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 Susanne on March 13, 2016 at 19:19
My lemon grass never looks that healthy, I cut it back regularly. It seeds heavily every year but has maintained a clump not run like yours. The strap leaves on mine can be razor sharp. Maybe it doesn't like the high ph from the occasional use of lime in the chook yard?
Comment by Phil on March 13, 2016 at 18:35

I think weeds sometimes get a bad rap but after working in bushcare you get to see how damaging they can be to native bushland. Chop and drop is good for a lot of weeds in the garden but for the real bad ones that can grow from just a tiny stem cutting - this is not a good idea. Singapore daisy comes to mind in my garden. I like the idea of your Vetiver Grass being seedless Elaine. We need this developed for Leucaena. I remember seeing a video where Geoff Lawton suggested using Singapore daisy as a groundcover to build organic matter with the understated warning "If you dare". True, it will help develop good soil but getting rid of it later is the problem.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on March 13, 2016 at 15:51

Weeds are Wonderful: free fertiliser, free self-sown cover crops, free weed-tea … and to think of the hours I have wasted over the years, digging out this and that. And the tons of green material dumped in the rubbish bin. I hang my head in shame except that I didn't now any better at that time.

Yes, of course they can get out of control (come to my yard just now and see what I mean!) so can fruit trees or self-sown Tomatoes. Latter is a weed in a lawn if lawn's your thing.

Chop n drop most weeds for good results. I have East Indian Lemongrass and a great grower it is. Vetiver Grass is another beauty - Monto variety developed in Queensland, doesn't set seeds. Btw, my Lemongrass has never seeded in 3 years of growing. Oh and Comfrey - my what an enthusiast! And the Lucerne from tipped out 'Alfalfa' sprouts - enthusiastic, tough, grows on the smell of an oily rag.

As a lot of our soils are organic-matter-deficient, some enthusiastic volunteer growers aka 'weeds' are just the tonic the soil needs. Think of all those little microbes rabbitting away underground, being fed from the breakdown of 'weeds'. Free fertiliser: there's nothing like it!

Comment by Dianne Caswell on March 13, 2016 at 13:57

Great Pics - 'A Weed is only a Plant Growing in the Wrong Place'. The Lemon Grass looks very pretty like water over a waterfall, but it isn't and I'm pleased you find a use for it when needed.

Your neighbour is probably waiting for you to clean up their yard when they go on holidays again. Have you given any hints? Maybe if you told them a snake came into your yard from theirs.

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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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