Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

This blog post actually started as a private message to Lissa about raspberries, but as I waffled on I thought I should share it with the world.

Should Williamette raspberries be losing their leaves? I have one cane that appears to be dying in a rather tragic-looking manner, and others that are green and cheerful. I'm not used to deciduous plants, so I can't really tell the difference between dying and preparing for winter.

On the other hand, my mulberry is losing leaves quite gracefully, they turn yellow one at a time and then are gently dropped when no one is looking.

This cooler weather has inspired me to get back into the garden after a few months away (sugar snap peas are my favourite vegetable). In trying to reclaim the beds I picked a few kilos of sweet potatoes which had been taking advantage of my neglect to attempt to cover the whole of Brisbane's southside in vegetation before winter. The most interesting find was a large (not quite ripe) sweet potato that had established itself on top of the prawn heads I buried in mid-February. That's an extraordinarily short growing time for a tuber of that size.  I think the honey hole idea might really work!

Other things that survived the period of neglect include my lemon tree, from which I picked my first ever lemon last week - it was sour and juicy, which is all one can ask for; my largest paw paw, which has at least two more fruit that will ripen before winter (which starts on the winter solstice); and the herbs that persist regardless - bay tree, rosemary, thyme, chives, Mexican coriander, Greek basil.

I am attempting to move my strawberries from hanging bags to a self-watering container, but I neglected the runners for two long and now it's a struggle to get them going again.

And my eggplant, which survived the period of neglect, is being assaulted and assailed from all sides by aphids, leaf hoppers (which are too charming to kill) and bugs (which are too creepy to tackle). I'm hoping the cooler weather will take it's toll, with a bit of help from improved care for the plant.

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Comment by Lissa on June 6, 2014 at 4:56

Are Leaf Hoppers sap suckers? Must do some research.

Comment by Lissa on June 6, 2014 at 4:55

Cut back anything that dies. General rule of thumb with all plants.

Comment by Rob Walter on June 5, 2014 at 20:36

Thanks for the videos Lissa. They're very interesting, and the takeaway message is that I need to do absolutely nothing regardless of what's happening to the one that is turning brown.

Comment by Lissa on June 2, 2014 at 5:11

Despite being "attacked" your eggplant looks quite healthy.

I have to wonder myself what the leaf hoppers actually do on the plant as I never see any damage from them, unlike the Flea Beetle which turns the leaves into Swiss cheese (I don't find these charming and roll them between my fingers before flinging them off into the distance).

Even when I restrain my sweet potato to a grow bag they still try to take over the earth by sneaking out the sides and getting a grip on the ground. It's easier to keep them contained with pruning that way though, rather than when they ramble over the ground.

Comment by Lissa on June 2, 2014 at 5:01

Love the dying in a tragic manner comment lol.

Check out these two videos Rob. They will give you some idea of what to expect with your raspberries.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on June 1, 2014 at 11:08

One thing about Sweet Potatoes (and ordinary Potatoes too) is there is no 'ripe'. When they are big enough to eat, they are big enough to dig up.
The Eggplant, although a plant which prefers the heat, can do well over winter in a warm spot. They like plenty of nutrients and water, do well in the wicking beds (unlike Capsicum which don't like wet feet). Give the soil a dose of Seaweed or Worm tea or Compost water or even weed tea. Something with minerals and microbes. Expect good results a few weeks from then.
Winter is just the best time to garden! Cooler weather in general, saves sweat running into my eyes and I can start later without being burned.
Good to hear you're back into it again - nothing like home-grown!

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