Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

April and it finally feels like Autumn.

Hi Lovely People, 

I am so loving this cooler weather and holidays have combined with just a wonderful time to be out and about in the garden. I have been working hard in the garden getting many jobs done.  The back grass area is currently covered in tree branches.  I am in the process of pruning most of my fruit trees to bring them back down to size and reshape.  Stupid me though, wasn't looking when I did the custard apple and pruned off 3 out of my 4 fruit that I managed to pollinate this year.  IDIOT!!  On Wednesday, I went up to the farm at Gympie to get quotes for a driveway and garden shed pad and on the way, decided to meander up to Maleny to visit Green Harvest Seeds.  Oh MY - why have we never gone here before?  Well worth the drive.  They had a beautiful vegie/fruit garden, probably about the size of my entire block.  I was inspired to buy their red Zinnia and cleome flowers for spring planting - they were glorious in their garden.   The main reason I went there?  I wanted o buy lowana strawberry runners (8 for $10.95) and glenlarge garlic bulbs (2 for $ 6.95) so about $ 18.00 in total but was going to have to pay $16.00 in postage.  I ended up walking out with fruit fly exclusion bags, zinnia, cleome, bean seeds, + my strawberries and garlic for the same amount - bonus!! And it was not that far out of my way considering I was heading to Gympie anyway. 

I mentioned on Dave's blog that I'm finally starting to get some vegie harvests again and DAMN! it feels good.  Today I harvested my first lettuce, cucumber and chilli crop of the season. 

I turned those chilli's into chilli Jam and it was delicious! 

I also have my first tomato's on my tomato plants.  So far, the strung up method is working good and I am managing to keep up with the shoot pruning. 

The cucumber plant makes me so happy.  I don't need to buy any anymore. 

And so far my 2nd sowing of peas have survived.  I also replanted some more of my perennial leeks in the spot where my beetroots have failed for a second time. 

So another thing I changed this holidays was I wanted to be able to walk straight down to the back compost heap instead of having to go down the left side of the garden.  I cut down the Right fence, removed the honey bee hive ( more later) and an unsuccessful wicking bed that was mostly in shade.  I then used all the soil from the wicking bed, 3 bags of cow poo and moved my pineapple plants  to make an in ground garden bed and a path way.  In this bed, I am growing onions for the first time, have put down some more beetroot (hopefully successful where the wicking beds have failed), spring onions, carrots, turnips (first time), left over peas from last year and some more perennial leeks.  

The first passionfruits have set.  This vine self seeded in the "extended garden" and grew back over my fence.  It is the Yellow type. 

I harvested my first hand of bananas today.  The bunch is my goldfingers and I should be able to get 6 weeks of bananas by harvesting hand by hand.  Another tree sent out a huge spike the other day. 

So I mentioned in my last blog that I don't like to spray if I can help it.  The one exception to this is my citrus.  I have bad cases of oyster scale and white louse scale.  The white louse scale killed my cumquat tree and I can see small signs of it on my lemon and paramount sweets mandarin (from my mate's Jerry's house) -> I'm confident I can erradicate this one.  The oyster scale currently heavily infests my valencia orange and lemon tree but I see small signs of it in about 70% of my other citrus -> this one is very difficult to control and the best I can hope for is to reduce infestation loads.  I spray all my citrus about every 3 months with either lime sulfur or OCP Eco Oil to keep it under control.  I cringe to do this though because look what I would have killed had I not spied them before I started spraying and safely moved them to a nearby lavender bush- baby preying mantis!

I went searching OCP for anything else organic that might be more effective at controlling scale when I came across these little fellas that are supposed to be super effective against hard scales. 

Low and behold, I was massacaring ("Pruning") my rio red grapefruit and I spied one! He won't be enough though so I am seriously thinking about ordering some but would need to not be spraying in order for them to thrive.  So what I'm thinking is I will spray again with eco oil in 1 week to knock off any more that have hatched and then order a bunch of these. 

My bees died this year.  I noticed that their numbers were slowly decreasing but was too busy to do investigate.  Next thing I know, the hive is infested with small hive beetle and the hive is dead.  I finally managed to clean it out - not pleasant cause of course RATS had moved in - GROSS!! I moved the hive into the chicken coop.  I figured when I eventually do get new bees, the chickens will clean up any small hive beetle larvae that drop to the ground and will minimise my risk of overwhelming populations again.  I'm leaving it until spring to get new bees.  Here is the hive in its new home. 

Lastly guys, I'll leave you with a shot of my flowers, this time miniature roses - so pretty!  All I have really left to do these holidays is to mulch all my prunings, plant some flower seeds and bulbs and clean up the chook pen.  Anything else is a bonus! 

Happy gardening folks 

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Comment by Andrew Cumberland on April 14, 2019 at 22:59

I've been thinking about good bugs too.  I'm using an organic scale spray but I much prefer the idea of nature doing the work. 

Comment by Christa on April 14, 2019 at 16:50

Sorry to hear about the oyster scale Susan, did you get it in your pine mulch supplies?  

Another huge bunch of bananas on your productive  goldfinger bananas. well done.  

You lost your bees, rotten hive beetle can turn your hive into a crawling mess.  There is a spray you can use to repel the beetle, but the hive must have been a bit weak in the first place. 

Dianne had purchased a supply of good bugs and it appears to have helped her, maybe she can help with advice in that department.  

Keep up the good work. 

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