Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

we finally harvested the sweet potato driveway

and we got tonnes of them! you can see the foliage had died right back and new sprouts were starting - so it was time to harvest the tubers before the plants started to take their goodness as a growth source (which after all is why plants make these storage organs - so they can draw on a sort of 'bottled summer' during lean times in the winter). our neghbours came round to help because it was so exciting. getting a really big one is a big thrill - like this one!

and we ended up with waaayyy too many sweet potatoes (we only planted 5 or 6! a good patch for a family of four is probably based on 2-3 seed potatoes i think)

we harvested the water chestnuts too - first week in june i think. they were in that wide mouthed blue bucket you can see in the first shot at the top.

i planted 5 corms and got about 1.5 times the number in the photo (we bandicooted about a third of the bucket before we harvested the remainder)

i've finally spread the horse poo and let the marigolds rot in and left everything fallow for AGES in the vegie garden to attempt to deal with the nematodes. fingers crossed. i obviously need more beds to get some proper rotation happening. hmmm....

i've now planted it all again (mid winter! arg..) and it's looking good, except we went away and when we came back all the 'yummy' greens like cabbage family and lettuce etc had been eaten down to the growing tip - horrible! a disaster! I though it must be a caterpillar although i couldn't see any. it was a mystery - until someone in our household mentioned they loved seeing the chooks out during the day!! they have their new wings in after moulting, and i hadn't clipped pinkrosie's wing feathers, only heckle's. so pinkrosie has been flying the coop during the day and decimating my vegie garden - then putting herself back in the pen before i notice! what a sneak!! so hopefully things will come back now what she is locked out of the garden again.

look - here she is, sprung!

you can see the damage she's been doing. she's really hard to catch. also, she makes scratches and digs up the seedlings :(

apart from that the new growth is looking very green and lovely - fingers crossed about the nematodes ...

that bean which i thought was blue lake or something is just some weird sub-tropical volunteer pea type thing - i'm pulling it out. who knows what it is. if i planted it I don't remember what it was meant to be. it doesnt look very edible to me - anyone know what it is?

the native raspberry in the front yard is producing its first fruit

i've been making lots of Linda Brennan's lemon myrtle 3 minute cordial from the lemon myrtle in the front yard because it's absolutely delicious and so easy and quick

the cousin it plant sticking up is the lemon myrtle, Backhousia citriodora . others are a marmalde grevillea (at the front), and some Brisbane wattles, Acacia fimbriata, which self seed all over our yard (no grass).

This is down the side - I pulled the washing machine greywater off this bed and it's made a huge difference to the size of the banana bunches. Also I let the daughter shoots go too early this time, so they were in competition with the developing bunches. I'll have to get the grey water back onto there,

I pulled some turmeric this week too. Yum.

We still have so many passionfruit that I made a new masterchef type inspired dish the other day - it was a lemon curd tart, but we sieved the juice from about 20 passionfruit added two fresh bay leaves and heated it up with agar agar, then let it cool and used it as a flavoured jelly layer on top of the tart. Sorry no photos - it was too delicious - all anyone could think about was eating it! also, i shelled a big bowl of collected macadfmias from our tree and pressed them lightly into the pastry shell befre i baked it blind. the curd went in straight on top - it worked brilliantly, the nuts were just lightly roasted and tasty.

The passionfruit have escaped into the trees and won't come down to cover the fences which was supposed to be their job. It means we get lots of fruit though because the possums can't get them and they drop when they're ready .

It's amazing what you can grow just on the windowsill.

We're not getting many ripe pawpaws at the mo - maybe one every two to three weeks, but there are lots of green ones to harvest for salad. I didn't get enough peanuts to make peanut butter but i've bought some delicious food connect peanut butter so that will round out my local meal - the only thing non-local will be the fush sauce - the ginger, garlic, chilli, coriander. spring onions and lemon/ lime I have in the garden - free gourmet treats !

nb that other fruit in the bowl is from food connect - except the passionfruit and maybe the lemons, we've been picking our lemons in the last few weeks


my typing is even worse than usual , have had shoulder reconstruction (kept dislocating - ouch!). on the up side we finished painting the house beforehand. hasn't helped much on the gardening front though. will be one handed for 6 weeks and not much chop garden wise for about three months

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Comment by Susan on July 14, 2010 at 20:10
My mother-in-law is phillapino and she uses green pawpaw sliced in curries and stews. It is delicious and takes on the flavour of the stew (kind of like a choko I guess).
Comment by Scarlett on July 13, 2010 at 10:44
yes I am this week. that would be lovely!
Comment by Linda Brennan on July 13, 2010 at 8:31
I may have given it to you Scarlett as I have them here. It is too unusual to have dropped out of a birds ...
I love the green paw paw too and have a few recipes for it. You are right, the grated green papaya salad is excellent.
Good to hear the shoulder treatment was arthroscopic. It reduces the tissue damage that way. Are you off work? I could pop over and see you some time .
Comment by Scarlett on July 12, 2010 at 17:00
oh thankyou! ok, so i could make my own chook mite dust, except i'm not going to. did you give me seeds for that or do you think it is a volunteer?

yes, am ok - out of any sort of significant gardening action for about three months though, bummer. i'll be wearing a sling for 6 weeks, but it had to be done, my shoulder was a mess, kept dislocating. was arthroscopic so not too painful

i reckon green pawpaw doesn't really have much of a taste, but it's cooling and pleasant. I grate it, sprinkle it with salt, leave for 15 mins, lightly rinse, then squeeze all the moisture out one little ball at a time (takes a reasonable effort) then fluff them out and toss with other ingredients (spring onion, mint, coriander, avocado, tomato etc) and a really tasty thai style dressing - i imagine it could be done lots of ways and some people don't bother with the salting - if you google it there are quite a few recipes up. Everyone seems to love it straightaway, it's not an acquired taste
Comment by Linda Brennan on July 12, 2010 at 16:40
HI Scarlett
The bean in your garden is Yam bean or Jicama aka rotenone. Poisonous bean, edible roots.
Didn't know you had a shoulder op. Are you ok?
Comment by Lissa on July 12, 2010 at 4:46
So you're off work and recovering - hope it all goes well and you're not in too much pain.

I had 7 weeks off after my op - 4 of those weeks in extreme pain - but I know others who've had it done and are back at work in two weeks. Mine was perhaps a little more advanced.....caused by calcium deposits. I have one on the left shoulder as well but hope to get away without surgery.

So, you must like the flavour of green pawpaw? Sounds odd but I'll give it a go.
Comment by Scarlett on July 11, 2010 at 10:44
clever pawpaw :)
reconstruction surgery - it kept dislocating, i've been putting it off for years..seems to be ok, will be great if it's better at the other end
i grate mine using a food processor - lovely and quick
Comment by Lissa on July 11, 2010 at 6:09
Somewhere I've missed what has happened with your shoulder Scarlett. Hope it's not too serious.

I was watching Poh's show the other day and the gent was using green pawpaw sliced thinly in a salad. Never seen that done before. My pawpaw is still stunted after breaking in two with it's load of fruit during a storm - but it's coming good again.

Another has self seeded and grown in my Brom garden.....just where it was needed most to provide shade :) This second plant also has flower and fruit developing.
Comment by Scarlett on July 9, 2010 at 18:50
thanks Florence
I can see already it's going to be a real trial with the shoulder! all for the best though hopefully
I like to grate it nto things like I would use ginger,or substitute fir dried turmeric in a recipe
did you watch master chef? satay sauce!
pawpaw salad, curries, risotto, hot salad dressings, pickled, lentil soup, rice pudding - go crazy!
Comment by Florence on July 9, 2010 at 15:15
oh, hope your shoulder recovers soon ~

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