Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Well, it's that time of term again - you know the one where all the marking and reporting needs to happen.  Currently, I have three piles of exam papers to mark with another two coming Tuesday so what do I do?  Why, I find every excuse NOT to be marking this weekend, then I'll end up in a god awful panic at 6pm tomorrow night and stay up till two doing the most urgent (yr 9 papers) and spend the rest of the week cranky and stressed and tired because I have too much work to do.  Even though I KNOW this is the case, do you think that makes me start earlier? 

What I did do was HEAPS of gardening related activities.  My morning consisted of getting up at 6.30 and going for a run, then doing some seed sorting of my seed box and planting out next lot of seeds.  Today I planted out into my little wicking pots:

- Broccoli (Italian sprouting and purple sicilian) (I'm comparing what does better for the broc and cauli's and any left overs are going to my school garden)

-Cauliflower (quick heart and all year round)

- Cabbage (ruby ball)

-Spinach (viking)

- lettuce (green mignonette)

- variety of flowers (red sunflowers saved from seed, calendula, foxglove, poppies, hollyhock)

-> sugar snap peas went into the garden. 

The one at the back is Zack's garden - only a couple of seeds came up so we added some of my many strawberry runners.

The last of the strawberry runners were potted up and all of the wicking pots are back on the fence.

My poor little worm farm needed a new layer, so I made that up with some compost, dried grass, newspaper and the leftover feed.  I then used the worm juice which I hadn't been using at all and put it on all my raspberries which were looking a bit yellow despite having fertilisers added. 

And I've had a rat problem.  One of my cucumbers and all of my eggplants bar one have been chomped.  So I had to net the eggplant this morning and then bought ratsak for around the yard - I don't mess around with rats.  See the corn debacle from last year.

So this was all before 9.30 this morning.   I then had a shower and off I went to the Ipswich plant expo :)  I met RobBob -> was so excited to see him there.  And I saw Jerry Colby Williams.  My day was complete.  I wandered around looking at some beautiful plants and arts and crafts.  I am planning a subtropical shade garden for down the side of the house and am slowly building up supplies of various gingers and shade loving plants.  I bought some ornamental gingers and dwf canna lily previously and today, I picked up a torch ginger (did you know you can eat the flowers??), champagne beehive ginger (for the shade garden) and papillo hippeastrum and from Robbob's store, a 20L bag of vermicast -> I'm out of compost.

This area here is where I'm planning the garden to go.  I will be rocking a path down the side of the house and out to the compost.  BTW just check out the growth of the bamboo!!

Also, have you guys had flowers on your edible ginger?  I've had the green stalk for about a month now and finally one has opened up to show the little flower.  Looks very pretty.

I'm so over my chickens.  They kept getting into the front garden and tearing everything up.  I put up this little fence this arvo to try to keep them out.  There are carrots and herbs (what the chickens didn't scratch up) and in the far one, I'm planting more carrots tomorrow.

The backyard is growing well.  While I'm still having some problems (rust substance on tomato's, aphids, cockaroaches eating seedlings) everything else is growing well and I have enough crops planted that I'll be harvesting something every week.   Hope this gives you an idea of how it looks. 

And finally,  I'll leave you with a photo of my beautiful flowers.  This time, it's sunflowers. 

Last lot of procrastination - writing a blog :)  Happy gardening people. 


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Comment by Susan on March 15, 2016 at 19:26

Hi Dave, I can concur with Dianne about Allysum's -> they are def low maintenance and self seed and mine look lovely as a ground cover.   I have discovered they last exceptionally well as a cut flower too - use them to fill in gaps.   I also know of a lady up the road from me who swears by heartseases (viola's and I think also Dianne mentioned them as Johnny jump ups) She has never replanted and hers come up every year from self seeds.  My marigolds have been left to self seed and they come up in weed proportions.  I've had snap dragons self seed and come up all by themselves along with sweet peas.  I'm slowly moving to some more annual flowers - again mostly inspired by Dianne's lovely garden.  I have blue and pink salvia's plus a dwarf blue salvia.  I've also got cat whiskers (don't know its real name) and just got some angelonia cuttings -> from the last garden visit.  These are just some I know that have done well in my garden or around here so might work for you.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on March 15, 2016 at 5:20

Dave, Why not try planting some - Queen Ann's Lace, Cosmos, Granny's Bonnets, Alyssum, Echinacea, Anise Hyssop, Cornflowers, Californian Poppies, Baby's Breath, Candytuft, Johnny Jump Ups, Lobelia, Yarrow, Cat Mints, Coreopsis, Feverfew, Lavenders, Blue Borage - to name but a few.  

Comment by Dave Riley on March 15, 2016 at 1:26

While we're looking at flowers...

What's a man to do here in the sub tropics to get his floral hit? Wear paisley ties?

At heart and habit I'm a cottage gardener but I find it frustrating growing a range of annual flowers here in SEQ..and in my current soil. I always do the sunflowers and let my herbs run to flower (esp coriander). Cannas. Frangipani. Jerusalem artichokes.Pigeon peas.Statice. Louisiana irises. Sun jewels. I do nasturtiums and Cosmos...but I want more like them: seed well, come up every year. Undemanding.

Any further suggestions? Like for planting now.

Mixing them in among the veg.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on March 14, 2016 at 20:11

I don't know what they are Susan.  I've seen photos - really big and full blooms that are very pretty.  My ex-mother-in-law sent them over.  (Yes, I am an exceptional ex.)  I only have 3 of 12 sprouting yet, but it is early days.  It's a quiet little project that I am running. 

Comment by Susan on March 14, 2016 at 19:41

Thanks everyone.  Andy, now my interest is piqued - what lily?  Seedlings are yet to survive and get into the ground yet, I'm having a lot of trouble with something eating them as they go in.  Interesting to hear that others are having their ginger ripen.  Thanks Christa. No watering system but during summer, I had them all on the ground underneath my custard apple tree so they were in full shade from 12.  I had them on the wall until December and they did great - they are self watering though - don't know if that helps.  Rob and Elizabeth, I wish I could let the chickens into the main areas of the garden so they can hunt the blasted grasshoppers for me but they are far too destructive, so like you Elizabeth, I'm catching what I can and feeding them to them. 

Comment by Christa on March 13, 2016 at 11:10

Lovely to see your goings on, Susan.    Your strawberry trays on the fence, are they feed with an automatic watering device?  My strawberries in same pots, last year, did not do well.  The pots may have been too hot.

The vegetable beds are fantastic,  and you still have time to go for a run.  I am envious!   Keep doing what you are doing, as I am learning from your examples.

Comment by Lissa on March 13, 2016 at 9:17

Your energy and enthusiasm is contagious Susan :) Glad someone got to that show at Ipswich and enjoyed it.

I don't miss all the marking AT ALL. Used to annoy the heck out of me. I find if I plan my weekends in advance I feel satisfied that I will get the time I want in the garden. Everything goes down on the calendar and I try hard not to over book myself. This weekend has been a busy one but I make sure I do the mundane chores around the good stuff - get them out of the way.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on March 13, 2016 at 6:20

Looking fabulous Susan, to heck with the school work (ha, ha), but stay healthy and don't burn the candle at both ends, your garden and family need you.

You are really growing a wonderful selection, you must be not having to go into the fruit and veg isle at the shops much anymore. Love the pictures you put up, it really shows how your garden is progressing. Thanks so much for sharing.

Comment by Jacqui on March 13, 2016 at 0:21

I am totally guilty of leaving everything till the last minute as I find it so hard being inside doing chores when the garden calls.

 Your garden looks lovely Susan, so much variety and so productive, you are way ahead of me with your seedlings.

Comment by Rob Collings on March 13, 2016 at 0:00

What an awesome day for you! The gardens are looking fabulous as usual Susan.

I have 2 chooks, the black chook is well behaved and stays in the fenced area with the goats. The brown chook uses nana goat as a hopping point to gain access over the fence and into the gardens ... naughty chook!

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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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