Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Well ladies and gentlemen, it is almost over.  I can feel the warmth in the air, a spring is in my step and those days are starting to lengthen.  I CAN'T STAND WINTER!! And before you diss me, I do realise that I am just "slightly" hypocritical.  

I love all the variety of vegetables that we can only grow through the colder months.  Broccoli, Cauli's, spinach and my all time favourites - peas.  Yum!!  I love how easy it is to get carrots and  beetroot to germinate,  that my lettuces are still as wonderful 4 weeks later then after their "peak".  Just love it! But……

I am a summer girl at heart.  My legs were not meant to be covered up with tracksuit pants and left to fade away to a ghastly white.  I absolutely detest having to wear 50 layers of clothes just to be able to go out in the garden and not run shivering for the house.  So "bring it on" is what I say to the beautiful warmth and "adios" to last gasps of winter.

With that in mind, I have started my curcubit seeds.  I have always grown Zucchini and cucumbers over winter  (see above) but what surprised me was a volunteer rockmelon that came up in the same bed.  I'm hoping it's one of my charentais melons because they are so yummy.  Based on the fact that it came up in the middle of winter, I might try to grow rockmelons over winter next year.  I have started kent pumpkins in one of the soil beds, 2 x moon & stars watermelon and 4 x charentais melons in one of my self watering pots and more cucumbers and zucchini's (to replace the ones growing)

 My beautiful multigrafted peach/nectarine tree never fails to disappoint.  Nothing is prettier than the bare branches bursting into bloom with just the hint of greenery around them from the new leaves.  At the moment, it is a haven to at least 20 bees at any one point in time.  They enjoy it as much as I do :)  This year though, I MUST make sure that I make a net.  There is a place on ebay that sells the netting I have on the brassica bed at the moment for about $6 per meter. (I've had this for 2 years now and it's still going strong)  My plan is to buy a couple of meters and stitch a square tent to go over the top so I don't lose any fruit this year to the dreaded fruit fly.  I am also going to use the same material to make some fruit bags for my apples.  In winter, we get to eat some because no fruit fly damage but it's main crop in summer gets completely decimated.  I think 20 should do it to start with. 

 

Spring also marks the asparagus season.  I've had about 10 spears pop their heads up already with the warmer weather.  Guess how many I've actually eaten……….. The one that you see in my hand right now.  BLOODY CHOOKS!!!  Lucky we have had another egg layer join the ranks of Minty or they would be seriously on my Sh*t list right now.  My little bantam sussex Vicky is laying nice white eggs as well.  This is her first egg compared to Minty's (38 grams vs 56 grams) , the rest have been a little bigger and weigh between 42 -46 grams -> not that small at all.   I'm hoping that Miss Penny will start soon as she did the squat for me today.  She's the Australorp x Aracauna and will be my first coloured layer (green).

 The warmth of today had me outside catching up with many jobs that just needed doing; the most pertinent was "chookifying" my garden.  Strawberry bed, flower bed & asparagus bed have all received the treatment. 

Another job that needed doing was planting out my Bamboo.  Done :)

 

 

Of course, the warmer weather does have some down falls.  I need to cover the Brassica bed because the caterpillars get too active.  If I miss two days of inspecting, the damage they can do is just too much.  I was thinking about having to get hoops set up, but the fabric is light enough that I can just drape it over the bed.  This is my double shooting cauliflower that I have decided to let go to seed to see if I can get any offspring that will double shoot.  It was a MASSIVE second head which was only 6 weeks behind the first.  Considering they take 3 -4 months from seed to harvest, it would well be worth leaving them in another 6 weeks to get  another crop.

 

Finally, just a montage of my random garden vegies.  My darling little beets, carrots, yellow zucchs & lettuces just make me happy looking at them.  My salad bowl consists of all the different lettuces, baby beet leaves and spinach leaves -> So much better than a scabby old salad mix from woolies.

  One last whine before I'm done.  It had better rain soon! My tank went dry yesterday so its back to watering the patch with mains water which I'm reluctant to do because its not that great for my wicking beds.  Fingers crossed we will see some spring rains soon.

 

Well that's it from me.  Spring is nearly here people!  Yay :)

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Comment by Susan on August 18, 2014 at 21:24
Let me know how they go in wicking beds. Robbob has his growing in beds and they seem to do really well.
Comment by Elaine coolowl on August 18, 2014 at 7:00

When the Asparagus was in the ground, I got at least 2 pickings a year. Once it started to flower, I clear-felled and left the cuttings on the ground as in-situ compost. Then new shoots started, I left them to about 1-2ft high, snapped them off where they snapped by themselves. That way we got longer green shoots still very tender. The variety is Connover's Colossal and whether it flowers more readily than conventional varieties, I don't know.
I've since moved some crowns to 2 x 200L wicking bins and they and the new seedlings have to grow on a bit before I start cutting. Maybe next spring.

Comment by Susan on August 17, 2014 at 22:41
Hi Elizabeth and Jane. My asparagus would send up new shoots whenever we had lots of rain ( obviously not much in July/august) but cut it down beginning of August. I had just filled my water barrel and drippers were working so that must have said to them"wake up, spring is here". Jane , we did get a nice little downpour. I just hope there will be more to follow. Thanks for comment about my garden. I do love it and we are eating quite a bit out of it now.
Comment by Jane on August 17, 2014 at 12:39

Hi Susan & others do hope you have had the rain that we got it CQ, 43mm total, its amazing how soon the grass turns green again & everything perks up. All your crops look wonderful Susan, I also just picked all my salad veg for lunch its such a good feeling to be able to eat all home grown veg, so fresh & no nasties, the hot summer months bug me when I have to resort to Woolies or Coles. thanks for the reminder to get the cucumbits going, must sort through the seed box.

Comment by elizabeth shaw on August 17, 2014 at 7:43

We must be in a totally different location, our asparagus had a ridiculous amount of growth this year continuing right up till the middle of July when it finally started to die back for the year. Last weekend I got to cut back all of the fronds and this weekend I am preparing the bed for the new growth, which as yet is no where to be seen.

Comment by Lissa on August 16, 2014 at 6:48

I already own the mosquito netting so will use it as long as it lasts. It isn't meant for outdoor use so I expect I will find it doesn't last long as you've suggested.

Comment by Susan on August 15, 2014 at 16:15

Thanks very much guys.  The netting I've used is this "Plant Protection Mesh, Exclusion Net, Stop FRUIT FLY" from ebay.  It's about $6.20 per linear meter and is 2 meters wide.  I used it last year and it's been sitting outside since and is still good.  It's lifespan is apparently 3-5yrs but I think it could last longer.  I did try mosquito netting a couple of times but it tore too easily especially after being exposed to the elements for a while

Comment by Florence on August 15, 2014 at 11:10

I guess many of us would be happy that there's rain and thunderstorm forecasted for Brisbane this weekend :)

A great update to your garden ~ What is the name of the fabric you used Susan?

 

Comment by Lissa on August 14, 2014 at 5:34

Lovely, entertaining blog Susan :)

Netting for the nectarine - my tree is also smothered in beautiful spring blossom. At what point do you net your tree? I have some mosquito netting that would be perfect for this small tree.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on August 13, 2014 at 19:46

The garden is looking great Susan.  I did laugh about your chooks - yep, I am chookifying my beds out the back as well.   I worried about water too - I can only use tank water for my fish in the aquaponics.  It's a tough gig for us urban farmers. 

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