Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Finally the rain has hit!  I am getting rain weekly and the garden is sure enjoying it.  I can't wait for school holidays to start so I can get a lot of work done now that the weather is cooling off.  

The asparagus certainly perks up with the rain.  I harvested 10 spears last week and I've obviously missed quite a few this week.

How weird is this.  My dragon fruit is reflowering and setting fruit.  I thought it was a once a year thing but the rain did it's job on it too.  I have 5 new fruit on it. 

Also, my red shatoot mulberry has burst into life with new shoots and mulberry flowers.  

I am trialling a new method of growing tomatoes.   I was watching various gardening blogs and one did a segment on stringing up tomatoes.  Now I had always been curious but preferred to let my tomatoes drape all over each other on a round trellis, shoulder high trellis and not worry with shoot removal.  This year, I want to grow quite a few different tomatoes and I don't have a very big garden so I thought I'd try it.  

I have san Mazano (roma), black cherry, black cherry roma, black roma and an unnamed pink variety that does really well in my garden.  

The brassica's did well even though they were planted about 1 month ago.    I have broccoli (happy rich (big - planted about 2 months ago) and marathon; chinese cabbage minuet; cabbage red ball and mini; cauliflower (amazing - supposed to be a heat tolerant variety).  Have to put my little collars around everything otherwise they get eaten.   Notice the nice big basil - I grew that from my own saved seed.  I have so many basil plants around the place - I made a nice pesto today to have with chicken pasta tonight. 

I had been meaning to replant my walking onions and perennial leeks as they were just dumped in the ground and had been looking horrible.  when I picked up the clump of walking onions, I had discovered that most of them had rotted and had very few roots left.  I saved the best and planted them out (back).  I also did one clump of my perennial leeks (front) - the rest will be divided over the holidays and spread around the place. 

It is absolutely amazing how cooler rainy weather deals with my mite problems as well.  Now, I try not to spray in my yard - mostly cause I'm lazy but I'm ever hopeful that eventually I'll get a balance between predators and nasties.  One of the biggest issues I have is mites on my tomatoes and eggplants especially when hot and dry.  On eggplants they are particularly annoying as they scar the fruit and so it doesn't develop well and will split.  A little cooler and wetter and I have beautiful fruit developing again. 

A couple of weeks ago, these cucumbers were really struggling to the point where I was about to rip them out.  Fast forward to some lovely rain and we have flowers!!  I have just planted bean seeds and some more brassica seeds (direct sown this morning- we'll see how I go).  I have marathon broc, ruby red and mini cabbage and amazing cauliflower seeds.

This other bed has caused me no end of trouble.  We had a cool snap a couple of weeks ago so I planted some snow peas and transplanted my own beetroot and lettuce seedlings.  Well as you can see, that was a disaster.  1 pea, 1 beetroot and 1/2 the lettuce survived.  I direct sowed beetroot seeds quite thickly about 1 week ago, replanted the peas as well and bought some lettuce seedlings to fill in the gaps.  Things have popped up nicely but we will see if they survive and continue to grow. 

Well that's about it for me folks.  I am almost ready to pot my strawberry runners up, have made some rosella jam and been squeezing fresh rio red grapefruit juice.   Love this time of year and am looking forward to my garden being productive again.  

Happy gardening folks.  

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Comment by Elaine de Saxe on April 1, 2019 at 8:28

Always string up my Tomatoes. Often use 2 or 3 strings for big plants. Finding somewhere within my reach to tie the strings to is the biggest challenge for me. I use just ordinary string which comes in a ball and put the used string into the compost when the plant is finished. 'Within my reach' is the tricky part since the beds themselves are a foot or so above ground and at 5ft 3ins, 'my reach' isn't all that great. But I make use of the available space and harvest the fruit easily and have done it this way for many years.

Comment by Jeff Kiehne on April 1, 2019 at 7:38

With the strings  if they are too thin  the weight of the plant and fruit  can start to cut the plant  is there any where that recycles bailing twine .

Comment by Dave Riley on March 31, 2019 at 22:21

Let us know how the tomato stringing goes.

I tried it but I found it both cumbersome and fiddly. Unless the strings are taught, I found, they aren't anchored.Waving about is no big problem but a high wind is.

You also need a rough jute and be willing to sacrifice some laterals. As you are likely only to get one string per plant.

As they climb and spread out I found I needed to call on the other strings nearby to support the bulking of the plant.

Nonetheless, by running toms straight up material you can twine them to make harvesting an absolute pleasure. It's a Garden of Eden thing. Less waste of space. Access to more sunshine. No ground resting rot.Without the 'construction' issues presented by staking -- like keeping them upright and trying to harvest from inside the structure.

Once away it was amazing how keenly they grow up and how high the tomatoes plants can reach.

Comment by Christa on March 30, 2019 at 17:26

Those cutworms are a pain, the chooks often help to clean them up.  Those garden beds with the onions in them seem to be narrower than the others?  We have some tin beds that we have pulled up, and you have given us an idea, maybe we could cut the tin up and make them narrower and more suitable for strawberries. 

Some tomatoes love to be hung up on a bit of string.  Enjoy the Easter planting,  Looks like there will be standing room only in your garden this winter.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on March 30, 2019 at 15:30

Good news Susan, always a pleasure to read your doings :-) My Dragon Fruits are flowering and fruiting too, 3 flushes so far. It must be warmer than I thought, the plants follow the temperature and I expect that they know what they are doing.

Comment by Valerie on March 30, 2019 at 14:45

Looking great!

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