Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Hi everyone,

I am a keen but amateur gardener living in south Brisbane. I was looking for some gardening blogs from people in Brisbane to keep me motivated and came across this site. I think its wonderful and will have some photo's of my latest project coming soon but basically I am trying to put in some garden edges to my vege patch as I am sick of my 9, 7 and 2 year old going into mummy's garden to chase bugs but never staying on the paths and crushing all my poor little seedlings before they have a chance.

Problem with this is that some of my beds are still productive so I'm trying to install the edgings while not disturbing the broccoli, eggplants, tomato's and coriander that I currently have growing as well as dealing with my 2yr old "helping" mummy.

I've just planted some more broccoli and have kent pumpkins growing that I desparately need to cut back as I they have taken over a lot of the garden at the moment. I also have my first attempt at sweet potato growing but have no idea of when I'm supposed to dig them up. They have been in the ground since march and still look quite vigorous (between them and the pumpkins, I can't access the whole right side of my vege patch.)

My goal is to mostly become self-sufficent. The first year I planted my garden (just before my youngest was born) I had pumpkins, lettuces, spinach, tomatos, silverbeet, coriander, zucchini's, cucumbers, broccoli, peas, beans and eggplants. The only thing I was buying from the shops were potato's and carrots (because no matter how much I try, growing carrots is a waste of time for me!!) But that was when I had a lot of time and energy. A young child, studying again and working has all taken its toll and I consider myself lucky if I can get anything to grow.

My last attempt at zucchini's, the bush was beautiful and healthy but all the zuccini's rotted off. I just found out that it could be due to calcium deficiency so I bought some dolomite lime and have started again!! I'm hoping that the problem is now solved and will know for sure in a couple of weeks. Also, does anyone know why beans will suddenly die off. They get to about a 4/5 leaf stage and look quite healthy and then all of a sudden die on me. VERY frustrating and was another reason I needed to do the garden edging, I figure if I have some sort of disease in the soil, its harder to spread if I have defined, separated beds.

I'd just like to thank you for your warm welcome and hopefully I can be a regular contributor to the site

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Comment by Daniel on July 16, 2010 at 18:34
Wow, exciting times for you! And yes, you've hit the nail on the head. I'm nuts! Since yesterday, I've also been 90% convinced that I should add a GradCert in Higher Education. Hehehe... I MUST be nuts.
Comment by Susan on July 16, 2010 at 18:23

Florence - I've never had a problem growing beans until this year. Mind you, I've always grown the Dwarf variety as I can never get them to grow up the trellis like they're supposed too!!

Daniel - I'm doing my graduate diploma of Secondary Education - maths/science. 10 yrs at my job and its time for a change. I've got 4 months to go and then they unleash me on the students :) . Plus my older 2 are at school now and having school holidays with them will be a bonus!! OMG!! teaching and studying 2 more degrees - NOw thats CRAZY!!
Comment by Daniel on July 16, 2010 at 8:47
Hi Susan,

I am trying to get my garden started and am trying to get some edging materials this week to build a raised bed. I also want to be mostly self-sufficient and know the demands of study and work (I teach at a university as well as studying for two more degrees!) What are you studying?

Best wishes, and welcome to the best site on the net :-)

Comment by Florence on July 15, 2010 at 20:42
Welcome Susan ~
Sounded like you had a very successful first year :) I can't imagine what it's like to work + study + 3 kids!!
I haven't been successful with beans except for snake beans in summer too, and I have not yet have any successful beans this season, although the peas are growing fine.
Looking forward to see your photos soon ~
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on July 14, 2010 at 22:09
Goodness, Susan ... such energy! The Sweet Potatoes don't really die down and you dig them when you need to eat one. Or dig them all up if you want the ground for something else. They do need around 3 months to begin producing edible-sized tubers but the tubers can be eaten at any stage - like spuds, there's no ripening.

A lot of us have had problems with Zucchinis ... to the point that I no longer grow them or button squash either. Sticking with Choko, less diseases.

You can pick green Pumpkins - they taste divine and will ripen after picking. Winter is usually too cold for Pumpkins to do well. They love the heat.

Your soil might just need a bit of a tonic and some organic matter. Soil diseases are rare. Seaweed extract is a good soil tonic, commonly available and reasonably priced. Try that first, add all the organic matter you can find including kitchen scraps (bury these) and use whatever mulch you can get even lawn clippings are way better than nothing. Follow with a cover crop of whatever is to hand to get some quick organic matter and nutrients into the soil - a couple of bags of mixed bird seed is just as good as any fancy stuff and cheap too. Search the forum on 'cover crops' for more info.

Beans this time of year might be finding it a bit cold. Or if you've found swollen joints (where the leaf petiole (stem) joins the stem) your plants might have succumbed to bean fly. Search this forum for 'bean fly' and you'll learn a lot about it and see pix, too.
Comment by Vanessa Collier on July 14, 2010 at 19:59
Hi Susan, all the best with your efforts. I don't have kids but can imagine it being very hard to control three of them! I'm also studying and working so I find all my "spare" time is spent in the garden or on this website. I've had problems with beans due to the bean fly which seems to be very prevalent on the south side and a lot of members on here have also been affected. There should be some onion, chilli and garlic spray recipes around to combat it.

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