Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Hi everyone,

Well my little garden is doing alright.  I've been taking extra stuff into work quite regularly at the moment, eggs, passionfruit (boy are we sick of those), paw paws and Lemons and one of my workmates, in all seriousness, asked if I lived on a farm.  She was quite amazed when she found out that my block of land is only 580 square meters.  I guess, if you had of told me what I could produce, 10 years ago when I started slowly getting into gardening, and how much my garden would transform over the years, I probably wouldn't have believed it either.  I do a lot of little harvests throughout the week (bits and pieces that are needed for dinner) but tend to do one big one on the weekend.  This was today's harvest.

What do I do with all this?  Well obviously, the toms, lettuce, cucumber and beetroot get used in salads.  The other night, I made puncit, a phillipine chicken, vegetable and noodle dish, with the entire vegetable component from the garden (Spring onions, cabbage, zucchini, snow peas, broccoli and cauliflower).  Eggplant, which I'm not that much of a fan but grows like crazy, Zucchini, capsicums and spring onions (with store bought celery and pasta sauce) work really well in an easy Chicken Ratatouille like dish that I can cook in a microwave pressure cooker in 30 minutes.  I'm making passionfruit butter and meringues (eggs and passionfruit) about once every 2 weeks which we all love far too much in this house.  Quiches use up spinach, eggs, carrot, spring onions, zucchini.   In terms of vegetables, I'm really  not buying that much at the moment.  Celery, potato's, pumpkin and avocado is pretty much it.  (Fruit is another story - my kids are BLOODY FRUIT BATS)

This time of year is extremely busy for me at work so I'm trying to set myself small, achievable goals.  I figure if I do one major thing every week, then I'll at least stay on top of the basics.

2 weeks ago, I prepped the new tom/cap/egglplant bed and planted in all my own seedlings plus a new storebought listada di gandia eggplant.   Today, I tackled the first Brassica bed.   I had been holding out ripping it out waiting for broccoli shoots but they never happened.  At the back, there is still Couve Tronchuda cabbage and a broccoli that looks like it's sprouted multiple times from the base so I might get something out of it.  I topped it up with aged horse poo, rock minerals, rooster booster, compost and covered with Lucerne mulch.  I'll wait until next week and my first lot of corn is going in.

My Tomato's are still giving me drama's.  It is SO annoying.  They look super healthy, have heaps of fruit and then just as they start ripening their fruit, they seem to get HAMMERED by mites and then start to die off and look awful.  I can still harvest but no edible new fruit sets because the mites stunt the growth.  I'm currently spraying weekly with a soap spray to try and keep what foliage that is undamaged, relatively healthy, but I don't think it will last - hence the new plantings of tomato's when they should last me an entire season!!

The old capsicum/eggplants are still pumping but I have got my lettuces and beetroot in there as well as new cucumber and trombonccino seedlings.

First crop of madagascar beans are kicking along strong.  These will replace red kidney beans and baked beans (Andy's recipe) once I get a supply of them.

Making use of all my available space.  Bought a Caronlina Rose grape a few weeks back and have planted it down the the fence line in the back garden.  even though it is in shade now, in two weeks, it'll have full sun and since grapes are deciduous over winter, the winter shade shouldn't matter at all.  (Ignore the mess of old pots that I was rinsing out and notice the 2 more tomato seedlings - chucking them in everywhere.)

My valencia orange tree has new flowers and fruit set despite still being loaded with old fruit.

Working on thinning out the peaches and nectarines before I net the tree to get more, quality sized fruits this year.  Reminder to everyone to make sure they get those nets on before Mid september to avoid fruit fly ruining your crop.

Lastly,  I'll leave you with a picture of my lavenders.  They've been in for about 2 months now and I'm keeping the labels to see which variety does well so I can replant any that die with good ones that will survive our summer humidity.  They are so beautiful and hopefully I can keep them alive through summer.  There is a LAVISH variety - apparently bred for Australian summers and is the first DOUBLE lavender breed.  Flowers are just stunning

Well that's it from me folks.  Happy gardening and don't forget to start prepping for fruit fly.

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Comment by Sophie on September 19, 2017 at 17:14


Comment by Susan on September 19, 2017 at 12:08

Hi Carol, I don't net until the fruit has set - mine seem to set earlier than others as I'm close to the water and am probably a little warmer (in winter) and cooler (in summer) than most.  Traps never worked for me.  I live in suburbia and there are too many people with fruit trees who don't take care of their issues and consequently, they migrate into my yard. Try it, but if you lose your crop, you will know for next year that you need to get nets. 

Hi Tony, I have a net bought from green harvest: vegenet tree cover.  It is a fine mesh which is small enough to keep out the fruit fly. 

I couldn't do that Cathie.  Like I said above, most of my problem is migrating fruit fly into my yard.  I have moved the chickens so that they now surround the tree so at least disposing fallen fruit will be easier.  My tomatoes are ripening up beautifully on the bench.  I've found that picking them as they go pale red and leaving on bench for 3 days, they go beautifully sweet and the colour darkens up lovely.  Never really had problems with eggplants - just my tomatos.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on September 16, 2017 at 17:59

Terrific work as usual Susan.  I have tiny peaches on!  

Comment by Lissa on September 16, 2017 at 16:49

Can I take a moment to remind everyone that TAGS are needed with blogs and photos if they are to show up in a search.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 16, 2017 at 16:45

The people who have had good results on BLF use a net. There are many posts about fruit flies, check them out first to get an idea of what we do here.

Comment by Carol Wallace on September 16, 2017 at 13:18

I am surprised at the fruit on you peach tree.  I have a nectarine (Bowen Qld) which is only just getting its leaves back and is producing a number of flowers, but no fruit.  To put netting over the tree may be a little early for my tree (to keep the possums off it).  For fruit fly I would think a trap hanging in the tree would be best.  What do you think?

Comment by Tony on September 15, 2017 at 21:00
Very Impressive!
What nets do you use for fruit fly? Do you wait until the flowers have been pollinated?
Comment by Lissa on September 15, 2017 at 5:26

Beautiful and prolific :)

Comment by Cathie MacLean on September 14, 2017 at 21:31
Hi Susan, your garden is looking wonderfully productive as usual. I share your delight/despair at the quantity of passionfruit to deal with- they never stop!! Your citrus look great and wow what a load of nectarines you've got coming on. Good reminders about fruit fly- I am preparing a new netted area for tomatoes myself and might make it bigger because I lose most of my capsicums and chilies to the horrible little fruit flies too. Someone mentioned putting down weed mat around plants too to stop the fruit fly pupating from the previous season so I'm doing that too. I am tired of working hard and not enjoying the fruit of my labours! My netted area in the back has produced fabulously all winter. So happy with it. I have a big steel bowl of tomatoes finishing ripening on the kitchen bench as some of the leaves started to yellow off but there were strong green suckers coming up from the base of the plants. I took off the fruit early and they look like newly planted tomatoes again. i have had some trouble with mites but more on my eggplants -they are finally starting to rally again.

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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.)

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