Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

It's a jungle out there! My garden in March 2018.

With the amazing season of rain we've had (plus several weeks of full time work) I've been finding it hard to keep up outside. The growth is rampant! My tanks are full and I've had little call to use them. 

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This shot is of the backyard looking towards the 5000 litres tank which is now obscured by the bananas, and the 'netted garden'. Note: taro (currently getting a bad reputation on BLF!)and crazy sweet potatoes which need another hack back because they have taken over the path which is supposed to be in the middle! Lime tree (plus lemon and tangelo are to the left). The trees are become quite heavy with fruit again - see tangelo below.      I am not sure if I should be thinning fruit on these trees. So much is setting  due to the increased activity of pollinators in my yard.

 

The front yard is similarly lush and unkempt with my flower garden full of rambling salvias, daylillies, geraniums and agapanthus plus the occasional eggplant , shishito pepper, rosella and lots of brazilian spinach. There are actually two paths in that border - somewhere! The grass was definitely overdue for a mow when i took these photos but it was still too wet to get out with the mower! I came home from work a couple of days later and my son had tidied things up for me so that was nice.

 I don't think I had made the garden bed under the frangipani tree when I had my garden visit last year. It produced huge quantities of greens last winter as it got the lovely winter sun while the back yard was shrouded in shade. Now it has become overgrown with sweet potatoes, comfrey and pumpkin vine which I am about to start cooking with after watching some awesome youtube videos about traditional cooking in villages in India.

 I recently harvested some delicious sweet potato tubers from one of those plants. I don't think there will be many tubers though as I have let them ramble too much and I think they will be heavy on leaves rather than roots.

On the other side of the front yard are my beehives which have been coming along nicely after a split, a couple of swarms and a season of queenlessness for one of them. The hive on the left is almost full of honey and I hope to harvest around Easter.

Also in the front yard under more bananas is a loaded tamarillo tree - I counted 80 pretty, ripening fruit.

Heading back into the backyard is much my loved ginger which is continuing to thicken with tubers.  I love brushing past the leaves as they release that heady ginger perfume. I am really hoping to harvest a year's supply from the four styrofoam boxes they are growing

in.

I have been planting lots of seeds of brassicas for the cooler months ahead.  The seedlings are still small here and are planted in the netted garden to protect them from white cabbage moth. In case anyone's curious, the milk jug was an attempt to slowly water into the bed and I think it worked somewhat for a season. The plastic is somewhat perished by the UV and will be removed really soon.

Lastly I am very excited about my rattlesnake beans which have shot out of the ground. It's my first time to grow them and they sound like a fabulously versatile bean - very tasty fresh but they make a great dried bean as well with a flavour similar to pintos, a family favourite. 

In the kitchen, I have't been baking due to an oven that needs repair but I have been making copious quantities of both water kefir and kombucha.  Everyone here has a different favourite!  I have been making lovely filmjolk yoghurt as well and enjoying on cereal and in smoothies. The kitchen counters always have something 'growing' on them! 

I'll just finish this post with a picture of a gorgeous frame of honey which I removed from one of the hives to give a bit more room in the brood box for the queen to lay.  It is ridiculously delicious!

Cheers to all and happy gardening!

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Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 5, 2018 at 22:19

I've not seen anything eating my perpetual Spinach but every leaf is stripped to the mid-rib. There are a lot of grasshoppers around and I suspect them.

Comment by Christa on May 5, 2018 at 22:07

Lissa, Don't know what is eating the comfrey leaves, maybe grasshoppers, I have not seen anything chewing at them.

Comment by Sophie on May 5, 2018 at 6:59

Looking wonderful! Agree w Susan; beware of the evils SP vine. Most of my gardening time is getting rid of it now. The honeycomb- does that mean you got a regular hive or were you able to get from flow?

Comment by Lissa on May 5, 2018 at 5:34

What is eating your Comfrey Christa?

Comment by Christa on May 3, 2018 at 20:23

Such an abundant garden, Cathie.  I've never heard of Rattlesnake beans.  Your honey looks very sweet, makes me drool.  That comfrey is growing well in the shade, mine keeps getting eaten and I am left with bare stalks. 

Your salvia flowers are so pretty, as well as the cleome and geranium.  Your tamarillo's are so abundant.  We are jealous too. 

Comment by Lissa on May 3, 2018 at 19:36

Hadn't thought about using it in cooking. Interesting thought.

Comment by Cathie MacLean on May 3, 2018 at 7:52

Lissa, interesting about the kombucha being too strong for your tummy. I must admit we drink it straight (after flavouring usually) and have no problems. My initial brew is usually 7 days as I find it can get vinegary after that. I have read that there are certain things that develop after 14 days which are really beneficial for your health so it can be worth brewing longer and diluting -  interesting, eh? I have used the vinegar from my SCOBY hotel in salad dressing and to add a touch of acid to some finished dishes too. It's great, used like verjuice.   Lots of options. See me for kefir when you settle! 

Comment by Lissa on May 3, 2018 at 5:45

Wonderful! :) So much going on in your garden - flowers, fruit, veg and bees. Sweet potato leaves were my favourite green to use (closely followed by the collard). 

When I settle somewhere permanently again I would love to learn to make Water Kefir.

I still drink my diluted Kombucha every day but have only just realised that when I take a sip of the pure stuff, when I am replenishing it's tea, it actually gives me a dose of gastro. Too potent I suppose. Another person I gave a sip to recently had the same experience.

Comment by Cathie MacLean on May 3, 2018 at 3:06

Susan, bummer about the sweet potatoes. I find them such a useful plant as a ground cover but I haven't had to try to eliminate them from part of my yard yet. Sophie says it can be exasperating. Tamarillo is so easy to grow and fast fruiting. 18months I think. I need to keep better records. The fruit stays on the tree a long time too, just getting riper until it eventually drops off - like citrus.  I think the tree shape is quite graceful but it can lean quite a bit because it isn't totally woody like other trees. I have mine staked with a star picket. I don't have any trouble with fruit fly on it unlike just about everything else in my yard - even tromboncinos. Grrr.. I hate fruit flies.

Comment by Susan on May 2, 2018 at 20:06

I'm so glad you got round to posting this.  Your garden looks amazing!!.  I have to get rid of all my sweet potato as I have somehow got an infestation of the sweet potato weevil -> ruined every single tuber and speck of a tuber.  Problem is, the sweet potato vine keeps popping up and I need to entirely eradicate it for at least 4 months to be sure I have none of these pests before replanting.  Your Tamarillo tree looks divine and entirely undamaged by fruit fly - are they resistant?  I've never grown these.  Your salvia's look gorgeous - I'm just about to get my first flower from Dianne's Rose leaf involcruta variety - can't wait.

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