Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

2010/2011 SUMMER December to February

05/12/10 Freya and garden beds - wet start to the summer.

Re-doing beds 2 (rt middle) and 3 (left).

Bed 2 has been planted with heirlom radish, perpetual spinach, corn F1 Swt. White, dwarf French beans and silverbeet.

Bed 1 is chocka with at least 5 varieties of toms.

Bed 3 is in the process of being filled with whatever plants are being ripped out (including the brussel spouts planted in winter which were still thinking about whether they would produce something usable or not - became impatient with them in the end and pulled them out) and grass clippings, along with a bale of Lucerne, cow poo and Organic Xtra.


On the left side of bed 3 Snake Bean bush type have been planted against bed (above Freya).

At the front of each bed (between the Allyssum), in an attempt to keep them cooler in summer as I have had dire warnings about how hot these corrugated beds will get, are eggplant seeds Listada de Gandia


On the left of Freya is a Tamarillo cutting planted in the potato bag (along with Lustre spuds which may or may not make a come back). 18/01/11 The Tamarillo cutting turned out to have absolutely no roots on it when I tried to transplant it yesterday. Survived like that for months! Badly affected by aphids and ants.


It's been a lovely wet and not terribly hot (but getting steamy) start to summer. I have pulled out all the heirloom mixed colour carrots (big bag in fridge) and corn (big bag in freezer) from bed 2 and have refilled it with the pile of compost, finishing with the good stuff at the bottom to plant in. There's Organic Xtra, basalt, small bale of lucerne and organic cow poo in there also.


The Heirloom radish mix were only planted a few days ago and have popped up already! Amazingly quick. 18/01/11 - not very nice :( much prefer the little round red one.


The French beans are from saved seed from the market-bought seedlings, sown into seedling trays. Could have gone directly into the garden. 18/01/11 - these are now producing more delicious fresh beans which are very welcome during the period after the flood when fruit and veg is scare and expensive.


05/12/10 Tamarillo fruit - red

18/01/11 Fruit is just starting to ripen and have eaten one, delicious :) The plant did not like the excessive rain during the floods, but didn't die - many leaves died off and I just removed them.

05/12/10 Tamarillo cutting. 18/01/11 This lasted like this for a couple of months but actually had no roots!

05/12/10 rockmelon from heirloom mix pack This turned out to be a Yellow Canary and went ripe while I wasn't looking! Was all rotting when I found it - I have kept the seed. 18/01/11 What a waste of space! Prolific plant, some fruit from this and the "Banana" variety, but it all goes rotten before I get to eat any. Excessive rain??

05/12/10 "Banana" melon from the same heirloom mix pack. These also rotted before I got a taste.

05/12/10 eggplant producing more fruit at last - the initial two were lovely. 18/01/11 Leaves badly attacked by ladybird (very few insects to see, but damage obvious - leaves lacey). Fruit rotted in the excessive rain but plants should recoup after a good cut back.

05/12/10 Honeydew melon from seedling bought at the market. 18/01/11 Fruit split in all the rain - barely got a taste.

05/12/10 front yard bed freshly planted with Pit Pit setaria palmifolia, Fraser the cast 16yrs old.

Just above Fraser with the frame (to stop Hugo trampling it to death) is a pomegranate grown from seed from a delicious fruit that I ate. Further along is a more mature Pomegranate "Wonderful" plant, bought from the BOGI fair this year. White flowering vine is Mandevilla. - I have a red one planted just to the back of the pomegrante seedling. 18/01/11 Pit Pit thriving in all the rain. The ones planted in full sun are growing faster and spreading than the ones planted in the shade.

09/12/10 Something (rodent?) is nibbling at the green toms in Bed 1. I've set a trap with peanut butter and cheese but they still seem to prefer green tomato! Bought some bags to go over the fruit, just have to wait for a break in the rain to get them on.

18/01/11 Bags turned out to be near useless - caterpillars still got inside though they kept the rodent out. Out of entire 4m bed I've had 3 tomatoes.

11/12/10 Soursop fruit - first of the season. Pick when the "spines" start to look softened. 18/01/11 Some animal (possum?) is eating the fruit right through the bags. The bags do stop them falling to the ground but also impedes the ability to judge when they are ripening. Best to keep a daily eye on them and remove them when they start to ripen.

11/1/10 Soursop fruit developing and flower on left. The ants promote wooly aphids on the fruit but they don't seem to do much damage and just rub off.

11/12/10 Soursop tree against 6' fence. There's quite a bit of fruit up high that I won't be able to reach. 18/01/11 bought a ladder!


26/12/10 It's been a very wet summer so far, saturating the soil in the backyard until it's like a sponge to walk on. The plants are enjoying the wet but tend to wilt if the sun comes out.

I've bitten the bullet and installed a rainwater tank (Q Tank Brendale installed by Anthony Radford). Polyethelene 5000lt $2145 installed with all the bits and bobs.

18/01/11 Tank filled within 4 days in the near constant rain leading up to the floods last week.

Around the base (and hopefuly going to enjoy the road base/cement mix) rocket, Tamarillo and Cape Gooseberry. The latter two I found at the Caboolture Markets in tubes for $1 each!

26/12/10 Pineapple is growing bigger, but getting quite a lean to it in the soggy ground. Plantlets clearly visible around the base.18/01/11 Pineapple picked a few days ago when it started to colour up. Still mostly green and unedible.

26/12/10 Green Harvest bags on the toms in an effort to stop the mice and caterpillars eating ALL of them!

18/01/11 Only worked to keep out the roden, not the caterpillars! Out of the entire 4m bed devoted to various toms, I have only had three edible ones.

26/12/10 Updated pic of the elevated beds and backyard - the ground is saturated from the constant rain. 18/01/11 Most plants fared well during the flooding rains this month. The only ones that died were a couple of Lavenders and a Curry plant. The elevated beds are still leaking out water although the rain stopped about four days ago.


FLOODS - Non stop rain at first, then horrendous floods over much of Qld from Monday 10th January 2011.

20 people dead so far and many more missing. Flash flood in Toowoomba and down the range into Grantham which was all but wiped out with no opportunity for people to flee. Ipswich area very badly hit but at least people had some warning.

Erin and Aaron moved to Warwick on Saturday 8th but in a safe area.

Floods from Rockhampton down to Brisbane, which was very badly hit and is now covered in stinking mud, and out west to Eidsvold all the way down to Warwick. Two thirds of Qld has been denoted a disaster zone. Bridge out and flooding in Pine Rivers area but we were otherwise undamaged - just waterlogged. Caboolture, Morayfield cut off completely.

Victoria now suffering the same fate.

Huge clean up operation underway with thousands of people volunteering.

Jacqui's community garden very badly damaged and she's very distressed at the moment.

In spite of this, my own garden was relatively undamaged, which actually makes me feel quite bad considering the loss so many suffered. All that has died is some Lavender and the Curry plant which both prefer dry. Hopefully I can produce some plants that Jacqui may want to replant her garden.


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Comment by Lissa on May 8, 2011 at 17:39

I always try to visualise what the plants will look like when full grown to allow room.

Having said this, I can't help squeezing more and more things into each of the raised beds lol. The soil in each bed is very rich though to support them.

Comment by Lissa on May 7, 2011 at 12:37

I would think 20cm would be a good height for working with.

I've gone for a deeper bed because I'm not getting any younger and am thinking about the future, and bending over beds. I actually find I get back ache with these! They would need to be hip height to really put off the back problems, or 20cm so you can sit.

Comment by Lissa on March 5, 2011 at 5:47

Lovely to hear from you Elizabeth :)

It is tempting to turn all areas in the yard into productive ones isn't it lol. I keep finding new things I just have to have in the garden and seem to find a niche for it. I'm about to turn the bit of ground between the front fence and the path into a bed - at the moment it's just grass that needs mowing! so better to have it productive.

I live near a couple of schools and many families walk past - I hope they get some inspriration to grow edibles (and don't just steal mine!) by seeing it being done so easily.

We would love to visit your garden and see what you have achieved, it sounds wonderful. Donna (join Seed Savers group) organises friendly little garden visits once a month.

Comment by Lissa on February 8, 2011 at 5:04

Was reading about mothballs the other day. Quite a few babies exhibit allergic reaction to them.

None in the house. No plan to buy any.

Comment by Scarlett on February 7, 2011 at 19:29
FYI mothballs contain a nasty pesticide, which has been shown to cause cancer in humans - the active ingredient is usually either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene
Comment by Lissa on December 29, 2010 at 17:23

Donna - thank you for the warning about the ladder - some of the stuff I read tells me "this one is safe, unlike OTHER telescopic ladders!" Puts me right off them all especially as I don't trust stuff made in China. I would prefer something that meets Australian Safety Standards. The ones at Bunnings are just so long/big and expensive. I'll keep looking and one day I'll find the perfect one.

If you can get some of the Loofah growing for me that would be great :)

Elaine - pretty much my thoughts, the bats get the top stuff and I get anything down below. I could have chopped the tops off all these trees but I like them the way they are.

I'll keep my eyes peeled for the moth balls.


Comment by Elaine de Saxe on December 29, 2010 at 8:25

Or Choko.


My ladder is a Bailey made in Australia - it's an ordinary 6 foot aluminium step ladder with strong clips where the wood ones used to have rope and it folds out to an extension ladder. I imagine they are still made; there's Tommy someone making ladders in Brisbane, see the ads on TV.


Alternate idea for the high fruit: let the bats eat the high ones and you eat the lower ones - or chop the tree down to a height you can reach. This way everyone gets a bit.


Kero and a wick sound a lot like a Molotov cocktail! Mayhem in the suburban vege patch!

Comment by Donna on December 29, 2010 at 7:56
BTW, If I get a chance I'll try and get some angled luffa started for your GV.
Comment by Donna on December 29, 2010 at 7:55

Just be careful with the telescope ones if you have no one to hold the base Lissa. 

I remember seeing somewhere that it really hard to buy mothballs not already in a cage but have seem them at the cheap shops.  Maybe try tying a ball of wool to a little cloth packet with some in it and trying to throw it up and over a branch?  

The kerosene is to put into a container with a 'wick' in it, so say a coke bottle with a rag stuffed down into the kero so it acts as a wick... again not sure how you can get them up in the tree though.


Comment by Lissa on December 29, 2010 at 6:34

You haven't tried the moth ball trick yourself?

Not quite sure how to get them up into quite a high tree lol. How would you get Kero up there?

I really, really MUST buy a ladder. I see some online which telescope out to whatever height you want and pack down into quite a small item (I have limited storage area).

Some go straight up (need something to lean on), some are A frame. Most seem to be made in China :S which is offputting.

Elaine has given me some red Okra seeds as she recommends them as the best tasting. I tried the green ones once and that was a pretty disgusting experience. I'm not into slimey food. I planted some of the angled loofah seeds you gave me and didn't succeed in getting anything growing. I think I may have used up all the seed.

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