Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

04.06.16

No rain for two months and the entire garden is drooping. Last night we finally had some good rain and I thoroughly enjoyed the sound of it on the roof and plants through the open front door while I slept. 

Very nice indeed :) This should pick up the garden.

The weather has remained too warm through Autumn - all the cabbage white caterpillars are still doing damage to my growing crop of broccoli and cauli and cane toads are still mooching around the yard at night.

I have decided the latter are probably helping me out by eating some of those crop demolishing roaches which now permeate all of my veg beds and the compost pile. The roaches do their thing as well - breaking down plant material, but when they get stuck into my newly planted seedlings and fell them like little trees I am not happy!

6am and still dark out. I will try to get some photos when it gets light.

The sight of rain dancing into the bird bath after months of dry got me very excited.

I have replanted beans and peas from seed and seedling three or four times but the conditions just didn't suit them. Finally have some purple bean action going on.

For the first time ever I seem to be having some strawberry success and it's due to the little wicking pot I made them from a cheap rubbish bin from Bunnings. I did have to buy a soldering iron to poke the hole through the plastic. As per Elaine's long running experiments with wicking beds this is filled with nothing but soil and works just fine.

I am thrilled and fascinated by this self sown red pawpaw. Most likely grew from the composted horse poo I have been using. The fruit are red, sweet and delicious - waiting on this lot to start ripening - they do seem to take longer than the yellow.

Bit blurry and still dark outside, I was sneaking up on this little honey eater with a large umbrella in one hand and the flashing camera in the other. First time I've seen birds making use of the purple salvia which I had given up as just decorative. I've also seen the Blue Banded Bees visiting the flowers so I have a good reason to keep it growing now.

27.06.16

I usually take my photos just before the sun rises, but these mornings that's not until I'm about ready to leave for work about 6.30am. So a serious lack of photos at the moment.

Finally some chill in the air the last few days and it's been drizzling off and on as well - the rain water tank is full. Hopefully this will slow the destruction of the caterpillars still out there working on my precious cauli and broccoli plants.

Lots of gorgeous fresh lettuce to eat in a variety of leaf shape and colour. Greens galore - asian, collard, spinach. Some chew marks on these but still plenty for me.

03.07.16

Finally got some photos this weekend. It's cold. Sitting here rugged up in many layers of clothing and uggs. Hands are freezing and have to go for periodic warming up between my now chilled thighs.

Some of the lettuce of many varieties dotted all around the beds wherever there was a gap. They prefer full sun. They just keep on giving. Some seedling grown, some seed grown.

Cauli action at last! Can't wait.

When you buy seedlings from others you sometimes get surprises. Not sure what this is yet...but it's edible!

Rob gave me a tiny seedling for a Mini Pepino Solanum caripense recently. The plant has grown substantially and I notice yesterday was affected by some kind of virus causing the leaves to curl. Was cutting back the affected parts of the plant and found these little fruit, about marble size. Not ripe - I bit into one. NOTE: I eventually cut this plant right back but if it's anything like it's Pepino relative it will bounce back.

I planted a couple of Lovage seedlings - don't think I've grown this useful herb before. Like an intensely flavoured celery. Grows easily unlike celery. Useful in salads, soups and casseroles.

This season I tried three different Asian green seedlings. The really short one (Bok Choy?) grew quickly and died off quickly - good for stir fries. The mid sized one is still growing but I'm not finding a lot of use for it. But this tall one continues to grow well after many weeks and has proven to be very useful as a repeat cropper and steamed green. You can see it's very popular with the caterpillars also, but plenty for me. 

Kohlrabi on the left. Garlic growing under all this - hope it survives.

I do like Sorrel...in a salad or on a sandwich. A good, slightly bitter, herb. The plain green one (French?) does well for me but this red veined variety is a little pickier about how and when it grows well.

50 THINGS TO DO WITH FRESH SORREL

03.07.16

Bit of a surprise - I checked the Jaboticaba today and lo and behold it is producing it's next lot of flowers already. Not sure if it is confused by the weather or if this is normal. Check the JABOTICABA BLOG HERE for cropping times of this tree so far.

09.07.16

I'm having some success with store bought chitted potatoes growing for me this season. Those little pale coloured jobs, not sure of the variety but probably Sebago.

I've planted them out some weeks back in the broken down compost pile and this morning mounded them with composted horse poo and topped with lucerne. The latter is apparently to prevent any greening of my spuds. 

According to the blurb I have read I'm thinking these are indeterminate or repeat cropping, due to the height they have reached in growth. Determinates stay low....apparently. New to all this in relation to spuds. Have only known the term in relation to toms before. (Thanks here to Cres for bringing the subject up.)

See this VIDEO which explains the difference between the determinate and indeterminate types in detail.

31.07.16

Last day of July and despite some really warm days in the late 20's this is a nippy one. One month of "winter" to go. I'm taking two weeks off mid August and hope to get some much needed tidying up done around the yard...along with some relaxing.

What's happening - well, the pawpaws have cropped well all through winter but the fruit of this particular tree out the front (all the good croppers face west btw) is now out of reach. Great pity. But I just have no way of personally reaching them.

Meanwhile, these two trees are still well within reach with my little three step ladder. All excellent sweet fruit.

One of two giant sprouting chokos (gone to good home in Dayboro with Lynn) on the right (the second now planted) compared to one I didn't eat that is also sprouting. Found during a tidy up.

Broccoli is a bit disappointing this season though still plenty for me alone. NOTE: Since come good!! Lots of brocolli.

Small but quality caulis growing well enough now the caterpillars have stopped.

The Jaboticaba is both fruiting and flowering at the same time! Such a prolific plant. My favourite.

A few hardy honey bees venture out on this cold morning but the others hang around the entrance waiting for more sunlight to warm things up.

Lifted the lid for an inspection of the hive yesterday and there was a young rat sitting there looking back at me with soft little eyes. Ohhhh. Got the old dog and showed him the rat, but the rat being young and agile and the dog being old and stiff, the rat got away.

The SNB's have also been very active once the days warm up. They seem to enjoy being snuggled into the white choko and purple salvia plants.

There's plenty of flowers going on - Salvia, this Seduction Rose, nasturtium etc.

Volunteer lettuce are everywhere along with the nasturtium and a pumpkin.

Earlier photo of some of the carrots from seedlings bought from the Caboolture Mkt. Bought as "purple or orange" they're obviously of a stumpy variety.

Rocket is another plant I adore eating. Seed sprinkled around the tops of pots proves rewarding.

The sweet potato are growing well this time around using just Searles potting mix and moving the grow bags to new location to thwart the potato weevil. This is the purple/purple from cuttings provided again by Anne Gibson, thank you Anne, after my first lot went west by accident.

Note the leaf shape - sharply tri-pointed, and purple colour of the stems.

And a purple/white nicked out of one of the other bags. Perfect. Leaves for this plant are heart shaped.

07.08.16

Yay, I have two weeks holiday. Love my work but it's so nice to have a break from the long days and all the driving. Not feeling the best. I have an incipient sore throat and back pain in my upper and lower back from a couple of different episodes. Massage today. Move the pile of mulch tomorrow....if I can. 

Went to the market yesterday and despite the fact that my beds are still chocka with winter plants cropping I went ahead and bought dozens of new seedlings. 

Bought: mixed lettuces (the original ones are still viable but going to seed - the volunteers are coming up all over the backyard), broccoli and cauli (trying for some last minute crop before the heat sets in), leeks (the young lady thought I said I wanted leeks and I didn't dissuade her), that tall asian green (forgot to remember the name again), silverbeet (what can I say, ever the optimist when it comes to silverbeet and it's rellies). 

I pulled out some spent cauli and old greens that weren't looking so hot and found room for all the new seedlings somehow. Probably too much shade from the existing brassica leaves but, I can hope.

While sorting out space for the new seedlings I found some crop hidden around the place. Another Kohlrabi was roasted with dinner along with some broccoli and cauli with some home grown carrots.

Very excited to have some success with spuds this season. Was watering this morning and found one of the spud plants dying so decided to see what was at the end of the vine (on the left in the pic). Very nice surprise.

29.08.16

Well, here we are the end of another cool weather growing season in Brisbane and it's been a very productive one in my garden. Lots of quality veg for the kitchen and some success with potato growing. Fruiting trees are kicking into action with the promise of good things to eat in the not too distant future.

It may also be my last cool weather season here with my garden as the house will no doubt go on the market before too long as my old dog is on his last legs (has cost me a small fortune at the vets but he still enjoys life despite his breathing difficulties at night) so I'm glad it has been a bumper one.

I didn't think the broccoli would amount to anything this season, which has been unseasonably warm, but it all came good in the end.

My front verge is coming into it's own. Very hard to establish plants in this west facing garden in summer. I've planted some dwarf callistemons, daisies, lavender, pineapple sage, rosemary, parsley, nasturtiums and marigolds. Looking pretty.

I finally have some new (white and green) choko vines establised after the Madagascar Bean vine smothered the last one about a year back. Choko is another plant difficult to establish in the heat.

I've tried growing edible chrysanthemums (or Shungiku) from seed many times without success, but found these seedlings at the Caboolture Markets last weekend. Everyone tells me how nice they are to eat in salads and Japanese cooking. An annual that self seeds apparently.

Many of us around Brisbane struggle to grow large types of Capsicum. I have been buying the mini Caps from the shops and planting out the fresh seed immediately into the beds with some success. As I cut them up I replant the seed again. Fresh is best. Leaving them to sit on a plate for a day or two doesn't provide the same results of new seedlings.

Volunteer lettuce has come up everywhere this year, including in the Ginger pot.

The Dwarf Pink Shatoot Mulberry took some time to come into it's own but promises a bumper crop this season.

Lettuce of many type going to seed for next winter.

And the usual  winter profusion of flowers including Nasturtium, Salvia and Amaranths.

Have to include this pic of my daughter Clare in her Library at Alice Springs with the delightful Costa who was visiting. 

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Comment by Lissa on August 3, 2016 at 5:34

Rob - not showing the scruffy bits at the moment. But....am having a holiday for a couple of weeks and hope to get it all looking spiffy again. Not hard to make it productive but making it productive with the things we want is a harder trick. Carrots and greens are growing well this year but not sugar snap peas or beans (apart from the purple which is producing well). Can't always get what we want.

I have a big packet of Couve galega (Portuguese Walking Stick Collard) seed turn up in the mail yesterday - will bring them along to share at the GV.

Comment by Rob Collings on August 2, 2016 at 14:06

Your gardens never cease to look spectacular Lissa!
All I do with the mini pepino plants now is cut them back, the growth rate is fast and they are producing plenty of mulch... and still no ripe fruit :/
Plenty of cuttings for anyone crazy enough to want one, and I'm willing to dig up 2 plants on the day for the brave.
I have 3 struck in pots already (one is for Cheryl if still desired)

Comment by Lissa on August 1, 2016 at 17:44

Susan - my sense of taste and smell is not good, unfortunately. It tasted like....brassica. Healthy :) Green :) 

Thanks Phil. I post the same blogs in my Wordpress Blog. I have maybe 6 followers lol.

Comment by Phil on August 1, 2016 at 17:36

Your seasonal blogs are always detailed and interesting Lissa. We should all do this as a online diary. I noticed you recorded the name of that mini pepino - Solanum caripense. I couldn't remember what it was called.


Comment by Susan on August 1, 2016 at 16:54

Good looking productive garden as always Lissa.  That odd looking brassica looks like a cross between a cauliflower and a broccoli.  What did it end up tasting like?

Comment by Dianne Caswell on August 1, 2016 at 6:41

Thanks for the info Lissa, I shall take a look and read today. Have a Good Day at Work...

Comment by Lissa on August 1, 2016 at 6:19

Exactly that.

Click on my name which takes you to my home page. On the left is a menu which includes blogs. You'll have to scroll through to find the ones on SP.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on August 1, 2016 at 5:54

Suggestion: go to Lissa's home page on BLF and search through her blogs. Assuming that someone else's homepage would have Blogs and a number, just click on that and see what happens.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on August 1, 2016 at 5:29

I have looked into finding your Blog but if I type in Sweet Potato 100 pages are there. Is there a way of narrowing this search down, to find your Blogs, I have often wondered how to do this.

Comment by Lissa on August 1, 2016 at 5:19

Usually about a four month turnover Dianne for the SP. Wait until they have bloomed - same as regular spuds.

Have a look at the two SP blogs I have written for more information.

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