Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Due to new and ongoing commitments I haven’t posted a blog for a while but with some free time this morning I thought I would put something quickly together. Note though this isn’t going to be one of Susan’s, Dave’s or Lissa’s garden tour blogs of abundance (unfortunately). Nope, this is all about weeds.

Having only time to really water my ‘pot plant garden’ recently the rest of garden has been neglected. This has resulted in the weeds having their way. I’ve written about Leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) before but below is another example how invasive this tree really is –

I dumped the above pods on gravel and with the rain that was enough to set them off. If I just leave them they will continue to grow into saplings. They originally came from my neighbour who doesn’t do any garden maintenance at all.

This neighbouring sapling forest is regrowth from late last year when I last got in there with the pruners while they were away. The foliage makes good compost and the timber is really soft but pity about the seeds.

Another plant I have written about, East Indian lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) also is weedy but no way to the same level as Leucaena. Again this plant has self sown in ground that is mainly pebbles but I did leave this on purpose so I could harvest it for mulch.

Red ivy (Hemigraphis colorata) also at times takes over my garden. This plant was self-inflicted but again is good as a compost ingredient although you have to watch for it re-sprouting if you compost heap isn't hot enough. It is an incredible hardy plant which dies back in the full dry summer heat but always comes back. Right now it is thriving.

It can also be used as a semi-aquatic plant. Interestingly, on the topic of aquatic plants, I’ve been successfully growing Canna Indica (Indian shot) in my fish tank without any soil.

Lastly I end this blog with a photo from over my fence and what can happen if you don’t tend your weeds….


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Comment by Susan on March 15, 2016 at 19:31

Shucks Phil, thanks for the compliment :)  I must be very fortunate with my lemongrass because it is well behaved and never escapes its clump and I've never seen it flower.  I'm quite lucky weed wise as we are very isolated having the park out the back, school to the left and only one neighbour who likes everything mowed down to nothing on the right.

Comment by Phil on March 15, 2016 at 17:58

Susanne - the thicker stalk one is the culinary variety (West Indian). The other is the 'mulch' type shown in the photos and tends to be weedy (East Indian).

Comment by Susanne on March 15, 2016 at 11:56
Thanks Jeff, I'm confused as to which is which now all I know is that I have 2 varieties, one grows tall with a tall grassy flower and the other stays shorter has a thicker stalk section at the bottom and never flowers.
Comment by Lissa on March 15, 2016 at 5:44

I'll keep it in mind Jeff, but I have very little free time at the weekend and there are other jobs waiting to be done. My dogs are on a Homoeopathic Silica dose at the moment. Useful for humans and animals too.

Comment by Phil on March 14, 2016 at 17:59

Both kinds of lemon grass make a drinkable tea from the leaves. The trick is not to add to much otherwise it tastes like medicine.

Susanne - I have no secrets to growing this plant well. It just grows well everywhere in my yard. Probably related to the micro-climate rather than the soil as mine is very bad and I've grown it in a pot using compost with no trouble. The leaves can also cut me like a knife if I'm not careful.

Comment by Jeff Kiehne on March 14, 2016 at 7:37

Does not take that long to do and can be used on the same day and the boiling water would kill a lot of pathogens  i used this on dug up nut grass but did not blend  and seemed to kill the nuts.Tiny crystals of silica in the lemon grass is interesting  as silica is recommended to Strengthens cell walls, helping plants to resist attacks from fungi and mites

Comment by Lissa on March 14, 2016 at 6:48

Sounds like a lot of work to me Jeff to achieve the same as putting it all into a big bucket of cold water and letting it steep for a week or two.

Comment by Jeff Kiehne on March 14, 2016 at 6:09

The Lemon Grass could be put in a blender and then put in a pot i have a eco pot from aldi  and boiling water added  leave for hours in the hot water then strain  and would think that Tiny crystals of silica and other nutrients  would be a possible foliar fertilizer .

Comment by Lissa on March 14, 2016 at 5:48

I have a giant clump of rubbish Lemon Grass in the backyard. Rotten useless thing it is. Needs removing. One day I'll try the East Indian one but not at the moment.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on March 13, 2016 at 20:57

There's two versions of Lemon Grass - West Indian and East Indian. The common one is West Indian (I remember this by tying it in with the cricket team). After years of struggling with the West Indian one and rusty leaves, I bought the East Indian plant from Green Harvest.

It has gone from strength to strength - not a hint of rust. But no seeding either - indeed for all the 30 years I've had Lemon Grass, not one plant has seeded. I've had to refresh the clumps every 2-3 years though.

Oh indeed, those leaf-blade-edges are sharp alright. Tiny crystals of silica are the reason for that. A lot of grasses contain silica like that, so handling especially long-bladed grasses with gloves is a good idea.

The Monto Vetiver was developed at the Monto agricultural research station at (wait for it) Monto. I was fortunate enough to be given some rooted plants. It roots quite easily but digging out the pieces to propagate is the tricky party. There'll be some available at my Garden Visit in July - free for the digging (ditto with Comfrey).

Yes, I agree with some plants chop n drop is not appropriate. I recall that Singapore Daisy, it was featured on the walls of the then-brand new Cultural Centre in Brisbane. I grew it at home. Wish I hadn't :-(.

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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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