Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

It wasn’t the most promising start to this month’s GV when the heavens decided to open up over north Brisbane just 45 minutes before the planned start. Despite radar predictions the rain actually got worse at around 10am but this didn’t stop Lissa waiting patiently under an umbrella outside Elizabeth’s house to welcome the visitors. The rain did evidently abate and we ended up with a small group of rugged BLF gardeners to view the garden for the first time.

Elizabeth’s garden is a work in progress as you would expect from working parents bringing up two small children. Gayle told us it’s actually her second garden away from home so the design, planting and maintenance is mainly done by her. This being the case she was interested in any advice we could give her to fill the empty canvas.

Most of the edible planting is in the front garden. This photo shows the main garden beds facing the road to the west.  Gayle is especially interested in hardy, low maintenance edible plants as she isn’t there as often as she would like to look after the garden. Thus basil, silverbeet, perpetual spinach, Suriname spinach, and Queensland arrowroot are good choices and are doing reasonably well.

A liberal application of mulch always helps. A feature of the garden was the vitality and abundance of the pigeon pea trees planted both in the front and backyard gardens. Gayle’s plan is to grow climbing beans such as snake bean underneath them to utilise the pigeon pea as a living trellis. A tried and true permaculture technique.

This hass avocado tree is much prized by Gayle due to its strong growth and most importantly the fruit forming on the lower branches.

Here is the promising but unknown variety of olive tree. Lovely to sit under in summer and do some reading even if it doesn’t produce any viable fruit. The bordering fence to the north is a bit of a privacy concern so Gayle was looking for suggestions on what to grow there. The area gets lots of water due to the slope but any plants grown here also mustn’t encourage young adventurers to scale the fence. Variegated canna with Queensland arrowroot is currently being grown. Other suggestions from the group included planting banana and lemongrass.

A new take on the banana circle - Gayle’s corn circle

An unfinished garden bed located against the house. The soil needs to be built up with compost before much planting can be done. Rosemary might be a good choice but the bed also receives overflow from the water tank.

 Gayle’s uses anything that comes to hand in the garden!

This area is a nice shady private location where the family can sit down and relax. Peace lilies currently grow in the planter boxes but they can be easily replaced by edible plants in the ginger family such as turmeric, ginger and galangal.

The GV was a relaxed low key gathering and I think everybody enjoyed the conversation, morning tea and company. Even young Eric, Gayle’s grandson -



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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks Phil! Elizabeth this looks like a promising garden! I love it when edibles are grown in the front garden.

We enjoyed the visit to Elizabeth's garden and also thanks to Gayle for showing us around.   It was, as always for me, a learning curve.  Thanks to Barbara for her ginger plant and Lissa for her dragon fruit cuttings and hand of bananas and marigold seeds.   We sipped elderberry wine, and lovely cuppa and tasties.   I also found some pigeon pea seeds in my pocket.  It is nice to share and compare. 

Wonderful report on our friendly if wet visit Phil. Thank you so much. Being a smaller group we had a chance to really talk with each other over a cuppa.

Loved the gluten free choc cake thing that Valerie brought along. Always a treat to get something I can eat.

Thank you to Elizabeth and family for allowing us to visit and Gayle for hosting. Hopefully the garden will grow and prosper over the years.

Thanks Gayle and Elizabeth for a most enjoyable garden visit. Thinking abut some more things to plant, I came up with asparagus for the wettish patch near the swimming pool fence. My asparagus doesn't seem to mind how much water it gets in the summer, and your wet patch probably gets drier in the winter. I have planted lettuces around between the asparagus plants, and they seem to thrive on the water and fertiliser the asparagus gets, and enjoy the light shade cast by the fronds in summer. They've seeded through the patch now, so are no effort at all. Another useful plant might be perennial leeks, which keep going from year to year, with just a bit of Organic Xtra and some mulch now and then. I've got some in a pot, and can bring them to your place when we are there next.

After thinking about that brick wall, it may be possible to plant the dragon fruit  there. They can sucker up the wall. The other option may be to put sacks of soil against the wall and plant into them, herbs or food plants.

Interestingly, I didn't get to Elizabeth's garden visit yesterday, BUT I believe I may have recognised her wonderful garden from the photos, and from driving past during the last week! (When I drove past a wonderful garden in a suburban AC street last week, I noticed someone - perhaps Elizabeth? - watering what seemed to be an abundant (but fairly new-looking?) food garden, and I thought THEN that that looked like a wonderfully well-tended and productive yard...)

I've just looked through these fantastic pics, and compared with the street I drove down, on Google Maps...looks like Elizabeth's to me! Well done, some great things happening there...(PS. there's a school not far away which might like to swap cuttings/expertise/seeds, etc.?!) ;)


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