Brisbane Local Food

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Lemongrass Mulch Harvest and Weeds

As growing plants for mulch is such an important and ongoing chore for those of us who have the room and like to save money I thought I’d post this blog about my experiences this year with the harvest.

The East Indian Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) I have is an invader from the neighbouring property and together with Queensland Arrowroot (Canna indica), Leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) and Singapore Daisy (Sphagneticola trilobata) have made their way into my garden and flourished. All these plants are commonly used for biomass and mulch production which leads me to believe that the introducer (now long gone) may have been into permaculture or at least had a little bit of knowledge (i.e. in the dangerous way). I’ve managed to stop the Singapore Daisy from establishing in my property but the Leucaena has gotten a partial foothold and the lemongrass and arrowroot I’ve adopted. All these plants have self-seeded over at least 10 years and thus are well and truly adapted to the local environment. Anyway back to the harvest. Below is a photo of the area where they are most abundant. Note I haven’t harvested in a couple of years and since then they have really established themselves. This is right on the property border where there is little soil and on top of a rock wall –

Today I harvested all the lemongrass by pruning severely –

You can see in behind the lemongrass the vine mess of Singapore Daisy and other invasive environmental weeds such as the Velcro plant (Desmodium uncinatum), Leucaena (coppiced) and Glycine (Neonotonia wightii). The lemongrass does block them to some degree but I still need to cut these vines back fortnightly in the warmer months as all the recent neighbours (it is a rental) have no idea what a garden is and certainly don’t do any yard work.

This is the amount harvested –

Now I need to cut the harvest into smaller pieces before using or storing. I’m thinking of using my mower to do this once I remove the bigger stems. I’ll post an update on how the lemongrass grows back in a few months.

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Comment by Lissa on January 1, 2016 at 16:27

Remind me when you come over Phil and I'll point the plant out to you for a taste. It has survived with once weekly watering or rain and done ok.

Comment by Phil on January 1, 2016 at 8:09

I also grow lemon balm for use in teas and a few leaves in a salad. It likes it a bit of damp so I grow it in pots although recently I put some under the Vegie Net which is partially shaded and it has survived but not thrived. I've never had it seed but you can divide the plant easily enough. I wonder how different the lime variety tastes to the lemon one.

Comment by Lissa on January 1, 2016 at 6:32

I have some Lime Balm growing out the front. Bought as an interest and ignored since :/

Comment by Christa on December 31, 2015 at 22:24

That would be great Elaine.  That sounds like a suitable plant for me, especially if it grows well with fruit trees etc.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on December 31, 2015 at 22:11

Not as wild as mint, grows more upright. Currently the one plant is in with some Pineapples in a 2ft x 3ft wicking bed. Probably a trip-maker if you grow it around a pathway though - it still is self-layering or on a rhizome not sure which. Not sure now if I still have the seeds but I can bring you some cuttings at Lissa's GV if you need them.

Comment by Christa on December 31, 2015 at 20:20

How does the growth of lemon balm compare to mint.  Would I need to keep it in a container?

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on December 31, 2015 at 19:25

I have seeds and cuttings of Lemon Balm. Sensational flavour. Supposed to increase the flavour of fruits so it could be grown as a general ground cover around the trees.

Comment by Lissa on December 31, 2015 at 19:00

I go through stages with herbal tea Elaine. Not drinking it at the moment. Haven't looked closely at the clump of lemon grass for a very, very long time. Time it was removed if I can find the energy.

Lemon Verbena sounds nice and it's just a small quick growing plant. I'll try to remember to look out for one Christa.

Comment by Christa on December 31, 2015 at 17:33

Have you tried lemon verbena leaves for tea, it is nice, I feel not as strong as lemon myrtle. Some people stick the leaves in sugar to flavour it and in desserts and alcoholic beverages and also makes a nice cologne.  Can be used dried or fresh.

Thanks to Phil, I have some lemon grass now and it is in a pot. 

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on December 31, 2015 at 9:32

The East Indian Lemongrass doesn't get that rust. That's the variety I grow now. Mostly it grows in places something else won't grow, is as tough as old boots.

Lissa as a tea-drinker, have you tried LG tea? I do now and then, it really is refreshing and good cold too. You can use either or both stems and leaves. It needs steeping for longer than black tea.

Lemon Grass is one of these 'love it or hate it' plants.

The Backhousia is a fabulous source of lemon flavour. I had one growing in town and mowing the fallen leaves was an experience all by itself. As a rainforest plant it could be a tad more sensitive than Lemon Grass though.

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GrowVetiver

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.)

GrowVetiver 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.


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