Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Loaded my camera with fresh batteries but they were flat when I went to use the camera. Elaine has taken some pics though.

Bellis - Jerry Coleby-Williams home and garden.

Jerry has squeezed lots of growing into his backyard. Some interesting things including fruiting aerial potatos and some beautiful orange pineapple plants with long skinny leaves. Lots of plants and seed for sale of useful sorts for our climate - I picked up some multi-coloured Amaranth and sugar snap pea seeds, both $4.

Jerry was there in person chatting to a group of visitors.

Plenty of parking. We arrived about 9.45 and pretty much walked straight in. By the time we left around an hour later there was a long queue standing in the increasing rain. Kathryn tells us the best time to visit is around 3pm in the afternoon when the bulk of the bodies have left. It was a slow trip around the smallish backyard with the many guests and I would have liked to be able to ask more questions about some plants.

Kathryn Tranters garden - thank you for the very welcome hot cuppa and delicious gluten free cake Kathryn :)

Your chook house (built by son) is impressive and your two pretty "girls" healthy and happy. Your two dogs are great characters too, Daisy is a sweety.

Kathryn has some nice raised beds with some enviable silverbeet and strawberry plants plus  citrus plants benefiting from the chook poo.

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Sorry I missed Kathryn's.  No, I wasn't asleep (this time) I got caught up at Bunnings.

hehe I believe you.

I've got the capping for the top sorted and I think the grow beds as well.  It's just too wet for me to put the liner in. 

Right, here are the pix:

Philosophy Corner

Jerry surrounded by an enthusiastic crowd of questioners.

Kang Kong - growing in a glazed pot set in a water-filled saucer and in a shady spot.

'Air Potato' A native plant, the bulbils are similar to a waxy potato and very tasty. But the plant is huge. It is a very enthusiastic climber with leaves like dinner plates. Not for the faint-hearted ;-)

Even Jerry with his possible 32 perches (810 sq m) grows in boxes!

'New Guinea Bean' a cucurbit, not a legume. This biggun is probably being left for seed. Think giant Zucchini and eat the fruits when they are about a foot long or they get quite tasteless although the Labradors loved them cooked. This is a rampant vine.

A red Pineapple, very spiky.


Sweet Potato Marguerite more ornamental than edible although the sparse tubers are quite palatable.

Sweet Potatoes but don't know the variety.

Wildly exuberant greens.

Blue flower on a lettuce-like plant, would love to know what it is.

And some more of this extensive garden.

The blue flower looks like chicory.

Looks like it was a good visit, but I didn't have enough petrol to make it. Oh well, maybe next year.

Nice job Elaine! (Sorry I wasn't there - the explanation for my absence will appear in the aquaponics group).

Hubby and I made it to Bellis around midday. Had quite a long wait to get in but found it fascinating. We were fortunate to share a Pandanus palm with Jerry and half a dozen others during a rather lengthy downpour. Thought it was rather sweet that he stayed out in the rain with us rather than diving for cover especially since he wasn't sporting rain gear. The Pandanus was quite a good umbrella and he showed us how it channels the water down to the roots (including the aerial roots) in order to make best use of the rain and provides good protection for the first 10 minutes or so. Gleaned some other interesting information from him including marigolds and nematodes. I had read in her book on companion planting, Jackie French say that marigolds don't work on fumigating soils of Australian nematodes. But I was interested to hear from Jerry that CSIRO studies have shown that for marigolds to be effective they must be turned into the soil and the soil must be kept moist in order to produce the chemical that gets rid of the nematodes. If they are just turned in, they just quietly break down without producing the chemical. Makes you wonder why some other things that work for some don't work for others!

Love this website for being able to glean snippets of information to help make backyerd growing more productive.

Also found it reassuring that TV doesn't always give an accurate representation of reality. I felt his garden was smaller in reality than what it appeared to me on TV and the plants did not look as glowing and colourful. Makes me feel a little happier about my little plot! Also he struggles with the same sort of pests and diseases as us and doesn't have any sure fire, quick fix remedies. He was saying that one year one citrus will have a problem and the others will be ok, the next year it will be another one and there does not seem to be any particular rhyme or reason to it that is obvious. Made me feel like keeping on plugging on. That mother nature can be quirky and whimsical and that no one has all the answers. All in all time well spent. Loved the pics Elaine. Will help me remember the day!

Thanks Kathryn for opening your place on the same day. It was great to see you again. It was good to look around your garden and see how you are meeting and conquering your challenges!

Terrific pics Elaine! Well done.

I missed seeing that Food with a Future sign myself - it explains things well. That pineapple is the one I would be interested in finding out more about. Quite a big spikey plant but so beautiful.

The aerial potatoes sure looked like my plant, but mine isn't as rampant as Jerry's nor producing all those bulbils. Wish I had taken a bit along for definate identification.

Really good photos Elaine, and Glenyth its interesting what you commented about  Jerry's citrus --- last year we had our first big crop of large navel oranges and nothing touched them. but this years crop were attacked by fruit fly about 4 weeks ago  and they started falling off green and found a use for them as substitute lemons,  as they started turning yellow we picked the weeping stung ones and peeled them and separated into segments and found that only one segment was ruined so not too bad after all. This morning we had 2 large unstung ones and were delicious --- hope that the remaining  are left alone.

Great photos Elaine. I arrived around 11 and queued...... and shuffled around the garden, will take tKathryn's advice and arrive late in the afternoon next time. Still have my question, how is anyone utilising the aerial potatoes? I've eaten one as a boiled veg but with all the differing advice I'd need to hear from someone who has used them frequently before I planted them again, the chooks dug around mine and they didn't survive being bare rooted ?:(
Two plants that took my eye at Jerry's were the coco yam and some 'clumping' onions, will look for them to try.
Thanks Elaine, I hadn't realised that the sweet potato on the front footpath was mainly for decoration (as most of the other varieties I plant are for me :))
A pleasure to meet you Glenyth as we 'tagged' at the front gate at Kathryn's, will give your sweet potato idea a go. Kathryn your comfrey has settled into her new home, thanks again for the info and tour.

We've only had the one lot of aerial potatoes, we bought them at a herb day at Redcliffe Botanical Gardens. Being waxy, mashing or chips is not much of an option. Steamed if I recall. Tasty in a gentle way like Queensland Arrowroot is - baked or steamed suits our taste. Oh the coco yam - no idea where to get plants. Jerry doesn't give hints on where he gets his weirder plants from. I'd love to try some just for the heck of it.

Some of the more off-beat root vegetables take months to grow and tie up precious garden space. Jerusalem Artichoke; that South American root vege I forget the name of; even plants like Sweet Corn take many months and produce 2 or if you're lucky 3 cobs. Sometimes you have to decide what is important and stick with that if you're short of space like we are. The aerial potato is one such. A  wildly enthusiastic climber (like the 'New Guinea Bean') just swamps everything else close by. Mine is history, quietly mouldering away composting-in-situ.


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