Brisbane Local Food

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Andy's Regular Program - Garden Updates for August

2016

Out the front:  the building patch is still doing bugger all, in fact, it's mostly ornamental now.  The Mulberry seems to be thriving (although not right now due to winter).  The blood orange is dead.  The sugar cane is a real standout which I didn't expect.  The cumquats are being wasted because I have no room to freeze them since I shut down the second fridge.  The roses are doing well.  Native bees are flourishing. 

North side of the yard:

We did well with passionfruit again but it's finished now.  The Paw Paw has been removed (I have two beside the garage that are doing well).  I am now the proud owner of three banana trees.

Silverbeet and spinach are going really well and I have been in cherry tomatoes for months now.  The bell chilies have finished up but the Hallapinios have started replacing them.  I have a another year's supply of dried tumeric, chilie and undried ginger which is great.  Rosemary is doing fine.

New crop this year has been the Madagasca bean.  I am coming into crop 2 this year and am really enjoying them. Note to self: cut the damn thing back after this crop!

South side of the yard:

There is no sun on this side of the yard in winter!

Garlic does nothing.  The tuber bed (Yackon and Sweet Potato) are about to be harvested. I see evidence of tubers so I'm hoping for a good crop.  The Gooseberry is back with a vengence and producing well - about to make ginger and gooseberry jam again.  

Cabbages don't get enough sun to form.  The caulis are leggy too.  Snow peas are starting to flower so I hope they'll work.  Green beans are starting to produce.  

Chickens, quails, worms and fish are doing well.  I am egg self sufficient.   The quails are providing heaps of fertilizer.  We did okay from the fruit trees - 8 manderins, a few lemons and about 8 lemonades.  I think the fig needs to be moved to a sunnier part of the yard.  

Little Beny has an amazing ability to harvest lawn grubs.  The chooks love it!

2015

I'll update from the last few years. 

Out the front:  the building patch is slowly coming to life.  The blood orange remains (but is doing nothing - it needs to be moved) and the little mulberry seems to have sprung back to life.  I might even get some fruit from it.   The cumquats are still used for cumquatcello but the cumquat lemonade experiment should come to fruition in another month.  I have lots of cumquats frozen.  The new roses are great - I didn't expect the two flowers (on about 6 bushes) that I got, given the brief age of the bushes.

North side of the yard:

Snow peas did not perform at all this year.  LOTS of passionfruit on the vines.  Lots of Paw Paws on the trees. The sweet leaf was cut back this year. I know it will recover soon. (Thank goodness for my old blogs!)  I also found another use for the Cranberry Hibiscus. 

The Lots'a'lemons has produced about 6 lemons this year"  large and juicy and on such a tiny tree.  Bloody Percy the bush turkey dug up my Celon spinach - the bugger.  The larger banana tree is going well.  The Rosemary has died back - will wait and see.  I have lots of chilies. 

South side of the yard:

This side of the yard has really expanded. I am proud to be growing Glen Large, Elephant and some random shop bought garlic. Time will tell if they produce. The Yackon harvest would have been great next year, but stupid Percy has slaughtered bulbs.   Percy demolished my tuber bed.  I've wired over it now.  Percy also demolished my aquaponics beds. I've built a green house to keep him out.  

Tomatoes are finally growing well all over this side of the yard.  I've had no fruit yet, but should get heaps soon.  The dirt lettuce are doing well, as is the Kale and spinach.  I have lots of new Gooseberry bushes as well.  

Worms are doing quite well as are the fish.  Both provide a lot of fertilizer for the yard.  I've also expanded my compost with a 250 L bin on this side of the yard for the chicken poo.  

2014

Wow.  I can't believe the changes in my garden, especially in the big girls' yard.  This year's notes: 

I've learned that I have three real zones (I left the old picture of the whole site below to give you context, if you are interested).

Out the Front: The building patch is slowly getting more fertile with composting. It will take time.  It currently has the same lime as last year (the only "in place" survivor), a mulberry and a blood orange, with some ornamentals. 

Cumquats are mostly used for cumquatchello these days. 

North side of the yard

Snow peas are doing well now on this side.  Great passionfuit crop for the last few months.  Paw paws booming.  Cherry toms are producing nicely still.  The sweet leaf died off but I'm hoping it will come back soon. The little lotsa lemons from out of the building site is finally taking off in a pot up this side!

Oddly, the Celon spinach is suffering greatly. I may lose it.  

South side of the yard

Aquaponics are in and doing well, as are the chickens which have started to lay an egg or two a day.  

Lettuce does well in warm, not cold. I suspect the basil is the same. Perpetual spinach is an all year crop. Strawberries are starting to produce well at this time of year.  

The snow peas are doing very badly on this side!  Turnips are doing badly as well - the harvest was meagre. It's also my second year of failure with cauliflowers.  (Neither side appears to work.)  However, it is possible that I am confused because the wicking bed has too much soil from Bu... that big name hardware... that isn't really fertile. I'll need to build it up to ensure that isn't the problem. 

2013

It looks like I updated this entry several times, as the yard progressed. 

Rozie's Seat Goes Solar!:

First, Rozie's seat went vertical now, it's gone solar! Actually, there are a few things going solar these days. 

Winter Crop:

I appear to be coming to the end of my winter crop with the advent of Spring.  I got a great crop of snow peas:

The beans did much better than expected and tasted great!:

I ended up with 3 pumpkins which tasted really good:

The cumquats have produced more fruit than I can cope with.  I've already done one run of marmalaide. The picture shows them with the passionfruit that I mix in the marmalaide.  If anyone wants to come pick some cumquats to take home, just let me know!  Free of charge!

Oh, it was Abbey time - so a medieval style beard came and went.  Here's a little shot to tickle your fancy.

So - I guess it's time for Spring planting.... and possibly more crazy antics.    

Rozie's Seat Goes Vertical and The Turn of the Seasons... read from the top now...

Elaine and Lissa gave me some bean seeds which I planted at the back of Rozie's planter seat.  I needed something for the beans to attach to on the rock wall.  I think it is a great improvement!

We have a lemon one end and an orange the other. 

The seasons continue to turn here as well.  The new bed in the little dog's yard is going well.  Plenty of rainbox silver beet and snow peas coming along.  I plan to make a silverbeet, leek and fetta pie!

Lots of chillis happening now, both bell and thai. I already have four bottles of chilli jam so I don't know how much more of it I want to make. 

Still getting tomatoes and the shallots are going well.  Strawberries are hiding under the passionfruit vine. The Ceylone Spinach has died right back but I have a second sweet potato vine coming along.

And that's the regular garden update for the moment.  

Rozie's New Planter Seat.. 

I'll update from the top of the blog from now on so you don't need to read the whole darn thing. 

We have one rule at my house - it is:  Rozie Rules.  So when My Rozie asked for two planters with a bench seat between, that is what she had to get.  I'm actually quite proud and can't wait to post a pic of this baby planted with the fruit trees. Next project will be the aquaponics setup.

Yard context

Here is an aerial shot of my house and land.  It's pretty small but I have discrete 5 garden areas. 

This is my front garden.  We lovingly call it the "Building site."  It is a shocker.  

There was a huge tree (about 4 foot wide) that the previous owner removed - called the "stump" on the pic - leaving the soil pretty infertile.  The neighbour's yard also drains all its rainwater through here.  Even better, the builders threw all their rubbish out here and then buried it.  

We are adding fertilser and compost at a rate of knots.  

The next garden is my Alfresco Dining Area - the Cumquat patch. 

This one was pretty much in place when I moved in.  These are the fruit trees that I will cut back in a few months (when they have finished fruiting).

The next area is the Big girls' yard.

This is the biggest area with the most potential. I don't intend to touch it for a while because I have my two big girls (Huskies) out there.  The girls are getting quite old - the brown and white is Tahlia, she is 15. Dumbest dog I have ever owned.  There is a black and white called Kian, she is 16.  While I love them to death, they are garden killers and any small animals become Husky food. 

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Comment by Andrew Cumberland on April 13, 2013 at 20:45

No, the pizza oven is in the big girl's yard.  The BBQ fitted out here but the oven was already built out the back. 

Comment by Craig Hogan on April 13, 2013 at 17:14
Nice alfresco area, looks like a great place for relaxing! Is that where the pizza oven is?
Comment by Andrew Cumberland on April 9, 2013 at 22:48

I also did some googling.  That's pretty impressive.  Would lead to a re-shape - the bed would go to a pit on the right of the stump.  I think it might work tho... *Andy is thinking - my brain hurts!*

Comment by Scarlett on April 9, 2013 at 22:26

speaking of defacto rubbish tip - have you seen this? it really is a brilliant design, and it might work there: http://brisbanelocalfood.ning.com/photo/albums/banana-paw-paw-circle

you could have bananas, pawpaws, sweet potato and lemon grass 

and the citrus trees :)

maybe an avocado once you get the soil nice/water sorted - they really need good drainage

you could direct your rock ditch to your trees too - give it multiple arms

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on April 9, 2013 at 22:20

Got a few babies on there Craig.  Waiting to see what happens.  

You know, what I actually like about the "building site" is that I no longer expect it to produce.  It's now just about building it into a fertile bed (eventually).  It's kinda fun because if I get a pumpkin, I will be happy.  The damn lime tree has taken off, so that's an unexpected bonus.  I'll probably transplant the mandarin (which might actually be an orange?!).

It's always dry Scarett.  Lack of water seems to be the main issue.  What I've done is dig a ditch where the water flows and am slowly filling it with whatever rocks turn up.  That stopped the run-off from randomly digging bits away - it's working pretty well.  

I might talk to my Rozzie about moving our half our lemon grass out there.  It annoys the hell out of me in the perfectly good vege patch, but she wouldn't be without it.  It might be food to stabilize and pretty up the edges of the ditch - I mean "creek bed to be."

Sweet potato seems to go well at my place, so I will definitely give that a go.  They grow so darn well from tops and tails that it's not funny.  

I also have a bed feeder/house that I want to move out there because it will help pretty it up.  That'll provide the seed green manure by accident.  (I'm still throwing heaps of mulch and compost out there - it's great, serves as a defacto rubbish tip!)

Comment by Scarlett on April 9, 2013 at 21:57

hmm, tricky - because i guess it drains pretty quickly because of the wall as well.

shallow rooted, fairly tough things?

lemongrass would probably be good.

cardamom, turmeric (unless it's too sunny)

sweet potatoes :)  (they'll fix nitrogen too - bonus)

pigeon pea to improve the soil

you could try bird seed as a cover crop/ green manure and plough it back in

can you slow the runoff water down so it soaks in and doesn't scour your plantings out? a pond? contour/ keyline swales?

you could dig a banana pawpaw circle fed by the neighbour's runoff? it wouldn't drown because of the wall

Comment by Craig Hogan on April 9, 2013 at 20:51
Yeah tree stumps are annoying! I've had plenty to deal with but mainly palms which don't take long to rot. Get any pumpkins?
Comment by Andrew Cumberland on April 9, 2013 at 20:04

Thanks Elaine.  That garden leaves a lot to be desired, but I'm in no rush and it will get there eventually.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on April 9, 2013 at 3:48

The dry-stone wall is a beauty!

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VETIVER COMMUNITY PROJECT

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.)

The Vetiver Community Project 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.


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