Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Garlic, coffee grounds, leaf mould and lots of other stuff...

I've been slack of late, in my contribution to the site as a result of work related issues which seem to be resolving themselves, thankfully. Anyway, for those who might have thought I was being rude (like Donna, I only just saw your message), I'm so very sorry.

Anyway, I just thought I'd drop in and say hello, brag (not that I have anything to brag about!) etc.

So, about a month ago, I bought a couple of white garlic bulbs (read: not suitable for subtropics) from Green Harvest and I planted them last week, along with beetroot, carrot and onions. Anyway, I noticed today that some are sprouting, which I am most chuffed with. I thought they'd just rot in the ground like the potatoes I drowned last year. But apparently not! Woohoo! Anyway, I wondered if anyone else had planted garlic, and how they are going...??

Every autumn since we've lived here (this is our 4th), I've been kidding myself that I was going to ask the lovely elderly couple who live behind us if I could rake up the fallen leaves from the gigantic Liquidambar (which is an awesome borrowed landscape) in their front yard. To my delight, they were stoked with my offer as they struggle with it more and more each year and have actually been paying someone to take it away (HELLO!!!). So I went down this afternoon and packed 7 big garbage bags full of them, and that's only about 2/3 of what's fallen so far, with t least twice as much to come. I plan to head down there weekly, or even fortnightly and collect everything I can get. I've read that if you put a bit of water in the bags and cut some holes in them, the leaves will break down into 'leaf mould' within 6 - 12 months. This is great news for me, as I do struggle with my veggie beds 'sinking' because of stuff down low breaking down. I find it hard to come across good sources of (cheap/free) organic material to put in them, and to compost, so I'm making the most of the neighbour's tree this year, in preparation for spring. Anyway, it's making me feel quite warm and fuzzy...

A couple of weeks back, we cut back the lime tree quite substantially, as it was becoming quite large and thus unmanagable. We cut it back by about 1/3 and put all of the prunings through the chipper and filled a compost in in the process (waiting a week until it was not so green anymore). When I ran the compost aerator through that heap today, it was steaming nicely. Sweet!! This combined with the dirty chook bedding that goes into the bins, means I now have 3 compost bins full of sweet, cooking organic matter. I can hardly wait for it to be ready!

On the chicken front, they're all still alive! I have 4 left and the death spree is over and done with! The youngens are now 19 weeks old, so I've put them on an organic layer mash by Country Heritage Stock Feeds. They love it and it's actually quite cost effective, at $35 for 25kg, which is very cost effective seeing as I normally pay around $20 for 20kg of Barastoc, which they seem to waste quite a lot of (if it tastes the same way it smells, then I hardly blame them).

Other than that, it's just the same old around here. I've got some cauliflower and broccolini seedlings on the go, but they are quickly being devoured by an army of catterpillars... I bought some BT to spray them with, then read Mark's post about the stuff and felt funny about it (thanks a lot Mark!!).

Off to water the garden, hard core, ninja, night gardening style! Look out!

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Comment by Scarlett on May 11, 2010 at 17:06
the old lore was always that lemon trees love tea and coffee remains - probably it's to do with the slightly acidic nature of these preventing the lime induced chlorosis - plus all organic matter is good! Linda Woodrow recounts in her excellent book "The Permaculture Home Garden" how she aims to bring home one wheelbarrow of organic matter for her soil EVERY DAY!! yoiks...
Comment by Florence on May 11, 2010 at 13:22
Helping your neigbours to sweep the leaves was a great win-win outcome!
I've read about the acidic coffee ground, but also others says the process in making coffee already washed most of the acid off.. maybe should try testing the PH next time I get my hands on some...
Comment by Lotte on May 11, 2010 at 13:09
Oh, on another note, I notice I added 'coffee grounds' to my title, then didn't elaborate. Typical. Anyway, I went to a coffee shop the other day and as I was leaving I asked if they could spare me some coffee grounds, and they gave me a whole bag - probably 5kg! I intend to put most of it in the compost, but I've heard it's quite acidic, so I'll give some to the blueberry bushes too. Sweet!
Comment by Lotte on May 11, 2010 at 13:07
Donna, I got the feed from a place in Rocklea. United Organics. They're mostly a wholesaler, but were happy to sell this to me. Next time I go there, I'll let you know well in advance, and if you'd like a bag, I'll get you one. My dogs love it, so I had to put a bag of soil on top of the bin!

I'll give the molasses spray a go as I nearly fell into a fit of convulsions from touching them - it's just too much for my weak gag reflex.
Comment by Donna on May 11, 2010 at 13:03
No worries, I should just ring anyway... I'll put your number in my phone :)
Comment by Donna on May 11, 2010 at 13:03
What a great thing to do - both for your garden and your neighbours! Where did you get the new feed from, checked their website and the only one I can find close only delivers?

Sounds great, your garden will thank you for it next year. If it is caterpillars, try making a molasses spray ... apparently it makes the leaves taste yukky (same as chilli spray does).
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 9, 2010 at 23:35
Keep us posted, James. I've heard it just grows 'rounds' - single large clove down here in Briz. Possibly those rounds would produce proper bulbs next year. That stuff is supposed to be dipped in something to stop it growing but grow it certainly does. In the colder climate of Toowoomba it is reported to grow like garlic should.
Comment by Scarlett on May 9, 2010 at 20:57
unreal Lotte :)
totally brag-worthy :D
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 9, 2010 at 20:50
Garlic is growing nicely - it's the warm-adapted varieties Florence bought on our behalf. The green shoots are around 6 inches high. If your garlic is shooting it will most probably grow well and if you keep some cloves you're on your way to a locally-adapted selection.

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