Brisbane Local Food

Growing local


Well Summer is here. We have felt the brunt of the first storms for the Season, some of us left with a mess to clean up and others with some lovely rain added to their tanks. As we feel the extremes of Summer so do our Flowers, Vegetables, Herbs, Plants and Trees. Whilst some are very good at coping with the stresses of Summer others need help. So it's time to think about how we can help our plants along.

Mulching is important, as is keeping the water up. There are many forms of Plastic Tree Surrounds available that hold water and drip through slowly, also Weep Hoses are another useful investment. You may have some ideas you wish to share with us on water wise gardening. We do have useful info on many Blogs regarding watering, such as Wicking Beds, Dave's Water Reservoirs along with other. If you have a favourite Mulching Material (Please Share). Have a Wonderful Time in the Garden over Summer, don't forget the Hat and Sunscreen.

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Comment by Dave Riley on December 5, 2016 at 9:41

At the school garden we've covered all the beds with weedmat for the Summer hols. Works great. It's like visiting a morgue.So if you are closing down garden areas I do recommend weed matting them.

We seem to have inherited a huge roll of the stuff.

And for those looking for inspiration : Dry Farming -- ie: without irrigation. Amazing.

The other advantage of locating shade in your garden is that you can survive among the plants, working, because of it. As for any weediness -- my rule is never pull a weed if it must be pulled unless you have just had  heavy ran.

If I'm working in the one spot for a length of time -- & the task is urgent -- I put up our beach umbrella.

I'm mulch poor at the moment (the weather has been so dry so the grass hasn't grown) and some weeds are  taking off.  I'm learning patience and to put up with the invasion.

With my pots I now generally water them every second day over the heat. But I do daily watering of any the brutal heat, I try to water twice/day to keep the youngsters alive. That's also why I am now trying to only plant in conjunction with rain. So i am now tending to keep seedlings in my potting up area longer as I wait for an opportunity to plant them out.

Also potted up seedlings are a good indicator of general garden conditions: if their potting mix is dry imagine what soil conditions are like in your garden overall..

I recently planted out 15 Winged Beans seedlings and lost all but one to the heat.

A brutal lesson.

Comment by Sophie on December 5, 2016 at 8:55

Sadly, I'm doing nothing. Too hot. I die! Survival watering only :( lots going to fallow. will try to mulch soon

Comment by Dave Riley on December 4, 2016 at 8:35

If you have trees to attend to, one option is the Fertility Hole: dig a hole near the base of the tree (within the drip line) and fill it with mulch, paper,branch cuttings, manures, and such. Mark the spot with a stick or something and when watering fill the hole. Acts as a seepage and fertilizing reservoir as the soggy material slowly releases moisture. As the mixture rots and falls in on itself, either replenish it or dig another hole.

I dig these when I plant perennials.

The big thing for me now is that I'm finally harvesting shade. What with creepers climbing aerials, frangipani, taller plants (esp when the Vetiver grows up) I can now soften the Summer heat for part of the day -- length varies. I also , more or less, have 3 or 4 'gardens' according to sun hours per day. I'm trying to position plantings accordingly.

This Summer too I hope to take the soil's temperature during the day using a stick-style oven thermometer. Theory being that I prick various positions and note the different temperatures.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on December 3, 2016 at 14:09

Christa it seems like a few of us are rethinking our Gardens, Good luck Elaine and Christa with your New Projects.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on December 3, 2016 at 14:03

Like you Elaine - We have had to sit down and have a serious discussion about where to go from here and what to do in our garden. My health is not going to get better, only get more debilitating over the next what ever years I have. Graham has been very generous in saying we need to put the gardens and pots under irrigation with timers, and using our tank and town water more efficiently. I would also like to thank Michael Ryan for putting his Garden Bed photo on as we have sleepers as our barriers for our Vegie Patch as well and the use of the Frame is one we are going to copy, so as we can put Shade Cloth and Insect Netting in place.

There will be no more English Garden, the Roses will stay unless they die. No more annuals will be planted, with the exception of a few in pots to help keep the soil cool and an edging of White Alyssum for The Native Bees. My Salvia Garden will stay as they are a Bee Magnet and Beneficial Insect Home and Magnet. We will keep the Bag Garden as it has been very successful, we  have found that growing in the Bags the plants foliage usually covers giving shade on the soil, thus needing less watering.

We plan on concentrating our time and efforts into growing our Herbs, Vegetables and Fruit Trees to the best of our abilities. So any hints guys, please send them along. This is going to be a major job with gardens ripped up in places to put the Sprinkler System etc. So now we have to find someone  who has had a lot of experience in Irrigation (we want them to do the job from start to finish). Does anyone know a person like that???

Comment by Christa on December 3, 2016 at 13:47

We have decided to try and separate the ornamental side of our garden to the fruit tree and native fruit section of our garden.   The ferns etc need more water and we have put some broms with them to keep the moisture there, it appears to have worked.  Our large plum tree is full of little fruit forming, our bees must be helping with pollination.  We are topping the wicking beds with fine cane mulch.  Some of the Persimmons that are bagged are doing well.  The wicking bins have some overhanging plants to shade the sides of the bins a bit.  We would like to trim the long branches off the blueberries but not sure when to do this.  We leave buckets of rainwater around the place but I will have to cover them with mozzie screen. The peach trees are sending up branches, and if I can find a spot I will plant some of my darwin lettuce seeds. Too hot to do much else.  Might go for a drive to Green Harvest and get some netting stuff next week.  We don't grow a lot of green veggies. 

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on December 3, 2016 at 13:09

Thinking ahead for once ... looking for places for next season's Strawberries. Starting to prepare beds by planting a cover crop. Ordered some Alpine Strawberry plants from Green Harvest to go into a bed which is fairly shady in summer. Other Strawberry runners will follow when they are available.

Found some more space for another 6 Dragon Fruit cuttings. We love them and if we live long enough we should be picking some in 2 years time. Note re DF: need to have sturdy trellises already built before the DF plants are in their bins. Four will be in the ground and 4 in wicking bins.

Yet to do my 'summer Lettuce' plantings and my sprout (micro-green) plantings. I am trying out Joseph's idea of planting some seeds often, letting the plants grow up to picking size then pick and discard plants before they can think about bolting.

Other plants which should be in the garden soon are Okra and small-fruited Tomatoes and plenty of Capsicums.

Favourite mulching material is whatever is to hand and it varies from time to time: Lemongrass, Vetiver grass, next-door neighbour's grass clippings and Sugar Cane. I do chop and drop the in-bin Lucerne and sometimes I run it through the 'whirrer' a small electric mulcher with whatever else is available such as Asparagus, spent plants and our own Sugar Cane. The Lucerne grows with each fruit tree in a 200L wicking bin. With the plants in the ground, I grow Comfrey which I usually forget to harvest and make into something useful like Comfrey tea :-\.

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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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