Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

The garden is awesome!

Being Spring and warming up fast, the take-off is accelerating as more plants start doing their stuff. 

A botanical explosion from the ground up. 

It's the flowers that really register this the most. After months of shades of green, the flowers I planted are now blooming and their heads  a dazzling splashes of colour in the garden beds like  a cottager panorama straight out of  Alice in Wonderland.

They're ready to talk back...

Sprinkled in the garden beds among salad greens, tomatoes, herbs and kale the flowers have changed the address to a bee supermarket.

Plants tumble over each other competing for light and space in a jungle that intensifies daily. 

Dominating this understory are the tallest sunflowers I've ever seen -- let alone grown!

They are Jack-and-the-Beanstalk sunflowers -- with stems as sturdy as bamboo canes -- forming heads that in a week's time will open and challenge the glory of the sun. The 'look' is sure to be amazing. 

In the past all I've grown are sunflowers thieved from poultry mash. But the real McCoy  types are sure to be something else and I am now committed to always having a variety of sunflowers in my garden. Aside from the look they are great shade plants and already  serve as rent-a-bean pole...just pop in a sunflower seed and step back.

Instant high rise.

And everyone of them faces, as sunflowers do, the house and the back verandah where we eat our meals.

Seriously, where else can you get an securely anchored 'trellis' that climbs to three metres in a month of Sundays before channeling the glory of sunlight?

John Perceval:Potato Field (a fav Australian painting)

My mound garden -- my hillocks seeded with potatoes -- are now looking bare as the potato plants have raced ahead and are now dying back after just 2 months in the ground. Spud die off looks bad. As though the exercise had failed to thrive. But the harvest from underneath is something else [(sample:  Dutch Creams (pictured left)].

I had seldom grown potatoes before but  the taste of a freshly harvested spud is the ultimate in earthiness. 

In places among all this contour I have zuchini sprawling about, and some attempts to kick start my cucumber career. Cukes are a culinary passion of mine -- a cuisine essential --and accessing, via cultivation, some of the many varieties is going to be my  Summer hobby.

So long as I can keep them away from the possums....and get them to have sex with one another.

The grape size tomatoes seem to be everywhere. Those I don't sell or use 'fresh' I prefer to dry in my dehydrator. This time around my quest is to determine which small fruit tomatoes grow best in my soil --although I'm pushing the envelope. Grape toms go OK, like weeds do -- but the larger toms tend to suffer easily from disease. 

The Sweetleaf/Katuk is coming along and leafing up; the black mulberry has produced some huge fruits this year and most of the cuttings I planted as a hedgerow around the chook pen have struck; all the chokoes have taken root(I'm choko obsessed -- do you think 8 is enough?); the kankong have finally  settled into their new abode (a succession of car tires with plastic underlay) and are now fleshing up;the Moringa is away, now climbing skywards as is their keen want; the Warrigal Greens seem to be sprawling everywhere at my feet and are now beginning to set seed (will share); the taro is at home (in the valleys between the hills) as is the climbing yam; 'sweet potato alley' is doing alright (leastways I have had no complaints from that address); the Dragon Fruits cuttings have taken(they seem to appreciate my sandy soil, esp when I pair them with Pigface carpeting) and the frangipanis (I have over 20 located for the primary purpose of shade) are all extending the tips of their branches with the announcement that they are still  very much alive, despite their Graveyard and Zombie reputations, and signing on for the season to come...Can you imagine the outlook when they all bloom through the months ahead? Looking out back it's  a bit gob smacking to ponder.

What failed more than succeeded thus far are the root veg -- Watermelon radishes, carrots, and some of the beetroot. Reason? My soils are definitely too acid and I should have realised this before I planted my root crops. 

Wallum soils are registered acidic soils ..,. and I guess I'm gonna have to start monitoring my pH especially for those plants that like their dirt on the sweet side. Ah science!  like ants it gets into everything.

As I've mentioned elsewhere I'm producing most of my own seedlings rather than direct sow. While I plan to add seedlings sales to my market stall I'm much taken with the DIY newspaper pots. And selling seedlings in quaint paper cups is a niche thing.The really extend my flexibility: have garden/will travel/settle anywhere I decide.

Green nomads.Biodegradable wallpaper.

That's important as every part of my garden is under cultivation.Poly plus plus polyculture. It's like parking cars -- being opportunistic waiting  for, then grabbing,  a vacant space.

But the more I turn over the soil in order to sow direct, the more I encourage weed growth. And since we are at a time when there has been no mulch -- grass clippings -- for months, weed infestation among struggling young plants is as close as a tool scrape away.

As the garden takes off  --really takes off  -- like I never imagined -- I've celebrated the fact by turning my last patch of grass (it would be an obscene exaggeration to ever refer to it as lawn) into a sand pit. 3 metre square -- I mined golden sand inside the chook pen to create an oasis  within all the verdant happenings. Sterile yellow  granules in their trillions aint that far down. We live on a sand spit at the mouth of a river after all. That's our geology. We've got sand mines in the neighbourhood.Now I have  my own  sand garden to remind me of all that past accumulated underneath.

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Comment by Lissa on October 9, 2014 at 6:22

Will see you there then and we can chat about your GV.

Comment by Dave Riley on October 8, 2014 at 8:33

Well I hope to be at the Sandgate PCYC gardens next Saturday as I'm a member and weed puller.

Comment by Lissa on October 8, 2014 at 4:39

That's the stuff! I'll send you a PM with some simple directions so we can organise a visit :)

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on October 7, 2014 at 12:10

Good man!

Comment by Dave Riley on October 7, 2014 at 8:01

I say yes. 

Comment by Lissa on October 7, 2014 at 4:05

We really need to do a Garden Visit to your place Dave. What do you say?

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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.

Place your business add here! ($5 per month or $25 for 9 months)

Talk to Andy on 0422 022 961.  You can  Pay on this link

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