

Hoping one day, I might be able to get a cutting of a white mulberry plant, I read that propagating the plants by taking softwood cuttings in late spring or early summer is much faster.  In a pot with a plastic covering maybe, and just kept moist.  The white mulberry is the easiest to strike from a cutting.

I don't know anything about growing popcorn, sorry.  

Growing citrus seeds the natural way, is pot luck, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. We did it as kids and it took years to fruit, but we had time and space, in those days.  The big Alli store is selling grafted citrus at a fair price at the moment. 

By 'white mulberry' do you mean the Shahtoot - or the 'English' one which is pale green instead of black?

I think I have Shahtoot growing.

I've struck mulberry before but usually not so early as this and was keen to move on.

Thank's Jeff, maybe I should air layer....

I have a white mulberry but I'm not sure if it is 'Shahtoot'  but it is Morus alba. I haven't grown it for long but the fruiting is very poor.

I wanted white mulberries for the school garden as the black would mean the kids go home with stained clothes and I'd have the parents on my back.

Mulberry is one of the few trees that grow well here.

As for the popcorn. I planted some supermarket corn in pots and it is thriving. But I chased down some organic stock and will use that in the hope it will run truer. I'm planning on running 3-4 lines of popcorn along both sides of a straight pathway so that the kids can lose themselves in the growth.

Our sunflower maze is coming on but I do hope the plants grow taller than they currently suggest as the cooler weather may have got to them...or the stock I bought (bird food) may be of the shorter persuasion.

Just on the sweet corn -- here's a question for those who grew up eating it from their family garden: when picked absolutely fresh how edible/tasty is it without cooking it? It would be more convenient to feed the children that way in order to capture the 24 hour window. Otherwise we'd need to wait a week between harvest and consumption.

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