Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

It's challenge enough to keep up with the harvest.

I've been prevailed upon to cut back the garden and create more lawn. Not my perspective nor preferred lifestyle, but you have to forgo some laziness some times and spend more time (spit! bugger!) 'mowing'.

As it turns out , the new directive opened up quite a few renovating options that I now have embraced. That and the fact that my latest electrical corded whipper-snipper are getting on. 

Powered up to the mains.

That's what I cut the grass with. $150 well spent  -- and I can still cut the grass without worrying too much about its height.

This is the machine that has delivered 'order' to my jungle. Trimmed pathways and lawn (such as it is).

Mind you, if it wasn't for whipper-snippering  and  the enforced renovations, there isn't much to do in the garden beds.

I 'could' weed (maybe next week)  but then it's challenge enough to keep up with the harvest.

Beans, as are their want, are a daily harvest. The fat chewy Roma pole ones I prefer.  I'm also hard pressed to pick the over supply of Winged Beans. The chilies are coming on. I'm drowning in Tromboncino ..and my much loved Bottle Gourd -- which was taken by the winds of TC Oma -- has self seeded  and resurrected. White and green chokoes like so many organic Xmas ornaments. Loofah coming on. Daikons getting fatter....

Tragically, because I am forced to flatten a bed or two in order to create 'pasture' -- I've lost my main supply line of Okinawan Spinach upon which I am seriously dependent.. What a must-have  perennial!

Any time spinach is required, there she be at arms length any time of the year.

(Ate it in a Gozleme with feta last week. Tasted great!)

My paw paws are of a habit that staggers their ripening so that the supply line suits my consumption. The texture I like too. Much better tasting than the fretful fruits at the school garden.

Staggered too are the Dragon Fruits. Still coming. Hidden within the prickly pear  and ripening at their own discretion.

Not that I'm harvesting as yet, but with conscious plantings and self seeding I'm set to seriously drown in tomatoes.

..and Daikon. I love Daikon -- and it grows in my garden much better than other radishes (or any other root veg for that matter) .

But a garden is very much swings and slides: terrible performance from my corn, okra, tomatilloes,..and cucumbers. Drat!

But then the  less grown backyard plants seem to be on my side: cassava  hedges, Jerusalem Artichokes, Pigeon Peas,  Moringa, Chaya and Agati. Katuk is everywhere outback and my Spineless Prickly Pears has embraced  Triffid habits since I adopted these succulents like the Wicked with of the North: "Fly, My Pretties, Fly".

Not the sort of plant to leave lying around...or one you can turn your back on.

Then there's the Vetiver.

A garden may have content but my Vetiver hedges give it form.

Research tells us that aside from the mulch to be had, a lot of push and pull agroecology and underground advantageous microbiology is a'happening in the terrestrial ecology of these hedgerows.

With the imposed cut back, my compensation is that I get to expand my Vetiver nursery and I'm adding a bed dedicated to growing Vetiver parents. Because I harvested part of my hedges to supply a local community project, I'm keen to establish the vetiver process as self sustaining without effecting my vegey bed borders.

Currently, I have about a hundred slips to plant out for restocking and potting up in cells.

At the school garden the Vetiver harvest is enough to mulch most of our beds, but here at home the various demands I've made on the plant means that I am not, as yet, self sufficient in Vetiver mulch.

I'm looking forward to that day.

In the meantime Vetiver and I are beginning to bond in the local community. Here's an image (below) of part of the project we are currently working on together.

That's Vetiver slips recently planted under the SheOak. That's beach sand in the foreground, a sand dune behind that -- and to take the photo, I'm standing just above the high tide mark for Moreton Bay with my back to Moreton Island, 30 kms away.

TC Oma's surges took half a metre off the embankment.

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Comment by Andrew Cumberland on May 11, 2019 at 14:50

I don't "mow my lawns."  I harvest the grass for compost.  Anyway, stop whinging you two.  You could be stuck with My Rozie.  Not only a fan of lawn but also demands constant garden neatness.  

Comment by Dave Riley on May 11, 2019 at 8:39

Yes I have been bullied into growing more lawn. There is no other word for it. I am a victim.

The Vetiver hedges are short and trimmed low so reaching over is not a problem. But really, with plenty of mulch in these beds I usually just step over the hedge and walk into them to fiddle with the plants.

Mulching is very considerate of foot fall.

I grow all my plants -- except trees -- inside these beds hemmed by Vetiver. I haven't established the hedges striong enough yet to contain, say, sweet potato or pumpkin -- but that would be an aim.

Although I am planting Vetiver next to my fruit trees -- cheek and jowl -- the V not only draws up moisture and controls run off, but the root system (straight down) is a microbial powerhouse.

Some of my tomato self-seeds are happily growing in the wee gaps between the Vetiver plants.I'm rtghinking of experimenting with that happenstance by resting the vines on the Vetiver as they grow.

As well as insect push/pull, research has found that the quantity of soil microbes in samples taken from areas planted with Vetiver grass are greater than those without Vetiver grass. You just have to dig up the roots to be amazed at the activity below the surface.

Vetiver also keeps the Cane Toads off the beds and I suspect  once consolidated, may function as a useful barrier against snails. The garden skints, however, love  laying their eggs among the leaves and the earth worms congregate around the Vetiver roots.

Comment by Christa on May 11, 2019 at 8:05

A nice little green harvest, Dave. Does the vetiver impede reaching over to vegies in the centre of the hedgerows. What type of things are you growing in those 1.5 m rows.  I suppose, with the root systems of the vetiver, the inner garden area would stay moister than without. 

What's this I hear about you growing common grass?  Try and find an edible type?  or maybe a paver type.  Is it for a seating area in the sun.   My wish is to have no grass but alas! someone in our family likes grass or lawn!!! 

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