Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I've taken the Backyarders group down. The backyarders forum was basically duplicating the general forum which seemed unecessarily confusing.People were having trouble finding discussions too, and the search functions on the general forum are much better. So Donna and I copied them over - but now all the links to the people who actually posted the comments are gone. Sorry about that.

I've put my tomato bags back on - I'm not getting fruit fly, but other bits and bobs have a go at them if the bags aren't on, whereas I get beautiful perfect blemish free specimens (except the ones I don't see/ bother with) if I do bag them - so the bags are back on.

I've also bagged a few baby pumpkins to see if it might keep the frost off them. I've decided I'm losing the babies to frost - the vines are back to full health, and it is mid winter with fog etc after all :)

I levered the no dig garden around with a pitch fork to let air in - it was looking a bit compacted I think.

My peas are doing well so far, fingers crossed. First flower today. The bush beans are OK too, didn't look closely to see if they're setting yet.

Have examined the bok choy, which is riddled with holes, and discovered lots of caterpillars on the leaf undersides. They are not big and green (cabbage white butterfly) which explains why I wasn't seeing any of those :) So at least I know it's not just grasshoppers. I picked lots off today and gave them to the chooks. I'll do that a few more times and see if things come right, otherwise I might buy some Dipel (Bacillus thuringiensis) and put that about a bit. It's more specific than neem, as it basically attacks caterpillar tummies. Poor caterpillars :( At least neem is quick - but it gets all bugs, good and bad, which is bad of course. Hopefully the manual removal will do the trick - it usually does. It takes such care to produce beautiful food at times! The tip off (because I didn't see any butterflies) was a pristine bok choy volunteer growing in the gravel at one side of the vegie garden. Caterpillars don't like gravel - it's rough on their undersides.

Also I prune off the old leaves on the broccoli and cauliflower etc as they get holes in them and feed these to the chooks. The chooks demand this because it's their favourite, these are of course the best leaves to pick without hurting the plant, and it keeps the cabbage whites under control - egg and caterpillar population reduction measure. Sometimes I let a decoy go in the garden for a while as well after it's flowered (but not long enough for the butterflies to hatch). The butterflies appear to love the old smelly plants the best.

My lemons are almost ripe - first from this tree, very proud, must take a photo.

I've been tranplanting my onions and leeks around - thinning them out into singles.

I scattered some mulch over the vegie garden.

There's not much else going on - everything should come on well now we've passed the solstice :)

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Comment by Scarlett on July 13, 2009 at 19:21
Sigh. I couldn't get to them frequently enough - picking off is my preferred method, so i sprayed things around last weekend as per recent blog. My strawberries are just sitting there being hopeless - even the ones that carried over from last year! Mine always end up fruiting in September. What's with that!? Lack of morning light maybe..
Comment by Vanessa Collier on June 27, 2009 at 11:16
Hi Scarlett, I had the same problem of caterpillars on my Pak Choy - I picked them all off. They were eating the hearts out of them so they weren't growing any new leaves and looked close to dying. After picking them off they grew back incredibly well. Unfortunately I don't have chooks so I just threw the caterpillars onto the grass, I'm guessing the green ants would have got them.
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on June 26, 2009 at 20:54
With chooks to feed grotty leaves and caterpillars to, there's probably no need for you to erect any kind of cover for the brassicas. But for those of us without chooks, perhaps considering a frame on which to put flyscreen to keep out the cabbage white butterfly, the grasshoppers and whatever-else takes a fancy to a passing cabbage. Or is it the other way around? ;-)

After several years of growing fruit without any bother from birds, I discovered a flock of Mickies (Noisy Miners) doing some kind of mischief among the flowering Blueberries. The Bbs and now the Strawberries (first pink one today!) have black bird-netting stretched over a Heath Robinson-type frame. You can buy the stuff in 4 metre lengths at Bunnings, product of the inscrutible Orient.
Comment by Donna on June 25, 2009 at 8:17
Sounds like everything is coming together even though you didn't plant/ prepare early. Most things in my garden seem to be dormant and I swear haven't grown an inch in a month!
Hopefully this weekend I will give everything a good feed and some bugs and see if they perk up a bit. With all the rain my sandy soil might have leached all the good stuff - maybe should plant some carrots to get it back!

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