Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

This plant is one recommended during a garden training day with Elizabeth Fekonia a couple of weeks back. I would like to get hold of some if anyone eventually has any to spare:

 

More info:

It is grown from cuttings of the stalks. In fertile soil, cut plants
will re-shoot from the base. The cuttings need adequate moisture at
planting. Cuttings about 30 cm long are used. To avoid cuttings
drying out they need to be planted soon after cutting.

Coastal pitpit stalks can be planted at any time of the year. It
takes 6-9 months from planting till a crop is ready to harvest. But
the time of flowering is coastal pitpit is controlled by the sun.
Early in the year about February to March most plants develop a
thickened clump of leaves at the top. When these are broken off and
opened by removing the outside leaves the very fine yellow unopened
flower is seen. It is this flower which is eaten.

 

Edible Saccharums
Saccharum barberi Jeswiet Indian cane
Saccharum edule Hasskarl Long pitpit
Saccharum officinarum L. Sugarcane, Noble canes
Saccharum robustum Jeswict.
Saccharum sinense Roxb.
Saccharum spontaneum L. Wild pitpit

 

There seems to be a link to sugar cane smut problems in Qld (it's a cane relative) so I'm making some enquiries as to restrictions and maybe sources for purchase.

02.04.12

Ready to give up on the Pitpit plant. Plants are preparing to flower again, which is the cue to crop. The only edible bit I can find is about 3cm long between the nodes below the flowering bit. Not enough reward for growing these big clumps all year long.

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This is a good plant. I took some home from one of Elisabeth's workshops (it was a cooking one, there was some leftover) and it grew well with complete neglect. It was my favourite sub-tropical edible at the workshop. Tastes like a greener asparagus, very nice texture like asparagus too. I've given some to Donna so she should have a good clump of it soon hopefully. The rest I left behind in the house we sold - sorry! Just too late.
Hoo hoo ... is the an acceptable substitute for Asparagus? Tropical to boot, easy as to grow if it's related to Sugar Cane - wonder what its good points are (eg Asparagus has some medicinal properties) - hmmm, worth a look at!
If only I'd known about it before you moved! You couldn't sneak over and......or knock on the door and ask politely.......probably not :(

So you're sitting in a rental waiting to make the final move now?

Donna will give me a bit when she can which is lovely. I have plans to grow it along the front fence and was hoping to track down some volume somewhere. Elizabeth is still to get back to me about where to get it.

You've changed the font in here too.

I now have quite a lot of Pit Pit lol. But no idea when to crop or how to go about preparing it (just about to do a search).

Can you remember some pointers from Elisabeth's workshop that would help Scarlett?

yes - at the end of summer you harvest the stems before they start to die back (probably now-ish or sooner). you eat the tip, just like with asparagus - so peel the leaves off, then bend and snap the stem to remove the woody part. then steam, broil, bbq or stirfry like you do with asparagus; dress and eat.

Thanks Scarlett.

Die back?? lol first I've heard they die back.

I have cut off quite a few nice thick stems, removed the outer leaves (bit of wooly aphid happening) - I've ended up with bits from 10 to 20cm long.

I've cut each one back to where it has a nice thick white centre part.

There's still a lot of outer layer attached to each. Quite hard to remove. I bent and snapped one of the longer ones but this didn't achieve much except give me two pieces.

I might try to remove the outer layer with a sharp knife.

I'll be steaming them - I'll let you know how it goes.

Lissa you're first on the list when mine is big enough to share :) Hopefully I might even be able to bring to your GV if it grows fast.
Thanks Donna, don't go ruining your clump trying to get a bit off.
Info above says it grows from cutting also.
I'm being impatient - was hoping to source it somewhere and start it growing along the front fence asap. I plan on having lots if it will co-operate.
Never heard of this, how about a photo Donna?
Ok, there are two plants (at least) known as Pit Pit and the little one with the pretty palm like leaves is more likely setaria palmaefolia not Saccharum edule which is apparently a taller plant and not encouraged in Qld by the DPI due to cane smut.

Yandina Community Gardens has plants for sale :) I don't know $ or how many they have as yet but should hear back shortly. I need them to confirm that it's only short.

Some of the links I find tell me it can grow to 6 feet! But Yandina tell me it's just little.
http://www.floridata.com/ref/s/seta_pal.cfm
It sounds like a neat plant to have Lissa. I'm quite confused now: first I read it tastes like Asparagus so I'm guessing you eat the new shoots. Then I read you eat the immature flowers. If it's flowers then there's little point in having something in the garden for 12 months only to get a week or two's eating from it. With the Asparagus, I get some spears more or less all year the way I manage it. I'd like to understand using Pit Pit more though so if you could suggest some ways to eat it, I can decide if I have garden space for it (assuming I can get a plant).
Join the club - that's why I'm trying to get to the bottom of which one of these plants is really the most useful to grow.

The one Elizabeth showed us looked like the Setaria Palmaefolia and the description she gave of processing was to eat the stalk when it developed a sort of lump at the top. That lump may just be the flower head developing. So both are correct - you eat the stalk with the flower head at the top.

Some of the websites I was looking at describe the Setaria Palmaefolia as being tall though and I don't want that, I want the little job and quite a bit of it to make growing it worthwhile. The Yandina Community Garden people will get back to me with more details soon I hope.

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