Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I finally got around to prepping the school garden for the return of the children next week. It survived the Summer graciously.

The beds we did not cover with weed mat, I carpeted with harvested Vetiver mulch and they've done OK -- not much in way of weeds.

Hardly any ' valueless plants growing wild.'

Despite the harvest just after Christmas Day, and the lack of rain, the Vetiver grass is chest high again. I wish mine would be so keen -- but that's what you get running a shady patch.

On the homefront -- digging for Victory as it were  -- the little tykes are hard at it rooting about and making the best of the solar heat.

For the reticent mamby pamby seedling  it can be brutal in the soil -- but I know I've got the soil temp ambient enough because a wee scratch at the surface will turn over a wriggling worm or two or three... even at such a shallow depth.

To actually DIG for Victory (or whatever purported rationale) is a misnomer as I haven't dug into the soil for years.

It only upsets the worms.

If I accidentally slice one in two I am mortified --  nor can I bring myself to capture a big 'un and feed that alive to the chooks.

You may say that there are plenty more where that one came from, but I'm precious about my wriggles.

They are the measure of my gardening worth.

Nonetheless, the beginning of 2019 marks the great fusion of the kitchen with the kitchen garden. The worms are a collateral success story.

What I mean is that after years playing around with different plants I've integrated my culinary aspirations with our coastally-located sub-tropical climate and my gardening skillset (such as it is).

  • The whole root vegetable thing is problematical and may not be worth the effort -- but tubers are go.
  • Greens rule --so long as you pick your plants. I have whittled my experiences down to some much loved favorites: Katuk, Okinawan Spinach, Longevity Spinach...
  • Squashes and gourds are reliable fun. Just manage the seasons.
  • Tomatoes  always rule -- so long as they are grape and cherry.
  • A few herb essentials determined by taste and recipe:Thyme, Parsely, Coriander, Oregano, Rosemary,Basil...
  • Spring --as in GREEN -- Onions are essentials. As are Leaf Celery in season.
  • Preferred legumes: Roma style pole beans & Pigeon Peas.
  • Then there are the peppers: the sweet ones and the chili peppers. Chilies I can grow easily but it takes a lot to sustain my sweet pepper addiction and my success rate isn't good.
  • Succulents are a hobby: Dragon Fruit and Spineless Prickly Pear
  • Corn is always giving me the ear.

I'm no great fruit eater but I'm chuffed to have pawpaw on hand. Lemons serve me OK. Anything else is a waiting game. My track record has not been good with tree fruits.

There's more in the mix. I'm now growing  Chaya, Moringa, and Agati as experiments. 

It happens that I'm running out of space. This squeeze is worsened by the requirement to run a Vetiver nursery for local projects.

[Next month I'll need to harvest 100 Vetiver for a coastal protection venture..and finish off another in which we planted 120 along the foreshore late last year.....]

It is a jungle outback. Walking among the Vetiver and vines or clambering tomatoes is an awesome experience.

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Comment by Valerie on January 24, 2019 at 21:13

Always a pleasure to read your adventure ;) I should be back in the school garden soon too. 

Comment by Christa on January 24, 2019 at 16:18

Green with envy, I am.  Agati, is that another name for white flowered Sesbania.  I think Susan may have tried growing that plant.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on January 24, 2019 at 13:06

Living the high life.  

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