Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Alright, so the last time I wrote, I had decided to give no dig gardening beds a go.  They did work great.... up to a point.  That point was when the layers had started to actually decompose fully and sank and filtered down through the stick layers underneath exposing all my roots to the elements.  My problem was that I didn't fill them up as much as they suggested as I did not have enough material to do this.  I also found that horrible nasty toads would make themselves at home in the hollows created by the sinking layers, right at the roots of the plants which exasperated the problem.  My solution, spend $100 on getting 2 cubic meters of "A" grade soil delivered from TLS and then spending a backbreaking weekend in the middle of winter moving the soil to the back garden.  Because I already had that beautiful compost in the garden beds already, it was just a matter of giving it a bit of a mix and then covering with mulch and planting.

I have since harvested the following:

-> Loads of sugar snap peas, lettuces, spinach, broccoli and cauliflowers from the middle garden bed.

-> Gorgeous yellow zucchini's (success finally after 9 months of failure to set fruit) from bed 2

I am now waiting eagerly for my tomato's, cucumbers, eggplants, corn, carrots, beetroot and capsicums to start ripening up.   The beans have just started so we are eating lots of them at the moment.  My goal is to try to keep a regular planting system so that there are no major gaps in my vegetable needs.  I haven't quite been successful thought.  There was about a 3 week lag between broccoli, 4 weeks between my last sugar snap pea and the beans, and still not tomato's and cucumbers (though hopefully won't be long.  I've gotta cut myself some slack though, I FINALLY managed to grow carrots :)

I have never grown carrots successfully (hardly any came up, were stunted and twisted when they did and not that nice to be worth the effort) and was going to strike them off my list of garden veges but my husband (who loves watching masterchef), saw mixed coloured carrots on one of their dishes and was curious about them.  So we bought the Mr Fothergills Halequin f1 seeds and planted.  And waited.  And waited.  Almost to the point where I thought - "Once again, I've killed them", when after about 3 weeks (!!!!) I finally saw little green fronds start to appear.  They are not due to pick for another 12 days (I got the Gardening Australia Vege app for my i-phone-> its great) but I couldn't help myself and dug one up.  Perfectly straight, very sweet and looked amazing!!! I will add some photos soon. 

With respect to the watering, I had decided not to worry about how much water I was using and was using sprinklers every 3rd day.  This was all well and good until I realised that I had gone through over 1/2 my tank in about 4 weeks (we have not had 1 drop of rain in about that long) and went "oopps, I had better preserve my water".  So its back to hand watering every 2 days for new seedlings and every 4 days for established veges and they don't seem to be any worse off.    Its a little annoying as it takes me about 20 min but in the scheme of things, I suppose that's not that bad.  The soil, because its so good and has lots of organic matter in it, seems to stay moist.

And finally, I LOVE flowers!! So here is a photo of my ranunculis and pansy's (which I grew from seed -> again Yay me!!)

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Comment by Andrew Cumberland on September 12, 2013 at 18:47

Damn, that's a fine looking garden.  Just passing by again, thought I'd mention it.  

Comment by Susan on September 12, 2013 at 16:05

I did try to remound some soil but the toads were such a big problem as they would dig in around the roots and completely destroy everything.  Anyway, it was worth it getting the new soil in as everything is doing so well now.

Comment by Lissa on September 12, 2013 at 4:56

Pretty much why I grow annual veg in the raised beds (due to the sinking - which does improve with time). Things like toms and eggplant cope well with mounding up around their trunks.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on September 11, 2013 at 22:35

And I agree - damn new beds sink an awful lot.  I working out how to refill some of mine now without having to dig out all the plants.

Comment by Lissa on September 11, 2013 at 6:19

Yay you indeed :) Well done!

I felt the same about carrots - never thought I would grow one straight. A few years back I tried a pack of those beautiful multi-coloured jobs and haven't looked back. They do take a while to show themselves when grown from seed don't they. I always suspect I've killed them in a moment of neglect before they pop up.

Carrots do seem to like my raised beds now that the soil has been there for a bit.

Love the flowers :)) Every garden needs lots of flowers.

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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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