Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

A lot of us made our way over to Roger's place today to see his garden.  We started of course with good food and the swap table.

Roger's yard is very large so obviously one of the obstacles he has to overcome is how to get water everywhere.  His answer -> he doesn't, he rely's on mother nature for the fruit trees.  It would be heartbreaking to see the flowers develop every year just to waste away to nothing and when he showed us his soil as well, it was clear that even if he could get water to them, it would take a lot to keep them moist.

That said, there were some things that were thriving.  Seed grown mango surrounded by some struggling pumpkins.

The grumichama had little fruit on it and I was pleased to hear that they were really nice and cherry like.   

Jaboticaba had abundant fruit on its bark

White Sapote looked prolific.

While Roger also grows lychees, he grows Longan's as well and reckons that they seem to be a bit hardier for his climate.  The flowers are developing quite nicely on this one. 

He also has lots of other fruit trees in that awful soil but it broke my heart looking at them - He is a much more stoic gardener than I - I couldn't deal with the disappointment of waiting for rain every year to set the crops and then watch them wither and die as no rainfall to support developing fruit. 

We then moved on to his wicking bins for the Avocado's.  Look!! He has fruit!! I nearly got my fingers smacked - Roger was afraid that I was going to knock them off.  Figs are also grown in the same area to help shade the Avo's bins. 

The first vegie patch was next.  All in raised beds of some type ranging from old bath tubs to fiberglass pods.  Carrots and strawberries and KALE!!

What's with the cages, you ask?  Well to add insult to injury, Roger also has to deal with possums, rats and RABBITS!!!

Corn is looking real good!

We made our way over to the other patch.  A few of us by this stage had wandered back to the house to escape the heat.  Yep 35 degrees by this stage.  Didn't the poor pumpkins show it - I counted 6 on this vine. 

His famous PVC tubes for growing carrots - needing to come out as they bake in this heat according to Roger. 

Some potato's and passionfruit seedlings in another of his wicking bins. 

We then went to his next fruit area where he has grapes (muscadines), more figs, carambola, aniseed (?) myrtle, pomegranite, carob and arrowroot planted.  Apparently this area has better soil and as it is closer to the house, probably gets watered a bit more.  By this stage, we were melting and headed back to the house through a cute little pathway under the shade of a big Jacaranda that offered us some relief from the heat.  

Thanks so much for your hospitality today.  To see what other gardeners have to deal with and the perseverance that you go through Roger is inspiring and makes me appreciate my very tiny but easily watered and good soil block of land that much more. 

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Replies to This Discussion

Roger showed us how he grows produce in bags. He came to the conclusion that double bags were more efficient and sustainable in the sun. Fortunately he gets ample supply from his neighbour.

The honey beehive.

Some awesome carrots ;)

Some hardier brocoli, more suited to our climate

Thanks for a comprehensive report Susan and for everyone's comments. thanks Valerie for the extra photos. Yes it was hot and you can probably understand now why I don't grow much in summer. I picked around 50 baby carrots yesterday and all the Purple carrots as well. Showers and storms forecast but we'll see. I will try to get the next garden visit here during a cooler time. Happy gardening everyone. 

Thanks Roger for the visit to your vast estate.Under those trying conditions I really take my hat off to you ,pretty sure the people with the smaller blocks would be thinking maybe things are not as hard as we think.When the weather is kinder I shall be growing carrots again thanks to inspiration from your monsters and all the other great stuff you showed us.Thanks for a great day

You've got one tough gig, Roger. Excellent results given the challenges. If it were not so tedious to dig out the current beds and turn them into wicking beds, I'd be recommending them more. We did and my! what a stinker of a job. Wicking beds are best started from scratch so catching would-be gardeners before they commit to in-ground beds would be useful.

I can relate to Roger's garden. Always interesting to read/see how different folks handle difficult gardening environments and challenges

Roger - how do you!!?? grow such incredible carrots in soil like that.

The soil in my raised beds is good soil, enriched with loads of horse manure and full of earthworms. It retains moisture well and I can grow most things well there. Any bed that is in full contact with the ground can be difficult to get to retain moisture and to retain nutrients. they also don't have the same worm loads, an indication that all is not as good. The recent refurbishment of one of my raised beds with bentonite clay, manures and mushroom compost looks like it may work well, but the corn and tomatoes growing there already show signs of water stress that the corn grown in a bath did not show.

My carrots in the PVC tubes are great in autumn and winter but get far too hot in 30 plus degrees, and I don't grow in these until the cooler weather returns again. This idea came from Tino C on a Gardening Australia episode. The temperatures that he grows in are just a little different from ours though.

Everything at my place is spread out and therefore time consuming to look after, but it keeps me off the streets and gives me lots of challenges. I just like a little help from above at times. 

I do hope you have been getting a little of the rain that has been promised? the last couple of nights. Every little bit helps. 

yes did you get rain Roger?

Yes, 20 beautiful mm on Wednesday. Hoping for some more today. The grass is now trying to green up.

His famous PVC tubes for growing carrots?

Is this for protection or something else?  I have a heap of PVC pipes dig up from the old pool pipework and wondering if there is a use for them.  Other than making a thong-a-phone...

Hi Gayle,

Roger has posted previously about using the PVC pipes to provide depth for his carrots to grow well given the poor soil that he has.  The carrots spoke for themselves :)  It might be something you're interested in if you don't have the depth of friable soil needed to grow decent carrots.  Look back through his blogs, you should find it. 


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