Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Turning the corner...in production mode

'Tis a niggling habit plants have of not doing what you expect them to. You plant with a template in mind -- a projection on how the garden will grow....
Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.
..and then  all hell breaks loose! Maybe in temperate climates...maybe in the cooler months here... there's predictability -- but this time of year it's every seed for itself. 
"But it's the seasons!" I hear someone shout. Sure. Seasonal is what it is -- but what seasons?
My inclination is to presume that I have two gardens. A hot and humid one...and a cool and dry habitat. Between the two are x number of months of transition. 
So my ruling is that I have two seasons -- each conducive to a different horticulture -- with linking bits.
I'm not such a grand master of my patch that I can confidently matchmake seed with season any and every time. My head is still caught up in my long ago existence in the temperate zones and I still think like ye olde English cottager. 
It's a green thumb's dead hand....
But really my  greenery kith and kin live elsewhere, leastways this time of year. I've moved north just as in a few months I'll move south again. 
Of course this is precisely what is happening curtesy of the sun and the axis of the earth. For one part of the year I get to play giardiniere and for another I'm in the tropics, caught in a sort of Monsoon mode.

Two modes. Two different kitchen gardens.  Each requiring a different headspace.

Under monocultural precepts this ebb and flow  is simply dealt with through engineering and an annual harvest. But the more polycultural your mix the more complex the practice required.

For a town not noted historically for its kitchen gardens -- what constitutes the Brisbane garden mix? A choko  vine and a mango tree?

I'm not saying I can rule on this but I'm thinking it is still an open agenda. We may be constrained by culinary habits and expectations  but the disconcerting fact is that we are so located by dint of latitude, that -- either in season A or B -- we could grow almost anything, any annual.

In this I'm much  taken with Jerry Coleby-Williams habit to divide his garden according to production.
  • Edible roots
  • Edible leaves
  • Edible seed
  • Edible petals
  • Fruit
  • Medicinal/spices  
His  In Production lists are always awesome.I think it's a great way top keep ontop of your gardening ways and means because it does keenly measure how productive your patch is at any one time.
Jerry Coleby-Williams lists his produce monthly. Here's his list for last January...so I took his and made up my own. In way of inspiration, the items in  green are what I'd like to grow now (if only I'd thought ahead).
Underlined are what I've been harvesting this month.

Edible roots
Aibika, Abelmoschus manihot
Arrowroot, Canna edulis
Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus 
Potato (sprouting again despite harvest)
Radish, Raphanus sativus ‘French Breakfast’
Sweet potato
Turnip, Brassica rapa ‘Gold Ball’
Yam, Winged, Dioscorea alata
Yam, African (Discorea)
Edible leaves
Aztec Spinach (Huauzontle)
Basil,Thai and large leaf
Taro, 
Chinese celery, aka smallage, Apium graveolens
Chives, Allium schoenoprasum
Dill, Anethum graveolens
Egyptian Spinach,Corchorus olitorius
Endive, Cichorium endiva ‘Green Bowl’
Florence fennel
Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum
Amaranth,
Japanese parsley, Cryptotaenia japonica
Kale
Kangkong, Ipomoea aquatica
Katuk
Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus
Mint (common garden)
Moringa oleifera
Nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus
Parsley, Petroselenium crispum ‘Italian flat-leaved’
Pigface
Purslane, Wild, Portulaca oleracea
Purslane, Golden, Portulaca oleracea var. sativa
Radicchio, Cichorium intybus
Rocket, Wall or wild, Eruca sativa
Samphire
Sweet potato
Vietnamese mint, Persicaria odorata
Welsh onion, aka spring onion
Warrigal greens, Tetragonia tetragonioides
Edible petals
Rocket, Wall or wild, Eruca sativa
Edible pods
Madagascar  Bean
Snake  bean (Red Dragon)
Winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus)
Fruit
Capsicum
Chilli
Choko
Cucumber (Russian, Lebanese...)
Dragon fruit
Globe Eggplant
Lemon,  ‘Meyer’
Lime, West Indian
Mouse melon, Melothria scabra
Mulberry
Okra
Passionfruit
Pawpaw
Pepino
Rosella
Tomato, cherry
Medicinal / Spices
Aloe Vera
Ginger, Zingiber officinalis  
Rosemary
Turmeric, Curcuma longa

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Comment by Dianne Caswell on January 23, 2015 at 16:11

It is always a pleasure to read all of your posts, keep them coming, you are an inspiration.

I have people tell me all the time, you can't grow this in Brisbane or you can't grow that but I give it a go anyway and if it doesn't take then I figger it just doesn't want to play the game. You certainly have a wonderful selection. I am sure you can always pull together a great lunch or dinner from your garden.

Keep us informed as you progress through you list, I don't dare write mine down in case my husband (Graham) finds it.

Comment by Dave Riley on January 22, 2015 at 17:20

There you go. I'm still working up the January  list in a very different format HERE.

Comment by Dave Riley on January 22, 2015 at 15:19

That's right, Florence.When you stocktake your home grown bounty it adds to your worth.IO'd like to see regular shared lists here as a site habit.

Maybe we could work up a template?

The advantage would be we'd share our calendar successes and experiments.

I just had a thought....will come back to this notion a little later.

Comment by Florence on January 22, 2015 at 13:14

It always suprises me how much I have in the garden when I do a list, even at times I thought I have nothing in it ^__^, I guess we have to do that when we're feeling down about our life, and if you do a list, you'll always found you still have a lot of positives in your life

Comment by Dave Riley on January 17, 2015 at 7:55

After originally composing the list, I've had to update it after some garden reconnoitre-ing.I'm sure similar lists could be drawn up for many gardens here at BLF.

List making like this is a useful exercise and I can see the utility in generating it monthly...en route tweaking and customising  it so it services your own chosen management habits more.

Comment by Dave Riley on January 17, 2015 at 1:46

I read Woodrow some time back...she also blogs here.

What I've been experimenting with is the option of substituting one  item -- such as one green leaf--  for another or swap root veg about. You can't be too rigid, but many of these plants will stretch across several cuisines.

Of course any country's menu is going to be based on traditionally cultivated species.But if you can look at your garden and confidently project a range of recipes from the various categories -- and substitute creatively --  there's is much less need to grow stuff out of season or out of zone.

Nonetheless, it is interesting how much of the food grown in Melanesia and Oceania is exotic to these regions...so I wonder about that, how applicable their gardening experiences are for us.

And if you grow a range of each stuff -- different greens and tubers, say, that can substitute one with the other -- there is less need to be precious about the scheduling or worry so much over losses.You will be ruled by 'the seasons' but that's how it comes...and you make do with what survives. 

A great example in this regard is this profile of a Sydney market garden from a Gardening Australia episode:

"I think really, what's different about our farm is the quantity and variety of things that we grow," says Cath, "the fact that we grow anything and everything. If it's unusual, we'll put it in and give it a go. When we get really busy, we'll have about 150 different varieties in the ground, so if the rabbits come in and eat it all, we've got 149 other things we can pick and sell. There's always, always, something to get out of the ground."

Hapi grew up with farming in Tonga. "I did. My great grandfather, grandfather and my father - they are real farmers, good farmers." 

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on January 16, 2015 at 21:38

Mind boggling list of edibles! Yes, I see what you mean about the 2 seasons. It's a good observation.

Reading Linda Woodrow's book on permaculture on smaller blocks, she has everything so taped off. This day bring in the chooks, that day plant up xyz, another day set out guilds, down the track harvest this, harvest that. No room for error, lateness or disasters.

Food gardening is just not so precise, more an art than a science. Hilarious to read xxx days for this or that plant. Never checked up but I reckon that there would be great variations with place, season and soil.

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