Brisbane Local Food

Growing local


Summer is here and it's brought the rains via thunder and lightening storms. Found out the other day just how important these sorts of storms are to life on earth from THIS ARTICLE.

Sure enough, the garden has erupted in growth since the storms, especially the Choko vine (below) which is now covered in tiny fruit.

Lightning creates “nitrates” which among other things, fertilizes soil, helps plants grow and builds DNA and proteins in our body. When a lightning strike occurs the lightning races down to the ground at extreme speeds. During this process it splits nitrogen molecules in half. The nitrogen immediately wants to bond with another atom and usually does so with oxygen, (this creates nitrates). With approximately 40 strikes per second all over the globe, (over 3 million strikes a day), a lot of nitrates are made so we have no worry of running out of this vital resource.

The zuchinni have been providing regular fruit. Some of these ended up in the chicken casserole for dinner tonight.

Dinner tonight from the garden, chicken casserole with chillis (both hot and decorative for colour), potato, swt potato leaves, eggplant, okra, parsley and some of the zuchinni with a bit of added garlic and Taro.

So glad I've tried growing Rhubarb. I've roasted some with sugar wrapped up in a little parcel and boiled some with sugar in a saucepan and find it tastes very different from the nasty bitter stuff that my mother used to dish up on a regular basis. Only two plants have survived but they are giving me enough stalk to eat once a week.

Growing here with them are corn, silverbeet, Brazilian Spinach and chives.

The new front garden has been very productive, providing me with silverbeet and herbs especially. The low chill Nectarine, White Satin, is growing very well. I've added some red Papaya plants from Bunnings....seeing as Joseph's donated ones have died on me again. Sorry Joseph :/

Two of the Tamarillos in the front yard just won't give up. This one has been cut right back twice now but still continues to put out new growth and provide me with lots of fruit. Some hail damage visible on the large leaves and fruit.

The strawberries, which I was thinking about thinning out, have made a comeback since the storms and are reflowering.

The two Pomegranates are growing very well but are yet to set any fruit. Had a few flowers last year, so hoping for something better this hot season. Pineapples still pineappling. Just have to be patient and wait for them to do their thing in their own time. Two years at least til fruit.

The Dwf Wurrtz avo is putting on tremendous new growth. Just want the b. thing to fruit :/.......

...and the same with the Canistel. Very slow grower but gradually increasing in size. Bought as a seedling plant it may come to nowt.

Tahitian Spinach or Celery Stemmed Taro, two common names for this Colocasia gigantea. I've eaten some of the stems from leaves that were damaged in the recent hail storm, cut up into 6cm lengths in a casserole. Really very nice - sweet and tender. Reminded me of asparagus.

The beehive has pretty much tripled in size. My sister Lindsay came over today and was gobsmacked with the view through the panel.

The beautiful Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia), loved by every bee.


Incredibly busy time of the year for my work (aged/disability respite) so very little time to spend in the garden. Found myself outside watering around 8pm last night as the corn, for one, is starting to look thirsty again. I don't like late afternoon or night watering plants as it encourages fungal problems but it's necessary sometimes as water is vital to a good crop.

Apart from that I'm getting a lot of produce from the garden and eating many of my own veg every night. Most of the veg lend themselves to roasting, including the zuchinni.

Gift from one of the GV visitors last year, Desert Rose.

The Galangal is blooming. Nothing to rave about but I quite like them. Oddly the bees aren't paying any attention though.

Good old reliable pawpaw plant is cropping for me again.

The Piel de Sapo melon plants are growing fast and producing first flowers.

Can't wait to get this Preston Prolific fig into the ground if this is what it can provide in a small pot.

Bed 1 is a mass of carrot flowers at the moment. Keep meaning to check these out at night for moth pollination as the bees here totally ignore them.

You Beaut eggplant. Eggplant seem to self seed in my beds easily which I accept with gratitude.

Flea Beetle damage to the leaves. I roll the little sods between my fingers each day, to try and stop the life cycle of laying eggs at the base of the plant to pupate in the soil and come out in droves to demolish the plant.

Little bit of damage on a Super Sioux tom. I'm really liking this tom, hardy and produces good fruit. This plant has four or five large toms.

Getting a little more confident going into my hive. The smoker has been invaluable, keeps the bees calmer and helps keep the death toll down.

Pretty little white eggplant from seedling bought from Bunnings.


Almost into another new year. No rain for the last couple of weeks so back to watering every few days. Corn is not doing so great this season but I blame myself for not putting more effort into the bed. Not much compostable material (grass clippings and garden clippings) due to the dry so the material put into the bed was a bit woody.

The cuc seed sent by American Ray have proven very worthwhile growing. Here's just a part portion of the crop so far. Sweet and delicious...but I cannot find the name. The tag I placed beside the seed out in the bed has faded to a blank. The Suyo Long cucs on the other hand have not thrived (thriven. throved?)...didn't do well. There will be seed in there but just not worth saving.


Beautiful ginger - much loved by the Blue Banded Bee.

Buddha Belly Bamboo trying to make a comeback. I had plans to smother it with hot composting grass but my mower guy must have retired himself. The Tahitian Spinach (type of Taro) in the pot isn't doing as well as I hoped. Needs more water and shade. Will have to be moved eventually. The Babaco in the front pot is also looking a little yellow with curled leaves. Have dosed with magnesium.

The Carombola is covered in small fruit. No sign of the mosquito net ordered via eBay about two weeks ago. Not sure how I'm going to get it over this medium sized tree anyway. Weights??

The Soursop is once again smothered in flowers. Been years since I had any fruit from this tree.

Dragon fruit time!! My favourite! I've counted about 13 flowers on my side of the fence...more on the neighbours.

The Dwf Pink Shatoot Mulberry is fruiting again too. Once day this plant might even come into it's own and give me a good supply of fruit.

I have melon! Stars and Moon (?) watermelon.

Edamame (soy) bought from the Caboolture Mkts is a bit of a dud with small seed, nice to eat but fiddly to work out of the pod. Will have to make more effort to find some quality seed next summer.

My first ever Rosellas. Looking forward to some cordial and jam.

Echinacea flowers.

My girls are working hard bringing in pollen and nectar.

Purple/purple sweet potato is going berserk.

Purple/white not quite such a strong grower....

and the white/purple really struggling.

Choko cut back to new shoots. It provided lots of valuable compost material for the raised beds.  I can see my letter box again!

You Beaut eggplant flowers.

And the Listada di Gandia growing strongly once again from the gnarly old plant.

Front bed has been soooo productive. Red pawpaw from Bunnings are doing very well. I have high hopes of actual fruit from these.

Down to two zuchinni plants from three (one rotted out for some reason), both still productive,

The little Basil Boxwood and Lemon Thyme have both stunned me with their success in the hanging baskets. I've used them both a lot in cooking. Water once a week.

This chilly (original seed from Carolyn) has been a real boon. Been cut back hard once.

Self sown pawpaw front yard. Very healthy.

And the old one out the back is still bravely producing fruit. Lots of yellowing leaves so have dosed it with magnesium in the form of Epsom Salts and Dolomite (calcium & mag).

The Dwf Ducasse bunch is coming along nicely.

Getting a fig a day. Still no answer to the curling leaves...but it doesn't seem to affect the fruit production.

The Bush Basil has proven to be such a hit with all the bees.

Have today redone the middle bed with more corn seedlings in the hope of one more crop. The last crop wasn't big but the cobs were good, and they were very tasty. Cucumber seedlings replanted in the front Bed 3.


Lovely weather, cool and a bit overcast, but no good rain for a week. The soil is quite dry.

A good Dragonfruit harvest this year! I've eaten two already and there are lots more forming - 12 flowers on my side of the fence and many more on the neighbours side....going to waste :/

The Cranberry Hibiscus has made a strong comeback but I'm very aware that I must start some new cuttings as it has a limited life span.

Same story with both the Aibikas (or Water Cabbage as Farina calls them).

Fruit Fly caught in the act of trying to impregnate one of my Tamarillo fruit (middle fruit at the bottom). No doubt the hail damage is making it easier for this ultimate pest to do it's deed using the soft spots.

Love this plant. The Crepe Myrtle re-blooming after being dead-headed (spent flower heads removed).

Warrigal Greens or NZ Spinach as my father calls it. Grows wild on the foreshore at Bribie. The cutting for this one was nicked from the foreshore Sandgate way while I was out walking one day. Schuh! Now it's growing so well I'll have to start using it a bit more in cooking. Spoiled for good fresh greens :D

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Comment by Lissa on January 7, 2014 at 4:54

Ask Paul Wood - he should have plenty and was selling it at his GV.

Comment by Craig Hogan on January 6, 2014 at 8:02
No problem lissa, I will source some other local honey
Comment by Lissa on January 5, 2014 at 6:47

Morning Craig. I take some honey when I have time and when I find a comb that doesn't also contain brood. Maybe down the track I will have to spare for the GV's but at the moment any extra is going to my family.

Comment by Craig Hogan on January 2, 2014 at 18:12
Nice work, how much honey are you producing? I'd like to buy some or swap for something at the next GV if you have spare?
Comment by Lissa on December 31, 2013 at 5:13

Thanks Andy. Not aiming to impress though, just enjoy myself in the garden, feed myself and hopefully encourage others to try something new.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on December 30, 2013 at 23:41

You never cease to impress Lissa. 

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on December 25, 2013 at 8:57

Mine has this summer to prove itself as have the Dragon Fruit. I bought it from the folks over the border who come up to the BOG Fair, picked it up with the Blueberries.

Comment by Lissa on December 25, 2013 at 6:08

Where did you buy yours Elaine? Mine is a seedling plant from a guy at the Caboolture Mkts. I don't hold out a lot of hope for it but it's worth a go. It's been such a slow (but steady) might surprise me one day and come good. Otherwise, it's gone, gone, gone.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on December 24, 2013 at 20:31

Beaut report Lissa! Canistel - yours is a dwarf, mine a giant! Neither have fruited, the guy I bought mine from reckoned it would produce fruit the next year, 3 years ago.

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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.)

GrowVetiver 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.

Place your business add here! ($5 per month or $25 for 9 months)

Talk to Andy on 0422 022 961.  You can  Pay on this link

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