Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I just ate some fresh corn I harvested outback. So over Winter it is possible here in SEQ to grow corn...albeit on the coast.

I ate the corn with some shishito peppers I'd grown. They were from my frozen collection...but there are still some on the bushes.

Wee ones.

Served up also with a dried tomato salsa...  these toms I had grown also.

Mainly Romas.

At the moment, every day, I'm harvesting a Watermelon Radish to eat as well as an assortment of green things.: bok choy, celery leaf, coriander, Okinawan Spinach, oregano, spring onions, green beans, and/or kale.

The Winter has been good to me. During these colder months the kitchen garden has thrived.

No doubt unrecognised except by very few obsessives, Winter has been a great time for Prickly Pear nopales.  So many small paddles (nopales) shoot forth that it is hard to keep up with them. What you want to pick are the very young nopales growing on nopales. The smaller they are, the more succulent.

SCURVY WEED

Of course, the other feature outback is my scurvy weed (Commelina cyanea). The chooks may love to eat it but I do not partake.

However, it covers most of my beds with a sometimes thick jungling mat. It's fixing to flower soon but I've been at it with my sickle cutting it back while letting the cut stems fall thickly in situ.

I cull it I guess. Just to make sure it doesn't totally overwhelm my vegetables.

But you see if scurvy weed is 'a weed' I have no others except a couple of chick weed outbreaks. This time of year chick weed can take over.  Touch wood, that nasty running grasses (like  couch)  are also suppressed.I am getting all of my topsoil released from its runners.

Do my plants -- my veges -- survive within this sea of Scurvy weed? They do indeed.

Do they thrive? Some may not. But the jury is still out on that.

I fear I am fretting more because it is not done to grow 'weeds' rather than responding to actual consequences.

Scurvy weed is my GREEN MULCH. 

It's amazing stuff. It's everywhere. My assumption is that it is so shallow rooted that my vegetable and herb plants can coexist. No nasty bugs. Plenty of wormlife. I'm looking forward to the flowers to bring the bees.

Scurvy weed in any one patch can put out a lot of greenery and stems, that creates quite a bulk when decapitated and upturned. Living mulch is easily made dead.

My only problem is that when I sickle it back I may accidentally slice up a vegetable plant. I intervene by dint of  the criterion that the Scurvy Weed can stay put so long as it does not smother my meal. Fortunately as vegetables grow up they themselves smother the Scurvy Weed.

Of course once I have Vetiver Grass at a height  to harvest for mulch that will be laid down over Summer -- over the Scurvy Weed. 

Vetiver Grass mulch suppresses Scurvy Weed growth.

The cycle of the seasons per self-sustaining mulching.

Scurvy Weed surrounding a young tomato plant.

When the tomato grows up it will shade out the Scurvy Weed

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Comment by Dave Riley on August 22, 2020 at 19:34

The jury may still be out on the scurvy weed  green mulch option. After all, I am not 'peer reviewed'.

But then, the primary culprit in my beds -- the greedy, invasive and pervasive -- running couch like grass, has been suppressed and all I now have is shallow rooted Scurvy Weed.

I have transitioned. A green doona.

Comment by Dave Riley on August 8, 2020 at 23:37

With a few tomatoes still on the decrepit Roma bushes I thought I'd wait no longer and harvested what was left. As well as the final ripe ones I got around 2 kgm of green tomatoes that weren't keen on reddening.

Romas may be serviceable toms but are not exciting to the taste. 

So I turned the greens into Green Tomato Salsa.

I may still be waiting for my tomatillos to ripen but this medley will do  me for the time being.

The red bits are sweet peppers. All the rest are green tomatoes that could not make a colour choice by themselves.

Onion, garlic, chipotle chilli, lime juice(almost a cup), some vinegar, a little sugar, salt, pepper, lots of chopped coriander, fresh oregano and cumin. (Recipe options.)

Ticks all the boxes.

I'll freeze my long term needs and work my way through the sauce.

'Tis a pity it isn't a salsa verde to look at, but once I have my tomatillos in production I will have a choice between red or green salsa. This one may be reddish but its taste is green.

A charming sweet n'sour it is. I could wolf it down by the tablespoon full.

'Tis a pity our oven is on the blink as the better approach to green tomato salsa is to grill the tomatoes first. Then, maybe, peel off the charred skins.

Your classic taco layering  is A plus B. Where 'B' is a salsa. 'C'  could be a cheese or sour cream if wanted -- but the salsa -- B -- integrates the exercise. You want it strong enough so that you don't use too much such that the tortilla will get too wet.

That's when the engineering may fall apart in your hand.

So when you are preparing your primary ingredient (ie: the 'A')-- a meat, for instance, or beans or egg or mushrooms -- always be thinking of the salsa that will sit  on top.

Salsa also works as a marinade or as an addition to braises. Shortcuts.

Those many functions will be served well by this Green Tomato Salsa. The advantage with the greenness of the tomatoes is that their flesh holds together better than when fully ripe. So you get texture.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on August 8, 2020 at 0:29

I have the last two buckets on the go now.  If they fail I will also give up.  I can't spare garden space for spuds.  If the buckets don't work, I'll give them the flick. 

Comment by Dave Riley on August 7, 2020 at 8:43

No spuds. Gave up.

Comment by Jeff Kiehne on August 7, 2020 at 8:42

Do you have any potatoes growing  as i have been harvesting potatoes  and get some very good results  when they are in full sun  but not so good if get any shade during the day.

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GrowVetiver

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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