Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

These are the best days in the year for gardening, the best time to live in Brisbane in my opinion.  Less pests and  less sweat but the dense winter shade is the main challenge I face in this garden built around a two storey house with trees also blocking the low winter sun in the northeast.  I have to plant in different beds just to get enough sunshine. 

This month I will start in the front garden so that I can show off the tall tutuers that my son, Wil, made me.  I wanted something tall and structural but movable (for best aspect in the different seasons) and he whipped a couple of these up for me one day while I was at work.  He enjoyed making them and I suggested he make more and sell them at the markets because they look great and are super sturdy! Not much else has changed in that garden bed as the salvias are still abundant and I haven’t wanted to cut them back.  The bees enjoy them so. 

Among those flowers my eggplants are still going strong – this one has four fruit on it.

In the same bed I noticed I have a bunch of little gooseberries coming on.  This is my first time  growing them and I am so excited to taste them.  I just adore the shape of the little husks that grow around them. Teeny lanterns.

The tamarillos have come to an end.  This was the last harvest.  They are an unusual fruit and the rest of the family are not fans but I enjoy picking a couple to eat as I make my way around the garden.  I believe they are rich in Vitamin C and I think they are very ornamental on the tree.

In March I showed my pumpkin and sweet potato patch which is still growing like crazy.  I have really come to appreciate both plants for their greens over the last couple of months.

 I have become somewhat obsessed with watching Youtube videos with little old Indian ladies meandering through their food forests picking unusual greens and vegetables which they make into delectable meals. (  if you would like to check one out).   I really feel that we are overlooking a lot of nutritious parts of the plant by just eating the fruit and ignoring the leaves and stems which are delicious in curries and quiches etc.  So nice to have another green to cook with and they never stop producing.

The photo below shows the result of a few minutes foraging which was turned into a really delicious curry. I felt just like a little old Indian lady in my food forest!

I wanted to show you the growth in my ginger in the last few weeks.  It is really pushing up and out of the box.  I do bandicoot a little and harvest for meals along the way but  I am really excited to see what the final amount of ginger harvested will be.  I intend to grate much of it and freeze in narrow sausage shapes and wrap them in plastic wrap in the freezer. It’s easy to break a bit off and I find that it always tastes so fresh when tossed into stirfry or sauces or drinks.  I have four boxes but this picture shows the most productive one.

The Netted Garden is doing very well with a bed of brassicas, tomatoes on the fence that gets the most sun and peas at the back.  I decided to prune the lower leaves of the tomatoes to try to avoid disease and direct energy into the fruit and that seems to be working well. 

I pulled up a tomato plant in a different part of the garden and was dismayed to find the root knot nematodes are still abundant in that bed.  I have replanted with Nemcon – the biofumigant  mustard which is supposed to help with nematode control.  Fingers are crossed that chopping that and incorporating it into the soil will help as this is very demoralising.

Here is one more picture of my brassica bed, brimming with nutrition.  I have Tokyo bekana, Senposai (komatsuna), kohlrabi and yu choi sum and a couple of Calabrese broccoli in there. Oh  and a couple of daikon for good measure.

One last picture to share - of a little friend in the garden.  When removing some plants I noticed a 'bundle of twigs' moving. It turned out to be a caterpillar inside it's little home - a Saunder's Case Moth according to Mr Google.  My daughter and I were entranced watching it drag its house along between plants, popping in and out to say 'hello'.

Happy gardening all.


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Comment by Roger Clark on May 24, 2018 at 6:27


Great to see how well your garden is growing. I have found that with Ginger, if you harvest it well before the tops die down, your ginger will be soft and succulent and easy to grate, at it's best, but if you leave it late to harvest the roots become very fibrosy (is this even a word?). This makes it much harder to grate and use the whole tuber.

Good luck with your cape gooseberries, they are lovely to eat. Keep an eye out for the cucumber beetle, a brown and yellow small beetle which just adores the leaves of this plant. They will quickly destroy the whole plant unless kept in check, they lay their eggs under the leaves and the resulting hatching grubs are a gooee, brown blob. They are also the rabbit equivalent of the insect world. I very rarely catch 1 by itself, they are often caught "joined" on the plant.

I thought your soil was a fairly heavy clay soil and so am surprised that you have such a nematode problem. They do so much harm to any plant that they infest. They seem to love tomatoes especially. I have tried mustard with some success, but I think that incorporating lots of organic matter and strict rotation of crops are two other ways to try to combat this pest. Good luck!

I love the Tuteur made by your son, very stylish and useful to boot! 

Comment by Lissa on May 24, 2018 at 5:51

I like the one your son made for you Cathie. Quite beautiful and unique.

Comment by Cathie MacLean on May 24, 2018 at 5:22

Ha, I didn't check the spelling!  Should be tuteurs. Garden towers, obelisks, trellis, plant support - call it what you will. Something for plants to climb up and on.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 24, 2018 at 5:21

Good grief. Thanks Lissa.

Comment by Lissa on May 24, 2018 at 4:56

TUTUERS OR TUTEURS (spelled both ways on different sites)

Your garden is looking wonderful Cathie, so productive :)

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 23, 2018 at 23:36

Erm, what are tutuers?

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 23, 2018 at 23:35

Super cool, Cathie! Thank you for sharing. I understand that the case moths are mostly females, the males move around more but unlike spiders, are not eaten by their mates.

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