Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Mango Chutney and other updates from the garden.

Well, I did it!  I have helped my mother do it previously but was always too apprehensive/lazy to try it on my own.  But, you see, I've been very busy these holidays and I no longer have an excuse.  I have completely gone through my house and decluttered everything.  To the extent that I now have an entire 1.5 x .5 m shelf available in my hallway cupboard for my "preserves" that I've always said I was going to make and never got round to it/had space issue etc.  Case in point - the peach glut.  I was going to make peach jam.  They ended up sitting on my bench and rotted.  Sooooo Disappointed with myself.  So here it is, the making of mango chutney.

This ended up being a bit sweeter than my mum's and I think I overboiled it to get it syrupy enough.  I realize now that mum meant that I had to boil the vinegar and sugar mix to thicken it first before I added my fruit so it didn't need to boil as long.  Oh well, I know for next time.

Lychee's have been divine.  I ate my first one on boxing day - couldn't wait any longer.  It was a little bit tart but I don't mind when fruit has a "bit" tartiness to it. 

As you can see, they're not a vibrant red yet so we are leaving them on the tree rather than harvesting them all at once. The kids and I just go out and grab a couple of handfuls of the ripest whenever we feel like it and if they're still a little tart - well like I said before - we really don't mind.  Well worth the investment of a little extra TLC this year (actually watered them during the dry spell, sprayed them with eco oil to get rid of mites)

The passionfruits have started to ripen and I am really happy with them.  I was so disappointed by this vines first showing - fruit was lackluster, almost empty & didn't ripen well (which Lissa suggested was a nutrient/water thing) and half the vine was dead.  Well, since all that rain and I fertilized with Neutraorg fertilizer, it has come good.  The fruit is really heavy and event though I haven't been patient enough to wait for them to colour up anymore than this, they have still been reasonably sweet. 

My banana's have been filling out nicely and I've broken off the bell.

I ate my first panama berry off the tree today as well.  I was so excited, I forgot to take a photo before I did.  But rest assured, while tiny, it was absolutely delicious.  If any fruit could truly taste like caramel, this is it.  My pawpaw still hasn't ripened but is still blemish free. Mangoes are about 1 week away I reckon.

On to the garden beds now.  Like Lissa, I had a problem with bugs of some sort completely decimating any seedlings that I tried to plant.  I left the bed empty and all after all that rain, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to rejuvenate the bed and replant.  Into it has gone my Nitro zucchini seeds and button squash seeds - supposedly mildew resistant.   This is the 4th time I've tried to plant marigolds in here - each time, they were decimated.  But I gave it another go and SUCCESS.  I've also got some spring onions planted around the edges too. 

In other beds, I've sowed some easter egg radishes which have come up in 2 days (the straight row of seedlings).  My corn is also doing well and I have given the kaalain express broccoli another go (not shown but I'll let you know how it goes)

Still not much coming out of the garden but aren't the eggplants cute!!  I sliced them up with some asparagus (from the garden) and mushrooms (storebought) and grilled them on the Barbie tonight - delicious!

And finally, a nice surprise from my very neglected verge garden.  I promise I will take better care of it starting in winter this year.  I'm going to replant some more beautiful roses and install a watering system so that they don't suffer in big periods of drought.

Well that's it.  Hope the new year brings fantastic gardening to you all. 

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Comment by Susan on January 6, 2015 at 18:33

You two would have to fight the on site "pests" - my kids are demolishing the lychees quite quickly and will go through the banana's just as fast once they start ripening. 

Thanks Jane.

Comment by Jane on January 5, 2015 at 18:03

Well done Susan it all looks so productive & healthy.

Comment by Rob Collings on January 5, 2015 at 0:13
Comment by Andrew Cumberland on January 4, 2015 at 23:58

BLF members are producing some damn fine crops this season mate!

Comment by Rob Collings on January 4, 2015 at 23:49
Ok Andy, team effort, pests ... in those bananas and dare I say it ... Corn, and when we're finished with the banana pest removal there, it will be time for Lissa's dwf banana visit ... I mean garden visit.
Comment by Andrew Cumberland on January 4, 2015 at 23:33

Dear Susan,

Can you please send me your street address.  Um... I want to come over at midnight and help myself um.. I mean... help you get rid of pests.  Yeah... that's what I meant.


Comment by Rob Collings on January 4, 2015 at 23:09
Corn & banana envy
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on January 4, 2015 at 17:10

There are el cheepo dehydrators available in a lot of places. Look as though they all come out of the same factory in China. Work very well, never a moment's problems with the 3 I have had over time. There is a 12-drawers Excalibur knock-off which is great when you've a whole bunch of Bananas to do. Even the non-Goldfingers dry a warm tan-to-brown and are very attractive and absolutely scrumptious.

Comment by Susan on January 4, 2015 at 14:09

Hi Jan and Elaine,  thanks!!

The banana's are goldfinger which I bought from blue sky banana's.  They don't go brown when you cut them so are ideal for fruit salads etc.  The last lot were wonderfully pretty - nice thick, vibrant yellow skin with very few blemishes - tasted great too.  They looked better than what you would buy in a shop.  I did buy a dehydrator for the last bunch, but stupid me, bought it online from America and forgot that we had different plugs.  By the time I got round to buying an adapter, we'd eaten all the banana's.  The plan is to definitely preserve some this time and because they don't brown when cut, I'm hoping that they will dry nicely without changing colour too much.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on January 4, 2015 at 7:16

Great report, super garden! Lychees come in a pink version, Kwai Mai Pink is one which springs to mind. The ones we bought are pink too. Bananas dry really well and Banana Chutney is quite something.

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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.)

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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