Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Hi guys,

With Autumn nearly upon us, I am trying to seriously get my garden beds going.  I had hoped to get a lot more done this weekend but with the torrential downpours interspersed with sunshine and extreme humidity, it has been more of a labour than a labour of love.  Everything I have planted previously is just taking off though, so that is good.

My cucumber seedling (continental by Floriana) has got about 4 fruit this size and is absolutely loaded with flowers that should all develop into fruit as they are all parthenogenic (don't need pollination).  My little lebanese cucumbers that I grew from seed are also going great and have their first flower buds on them.  I haven't yet seen any sign of powdery mildew but I have been taking off a leaf or two that have been covered in aphids to try and keep their populations down.   I do have plenty of ladybugs but nothing wrong with giving them a helping hand and am aiming to not use sprays unless I absolutely have too.

The eggplant (listada di gandia)  has got it's first flowerbud on too so I'll have plenty of those soon.  Already looks much healthier than the last one I planted ->By this stage, I was fighting off 28 spotted ladybugs and had signs of wooly root aphids on the lower stem as well. 

The new trombonccino's are reaching for the sky.  I'm going to have to start pinching out their growing tips soon as they will be getting unruly.  No sign of flowers yet but they have only been in the ground for 4 weeks (as seeds) so won't be too much longer.  The old trom needs to go but I'll have to wait until the new ones are ready.  They have overgrown everything.  They were also not producing much about 4 weeks ago when I did the big rejuvenation (seasol + wetter) and have been receiving a small amount of seasol + powerfeed weekly.  This last week, I could really notice the difference - we are back to harvesting about 5 per week instead of one every 10 days or so.  I NEARLY had to buy a zucchini the other week!! The blasphemy! :)  There are 2 in this picture plus about 4 more developing further up the vine.

I'm being optimistic.  I have planted into the bed that is in most shade, some broccoli and cabbage seeds.  Looked today and they have sprouted so YAY!  As the sun moves north, the bed will get more and more light and in about 4 weeks, will get sun for most of the day.  Hoping that this will give me a head start on the brassica's.  I have put in some sugarsnap and beetroot seedlings under shade cloth and hoping they will do good.  Praying that we don't get anymore last minute heat waves.  The plants can deal with humidity but not the heat.

Put my partner to work today harvesting one of my three bunches of banana's.  I didn't want to as I think it is a little too early but unfortunately, mother nature had other plans.  The plant had already bent down so that only 1 car could fit in the driveway but with the heavy rainfall and the weight of the bunch, that was it, she came all the way down.  I had considered leaving it all still attached but the banana's would be too tempting for any rats so I thought I'd take them off and see how they go. Because the bunches are SO large (remember, these usually have 90+ banana's on them) they are too heavy to hang so i made him cut off a whole bunch of hands and then let him play with stringing the last lot up. :)

The bent over tree:

The strung up bunch

And the rest in their box to go inside.

The first flowers have appeared on my dragon fruit.  Cannot for the life of me remember if this is white or red fleshed but hopefully soon I'll get to figure it out. 

I also have my first flowers on my peanut butter tree.  Yep, you read that correctly and Yep, the fruit does taste like peanut butter.  How do I know?  Well this was one of the fruit that we tasted on a Daley's visit about 2 years ago and after tasting it, I bought it.  If any of you are thinking about going, I would strongly recommend it.  They toured us around the fruit trees last time and encouraged us to try any of the fruit that was ready.  Dianne and Grahame still tease me about the guava I shoved my face full of as we walked around.  Hopefully I'll have my first peanut butter fruit soon. 

Finally got my act sorted and took down the strawberries and put all their runners into dirt so that I am ready to repot them at the end of march. 

And in aid of looking after my soil better, I bought more worms for my worm farm and relocated it.  The box was full of beautiful castings but nary a worm in sight because I had starved the poor little buggers to death.  Even on the back balcony (full shade so NOT cooked them) I was too forgetful to go feed them.  By putting them at the entrance to the vegie patch under the grapes, I hope it will do the following:

a) Allow me to collect the worm juice and castings more frequently to use in the garden because I could never be bothered to walk all the way up to the balcony to get it when I was in the vegie patch (laziness, I know, but I own it :)

b) since it is right in the vegie garden, I should never starve them again as there is always something that needs ripping out or is not good enough to go into the house and it will be very easy/convenient to chuck it in.  The passionfruit are still going like crazy.  I had thought it was either rats or possums that was eating them which was unusual because with the cats and dog, we haven't had any issues with them in our yard for over a year, but I discovered the other day that it's the cheeky cockatoos :)  Oh, well, much prefer them to rats anyway.  I have frozen 72 Large cubes of them, taken 1 litre of pulp up to my mother in north queensland so she can freeze some, given away and thrown out HEAPS and am still getting over 20 per week.  Today, I made passionfruit cordial.  Mixed with soda water -> delish!! Made 1.5 litres as a trial but don't anticipate it lasting long as the kids and I have already drunk 1/2.   I'll just have to make more.  Lucky for me I have heaps of lemons too (the other ingredient) so I'm good.

Well, that's it from me folks.  Will let you all know how the peas, beets and brassica's do in a couple of weeks.  My plan for the next few weekends is getting everything tidied up as my garden is an overgrown mess at the moment.  Happy gardening :)

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