Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

This is my absolute favourite time of year.  Not only is it my birthday month (which I love being spoilt on) it is also the time of year where everything is productive and looking great.  We have been having fresh yellow beans (the best I've tasted), broccoli, tomato's, zucchini's, silverbeet and salad greens from the garden.  The broccoli is so healthy at the moment but they are all ripening at once.  I have 3 more heads in the fridge this size and have 4 more in the garden.  Will definitely have to pick them today and I'm going to try freezing some for the first time ever.  My next (and last) crop won't be ready for another 5 weeks yet, so I need to try and make it last.  I leave them in the ground because I can usually harvest shoots in about 2 weeks, so they will fill the fresh gap and I'll try to keep the frozen stuff so I won't need to buy broccoli much.




Here are some photo's of my fruit trees - first the apples.  Only 1 graft is doing well.  I'm not giving up hope on the other 2 but this one is doing great.  I have 12 apples on it so far and still heaps of flowers.  Last year I got 3 from it.  I'm so excited!! This year looks to be a huge harvest.  Don't they look strange though to start.  If I didn't know they were apples, I would never have guessed it from looking at them.


Next is my peach/nectarine tree.  Going fantastic.  Have at least 60 fruit on it - mostly peaches as that is the graft that is doing the best but will get at least 15 nectarines from the 2 nectarine grafts.  I do NOT want to lose any fruit to grubs this year so if you guys have any suggestions how I can keep whatever it is that stings them away it would be more than appreciated.



My lychee trees are covered in flowers - I'm hoping that I'll get a decent crop off them this year as I ended up with nothing last year.  They still aren't even as tall as me!


My little mango tree is about 50 cm high.  Yet it has mango's!! I'm hoping to at least get 1 off it this year but it looks great.


I only planted this lemon tree 3 months ago and it is covered in new growth and flowers - can't wait until next year when I have my own lemons and the kids can make their own lemonade!!

I love hippeastrums - they are the most gorgeous flowers.  Its a shame they only flower at this time of year.  I have 2 of about 20 flower stems open up yesterday.  I need to dig them up this year as they are so crowded. 

 My cucumbers, tomatos, capsicums (have 4 plants, they are only 20 cm high and each have at least 2 capsicums on them - they are looking great!) and silverbeet.






I've planted watermelon, rockmelon and corn in my fourth bed.  For some reason, my corn is not comig up well and I'm getting very annoyed with it.  Is it too early to be planting??? anyway, that's it from me for now.   


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Comment by Michelle Mohammad on October 13, 2011 at 0:13
This is wonderful Susan, no wonder you love this time of year (and happy birthday!) I am so impressed with your fruit trees, again, isnt it funny how we are told they wont grow here but you are proof that giving things a go and popping them in the right spot can lead to wonderful results.
Comment by Scarlett on October 10, 2011 at 9:04

those apples look like feijoas, or quince! very strange :)

It would be fruit fly on the nectarines, and they are probably getting your lychees too. I got those fruit fly exclusion bags from greenharvest. It seems like a palaver, but they work beautifully (for tomatoes too), and you don't feel like it wasn't worth it when you open the bag and get an absolutely glorious perfect fruit or spray of lychees inside.  NB - naturalure NOT RECOMMENDED - see the discussion on Spinosad at  but the bags are brilliant. I also used the wild may trap (very effective, but only catches males - still, every little bit helps, and it's easy, only change every few weeks)

Lissa try feeding up on potassium for your mature lychee tree? Chimney ashes would be good. Banana skins. Compost (especially from household scraps). Also check pH - might need trace boron or similar, unavailable at the wrong pH. Seaweed feed?

Should be able to plant corn by now, surely. Seedlings first is a good idea. Don't water seeds too much - they can rot. Light sprinkle every 3-4 days until the leaves are up. I've just put some in down here in Victoria (seedlings) they're doing OK although my hands are a bit cold and I'm wearing an overcoat!! Jackie French says as long as you can sit on the bare earth with a bare bottom for 5 minutes comfortably then it's fine for Spring vegies! You can do that pretty much all year in Brisbane anyway - which is why it's possible to grow corn in a warm spot all year up there (although I never did winter crops of it - too busy with other things! and corn is so greedy).

I froze my excess broccoli - don't leave it more than a couple of months in the freezer, it starts to go a bit yucky. Also it doesn't freeze as well as those snap frozen ones you see in the supermarket - I think the lower water content and higher taste factor plays against the homegrown for freezing. Still good though, and worth doing, but I found I couldn't really use them for stir fries etc - they were more something to add to a casserole, and they got a bit brassica/ old sock smelling if they were more than a month old :( Broccoli soup? Also take out the main head high up and see if the lower shoots sprout - you can extend the season that way.  Succession planting is SO HARD - having everything all the time instead of gluts and famine is such a constant job. I could get a couple of flushes out of one seedling punnet by planting half straight out and the other half into a pot nursery area, then transplanting the potted ones a couple of weeks later - but be careful not to stunt them or they'll bolt :(

your garden looks lovely :D

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 27, 2011 at 17:27
So which Silverbeet? Fordhook Giant or Swiss Chard/Rainbow Chard? Do you have it growing in a sheltered spot? Corn prefers the warmth but it will grow in a sunny sheltered spot in the winter.
Comment by Susan on September 27, 2011 at 9:08

Elaine, I've never seemed to have trouble with silverbeet over summer - its the only "spinachy" thing that grows for me in that time.  I love normal spinach but I won't be planting anymore as its just too hot.  Tracy - I'll give that a go for the corn.  I thought we could plant it year round in the soil but i've been trying off and on all through winter with only 1 or 2 germinating.  I did think it was the seeds but I bought new seeds for this bunch and still no luck. Lissa, the graft thats doing so well is green glo. 


Comment by Lissa on September 26, 2011 at 4:55

Your garden is looking wonderful Susan - well done :)

So prolific for this time of the year. I've pulled out all the peas and beans. I suppose it depends on when they were planted in the first place.

Fingers crossed that all those lovely baby fruit stay on the plant. I've had no luck with my Lychee since it was little - it used to give me kg's of fruit, but not anymore.

You're right about the apples - I would never have guessed that's what they were. Very odd looking. What variety are they?

Comment by Florence on September 25, 2011 at 21:25
Previously at my mum's place, rainbow chard was really difficult and becomes limpy as soon as the weather warms up a little, and just 'melted' when it got a little hot.  'Fordhook Giant' was doing a lot better and was very productive over winter, and only suffers as it gets to mid summer.  Unfortunately I've lost my packet of seeds at one of the monthly meetings (left the whole bag I brought, luckily I only bring spares seeds, and what I was going to swap so not much was lost).  I'm trying the red chard now, but I have a much more shaded backyard to my mum's so it could be different....
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 25, 2011 at 16:50
It's called 'experience'!! ;-) The beet-relatives seem to like the weather cooler than our summers. I am interested in both Donna's and your experience this coming season.
Comment by Tracy Arnold on September 25, 2011 at 16:45
I can't remember at what time of year I grew it before. Does it not generally like our summers?    I guess I'll find out the hard way.  As usual.
Comment by Donna on September 25, 2011 at 12:25
I have some seedlings in Elaine, I'll keep you up to date with their progress - assuming of course the chooks don't get to them!
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 25, 2011 at 10:09
Does Silverbeet grow well for you in the summer, Tracy? :-O The winter plantings keel over this time of year and I had never considered it suitable for summer growing. I love it (especially Rainbow Chard) and would love to have some in the warmer months.

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