Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Let me give you the background for this post before anything else....

I was musing to myself the other day about "Andy, do you walk the garden walk, or just talk the garden talk?"  What I was getting at was:  for all my yardly adventures, how much benefit am I really reaping?  Am I spending a fortune (admittedly, I came from a very low base before I joined the site) and getting bugga all in return?  Am I kidding myself about my urban farmer skills?

So, I thought I would pose an open question as a bit of a game for us all.  How much do you really eat what you grow? ... and guessing is not good enough.  I aim to answer my own tough question with facts.  Feel free to contribute your facts and answer the question for yourselves.

There is only one way to win this game:  you need to out-compete yourself.  I mean, if my 3 year old garden out-compete's John's 6 month old garden, it just means my garden is more established.  My real question to myself is: am I doing better now than I was doing 6 months or a year ago?  I might also try to use some real costs from Coles on line shopping. 

Go on... take the risk... be honest.  I shall lead by example (wish me luck!)

Night 1's dinner:  Thai Beef Salad.  Four or five different lettuce types and basil supplied by me from the aquaponics bed.  Here is the proof (you don't need to do this - I just want to get us started).  I should have stuck my hand in the shot - those are cos lettuce leaves on top - they are around 15 - 20 cm in size. This was a big salad.  The pic has no purchased add-ins at this stage. 

 I don't expect to have grown my own beef and stuff.  I am just trying to get "real."  I think it was a pretty fine effort from 1 month old lettuces and basil on harvest 4 in the same time.  

Saving: lettuce $2 + basil $2 = $4.

Night 2 dinner: Stir Fry with garlic chicken sausages.

Produce used: Pak Choi ($3) and Silverbeet ($4! - you kidding me? This stuff grows like crazy).  I know, I used shop bought sausages.  I'm stock piling my home made ones for the family Christmas BBQ).

Total Saving this week: $11 (hey, that's more than I expected).

Night 3: True confessions.

Photography course was tonight.  Produce used: none.

Total Saving this week: $11

Night 4: True confessions part 2.

Produce used: none. Steak and potato and carrot.  My carrots are in and I'm about to add some spuds, but don't have any at the moment. 

Total Saving this week: $11 (oh, the shame)

Night 5: True confessions part 3.

Produce used: none. Roast pork with pumpkin, potato and carrot.  

Total Saving this week: $11 (oh, the continued shame)

Night 6: Redemption. 

Used an aquaponic's lettuce (actually, it was half of two).   

Total Saving this week: Lettuce: $2 + $11 = $13

Night 7: Stir Fry 

Used a load of pak choi.   

Total Saving this week: Pak Choi: $3 + $13 = $16

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What is the value of the ice, Ania?

A cool drink on a hot day ;) also need some extra moisture for my blender to work properly, by the time I've cut it all up it melts a bit :)


Memory herb = gotu kola?

Brahmi :)

How does my produce go?  Well, I can produce pesto pretty regularly now with a variety of greens.  I've started making a romesco (tomato based) sauce as well which is quite nice.  I'll do a recipe for that soon.  The sauces are great because with a bit of pasta they are pretty much the whole meal. 

Pumpkins are also a fav because they last a few days of eating.  

I'm still waiting for eggs and fish. *sighs*  

Here's my garden produce at the moment:

Night one:

Possum gets a healthy kale salad.

Night two:

Old possum spices things up with a few basil plants and a couple of chilli seedlings.

Night three:

The avocado leaves gets a b-eating and so does the tropical peach, miracle tree and lettuce seedlings.

aaaand you catch my drift hahaha...

at least someones having fun in the garden ;-P

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - you can eat them. 

hahaha, the hard part is getting them to jump into the camp oven!

Oh, Jake, the pain! I lost my first strawberry of the season last night. It was in the spot that possums don't visit, and then this morning it was gone, along with a couple of flowers. I'd been watching that strawberry ripen for days, trying to be patient enough for it to get really sweet!

The only solutions I've found are physical barriers and choosing plants that possums don't eat. Having said that, I've always found basil to be fine, so it seems as if you've found a possum even less selective than mine.

Mine prefer My Rozie's paw paws... hahahahahahaha!  I mean... um... sorry darling... damn that possum.  (Only time I've ever been grateful to a paw paw tree.)

What a fabulous idea! I know this is an old post but what a good one.  We are most definitely in the red at our house.  My conversion to wicking beds this year ($1000) and the purchase of the chook palace ($600) have made my garden profit/loss margin most assuredly in the "loss" bracket.  Honestly though, how can I truly weigh up the "profit" of knowing exactly where my food comes from, that we are eating the freshest produce, what chemicals we are consuming and the overall joy and relaxation that the garden brings to me?

While my garden is not strictly organic ( I still use fertilisers and mancozeb to control powdery mildew), I no longer use herbicides and have minimized my pesticide (pyrethrum and eco oil) use with shifting as much as possible to exclusion.  So I'm going to carry out your little exercise Andrew but I will compare to organic prices :) and I'll look this weeks consumption from garden.  Prices are from farm fresh organics.

Cherry tomatoes (eat daily approx 1 kg per week) -> $20

Mixed salad leaves (eat daily approx 250 g per week) -> $12.50

Baby spinach leaves (about 100 g per week) -> $5

Corn (8 cobs) -> $16

Golden Zucchini (2-3 per week - had to compare to green) -> $8

Zucchini flowers (12 per week - no organic price available, general price $2 per 3flowers) -> $8

Cucumber (only 1 because others are not far behind and I refuse to buy when so close to harvest) -> $2.50

Rosemary (couple of sprigs, price here is for bunch) ->$3.50

Lemons (squeezing in fresh juice for kids and me - 6 lemons) ->$9

Eggs (1 dozen per week) -> $8.00

Soooo ...... Grand total for the week is $89.  Well, this may not be as bad as I originally thought :)  Compared to organic prices, my little garden is not doing so bad and we may just get out of the red much sooner than I thought :)


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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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