Brisbane Local Food

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Less frenzy.Less jungle. I'll miss the improvisation...but I'll have 'a' plan

I think I lost it. 

A few weeks of influenza of whatever branding and the garden got away from me. 

Went feral with my frequent absence from the garden.

Led by a carpet of chickweed my investment in ground covers took off and I had nasturtiums up to pussie's bow. 

But I learnt that patience is its own reward and all annuals subside, even weeds. 

Die off. 

The rampaging nasturtiums drowned so much in their path that I couldn't find the comestibles hidden among them. Nor could I muster the brutal courage to cut them back.

So I'm reassessing my 'anything goes' approach to polyculture.

I have food -- heaps of the stuff --  more than we can eat -- but if you can neither find it nor harvest it, you sabotage your horticultural efforts. 

My solution hereon in is to make my dirt mounds more species specific. Little beds growing related plants. 

Since I have 50 mounds the whole rotational thing isn't an issue. Fifty islands in a sea of valleys drowned in mulch.

Cutting back sure allowed me to mulch deep.  Since I had covered the whole garden with living plant life I got plenty of mulch to drop hither and yon. Dogbane especially. Nasturtium litter. Pigeon pea snippets. Canna Indica.

I'm still liking the dogbane. Very mulch productive per area and easily hacked back with a sickle. A fav ground cover that can fit in nicely on corners and edges. No need to fret over watering it. 

Next year I'll contain the nasturtiums when they self seed all over. But I've got high hopes for the beachside legume -- Canavalia    -- which has not, as yet, hit its straps among the veg. 

So it's to be a New World Order outback. More form. 

But still: so many salad greens to be had, spring onions, herbs,... Couldn't harvest all the green beans. Potato locations are marked but still in the ground. Tomatoes are readying up for a fruit fly  pig out -- if I cannot establish a harvest strategy.  Cabbages are beckoning to enter the kitchen. So many pigeon peas. Turnips are literally popping out of the ground. Couldn't eat all the Yacon I got. The  one yacón I grew was seriously big apples.


The core problem is I need to make greater effort to integrate my  everyday menu with the outback growth and my ready preference for exotic experimentations needs to be controlled. Because you can grow it warrants more effort in eating it. 

So from now on, I am gonna target my plantings much more, both in location and type.

Less frenzy. Less jungle.

I'll miss the improvisation...but I'll have 'a' plan. 

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Comment by Dianne Caswell on October 14, 2016 at 10:52

Sorry to hear you have been ill Dave, especially when you are itching to get into the garden to see what can be done. I do love the Yacon, a real taste treat. Have you ever considered growing a Babaco, we tried it earlier in the year and really liked it. I (well someone else did it for me, I'm not allowed in the garden at the moment) have planted one yesterday. Hope your new plan works out well for you and we look forward to seeing it, your garden is wonderful, different every time we see it, but always so productive. Now keep that flu at bay..

Comment by Christa on October 14, 2016 at 8:52

Hope you have recouped well from the flu.   The nasturtium plants were a bit more of a hassle for me this year, for some reason.  My worry was that they would suffocate the plants under the growth, but some plants seemed to thrive from their growth.  When it came to pulling some of them out, i found the bees were not happy. Our fox terriers have found a new food source - they try to catch them in their teeth.  

The yacon crop sounds good, it it not always easy to grow in abundance.  

Comment by Jan Holley on October 14, 2016 at 8:39

Great post about the struggles of food growing.

So much of it comes down to trial and error on each gardener's part. We come to expect a certain amount of "failure" with our efforts, and indeed plan for it.

But it can really be a shocker when it ALL grows, and does even better than expected!

Don't hesitate to cut back those Nasturtiums or just rip them out. They'll be back in short order.

Good luck with your plan!

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