Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Hi Guys,

I've recently moved to brisbane and for the first time have enough room to grow veg.. i was wondering what the most successful crops were? Below is results of my first experiment.

so far I have tried

-pumpkins (qld blue)

this did really well initially and i had high hopes as it they went crazy and took over the whole corner of the garden, but no pumpkins seemed to set successfully even after hand pollination.. there would be a small pumpkin appear but then just died.. the whole pumpkin plant died of in jan

-eggplants

these have been the real champions seem really hardy even over the long hot summer they bounced back after getting munched by insects.. got a load of eggplants and they're still going..

-zucchinis

these were kind of like the pumpkins initially they throve but then after producing one or two zucchinis seemed to quickly die off.. they didn't seem to put up with the heat and sun as well as the eggplants. Maybe these are bit too delicate for the climate?

-red and green chillis

alongside the eggplants these have done great.. just keep growing more and more chillis..i haven't really babied them too much just watered and fed a tiny bit when they looked to be lagging bit..but more chillis than i can eat so a real success..

-Tomatoes

these are a bit of a puzzle as when i moved to there were vines of tomatoes.. all doing really well but despite my efforts and even replanting a load of new ones from the nursery they all have died off..im not sure what i'm doing wrong as initially they produced loads but I'm not sure how to get the crop going again..

-spring onions and shallots

these actually did quite well although didn't grow to be massive specimens they were very tasty and flavourful..

-Silverbeet

I expected these to do better.. the insects really got at them though and they never really took off.. perhaps the soil or position of these wasn't right.. again a little mystery because prior to this kale did great ..

Herbs

-Basil grows like a weed way too much of it now.. too easy to grow really nice

-Coriander no matter what i do doesn't seem to want to do anything but curl up and die within a week

-Parsley also grows like an insane weed needed to cut it back as was taking over

-Sage and thyme happily bush as well..which is nice as i enjoy with roast veg

-Mint was a struggle.. never quite got off again not sure why as i've seen it go great in other gardens

Well there you go that was the result of my first year attempting to grow veg for the family in sunny Brisbane..i think my success or lack of success may just be my inexperience also the hot weather..planting in spring probably not a great idea here..

i have seen too many seedlings i got from the nursery die off in a pretty short space of time..trial and error i guess but they're quite expensive..

my ambition is to have a constant harvest of something or other.. I've got composting going but not all the veg seems to like it.. the seasol though has been a life saver.. 

Anyway all that to say there is certainly a lot to learn with this veg growing lark and i think i'm along ways from cracking it.. maybe i need to spend more time prepping the soil as i just chucked everything in the beds with some potting mix and let nature take its course.

Cheers,
Jon

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Hi Jon, sounds really great! I started my garden from scratch about this time last year with no knowledge, no experience and nothing but flat grass - so happy I can share something now: sweet potato!! Grows so well here it's not funny. Coming to the BLF garden visits is also a great way to not only exchange ideas but get seeds and cuttings of things that are doing well here. I had great success with Jap pumpkins and black jack zuccini over the summer, mainly left to abandon. For the mint I find it needs alot more shade and water than expected so i have them growng under the stairs where they get opportunistic watering. Other must haves: passionfruit, dragonfruit, pineapple, madagascar beans, banana, paw paw, choko

Welcome to Brisbane Jon - don't you just love the vagaries of growing food in this climate?

OK: usually what does well in Briz in the summer: cucurbits of one sort or another; Eggplants and Capsicums and as you've found, Chillies. Corn.

Right. Many of us have had major probs this summer so at least you are not alone.

The small Pumpkins can be harvested and eaten like they are either raw or cooked. You can eat the tips too, gently steamed or stir-fried (after peeling). Many of us have had fruit-setting problems with Pumpkins. No one really knows why.

Zucchs are a variable crop. More easily tamed are Tromboncino (search BLF for info, there's seeds around too).

Silverbeet does best in cooler weather as do all of the cabbage-family with exception of Brussel Sprouts which need much more cool than we have. Kale is better in cool weather too although some will grow on into the hot weather.

Tomatoes and Onion-family plants do best in cooler weather. Toms: grow the small-fruit varieties, they are tougher than the large-fruited ones although all get some wilts. Having a rich soil and giving them plenty of water is the key to it. After many years of disappointment, I now stick exclusively to small-fruited varieties.

You'll find what works best in your yard. Gardening is so much about the place you are in, micro-climate really says it all.

Look through this site and read up on soil microbes. They are not hard to encourage and are another key to how well everything grows. Arguably the absolute bottom line when it comes to healthy plants living in healthy soil.

Also go to the Library and take out books and magazines on organic gardening. Every book has something new to tell you. You never stop learning.

And do come to a garden visit if you can!

Oh and remember that most of our veg and all the common ones, come from either Europe or central America with temperate climates. The sub-tropics are a challenge and although there are tropical veg aground and many are available from growers on this site, many are an acquired taste and not found in the local seedling shop.

Hello Jon, welcome to Brisbane, you certainly picked a bad year to begin growing in summer. I endorse Elaine's comments. Most experienced gardeners do not grow very much in summer as the conditions are just too difficult. If you've got good soil you have a better chance, but It will still be a challenge. The high humidity means that cucurbits will need help to combat mildew issues. Tomatoes are very difficult but the cherry types will grow and fruit well and not be as susceptible to fruit fly. As you've identified Eggplants, chillies love the heat. Silverbeet does not. I've grown Italian Fryer Capsicums with success this year so they must like the heat. 

Sweetcorn, Madgascar Beans, Chokos (pick them small), and passionfruit also love the heat.

I cover up most of my above ground beds in summer to protect the soil from the heat. I grow Ginger. Turmeric, and Jap Pumpkins. In a normal summer the pumpkins will grow well, but what we've just endured is not a normal summer, but who knows what a "normal' summer will be from now on.

Our best growing seasons are Autumn through to early Summer (in a normal year). Good luck with your garden then and I hope you get much more success with it all.

Ditto Jon, to what the other have advised.  Only thing I can add is to look into and think about wicking beds or bins or pots, you will find plenty of info on this site and the best thing would be to visit the one who knows best about this "Elaine de Saxe". There is a garden visit at her place in Deception Bay shortly on the 5th Mar and this will allow you to see how some of us garden.  You can't go wrong with preparation of garden beds to create good living soil.  Gardening is trial and error, but fun learning along the way. 

Welcome Jon, You have just experienced an exceptionally hot Summer in Brisbane, let's hope next year will be kinder to Gardeners. You have been given very good advice from our Members here, and there are oodles of places on the BLF Site that I am sure you will enjoy reading to learn more.

Elaine is our Wicking Bed Queen and will be giving a talk at the next Garden Visit (as Christa has said) on Sunday 5th March at her home on that gardening technique. Another Technique is to grow in Bags, this was introduced to me by Roger who has had wonderful successful. I have also found growing some vegetables in Bags very successful. Some of these have been Eggplant, Cabbages, Shallots, Spring Onions and Carrots. I also grow many Citrus and other Fruit Trees in large Terracotta Pots, with good success.

Gardening is a learning curve with a few downs but many more ups, enjoy the adventure and I am sure you will be rewarded tenfold.

Hi  John welcome to BLF ,yes you certainly had to learn  under a very trying summer and the conditions it threw at the lot of us.You have received great information from a lot of summer hardened or is that battle hardened  people and if I could give any extra it would be try growing some perennial coriander as it wont seed up at the first sign of heat ,maybe try yams if you could use them and perrenial capsicums grow well here also.If you could make it to a garden visit or two you will come across some some great cuttings and more imformation from people eager to share.HAPPY  AUTUMN gardening.

Thank you for your welcome and advice everyone. I feel a little better knowing that it has been a difficult summer and it wasn't solely my own incompetence... Seems like a case of bad timing on my part ..

Anyway now the worst of the heat has past I'm researching ways of preparing the veg beds.. I've got a wheelie bin that i use for composting so i suppose i'll just dig all of that in with some blood and bone.. maybe add some newspaper for mulch.. how do you avoid having to buy a load of potting mix every time you plant? Last time I got a load of cow manure but the veg and herbs didn't particularly seem to like it...Wrt soil microcrobes i did some googling and it sent me down a rabbit hole of information..from what i can gather there are some kind of spores that need to be cultivated..?

Tumeric and ginger would be fun to try to grow i use these a lot in my cooking so would be great to get some on the go..i will also definitely look into perennial coriander..

cheers,

Jon

Suggest that you buy some Rock Minerals, comes as a powder also some Trace Elements. If you've a produce store handy, start there rather than the green shed. Blood and Bone is fine for leafy crops but does lack Potassium for setting fruit. Gypsum is good too, it adds Calcium - many plants need it particularly the Solanums (Tomato, Eggplant etc) as does Legumes like Broad Beans.

I get the rabbit hole ;-) before the internet we had little information, now we are drowning in it. For the microbes - the simplest solution is to buy locally e.g. NutriTech. You can get into cultivating your own later on if you want. Keep it simple!

Turmeric and Ginger will do best in the warmer months. Plant the tubers out when they have eyes developing. You can plant the stuff you buy at the supermarket, most of us have started that way. There's plenty of Ginger available almost year-round but Turmeric is difficult to buy so I suggest you start with that and after harvest (about this time next year) you can freeze it for future use. Ginger freezes well too.

Try Tim for composted horse manure. It's great stuff, a lot of us use it. Forty bags won't go far if you use it to top up your beds rather than forever buying potting mix. See Buy, Sell on this Forum for Tim's contact details.

Rosella Plants are doing well in the heat

Nearly time to pick. Rosellas lap up the heat, grow all summer (taking up a lot of garden space) and as the weather cools, picking them and making jams, jellies, cordials is the right time about now.

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