Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I thought it would be a good idea to list some "must have" plants for Brisbane gardens.  Feel free to chip in.  I'm hoping this thread might become a good resource for all of us.

My criteria are:

  • bountiful production or exceptional other benefit
  • hardy
  • edibles must be good eating (no sense having a ton of something that tastes like rubbish).

PLEASE STICK TO the following format for the plants you recommend (because it will limit the number of things you recommend to the absolute best):

  • name (common and/or botanical)
  • use(s) and/or benefit
  • when to plant 
  • any other relevant information

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Madagascar bean

Produces lots of beans which are easy to dry and store as well.  Nitrogen fixer. 

Can be planted any time of year.  

The pods are not edible, only the beans inside. Does get quite large but lasts for 7 crops (about 2-3 years). 


Great producer of lots of large zucchini (although it's technically a squash).

Plant in spring or summer but mine grow most of the year.

Large sprawling plant.  I find best eaten young.  They get stung on the tip. Once stung they start to yellow from that site.  Harvest plant and cut off yellow tip.  The rest is perfectly good.  

Each to their own.

  • Spring onions (cut and come again)
  • Tommy Toe tomatoes
  • Okinawan spinach
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • parsely
  • jalapeño chilli (if you want to start growing a versatile chilli)
  • choko
  • garlic chives
  • radishes

I've gone off Trombonchino as they aren't especially tasty. I've got my new hopes focused on Tatume which is generous in the mouth. But Tatume does have a limited season (and I'm not sure what that is).

  • All the lettuces are easy grow.
  • Among the Asian stirfry greens maybe kai lan (Chinese broccoli) is the easiest to grow. Or Bok Choi? What you reckon?

Lettuce bolts at my place.  I use Kangkong in summer and silverbeet leaves in winter. 

In relation Tromboncino, you are not thinking zucchini but comparing it to squash.  Zucchini doesn't have lots of flavour.  We are dining on zucchini soup and lots of chocolate orange zucchini cake.  Loving it.  

True. In season OK.

I am not a lettuce person but I do like endive and often grow that. Cool months of course. Generally for that extra green bit I rely on Wild Rocket. Has a kick, though.

I don't often recommend it because it is spicy.  Advantage: Perennial. Easy self seed.

Chicories & Radichioes also -- and they have a longer harvest season, I find, than lettuces.And they can live alone on a plate -- cooked or  raw -- without extra veg but a good dressing.

Generally in way of salads I may buy a whole cabbage and work my way through that sliced up. Better nutritional value than the lettuces.

Growing cabbages is quite a commitment.

As for cucumbers, my harvests are always disappointing. Although at the school garden we had a bumper harvest of the best cukes I have ever eaten...and some enormous cabbages.

350 metres away -- at my place -- same me  as head gardener -- different story.

When you get into salsas -- uncooked ones -- anything is admissible.

I'd also recommend growing all herbs.  They are fairly robust (for the most part) and you'll be using them in food fairly quickly.  Fresh herbs make a big difference to cooking.  I've never done any good with thyme or oregano but the others do well here.  It's worth new gardeners experimenting with a broad range of them.  

Funny isn't it. What you can grow and cannot. Oregano is easy. Here I have to cry over coriander. Thyme is resistive, grows but doesn't thrive, but I gotta have it. Chives hard. Garlic chives: grow like a weed.

Other gardens I've had : totally different story. So it isn't just me!

But rather than buy herbs I always grow my own and it may take persistence to do that well with some varieties.

First excuse for a garden is herbs! Then maybe tomatoes. After that, the dirt's your oyster.

Historicallly this was the case. The first 'urban' gardens in Britain at leasrt, were herb gardens. You had to grow them because the harvest was medicinal for domestic use and could be sold.

Many of our current veges are imported inventions with different geographical heritage especially if New World.

I'm wondering if there is a "secret" to many plants.  I couldn't grow mint to save myself until I put it in aquaponics.  It made me realise, it just need a fair bit of water and then becomes a weed.  

Ginger. Really easy to grow in Brisbane. It will grow in full sun or in quite shady spots. Plant in pots or in the ground, in early spring. (Actually, I wonder if you could just bung in a bit anytime - there just wouldn't be a great harvest that first part-year. Has anyone tried?). Mark from 'Self Sufficient me' has a good segment on 'Growing a ton of Ginger'. Rob Bob also has a good one.

Use in baking, stir fries and soups. Keep it in the ground (or pot) all year and harvest as needed. My daughter uses a lot in Indian recipes, and dries the (clean) peelings which she uses in tea. I make a ginger cordial. If you grow it, you've always got it there, rather than buying bits and having them dry out in the fridge or fruit bowl.

It's funny, I do a LOT better with galangal than normal ginger. 

Just looking at my garden (low maintenance, no watering) and what hasnt been said already:

Pigeon pea


Sweet potato (in towers!)


Citrus (lemons etc)

thai basil



snake bean

climbing beans

bok choi

chinese lettuce

mini perenial capsciums

suriname spinach



tropical peach

panama berries






lemon myrtle




shungiku (edidle chrysanthemum)

I'm interested in seeing pictures of your Sweet Potato towers. Are they similar to how people grow potatoes?

Oh, you missed the great "Sophie sweet potato disaster of 2019", Travis. She reminded us all that if you put it in the ground, you'll have trouble getting rid of the stuff.  I do mine in buckets on the back fence. 


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