Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

It's that 'Neither/Nor' Time of year, isn't it?

No rain. Brutal drying westerly winds. Warmer days...This time of year is 'Spring' -- sort of-- but without all the elements converging as they should.

A little precipitation would help. Enough to suppress this waiting and dampen the earth.

But as my ma used to say: be careful what you wish for.

Mind you, 'tis pleasant enough except for the gusts.

If you saw the fire on Bribie Island you'd  have to confront the reality  of:

  • how forceful the wind has been
  • how dry is the bush

Scary stuff. Devastating for wild life.

When you consider the sort of Summer the northern hemisphere just had, maybe it is imperative that we consider how we too will get through the next few months.

We cannot know how wet it will be, but we surely know it will be HOT.

Brisbane dam levels are OK -- except for Wivenhoe (53.4%) -- so how much your tanks are holding now may indeed be a plus.

This Summer I'm set to deploy shade with greater purpose. After cutting back so much elevated stuff for the cooler months I'm banking on growth spurts to shadow the garden much more during the hot days to come. Tall plants too, like corn and tomatoes are useful. Just like the ramblers and creepers always are.

I'd really like to log how much each bed gets in the way of direct sunshine per day at key calendar moments.  That's one of those exercises I've been meaning to do.

Time of year. Too much (as in too hot). Or too little. This Summer I'm also taking soil temperatures  as too hot makes me anxious on sand. (As it does your tootsies when you go barefoot on the surf beach over Summer).

When I first came to Brisbane in an October some years back I was amazed how green the place was.Then the trees flowered and the thunder storms came...

It was thrilling.

And it still is.

Looking outback it is hard to imagine that that present verdancy is girding itself to explode into an even  deeper green.  Every year it catches me by surprise.

An advantage of BLF is that you can gallery your photos of different years and months and note the changes.

Since I just ordered some more seeds I have a mind's eye looking to the near future. This warm season I'm determined to settle my long running disputes (and failures): with cucumbers, sweet peppers and tomatillos.

You see, I am a man of ambition, even if my mind is in the dirt.

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Comment by Dave Riley on September 16, 2019 at 18:10

Be still my beating heart!

Get the rain dance gear on.

I see rain 50km off the coast.

Sent to tease no doubt...

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on September 15, 2019 at 21:14

I'm about to deep mulch the vitiver that I got from you Dave.  Struggling to keep it alive.  I'm using most water twice where I can - especially when I need to clean the fermenters and still.  Probably 80% of my sunny north side has been given up on now.  It's bolted anyway so can just set seed for next season.  I've also noticed when a pot goes dry, the ants move in with their farm of aphids.  The south side is actually picking up and has retained a bit of green thanks to the shade from the house.  Looks like I've lost a wonderful crop of peaches though.  Bugger!

Comment by Dave Riley on September 15, 2019 at 20:25

If  South East Qld survives the next week in tact  it will be good for all and sundry.

You just have to touch the earth to get a feel for the fire readiness that seems pervasive. Dryness isn't just lack of rain it's all the moisture variables and the impact of drying winds and sunshine and heat.

This article on river flow volume and dam levels  in NSW is horrific. We're just behind that. All we need is  a bit more dry to synchronize with the water crisis to the south.  It looks like that's what we'll get...that and wind.

I don't usually grow veges to save money but it looks like that retail prices are set to rise for fresh fruit and veg as water supplies across the Eastern Seaboard dry up further.

Indeed now is the time to develop your water budget for Summer...and review your menu in terms of a domestic supply line. I'm not an off-grid kinda guy, but I'm surprised how sufficient my garden serves in way of growing comestibles.

Gardening does sustain survival.

With the drought and the weather pattern mulch too is sure to be at a premium. The grasses -- of whatever ilk -- are not thriving. Even the Vetiver is resistant to a good Spring flush and the lawns are seldom worth mowing.

Even my earth worms have dived deeper...

Just the same...we can but hope -- we 'may' get some rain from next Tuesday.

Comment by Jeff Kiehne on August 27, 2019 at 21:01

Is the asian greens bolting from the warm weather then some cold weather then warm weather .My potatoes  seem to have grown very quickly Dutch cream 10 weeks some good but a lot of small potatoes i think its the warm weather mature quickly and the plants die off and stop developing.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on August 25, 2019 at 19:25

I'm starting to call it "Tweenie" not "Sprinter."  My biggest problem is sunlight.  The north side is getting heaps right now - in fact lettuce, coriander, dill and even some asian greens are bolting.  Meanwhile, the south side still has no sun.  The aqauponics bed looks like a half desert (one end is fine but the other, darker end is empty).

Comment by Christa on August 25, 2019 at 8:36

Yes Dave, we are just guinea pigs when it comes to mother nature. Don't like to whinge but this is the second time in a year that our tanks are dry.  Last year we had 2 tanks so we put in another big tank for extra water supply.  We are trying to save the water that goes down the drain each rainfall.  Three tanks are not enough for all our wicking pots which we fill about once a week in summer and much less in winter. Our Banana trees are lacking water and looking poor so we might have to top them and wait for next wet season. We have a space and location for one more smaller tank so that may happen before the rains come.

Another thought is that now that we have so many fruit trees in pots, we might select the ones that produce fruit each season and dig holes in the ground and plant the larger plants, they may stand a better chance in drought times.

We could install an upright piece of pvc pipe in each dig hole to water the roots if needed.  The plants that are too big for wicking pots can be sold. My back yard would be a jungle but it is better to cull the numbers and keep the best performers in the ground.  What do you think? 

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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

The Vetiver Community Project is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

Place your business add here! ($5 per month or $25 for 9 months)

Talk to Andy on 0422 022 961.  You can  Pay on this link

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