Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Peter is so passionate about gardening it's very infective. Thank you so much for sharing that enthusiam with a very interested group of gardeners Peter.

Peter is an organic and biodynamic gardener, educator and technologist known for his organic and biodynamic gardening workshops. Also design and planning of food growing spaces and consulting for organisations to incorporate urban food growing into their sustainability initiatives. More information here.

Peter also spoke about the movement in Samford, using the old CSIRO site, to create both an organic farming and community gardening space, industry (cheese making etc) and a retail outlet - still in it's planning stage at the moment. I couldn't find any links for this Peter. Share if you have one.

Many thanks to the people who came for lunch and brought food, especially Susanne who made the most delicious quiche with a grated potato base which she promises to post the recipe for :)

I have used my two blue eggs from Susanne fried for brekkie, the other two are cooking in a rice custard. My peanuts, galangal and celery seedlings are planted, thank you.

I won't try to go into explantations about the BD (Bio Dynamic) compounds that Peter makes and uses in all his gardens due to my lack of knowledge, but will just let the pictures tell the tale. If you have more in-depth questions best to direct them to Peter himself though he tells me he will post a discussion about BD compounds himself shortly.

Peter's very successful strawberry patch. His soil here is quite sandy and he spoke about using horn compounds containing silica or the addition of plain river sand at the correct time to improve fruiting.

Peter in his potato patch. He digs a depression for the potatos and gradually heaps up the soil as the plant grows.

Peter has the attention of the group wanting to learn more about growing spuds (Susanne, Judy, Glenyth, Joseph, Lyn and Valerie).

Peter makes his own BD Tree Paste - a mix of cow poo and other goodies. Looks yummy doesn't it...

He put some in a bucket and showed us how to apply to the trunk of fruit trees during their vegatative state (ie not fruiting, but producing new root growth)  as a tonic and to any newly cut branches to stop infection. The paste can last on the tree for a couple of years, not washing off in the rain.

Joseph admires the pleasant aroma (truly!) of some half cooked compost while Judy is grateful she's just looking on...

In the Lady Finger banana patch...see the bunch right up high. Peter explains to Lyn that he cuts down the entire tree to harvest the bunches.

Peter showing us Paul Woods beautiful Top Bar beehives - he has two.

We have a GV to Pauls place on August 17th at Alderley if you would like to learn more.

Closer look at the viewing panel showing the bees at work. Absolutely amazing.

Around the other side of the hive, the entrance....

Glenyth and Dan's grandkids admiring the chooks...

...including this handsome rooster who kept his eye on us the whole time.

Peter recounts the story of the large carpet snake in the chook run one night.

I hope he doesn't mind my retelling it in involved waking up in the middle of the night and running out to save the chicken sans PJ's, with nothing on but his glasses...untwining the hapless chook (it lived), dragging away the large snake by the tail, tripping and falling and ending up with the snake on top of him in the dark!

We all enjoyed the story....

This little sweety (Glenyth's finger shows it's size) was on the vine growing on the chook yard fence. From Elaine: an Eastern Dwarf Sedge Frog - one of the smallest frogs with one of the loudest voices in frogdom.

Peter in his vege patch....

Peter also pointed out the edible weeds he had growing namely Chickweed and Plantain, but he also had Dandelion growing in his beds. I've only seen pictures of Plantain before and was very pleasantly surprised at it's texture and taste.

Glenyth and Lyn try some of the delicious celery he had growing.

Peter showing us the bags of BD compost and how to use them. The small ball of compost in his hand is added to a bucket of water and stirred in one direction for 5mins before being used on your garden beds once or twice a year.

Joseph looks on as Peter explains another similar version using chook poo which can be used every few weeks...

Check out Peter's website Cityfood Growers.

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Replies to This Discussion

Thank you for the report and pix Lissa ... looks like we missed a really good informative day. The little frog is an Eastern Dwarf Sedge Frog - one of the smallest frogs with one of the loudest voices in frogdom.

I thought you'd know it's name :)

Thank you Peter for such an informative day. What a wonderful setting and garden. Thanks for explaining about your different composting methods and the use of the output of them, hands on.
I particularly enjoyed hearing about the bees herding the nasty hive beetles into the bottom of the top bar hive to a strategically placed hole where the beetles drop to their doom into the sticky tray below.
So much information I now have a lot to thoughtfully digest. But first off I have some tree paste to get down and dirty with :) think I'll wear disposable gloves.
I'm going to try your potato valleys and garlic planting tips.
I've planted the strawberries and am looking forward to their fruiting, they do have flowers and little buds.
My celery seedling is also happily planted.
The rosella seed pods have been put into a paper bag to dry.
Tomorrow the newly planted all get a pick me up with the BD Compost tea. Hopefully it will stop any transplant shock and the flowers and buds will remain on the strawberries.
Now another battle of wits to fight, to keep the crows away from the strawberries...they are so naughty. My backyard can be littered with the husks of passion fruit as well as cardboard, plastic and paper bags, foil pie cases etc etc that the crows bring into my Jacaranda for their communal breakfast and/ or lunch break then just drop the rubbish. Today I collected the eggs and put them on the outdoor table in a basket with an old saucepan sort of on top with some plastic bags stuffed in the basket too. I went around the front to plant the strawberries and when I came back the plastic bags had been reeled out tangling up one of the eggs which was eaten and another had been fished out and eaten too. Didn't even know the crows were there, they are silent when I'm up and about.

The crows enjoy my custard apples Susanne and bring their bread to my birdbath to soak. Smart birds :) but a bit of a nuisance.

Glad you got so much out of the visit to Peter's place. There's a lot going on there and much info to take on board.

Hi Susan

I also enjoyed the day and connecting with all of you. With regard to the tree paste, cow pat pit and BD compost and dealing with crows, I direct you to some content on our web site which has usage instructions for each of them, as well as how to make them. I also teach this at our regular 2 day workshops with next one coming mup in 27-28 July. Here are the links:

BD tree paste

Cow pat pit

BD compost

With regard to the compost tea - use 30gm of compost (about golf ball size) in a bucket of water, say a 12 litre bucket with 7 litres of water. Stir the mixture for 10 minutes to aerate it. Use the same stirring method as described on the link above for cow pat pit. Then pour it over your garden beds with a watering can. Great for new beds, where your plants need a tune up and when you know you have compost in perfect state its good to good your whole food garden a treat, including fruit trees.

Next BD workshop

With the crows, there are also BD methods to remove weeds, insects and animals. Its called peppering. You don't use pepper. I also teach this at our workshops. It will work for crows, cane tods, bush turkeys, any animal and it works very strongly with planetary forces.

Catching a Cane Toad, killing, roasting and grinding it is a possibility for the strong-stomached. Doing the same to protected native fauna is illegal however desirable it might be. Weeds can be made into weed tea and poured back on the area they came from or just chopped and dropped to compost in-situ.

Hi Elaine. There is a BD pepper supplier in Victoria that you can buy all sort of peppers from for weeds, insects and animals. We have been working on a nut grass pepper we made for the school gardens where my children go at the Samford Valley Steiner School. It seems to be working well. With the weeds, I agree that weed teas work well. Potentising the weed teas with BD compost preparations enables them to do their magic in transforming the soil much faster.

Interesting! I had not thought about adding BD preps/compost to weed tea. Makes sense. Do the folks in Victoria make peppers from Cane Toads?

Anyway my observation fwiw, is that Cane Toads don't like damp cozy environments and the more lush undergrowth, the less Cane Toads. I do find the odd one here but over the years the 5 species of native frogs have bred up and maybe pushed the CTs out since the yard suits the frogs more. Even though CTs are 'frogs' (frogs and toads being very closely related) I have found CTs in much drier surrounds e.g. Brisbane Forest Park on the side of a hill in long dry grass where you would not expect to find frogs. Cane Toads do need dampness to rest up on and water to breed in.

As I understand it, 'weeds' grow in places which need the nutrients the weeds bring or bring to the surface. After spending a great deal of my life digging up 'weeds' and throwing them away, I now see the benefits of them as bringers of life and free fertiliser. Growing a crop for its seeds and having weed seeds in it would be another situation altogether to that of the home gardener with a few weeds on the paths or in the beds.


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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

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