Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

How is everyone?  I have been enjoying this wonderful heat and my time off work this week.  I have spent about 15 hours in the garden over the past 3 days and just as I wipe one thing off my "to do" list, I think of 5 more I could be doing.  Oh well, it's lucky that I enjoy gardening so much :)

I've decided to pull my Brassica's out.  The cauliflowers did really well, the broccoli not so well-> small heads, not a lot of side shoots.  I've looked back at previous posts and worked out the variety that did really well for me years ago was yates summer green - next year, these will be planted.  Even though I still had some left to go, they got a really bad infestation of grey aphids.  I've never had this problem before, it could be the following reasons

  1. Never covered them before so always had to spray pyrethrum to keep cabbage moth caterpillars in check -> would also destroy the aphids.
  1. Never covered them before so ladybugs or other predators could get to them and keep under control.

 

So cover or not to cover, that is the question… I might have to experiment next year as I really want to reduce my use of pesticides.

 

My wonderful grape vine has burst into life and with it, my first grape buds.  It is so successful that I went and bought another vine today (dawn seedless - green table grape) to grow against the other trellis.  The cage, is of course, to protect it from the menace that is the chickens. 

 

Speaking of which,  my birthday present arrived and is now full of eggs.  I just gave away 1 dozen to a neighbour and cooked bread and butter pudding  and quiche last night to start using them up.  All six are now laying & I do have an olive layer.  Miss Rosie (who I had started to think was a Ross) joined the ranks while I was away .  She is supposed to be a pure bred but no matter, I didn't have an olive layer and now I do :)

 The hippeastrum's seem to be blooming a bit late this year?  Normally I have blooms open for my birthday (mid september) but I only cut the first one today.  Did anyone else have this experience ?  Love them - they are the most stunning flowers.  I have all sorts, ranging from white through to hot pink.   Keep promising Mum that I will save her some bulbs - MUST REMEMBER TO DO THIS YEAR!!  My mum sent me home with some desert roses that she propagates.  Hopefully I got a red and a white one.  One of the jobs this morning was to pot them up and repot all my jade plants who have been surviving the last 8 years with literally no care, in the same pot, with the same potting mix all that time -> have to be one of the hardiest plants ever. 

 

Food, glorious food.  The mulberry tree is in full production and I'm so impressed with it.  It is just over 1 year in the ground now and look at it!  It is amazing.   I'm eating about 8 berries a day from it and they are beautiful and sweet.  The rule in this house is "you snooze, you lose", so if the kids can't get up early enough to beat me, that is not my problem :) My lychees are looking wonderfully healthy and have developed lovely flowers after being cut back so severely the beginning of this year due to it being covered in small white insects.  Here's hoping for a bumper harvest this year.

The peas are looking great.  I gave up on the sugar snap and bought a pole variety called willow.  They seem to be doing really well and are not yet affected by the heat.  I also tried some climbing beans (epicure) rather than bush beans as I was having no luck with them in the wicking beds.  They are doing real well now and the first beans are forming.   Cucumbers on the vines I only planted mid August - great because I really need to pull the others out.  Capsicums starting to turn red - these are on the older bushes from last year that I need to get rid of.  Will do once this round has ripened.  Corn has gone into this bed beside the capsicums. 

Well that's it from me.  Happy gardening people. 

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Comment by Elaine de Saxe on October 5, 2014 at 20:40

Nasturtiums love the cooler weather and are now seeding, getting ready to die off come the hotter weather. They are a great trap plant for Cabbage White butterfly not that there's many of those in the colder months anyway. I suggest that you enclose your Broccoli in something like fly-wire or horticultural cloth (that's what I know it as, it's sold at Bunnings as frost cloth). Under the shadecloth. It's becoming out of season for Broccoli. I'm trying Kale now so will protect it and see how it goes in the hot weather.

Comment by Rob Walter on October 5, 2014 at 15:17

I'll keep an eye out for that variety, thanks Susan.

Comment by Susan on October 5, 2014 at 12:39

Thanks everyone.  Elaine - I'll look into the shade cloth thing.  I've decided to give the Kailaan express broccoli another go so will put it under some shade cloth.  Rob, I was having such trouble with cucumbers before this last batch.  I've planted biet alpha and not a drama this time.  I'm trying to keep them on a 14-16 week growing cycle.  This new lot should be producing for another 8 weeks and by then, the ones I planted yesterday should be starting.  Florence - I went out to inspect the Lychees and saw all this fuzzy growth on some of the flower spikes.  Googled it and found that it was Erinose mite (when I looked under the leaves, there was the characteristic rust spots).  I've cut off all the damaged spikes and sprayed with sulphur, so hoping that this will bring it under control.  You should check yours too.  Hi Dave,  I can't do without my Brassica's - love them too much.  I have just started some Nasturtiums around the base of the beds so hopefully this will help.  Zinnias are in the front garden.

Comment by Dave Riley on October 2, 2014 at 18:09

My solution to Brassica problems was simple: I don't grow 'em.

There's plenty of other fish in the horticultural sea.

But then....maybe I'll relent....

                         Companion Plants                                 Because....

Brassicas (Incl: Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower) Beans, Beetroot, Carrots, Chamomile, Coriander, Cucumber, Dill, Lettuce, Lovage, Marjoram, Marigold (French), Mint, Nasturtium, Pea, Potato, Rosemary, Sage, Tansy, Thyme,TomatoZinnias Dill attracts a Cabbage White Butterfly controlling wasp. Nasturtium disguises and repels aphids. Sage repels the Cabbage White Butterfly. Zinnias attract ladybirds, which we love! Bad Neighbours roots release substances reducing growth
Comment by Florence on October 2, 2014 at 9:24

Nice ~ I'd like to see how your lychee's progress~ saw some trees at our local nursery but I heard they're more difficult than it's cousin the Longans ~

My wisteria and crabapple flowers are not only late, they failed to turn up at all!  Have started to leaf out, so not sure what's going on there as they did flowered previous years....

Comment by Rob Walter on October 1, 2014 at 20:52

Lovely report, thanks Susan. I'm not sure my cucumbers would agree with me, though, as I am going to rip them out tomorrow. I too put them in in August and they have done absolutely nothing in that time. I seem to be going about 1 success in 3 plantings with cucumber crops at the moment. There must be something special about those successful spots that I haven't figured out yet.

My soil varies pretty wildly depending on how much love each individual part of the bed has received over the years. Of course, the trick is to figure out what grows best where. My lettuce are in heavy, unfertilised clay at the moment and seem to be absolutely loving it, whereas the silverbeet in the same spot is a bit sad.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on October 1, 2014 at 17:07

Great report, Susan - thank you! If you can find a cooler spot or can use some 30 to 50 percent shadecloth, you might do better with the Broccoli. Stressed plants attract predators. Also spraying with Pyrethrum will kill any insect it touches whether friend or foe. Leave Aphids to the Ladybirds, they will fix them in time. No predator can eat all its prey though so be prepared for some Aphids to stay around.

The best solution to pests and diseases is 1. soil health 2. right spot for that plant 3. right season for that plant. Grow out of season and be prepared for problems. Some plants are more forgiving about the season than others. Trial and error ;-) Well-made compost will be your best fertiliser probably need to add some rock minerals and that should be it after your cover crop.

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