Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Hi everyone,

I don't know if it is just because the weather has been so hot but I feel that there is almost a chill in the air in the early mornings??  My new job has kept me very busy but because of the massive reduction in travel time and later start, I'm able to get almost an hour of gardening in every day before work.  I leave the big, dirty jobs (whipper snipping and making compost heaps for example) for the weekend but can get watering, planting, mulching, harvesting etc done during the week from about 6 - 7 am so my garden has not suffered too much.  Some things have died - not because of the going back to work thing.  

I've lost my persimmon, 3 x chilean guava and jackfruit tree.  Don't know why, I've just bought another persimmon from Daley's. It is going where the panama berry tree is now and I'll be planting a new one of that on the footpath.  I won't replace the jackfruit & chileans though.  The multigrafted citrus that I've been struggling with has to go but I have plans for it that I'll tell you about later in this post.  I'm also moving the first three wicking beds  I built from the front where I think they get far too much sun to be useful (heat up really badly) and move them to the back of the house where they will get afternoon shade. I will transplant my various blueberries to go in them and hope they will do much better than what they are doing in the ground.  That will then clear some A1 prime real estate for a reed avocado and my jaboticaba that I managed to save by putting in a self watering pot so I don't have to dig up the hedge that my husband is so attached to.  And that my friends, is that.  No more fruit trees for me, I'm done. 

Tally stands at... 3 apples, multigraft nectarine/peach, dragon fruit vine, passion fruit, raspberry (x 4 varieties) boysenberry, 2x mulberry (shahtoot & dwarf black) 2 x banana (goldfinger & ? ladyfinger), grumichama, coconut, 3 x paw paw, macadamia, multigraft cherry, 3 x lychee, cumquat, 4 oranges (cara,cara, navelina, arnold's blood seedless valencia), 4 x mandarin (imperial, emperor, afourer, satsuma), ruby red grapefruit, tahitian lime, eureka lemon, black sapote, kiwi berry, custard apple, 2 x mango (palmer and irwin), 3 x fig (brown turkey, adriatic & ? third), 2xAvocado (wurtz, sheppard and soon to be reed), 2 x muscadine grapes (noble and adonis), jaboticaba, 6 x blueberries and 2 remaining chilean guava.  The *extended*  backyard now has saba nut, pananma berry, pecan & walnut.  I was going to get a longan tree but I finally tasted one and figured out that I didn't really like them.  

Proof that a coconut WILL fruit in Brisbane!!  This was out the front of the Manly yacht club so there's hope for my tiny coconut after all. 

Fruit that is doing great(bananas, panama berry, mango and passionfruit) We also had another banana send up a spike, so I'm getting a spike about every 6 weeks or so at the moment ( I have 2 others with full bunches and just harvested another one 2 weeks ago). Passionfruit, mango (only 2 more on the tree though) and panama berries.

Some harvest shots

Some flowers from the garden shots.  My mum makes the most beautiful arrangements out of what I would think was almost nothing. Every 2nd day for 8 days, she put a fresh bouquet together for me from my garden which, at the time, I didn't think I had that much going on.  She has inspired me to at LEAST pick one bouquet a week and to plant more flowers.   Hers is the left and mine is the right - notice the copied arrangement :)My son was also nagging me about having his own garden patch.  I had a spare self watering pot which I felt would be safer than a patch of dirt so we sat down together and planted.  It has lettuce and beans because apparently "that's my favourite".   He also wanted flowers so we put in a couple of carnation seeds.  God I hope this thing sprouts as he has even recorded on his calendar, the date he is supposed to see his seedlings emerge. Gosh he's a cutie pie.  In duckling news, we had 1 out of six eggs brought home from north queensland that managed to hatch.  Not the mother chooks fault, I think I lifted them too much but my mum also said that only 1 of hers hatched as well so it might have just been an incompletely fertilised batch.   We are going to wait to see what it is (boy/girl) and then buy its opposite to hopefully raise a few ducks for eating.  This one won't be eaten though.  Her/his name is Ducka - real original in this house :)  Here he/she is freshly hatched.  Now is 10 days old and going strong.

So... back to the multigrafted citrus saga and my plans for it.  Just to give you some perspective on how badly it is doing, here is my son and nephew on top of a 6 ft ladder picking apples from the multigrafted apple, that I bought exactly the same time as this citrus which now has next to no leaves as it is still really badly infested with scale and I haven't been pampering it and is only about 60 cm high

The plan is, rather than toss it, I'm donating it to my schools garden group.  And why am I doing that you ask. Well, I was complaining about having to run a "sport tutorial" on a Wednesday afternoon and I'd been bringing in flowers (thanks to mum) and herbs (had a big clean out of the mint, rosemary and basil plants) when the home ec HOD (head of department) said why don't I turn it into a garden group and take care of the deserted wasteland of a vegie garden that they had.  So YES!! I can do something that I actually enjoy and the garden beds are all there, they just need rejuvenating , replanting and watering.   1/2 the kids are interested so we've made up a little plan of what we want.  (The other 1/2 who aren't happy with the gardening part agreed to be on a 5 minute watering roster and rest of time sitting and chatting).   I put in my request for mulch, soil wetter and organic fertiliser from the hod and it should be ready for wed.  At the moment, we are just going to be using my old seeds and anything scavenged from mine or their gardens.  I've got strawberry runners and have taken a whole bunch of herb cuttings plus some raspberry, fig & mulberry (plus my dodgy citrus).  I've also got paw paw seedlings randomly popping up and I'll also plant passionfruit seeds.  We will then start on tomatoes, eggplant, zuccininis, peas etc and they also want a flower patch.  This is going to be fun! and break up an otherwise blah work week.

Well guys, that's it from me.  Happy gardening.

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Comment by CHERYL SLAPP on February 16, 2016 at 19:27

You have sooooooo much energy it makes me tired just thinking about what you have achieved.  I love your new addition to the family (cute little thing) and so glad to hear you are enjoying a new job and sharing your gardening gift with the children.

Comment by Rob Collings on February 15, 2016 at 22:44

That's great news about the school's garden revival, and you getting time and some resources allocated to it is the best news. Nice home garden update too!

Comment by Dianne Caswell on February 14, 2016 at 11:39

Oh my Goodness, I am exhausted just reading what you have been & are going to do. You are so lucky to have Happy Children, cherish them as much as you ca. To have a child interested in what you are doing must be so special.

I am so pleased you are enjoying being back at school and doing something you like to do. It is a bonus the hours, so you can keep up with your garden. Mine is coming on and I must post some photos soon. Don't do to much in the heat of the day and yes I do believe the nights and mornings are much cooler.

Comment by Lissa on February 14, 2016 at 4:53

Amazing achievement Susan. Your kids look so happy growing up on their little suburban farm.

The duckling is gorgeous. And I'm happy for you that you now do the gardening group at school instead of the sports group!

Let us know if you want cuttings brought along at the GV's.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on February 14, 2016 at 0:43

Nice sharing - thanks young lady!

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