Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Fruiting plants which are making the most of the heat are the Fig a White Adriatic. Supposedly a ‘dwarf’ and given that it is living in a 300L wicking bin, and will be ruthlessly pruned, it will be a dwarf! The first fruit is on - or to quote Ali (she of Mud Pie blog fame), my Fig is Figging ;-) After the winter layoff, I pruned it and painted it liberally with Green Harvest Tree Paste (similar to Biodynamic tree paste but more readily available). The other fruit trees have been similarly painted and all are enthusiastivally growing, rather better than they ever had.

The un-named seedless non-astringent Persimmon - now it’s always produced a lot of fruit, and when they are ripe, they are quite tiny barely and inch and a bit in diameter (28-30cm) and really fiddly although totally delicious when soft-ripe. So this year I really pruned it, applied Tree Paste and when it started to fruit, I removed about half of the tiny fruits-to-be. After a while it started to shoot stems and leaves in several places at each pruning cut. Not content to leave it alone (cringe) I flicked off all the ‘excess’ shoots. The plant does know what it is doing! Because it needed all that leaf area to make energy to mature and ripen the fruit! Ahem ... most of the fruit fell off and that was my guess about why - some fruit is now growing, about 6 fruit when there could have been several dozen. Oh dear.

I am the happy grower of 3 varieties of Raspberry. One is Williamette from Lissa, a bit young to fruit. Another is a native one (un-known name) which has fruited in its pot and is growing apace now it is in its 200L wicking bin. The third is Rubus moluccana, a native bought probably from Yandina Permaculture Garden. Now this is one wildly enthusiastic grower with the most amount of spines I’ve seen outside of a cactus. All are in their first year and establishing themselves in their permanent positions. I have planted other plants in their pots to keep them company- Buckwheat (white flowers), Midyims (still very young) and green Okra.


The Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos made a return visit to say ‘hi’ and taste the seeds on the Banksia. There were three, whether mum and 2 kids or mum and dad and 1 kid, who knows. They didn’t stay long and I hope they will be back for more Banksia seeds as the season wears on.


For some time I have been pondering the simplest, cheapest and lightest way to get organic matter into my gardens both the above-ground ones and the in-ground ones. I do use coco-peat, this is imported from Sri Lanka but at least is renewable although ‘peat-miles’ are quite high. I grow cover crops, using a combination of excess seeds (wheat and buckwheat currently) and bird seed. All good stuff but still not giving the gardens the real boost of organic matter I believe they need. Delighted that Ness joined Brisbane Local Food and made it known that she has access to spent Mushroom compost! Oh fabjus day! Local, great stuff and in almost unlimited quantities. It is made at Harvey Bay, some ‘compost miles’ here but much closer than Sri Lanka! My first 4 above-ground beds have now been renovated with Organic Xtra, Mushroom compost topped with Sugarcane mulch (‘cane miles’ only Beenleigh). Even though I mulch as much of my spent plants and prunings as the little machine will handle, there is never enough organic matter!

Dark soft humus-like material on the top one-third then soft wood-type slivers for the lower two-thirds. Smells faintly sweet like finished compost, just nicely damp.

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Comment by ness on November 28, 2011 at 16:36

Beautiful black cockatoos Elaine, it is so lovely to know they are in our area. Thanks for your kind words regarding Mushroom Compost - it is lovely and yes I have plenty available.  Cheers!!

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on November 20, 2011 at 7:50

Donna, I'm interested in Biodynamics and practice as much of it as I can. I have read about BD tree paste and tried to get some but either I've to complete a course before being allowed to buy or like the local group, they only make it for themselves and don't make spare to sell. So Lissa told me that Green Harvest have a version of it and we went shares in a tub. You give the bark a good scrub first then paint on a slurry of tree paste and water - it smells a bit cow manure-y but is otherwise quite pleasant in an earthy sort of way. Anyway, the Lotsa Lemons, Mulberry, Fig and Persimmon are looking their best yet so I'm hopeful it's a good thing to do yearly after pruning.


For the first year with your Chocolate Pudding Persimmon, just observe the way it grows and develops. Although related to Persimmon, it is still different and may not follow the Persimmon pattern (or mine, anyway).

Comment by Donna on November 20, 2011 at 7:35

What a shame about your persimmons, I must go out and check out how my chocolate one ;) is doing - I've never watched the journey from flower to fruit on them before.  

Wonder why you decided to use tree paste... some of my trees aren't doing as well as they could, maybe I should give it a go.

Your garden looks great, as usual!

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