Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Hi everyone,

I have been super busy in the garden, preparing everything for winter crops but it is that time when I feel not much is happening despite how much work I'm doing.   Don't get me wrong, I'm still harvesting lettuce, spring onions, capsicums, cucumbers, eggplant and now pak choi but nothing NEW is happening!  This was due to some pretty early setbacks with things like my peas, beans, carrots and beetroot failing and having to resow.  I should be eating peas by now dammit!  Here you can see my new  sowing (left) and the old one (right) that consists of 2 different sows about 4 weeks apart.  You can see one really big pea and beans on the left.  Even in my new sowing, the snow peas all germinated but only 2 of the sugarsnaps - so I resowed them today.

Brassica bed just had a fresh batch of seedlings (mine) planted into it with a row of pak choi seeds interspersed through the row.  If you remember from last year, I did attempt growing pak choi for the first time but they got mowed down by my horrible cockaroaches so I think I only got one or two.  They are SO quick to germinate and grow.  These pak choi were planted as seeds the same time as the back broccoli and cabbages and I've been harvesting them as needed over the past two weeks.  They have been so successful, that I'm keeping on putting them between my rows but now that it is cooling down, they are still being planted as seeds but I have the other brassica as seedlings so they won't get shaded as much.

Here's  the brassica bed.  You can see 2 of the bigger pak choi in second row on left and then second row on right is a new lot of pak choi in amongst the bigger (now) brassica's.  If you haven't grown them before - do.  They are seriously quick - I think about 4-5 weeks from seed to harvest.

And here's the pak choi I harvested today.

The trombonccino's are about to start producing again (small one middle right) but my poor old cucumber is about to finish.  I've given it some worm wee and organic fertiliser and a drink of seasol to see if this will pump some new life into it.  This thing was pumping out 3-4 HUGE cucumbers per week.  I've just taken one off it today and there are two left but no new flowers.  I also put in some bought marigold seedlings into this bed.   My first itsy bitsy tomato!  At least the plants are looking very healthy and no sign of problems yet.   These are my own seeds saved from the fig and grape type cherry tomatoes that I was growing previously.

I've also started my coriander.  I've decided to do them in mini-selfwatering pots and have them close to the house.  I don't want to waste the growing bed space and plus, it allows my to be able to pick quickly and have a constant fresh supply.  The big lot is market bought seedlings from 3 weeks ago (been harvested twice now) and the smaller pot is my seeds that I started when I bought the seedlings.  Bunnings has the round self-watering pots for $6 so for anyone wanting to just grow herbs around the house, these would be fantastic.  Speaking of herbs, has anyone got some lemon grass and some thyme that they could bring to the garden visit?  Both of mine have carked it.  To be fair to the thyme though, it had lasted about 4 years (not so the lemon grass - new spot for it next time). Getting lots of the china pear guava at the moment (picked these today).  But the tree is coming out after the garden visit.  I just don't like them.  They taste "spikey" for want of a better description.  I'm currently freezing them to make guava jelly with but when the last come off they are gone.  I have bought a hawaiin to replace it. 

I'm giving rhubarb another go.   This time, in self watering pots in the garden in shade.  $4 seedlings instead of expensive crowns this time as well.  They are looking real good so far and have put on lots of growth.

Thanks to Andy's video's expressing the virtues of madagascar beans and my fond memory of the baked beans he made at the xmas garden visit, I'm giving them another go.  This wicking bed was going to get removed because I didn't make it very well and it is invaded by Paw Paw roots but I figure those beans are tough so it might do alright for them.  I also chucked in some seeds of bush peas and beans - might as well get use of it now before the beans overtake everything.

I also planted the new red shahtoot mulberry right next to the chook pen where it will give them much needed shade in summer but loads of sun in winter.  If anyone wants to nurse my old one back to health, you are welcome to it. Giving potato's another go.  Bought these Royal Blue on saturday from bunnings (for $ 9 a kilo) and then had to buy chicken food today so went to my local produce store where they had seed potato's (only pontiac and sebago though) for $4.90 a kilo :(  The royal blues are waiting to chit but I couldn't help myself and bought 8 seed potato's (grand total of FREE - they were having issues with there registers and they couldn't work out how to put them through and they were super busy so the girl let me have them as I was waiting for ages for them to try to figure it out - love them) so I planted them today.  Let's see if I can work out this potato business once and for all.

The red passionfruit has taken to the tree tops and is absolutely loaded with fruit but WAY out of reach.  A couple have dropped already to the garden so it's okay though.  

And lastly, I've at least gotten off my but and starting my seedlings properly.  Have a steady supply and just about ready to plant out some spinach into the front gardens. 

Well that's it from me folks.  I'm looking forward to seeing you all in two weeks at my garden visit.  Happy gardening. 

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Comment by Susan on April 25, 2017 at 9:16

Hi Christa, yep.  It was in a pot but the other things in there had died so I emptied the pot and lo and behold about a million curl grubs in it.  I chucked it in beside the mulberry and who knows, it might come good.  If it doesn't ¯\_(ツ)_/¯    Mine is quite small Dianne - seedling again not grafted as they never seem to have them.  Two years is not long to wait and plus it was a bumper crop. 

Comment by Christa on April 25, 2017 at 8:47

Your winter food is coming along well Susan.  It is a shame about the pear guava, but when space is limited, and we know what we can really use, some plants have to be sacrificed.  I often wonder whether sometimes it pays to have a grafted one when you are after a specific taste.   

I have been doing some grazing in the backyard with my red shahtoot mulberries, they are delicious, about 1/2 dozen each day.  Is that a carnation growing next to your mulberry?

Comment by Dianne Caswell on April 25, 2017 at 6:56

Susan, my Hawaiian Guava from Daley's already had 5 small fruits on it when received, I was lucky, They were beautifully moist and the perfume fantastic, so you may be lucky as well to get one that fruits next Summer...   

Comment by Susan on April 25, 2017 at 6:47

Hi Dianne and Lissa,  I tried the China Pear at Daleys and it wasn't "spikey".  This was a seedling though so might just be a variation.  It's okay, I would have preferred the pink fleshed variety anyway (just more appealing when cut) so it's fine.  It grew really quickly and I had fruit within 2yrs so I'm hoping the hawaiin will be just as quick.  Hopefully there will be some ripe at the GV and you can taste it. 

Roger, sounds like you are just about in full production mode too :)  I currently have 3 beds empty that I'm waiting for enough seedlings to put in.  I also want to make sure I'm staggering my production of things like beetroot, carrot, cauliflowers, cabbages etc so I don't have a glut and then a famine.  LoL Sophie, isn't it strange how we forget about these little beauties that do so well.  I've been making pork dumplings at the moment which everyone loves in this house.  I need ginger, coriander and cabbage.  At the moment, I have the ginger and  coriander but I'm hoping I can grow enough cabbage so that it is mostly from home grown produce. 

Comment by Sophie on April 24, 2017 at 10:08

Hurray, summer is over! You remind me to plant some Pak choi and coriander. Looking great :)

Comment by Roger Clark on April 24, 2017 at 8:01

It's good to see that you are now re energised and back into production after our long hot summer. I guess we are all in a similar mode at the moment, trying to make up for lost time. I have just about run out of space. I planted a lot of seeds, and things like the beetroot sprout lots of multiple plants from their corky grouped seeds. I've then been trying to thin these out and fill in gaps everywhere, but there are no gaps left. Too many pumpkins taking up a lot of space. Oh well, I guess even when I get fed up of pumpkin to eat they will store well.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on April 24, 2017 at 6:45

You have certainly been busy, everything is looking fantastic. I will have to begin my seedlings now that I have got the rest of the gardening under control. The passionfruit here are also out of control, it must be the year for them. Perhaps you could make something like Apple and Guava Turnovers, that would be another way to use them up. I should read up on the China Pear as I have put one in, perhaps it was one of the Guava's that was used mainly for cooking and preserving??? Look forward to seeing all you have done at your GV....

Comment by Lissa on April 24, 2017 at 5:28

Everything looks healthy and happy! Pity about those Guavas they're huge. Mary Ann and Colin grown one (up behind their house) which has lovely fruit - smaller. I don't know the name off hand but Mary Ann could tell you.

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