Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

September already...!!!??

Got my first order from Daleys, I feel part of the club! Couldn't get over how carefully packed the plants were (sooooo much better than Garden Express) You can tell there is love in the company. Here I think is a Kaffir Lime, Florda Peach and Canistel :) so far have put in 65L wicking pots. Haven't decided on locations for planting but with heavy clay think might leave in pots... will see. 

Also sprouted some cucumbers to run up a trellis, watch this space

My sourdough breads are getting more adventurous - started putting in grains, nuts, fruits and spices with different flours too!

Did try my hand of goat's milk ricotta but I put some flavoured vinegar in to curdle at the start and no matter how much other vinegar I put in the *** milk would never curdle! Had to end up tipping the lot out! :(

While on the topic of not so successful adventures, my garlic so kindly gifted from Elaine sprouted 100% but doesn't seem to show any sign of bulb splitting/growing, despite leaves dying off. Put them in a too shady position. Lesson learnt. Am thinking of transplanting to another bed to see if ever it wasn't too late....?

Inspired by Rob I decided to separate out my perpetual spinach - the thing had really long root!! Pic above - the plant spanned almost the width of the outdoor table. Probably have waited a bit long to separate them and will see how they fair in a couple of weeks. So far the replants are a bit limp. Had to divide them though because overcrowding was started to make disease (See discolouring of bottom left plant on bottom left pic above? starting to look like brown silverbeet). Below - The bed immediately after the transplant

Also had my first broadbeans (shout out to Rob) YUM!!!! Can't wait for planted more next year! Success! 

Harvested the Nasturtium "capers" and have pickled them - will try in some 6 weeks or so :)

Yay! A Jap pumpkin, after having the vine stay over winter from last summer. Seems to be the only proper pumpkin though, lots of female flowers but no so many males... wondering if should remove this vine and sow new seeds. Plus Partner is complaining that it is taking over yard etc etc 

So proud! Not quite ready yet but this is the first "big" (i.e. not cherry) tomato I've ever been able to grow (hope I get it before the birds do). From memory it's a black russian? Got loads of green cherry toms coming on, can't wait!

This polystyrene wicking box business has been a massive success. I've been putting the tops of cut beetroot, silverbeet, celery etc directly into these with misc herbs and they are so lush! Combination of self watered and netting has made a big difference. Happy about this, getting ready for summer. 


I've also got my first pawpaw flowers on (YAAAAAAY!!!) and also madagascar beans. My neighbour "accidently" harvested the first lot green (some 1kg, sniff) thinking they were snowpeas. Luckily it is very prolific. Looking forward to some beanage soon.

And then my happy flower garden - some daffodils from last year, native violets, blue salvia, royal carpet alyssum and dianthus :) 

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Comment by Lissa on September 30, 2016 at 4:25

It's all coming together for you Sophie :) Looking good. Love the trellis for the cucs - that will keep the airflow and make it easy to harvest.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 30, 2016 at 1:00

Ah well Mary, I'm a lazy gardener at heart. I try to find the path of least resistance ;-) Wicking beds are or can be as simple or as complicated as you want. Mine work for me, the plants grow so long as I give them enough nutrients and keep the water up to them. Limiting factor with wicking beds is they are remote from the microbes in the soil and we need to add them either with compost or buying microbes.

Comment by Mary-Ann Baker on September 30, 2016 at 0:17

wow Elaine you are a fountain of incredibly useful knowledge -had always thought you had to have pebbles etc at the bottom of the bed ! bought one from BOGI fair that is a bucket with a black plastic pot inside and a tap on the outside - been trying to get time to make some moe like it ! arh time is the limiting factor !!!! 

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 29, 2016 at 23:41

Anyone interested in playing with wicking beds, all you need do is get any box which is deep enough for the plants you are going to grow. Or a pot or trough - anything which will hold water and is of the right size for your current needs.

Buy some el cheepo black plastic, 1-2 dollars per lineal metre. It's usually 2 metres wide. Cut a piece which will fit into the bottom of the box, covering all the holes and rising enough to be just under the soon-to-be-made overflow hole. Make the overflow hole by heating something of the right size (e.g. an Apple corer) or drilling with a spade bit or an ordinary bit. Depends on the material the box is made from. Fill up with el cheepo potting mix in the bottom then add layers of whatever grabs you: good quality potting mix or el cheepo with added coconut coir, vermiculite, sand or whatever you have available plus some composted animal manures and rock dust. Or perhaps just some Organic Xtra or similar.

You've just converted a box or bin with way too much drainage into a functional wicking bin.

Comment by Mary-Ann Baker on September 29, 2016 at 22:08

great garden and interesting ideas  - your polystyrene box wicking beds - are they just the boxes that dont have holes and what do you put in them to make the beds - i use these boxes with several holes drilled about 5cm from the bottom and put seeds and pot in them that need extra water but havent used them as actual wicking beds .. 

Comment by Sophie on September 29, 2016 at 16:51

Thanks for the comments!
Susan - Yeah they were bulbs from Aldi 2 yrs ago and I waited til they died down after 1st season then dug them up and potted them then planted them back in again. I decided not to leave them in the ground over the full year as I was scared they would rot in the clay. This seemed to work. Will keep you in mind at the end of the season. I can't remember but I may have even stuck them in the fridge at some stage... This was pre gardening diary so who knows. Sounds like the crazy sort of thing I would do.
Elaine - yeah I wondered that about the colour variation of the P Spinach but it does look a bit rusty, hard to tell. The leaves themselves definitely look more silverbeety than P. Spinachy which is interesting... Which brings me to Rob's point - yes Actually I think you are right. I read somewhere that beetroot and silverbeet (and I assume P Spinach as the seeds all look very similar) have 4-5 seeds inside the seed, that is a cluster of seeds within the seed pod we sow. These ones I separated looked very separate and tangled so not sure that it's from plantlets though maybe it was...just matured a while ago. And yes, I do eat the native violets. I also growing them under the stairs with mint. They seem happy together - similar shaded and damp conditions. Ok re the pumpkin, opportunity to add more compost. Looking forward to picking more broadbeans this weekend! But yes, polysterene convert for sure.

Comment by Rob Collings on September 29, 2016 at 16:11

Great blog Sophie, real healthy plants and harvests with heaps of new momentum gathering in the yard. I'm keen on giving the polystyrene beds a go sometime soon, they look very successful.

Are you wondering if the perpetual spinach is clump from seed? I think the last one I pulled out was not plantlet/pup (there did not seem to be any connection to the larger plant), but I'm sure plants formed pups last summer, and I'm sure I separated one earlier in the year. 

Having seen broad beans mostly frozen in a packet, it was so exciting to have fresh B beans.

Pull the pumpkin vine and start a new one I think, it's nice to have the older vine tangle cleared.

Nice flowers, you may already know that you can eat the native violet flowers (flowers only).

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 29, 2016 at 14:48

Lush garden Sophie! Grown Rainbow Chard and guess the perpetual Spinach is a relative. Not seen that brown look so wonder if it's just a natural colour variation. Yep, reduce the foliage on all transplants, they grow much more quickly that way, reduces stress. Similar to removing flowers from first year grafted trees to give them a chance to grow good roots. With grafts the scion (the part you pay for) is older than the rootstock so it wants to fruit when the rootstock is still a youngster.

Comment by Susan on September 29, 2016 at 14:39

Looking good Sophie.  That daffodil, was it one you left in the ground?  If so, save the bulbs as mine never reflowered after the first lot as we don't get enough cold.  I would be very interested in obtaining one of your bulblets if they did reflowere after being left in the ground.

With your transplants, I always find I have much greater success if I cut off all the leaves bar one or two. 

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