Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

2010 SPRING September to November

29/09/10 Backyard: clockwise potato bags x 4 varieties (see winter blog), swt mini pumpkins, nasturtiums,Pink Shatoot Mulberry, Tamarillo, Pepino, Custard Apple, Lychee, Persimmon, Wampi, Yakon, Raspberry x 3 Williamette and 1x Bi-Centennial, ceylon spinach, Goosberry bush, asparagus, Arrowroot, watermelon, rockmelon, ginger, dwarf Macadamia, fig x 2, blueberry x 3, Pitaya (dragonfruit) x red, yellow and white, grape x 2 (never produced fruit yet!), Carombola, Sour Sop, pawpaw x 2, passionfruit (black & yellow), Monstera deliciosa.

Frontyard: small leaf Jaboticaba (both black and yellow), Dwarf Wurtz Avo, Persimmon "Wonderful" x 2

Actually 27/09/10 - bed 3 swt fennell, brussells sprouts, strawberries, beans in front, lettuce & silver beet to the left side; bed 2 carrots, corn and lettuces, Euro Spinach at the front on ground; bed 1 emptied of useless heirloom toms and filled with custard apple trimmings cut into small bits and topped off with beautiful compost.

The last couple of months have been so busy, with all the usual stuff but also my grandson and a houseguest I was happy to see go. Why do we do it! :( So good to have my house back to myself and my dogs (daughter is overseas for 5mths).

My camera has been out of action as well, but I now have a new battery charger and will take pics of all the changes that have taken place in the backyard. Spring has sprung and everything is growing! but the bugs are also starting to come back.

Attended a terrific Banana growing workshop on Saturday at the Yandina Community Gardens with Svenning Prytz as guest speaker. Lovely guy, and so knowledgable. On Sunday the Samford Food Growers met at a neglected orchard and we had a lesson in pruning Custard Apple trees. I immediately went home and trimmed mine of course! I've chopped up all the trimmings and used them and everything in my compost pile to refill one of the elevated garden beds.

The heirloom toms were a big disappointment. Lots of foliage and a few mediocre flavoured toms. I have a self seeded plant which is about a 1m square which has provided me with quite a few kgs of excellent fruit, much better value. I have pulled out all the heirlooms and used the material as part of the compost to refill bed 1. The compost pile was delicious after sitting "cooking" for so long, black and nutritious. The bed has been topped off with granite/deco (potassium), basalt (calcium), Epsom Salts (magnesium) and Organic Xtra. My plan at the moment is to plant toms with flavour and value - I have a couple of seedlings from the Yandina Comm. Gardens and some seedlings from the Tomato Berry which has been so prolific. This is a delicious sweet little tom, but may not grow true to form. We'll see.


I have filled the empty bed with chopped up bits from the trimmed custard apple and the pile of mostly well rotted compost. Lovely stuff. I have put the two bamboo poles (thank you James) at either end and run a string across and planted more toms - unnamed black and a yellow from Yandina Community Gardens, mini yellow, Tomato Berry small red sweet (don't expect these to grow true to original but will interesting to see what I get) and a mid sized red (possibly one of the heirlooms).

27/09/10 Pink Shatoot fruit developing - plant is only 60cm high.

27/09/10 Graft of black mulberry on to Pink Shatoot - one week old and looking good. (This later died during the long rainy period - whether this was the reason I don't know).

29/09/10 Tamarillo flowers.

27/09/10 Lychee flowers - some years I get lots of fruit, and others barely anything.

27/09/10 Self sown tom growing right up against pawpaw. It has produced kgs of great fruit (some below).

27/09/10 I have three canes of Williamette Raspberries growing well so far, plus a Bi-centennial given to me by Michelle. I understand I won't get any fruit until the second year.

29/09/10 Little blurry, but you can see the fruit forming on the Pepino. Don't think I've ever eaten these before, but they're so easy to grow!

27/09/10 Pineapple! I don't eat them myself, but isn't it pretty.

27/09/10 Bed 3 Bush beans (plus celery). The last lot were prolific.

29/09/10 Dwarf Wurtz A type - new growth. I'm hoping to get hold of a piece of a B to graft on to this - perhaps a Sharwell, Fuert or Sheppard if anyone has one. We could do a swap.


BOGI Fair today! I ended up babysitting Clayton but with Andrew's help was still able to attend the fair with baby in tow. Proud owner of a PERSIMMON "Wonderful" and a YELLOW JABOTICABA Myrciaria glomifera which I've planted at the other end of the front yard from the black jaboticaba.

While the black jaboticaba can take up to 7 years to fruit, apparently the yellow can take as little as three years.

09/10/10 Coloured carrots! When I grated the red one it was still orange inside.


Flooding in north Brisbane - we've had torrential rain for days - I'm one of the lucky ones, soggy with lots of washout and lakes but otherwise ok.


All drying out nicely after the rain and little real damage done. The elevated beds have been good for this kind of weather. Noticed the earth worms had moved in enmasse from surrounding soggy ground.

I have removed the decorative grasses from the front fence bed as they basically fell over during the rain and have replaced with the 'Wonderful" Pomegranate bought from the BOGI fair, plus a seedling of the same I have grown. Tiny, but it would be so satisfying to get fruit from this eventually.

The mulberry graft is dying :( Too small? Too much rain made it soggy? I have a cutting of the Black Mulberry which looks like rooting for me so I'll try again once I have a bit more material and the Pink Shatoot is bigger.

The multi coloured carrots are giving good crop - white, orange, yellow and purple. They grew quickly and well (seeds bought from Diggers - see below for link).

Picked up a Brazilian Spinach c/- Jacqui at the the Jane St Community Garden to add to the Ceylon Spinach and other types I'm growing. Finding out which are tasty and grow best. Thank you for the Comfrey also Jacqui.


The strawberries are struggling badly. Not doing well in the raised beds - suspect too much shade and not enough air. I'll have to remove them to......where lol. (Moved them to where the celery was).

I've remulched after all the rain as the weeds are coming up all around the elevated beds.

The "Williamette" raspberries are creating little fruits already :) They were planted just from canes only a few months ago.

First eggplant I've ever grown :)

Multi coloured carrots :)

Strawberries are struggling and need to be removed to a more open position.

I've removed the decorative red grasses from the front yard (fell over in the heavy rain) and planted "Wonderful" Pomegrantes x 2 - one bought from the BOGI fair and the second grown from seed from fruit I bought from the fruit shop - pretty sure it is also a Wonderful.


It's a glorious Saturday morning and I have no appointments :) so I can slop around in the garden in my jamies to my hearts content.

The dogs and I went hunting this morning. They for mice/rats in the banana bed and me for caterpillars and other nasties. I found quite a few large and some small caterpillars on the carrot tops mainly and threw them over the fence for the neighbours chickens. This seems to be the main culprit:

The Lychee has grown rather bunchy and is invading space it's not welcome in, so I have carefully cut it back without removing fruiting branches. Looks more open and tidier. There are tiny fruit developing and hopefully they will reach full size this year and not fall.

Some new potatoes in the cupboard are sending up shoots so I've planted them out in the areas in the garden with the "worst" soil - mainly around the old pond and in the far left back corner. MUST remember they are they as these little spuds thrown out with the compost in the past have paid dividends recently.

The garden is flourishing. I'm finding little surprises here and there ie cucumbers, spuds, eggplant. Ate some steamed snake beans last night - really not excited by them but they weren't bad. Not so great raw like the French beans which are my favourite.

The mower man has brought me piles of lovely grass cuttings and together with all the trimmings from the garden I have a huge pile of steaming compost which should be in a yummy condition when I need it to replenish one of the beds.


Pulled up some of the fancy potatoes from the grow bags last night and roasted them in an overn bag with a lamb shank (along with some home grown rosemary and S&P - very nice). The best roasted was definately the Lustre which had a lovely consistency:

Certified Seed Potato Lustre

Description : Round evenly sized tubers, smooth bright white skin, shallow eyes, white flesh, excellent flavour. Especially ideal for boiling to mash & salads, also baking & roasting. Early to mid-season planting High yielding (8-12 tubers). Short dormancy, quick growing

The fancy spuds (see Winter blog for description) aren't doing well in their grow bags after all the rain - leaves are looking quite ill, spotted and dying off. Might have to pull everything up and see what I have but will leave it a little while longer.

The heirloom toms don't want to give up the fight easily - little seedlings are coming up all around Bed 1. In spite of their not being good producers (I had virtually NO fruit from them) and very leggy, I wouldn't want to lose them and am transplanting the seedlings into remote corners of the garden. They may surprise me yet.


Tomatoes in the dedicated tom bed (Bed 1): "Black tom" - seedling ex Yandina Community Garden - real name?? "small yellow" - ex some tasty small yellow fruit I picked up from the staff table at BC Morayfield. "med red" - I have no memory of where this one came from :S "Tomato Berry" - second generation from what I believed was an F1 plant bought from Bunnings with sweet small fruit - but I see there are seed for sale, so maybe they will grow true "Tommy Toe - ex Elaine for her experiment "Grosse Lisse" - because I've always wanted to try them "Rouge de Marmande" - just because I'm working on "pinching out" but I'm just going on instinct as I hardly know what I'm doing there. I think I'm going to end up with a bed chokka full of tom plant again :S

We're having the most glorious summer so far, no real heat. Came home from work yesterday and the dogs insisted we go out the back to hunt mice etc so I took a glass of bubbly and mooched around, eating a cob of corn here, some beans there. No wonder I don't want dinner lol. Lay back on the sugar can mulch (much to the dogs delight) and watched the clouds while snacking on snake beans and bubbly. Pretty close to heaven :D

Doing well in the garden at the moment: snake beans - growing happily without support and producing lots of beans; french beans - noticed they had red spider mite on the yesterday so gave all the leaves a really good water under and over; corn - quite a few nice looking cobs growing well; brussel sprouts - only one little infestion of caterpillars (used Derris) otherwise growing slowly but well; sweet fennell; multi coloured carrots; lettuce; rocket (don't expect I'll ever have to buy seedlings again as they keep reseeding themselves); cucumber; eggplant; spinach of various kinds (find I only like the silverbeet type really); asparagus (maybe crop some next year); Carombola is flowering; Persimmon has 5 little fruit; Lychee has small fruit developing; Tamarillo has quite a lot of fruit; Pepino has a few fruit; Soursop has many fruit developing; Wampee has fruit developing; Pawpaw developing

12/11/10 Below: "Tommy Toe" grown from seed from Elaine. They need to put on a little growth spurt so the other toms don't overwhelm them :)

12/11/10 Below, fertile corner: nasturtium, tamarillo, pepino, custard apple, toms, cucumbers, eggplant.

12/11/10 Below: backyard - quite a change from only a month ago

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Comment by Lissa on October 31, 2010 at 6:19
The Tommy Toe have stuck up their little heads above ground. I've dusted them with Derris in the hope that they won't get eaten clean off like the previous tom in that spot.
Comment by Lissa on October 26, 2010 at 4:39
No doubt Florence. I like a nice firm tom on a sandwich or something small and sweet I can just pop into my mouth.
Comment by Florence on October 25, 2010 at 20:11
There's different preference to how one like their tomatoes too..
Comment by Lissa on October 24, 2010 at 18:45
I'm looking forward to these - voted the tastiest on the Diggers site. Now that I've revamped the tom bed and removed all the heirloom toms I had growing there I have little plants coming up all over the place. Am being ruthless and pulling them out as parent plants disappointing (ok, ok I've left a couple on the outside of the bed but will remove them if they prove to be invasive/useless).
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on October 24, 2010 at 14:33
Great, Lissa! My Tommy Toes from the same batch as your seeds, are about 2 inches high yet and not ready to be planted out. This morning I composted the bed they are going into, put in the stakes, covered it all with sugar can mulch and await results. Thank you for the link, I will look into that :-)
Comment by Lissa on October 24, 2010 at 6:09
I have planted your Tommy Toe seeds in my dedicated tom bed Elaine. I have Basil, spring onions, chives, marigolds growing along with them all (this is the recently "refreshed" bed with new compost in it).
Here's a nice little link with some info on Tommy Toe:
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on October 23, 2010 at 20:51
Or natural variation among the seeds. Brandywine is the name of a creek in Amish country and not what they might taste like unfortunately ;-) They are poor fruiters from what I read and mine was no exception. Soft fruit, prefer a crisper Tomato for eating fresh - Quickpick a dwarf Roma were soft-fleshed too. There's such variation even within varieties never mind between varieties! Find one which grows well for you and keep the seeds - it's as much a pot luck as buying named varieties.
Comment by Jane on October 23, 2010 at 18:29
Interesting thoughts on Tomatoes, I grew the Heirloom variety Brandy Wine, tall tall plants not too much fruit set, some grew to 500gms but they taste awfull, so watery. But gave a friend some of the plants & he says his fruit are some of the best tasting tomatoes he has ever had -must be something to do with the soil??
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 29, 2010 at 9:19
OK Lissa, find my blog 'Taming Tomatoes' and it should answer all your questions. If not, add to the blog and I'll try and clarify. If you leave the Tomatoes to grow wild on their own you get scads of fruit alright but the size of individual fruits gets smaller and smaller.

It's great when you finish with a bed to find that it's black gold! Very heartening :-) Weird I was reading this morning on the back of the perpetual moon calendar that Paw Paws and Tomatoes do not do well together! So much for companion planting. I've found that Asparagus and Parsley just thrive with each other's company but for the rest, there's no evidence either way by my observation.

You can leave compost on the surface either bare or under mulch. The worms will shift it for you. Annette McFarlane has an interesting idea of making a 'compost sausage' to leave on the surface under mulch. Sounds good, going to try that with the bigger plants which need extra like the Eggplants. On the left-side nav bar, low down is a 'what's new' section and there's a pdf 'Tree Pastes and Fertiliser Sausages' at as well as a wealth of other information.
Comment by Lissa on September 29, 2010 at 5:25
Morning all. Elaine, I will follow your advice this time when planting new tomatoes and pinch back. Can you give a brief overview of what and when again here please?

I don't pinch back the self sown (volunteer) tom though, and it's been very happy and prolific. It came up right on top of the self sown pawpaw! They both grow so well and are prolific fruit bearers. They're right on the edge of the bricks for the house with a cement garden edging on one side. They must both like lime. I do give them lots of yummy things to "eat" though....weed tea (weeds, organic Xtra, molasses, seaweed extract) and piles of veg scraps out of the kitchen. I have a bucket of veg scraps each week and pick a different fruit tree to bury them under.

The elevated bed was just gorgeous when I removed all the plants. Everything had turned into soil and was full of earth worms. This is the bed I had buried the pawpaw in when it fell over during wet weather laden with too much fruit....all gone, nothing left but some leaves.

I had thought I might dig up some of the soil to put on top again when I dumped all the cuttings and compost in there, but it turned out to be too much hard work (shoulder is still sore from forking in the compost anyway!). I have a nice layer of well composted material on top which was at the bottom of the compost pile and will use this and a little potting mix to plant in.


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