Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

The December storms and subsequent fiiling of the rainwater tank, brought hope to my heat-stressed, thirsty backyard. But I shouldn't complain, as we've never run out of veges for the wok.

Corn has been a good staple. The first dozen were in a shady spot, yielded small cobs.I planted the second block in full sun and was really successful, with each plant producing 2 and a few, 3 cobs. The first cobs were all large and full, the second, small but sweet. The third cobs didn't get pollinated, wrong timing for the flowers. The third block planting is a disaster, only 5 out of the dozen survived - weak and skinny, small cobs! So that's the end of corn for me! Around the 1st block (shady), I put in snake beans, which are doing well, and I planted Elaine's famous flat bean seeds around the 2nd block. Little flat beans are starting to make their appearance!

Winged beans and okra are cropping well, they go nicely together in stir-frys, with a bit of sambal for a spicy change!
One of the okra plants has developed into a giant, towering above me.

I am leaving an okra fruit that didn't get picked early enough, for seed.

The winged beans had a bit of a hiatus, then after the storm, is flourishing again.

The beans which I left for seed have finally dried up, but it's probably too late now to plant. I'll have some to share for next spring!

Another summer success is the Brazilian spinach (thanks Cassandra) which has grown really well in the shade of the corn. I've struck a few stem cuttings and planted them in a row beside the garlic chives. The leaves are delicious raw or steamed. Funny thing, I had a couple of Brazilian friends visit, and proudly showed them the spinach - "nuh, never seen it in Brazil"!!

The angled loofah has finally come good, harvested a long gourd 2 days ago...

I continue to harvest zucchini, eggplant, amaranth, tomatoes, chokos, sweet potato leaves, herbs, early choysum, the occasional asparagus sprout, and even the dreaded Madeira vine leaves. Cucumbers have been a bit disappointing this summer, the first 6 plants produced maybe a dozen cukes, the second lot of planting died without yielding one fruit, and out of the third batch of 6 plants, only 2 have survived but are looking quite sturdy - we live in hope!
Rosellas are doing well in their corner in the front yard, as are the yambeans (jicama) on the side of the house. Yam and taro which were put into a polystyrene box - supposedly temporarily - are growing well at the front too.

One of our best success stories is the infrastructure manager's "soil pit" - grass clippings, manure, old potting mix, worm castings - there's always lovely organic rich soil to top up the beds!

I've just put in a dozen (bought) okra seedlings, and am going to start Autumn plantings now with Chinese greens etc. Hoping for a good Autumn growing season!

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Comment by Scarlett on February 4, 2010 at 18:41
it looks so lovely - and delicious!
Comment by Addy on January 25, 2010 at 22:03
I'd be happy to share some winged bean seeds with you, Florence. By the end of the growing season, I'm sure I'll have lots of seeds... the yams were bought from a Samoan lady at the markets, I ate 3, and stuck 2 in the polystyrene box and covered it with soil. I'll have feel around to see if there are baby tubers growing!
Comment by Florence on January 25, 2010 at 21:47
Impressive as always Addy ~
Yes I will aim to save OP seeds of corns next year ~ almost everyone in my family likes corn and they are one of the few things which seems to grow alright in the peak of summer ~

The wing beans looks like they do quite well too maybe I should try that next year too ~ I am interest to see how the yam goes ~
Comment by Addy on January 25, 2010 at 17:57
I've planted the Chinese mix in a fairly shaded bed, near the back of the house, gets shade from the house in the early morning, and from the cucumber trellis in the late afternoon, so gets hot only at midday.
Comment by Donna on January 25, 2010 at 16:14
I try to grow everything from seed, then I know that it isn't hybrid - but I do succumb to temptation occasionally and get some things from Bunnings...

I find corn pretty easy, although saying that I was planting two corn seeds and two bean seeds in one hole (to allow for thinning out weaklings) and guaranteed that I got two corn up in one hole and two bean in another lol!

Think I'll wait a bit before trying any autumn stuff, it's just too hot here and I don't have any shadecloth/ shadesails - will be keeping my eyes open in end of season sales for sure.

If I get around to it very soon, I plan to put some more corn, okra and snake beans in along with a small fruiting watermelon or rockmelon that might have a long enough season. Along with some green manures and chicken forage.
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on January 25, 2010 at 15:55
Golden Bantam sounds good, Donna. With the Balinese you get all this free compost-makings! I really don't mind what kind of sweetish-corn it is if it is a heritage or otherwise stable variety. I'm on the queue for some corn seeds whenever that is :-)
Comment by Addy on January 25, 2010 at 15:49
Donna, I just get punnets from Bunnings - it says "Sweet Corn" :) About a dozen in a punnet... Do you plant yours from seeds? Maybe next year I'll try to do that. Re Autumn planting, I bought some Chinese mix seedlings from Caboolture markets yestr, the lady said they don't sell anything out of season, so i'm trusting her! Cheap - $1.80 a dozen, so if they die, no big loss. I've also sowed bean seeds, I think that's ok.
I'm getting the beds ready to sow tatsoi, mustard greens, lettuce, snow peas - probably in March as we are going away in Feb.
Comment by Donna on January 25, 2010 at 15:36
Looking fantastic Addy - love the soil pit, we need one like that - our banana tree area has two compost bins and then heaps of grass clippings just piled up around them!

Isn't it too early for Autumn plantings yet - another few months of heat yet I thought??

Florence & I were discussing corn yesterday a bit. Because it is so hard to save your own seed (block plantings and ideally about 20 cobs from the middle only from memory), it would be good if we could pick an OP variety then all grow the same, save say a couple of cobs each and swap to try and keep the genetic diversity...

I am trialling one called Golden Bantam that if it produces two full size cobs will probably be my best pick - it is half the height of the balinese and hawiaan I have tried previously, so I assume would not be quite as much of a nutrient hog...
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on January 25, 2010 at 14:51
What a garden! :-) Looks really productive! Those tiny corn cobs are delicious too, they even can them overseas, I use ours in salads. You can hand pollinate by pulling off a branch of the male part and shaking the pollen over the silks. Usually works quite well if you do it when the pollen is fresh.

Does anyone have any spare Balinese corn seeds? My seeds finally succumbed to Anno Domini and I'm reduced to planting F1s from the local supermarket.

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