Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Picked the first pineapple of the year yesterday - no photo cos I cut it up straight away - couldn't wait to try it. It was OK, but I think I jumped the gun a bit - not as sweet as they usually are, and the top quarter was still pale yellow, not golden. I'll leave the next one on a bit longer. Pineapples are going in all over the garden in odd spots - and I've got a lot of odd spots in my garden!

The Zucchinis are finished, and I'm letting the tromboncino go to seed now - sorry, Roger, there won't be any seeds for a while, but you'll be welcome to some when they are ready. The seeds should be worth having, as this particular vine was planted last February, cropped (albeit fitfully) all through the winter, and is still going strong at the moment.  I finally lost the race to use all the Tromboncinos, and ended up throwing one and a half kilos in the compost bin - or should I say the BSF larvae bin. Those critters colonised the bin a while ago, and are AMAZING garbage destroyers. Food scraps disappear overnight, and I harvest some grubs for my quails every day. (Again no photo, they look gross. The grubs, that is, not the quails, which are cute)

The sweet potatoes (white and gold) are clambering up onto the Hills Hoist - can't wait to start harvesting some, they've flowered, but there's probably a month to go yet.

My three sisters planting was a bit of a flop. The corn didn't seem to do any better than usual, and the snake beans were definitely weakened by the experience - this is the first time ever that my snake beans have been troubled by Bean Fly, and I've been growing them forever. The pumpkins were removed early on as they threatened to take over the entire vege patch - which is quite small. I think three sisters might work better in a bigger garden, where things aren't planted so close together. Also, trying to find green beans among all the corn stalks was very challenging. Maybe the idea works better when beans and corn are grown for dried beans and corn, not green beans and sweet corn??

The passionfruit vine over the front entrance is fruiting well. Planted by the birds, it's doing heaps better than the carefully nurtured one round the back, which gets hammered by possums. Hmmm tried to put a photo in here, but it's already gone up. Not sure what I did.

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Comment by Christa on January 27, 2021 at 20:16

Good to see you back at it, Barbara.  I remember you had pineapple plants around the back of your place, growing well. 

You may need a good carpet snake, possums no longer eat all our produce. I have not seen a little possum for some time now.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on January 27, 2021 at 15:41

The germination rate on this packet of seeds is very high - and up in two days.  They are a purple dwarf snake bean.  Happy to give you a couple of seeds Barb.  

Comment by Dave Riley on January 27, 2021 at 12:11

Soak and scrape them...then wiggle.

In my experience: luck too.

The Malaysian family who sell fruits, fruit trees and  such at the Caboolture Mkts sometimes sell single pots with 3 Winged Beans established. Best way.

Comment by Barbara Tealby on January 27, 2021 at 12:04

Winged Beans, Huh? Might give them a try. Do they take a long while to germinate, or do you just have to wriggle your nose the right way?

Comment by Dave Riley on January 27, 2021 at 10:00

My purples are PURPLE KING.

The Blue Lake aren't any good for me this weather -- but I happen to try some purples...and in semi shade. They climb to the sun, of course.

Bean trick for space: start off shaded let it find the sun...or a Giant, Goose and axe.

But the bean to grow now ready for later is WINGED BEAN. I much prefer that to Snake Beans for taste and texture. Perennial too -- if you are lucky.

It may climb a distance but it won't take up space like squashes will do.

Hard to germinate, though.

Crispy great in soups and stir fries.

The entire winged bean plant is edible. The leaves, flowers, roots, and bean pods can be eaten raw or cooked; the pods are edible even when raw and unripe. The seeds are edible after cooking. Each of these parts contains vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron, among other nutrients. The tender pods, which are the most widely eaten part of the plant, are best when eaten before they exceed 2.5 cm (1.0 in) in length. They are ready for harvest within three months of planting. The flowers are used to colour rice and pastry. The young leaves can be picked and prepared as a leaf vegetable, similar to spinach. The nutrient-rich, tuberous roots have a nutty flavour. They are about 20% protein; winged bean roots have more protein than many other root vegetables.[4] The leaves and flowers are also high in protein (10–15%).[4] --WIKIPEDIA

I've started planting legumes all over to fix Nitrogen in the soil --whether I harvest the beans or not. I prefer climbing, ironically, because they take up less soil space AND they are much easier to harvest. Bush beans assume you are a hobbit. 

FYI: In my bean/corn/squash mix I'm also planting the 4th Sister: sunflowers. Bee magnet.

Comment by Barbara Tealby on January 27, 2021 at 7:39

I didn't know you could get purple snake beans, Andy. Are they the purple ones that do well for you, Dave? My Purple King descendents only do well for me in the cooler months, while this latest failure with the green snake beans is my first ever, having grown them for many years.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on January 26, 2021 at 22:22

I planted a few purple dwarf snake bean seeds two days ago (amongst five other things).  The only thing already sprouting after just two days is those beans. Incredible. 

Comment by Dave Riley on January 26, 2021 at 19:11

Many green beans do not do well in our hot humidity over Summer. My purples, however, are doing OK.

In the 3 Sisters I think it's safe to assume that the corn is heritage and very high. Like over 2 metres. I'm growing Hopi and it is very tall. I say to myself I shoulda planted some beans to clamber up those stalks.

Comment by Barbara Tealby on January 26, 2021 at 15:17

Thank you, Fairies.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on January 26, 2021 at 14:02

The good fairies fixed it for you Barb. 

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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.

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