Brisbane Local Food

Growing local


Here's the great post from Jerry Coleby Williams:

and it warrants reading.

I have a 'nature strip garden'. I created it because I passionately hate mowing and my nature strip was big enough to hold a house. There is no path and every pedestrian  here uses the street. The nature strip is only used to park cars or deliver mail. It is wasted urban space that we are expected to maintain gratis.Here an un-mown strip is not maintained by council.

I have been dobbed into council twice by anonymous neighbours but my strip has approval after an officer visited.I just told them, either I do this, or I won't maintain the land at all.

It has taken me years to develop the plantings as the soil and context isn't horticulture friendly.The old roadway is underneath my strip.

But on my strip I grow:

  • lemon grass (which I harvest a couple of times each year for mulch)
  • a coastal leguminous creeper (don't know its name)
  • nasturtiums
  • some native reeds (not very successfully)
  • a mulberry tree
  • a coastal banksia.

I also, now and then,  grow sweet potato and choko as ground covers and have just sown pigeon peas in the hope that they'll take.

Never thought of aloe vera -- but Jerry Coleby Williams has! 

I still have to mow the nature strip but I use an electric whipper snipper to do that. After so much experimentation I gotta say high performance electric snippers are go! 

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Was going to start killing some of the grass on my verg today but overnight had second thoughts -has NBN been put in your area, it hasn't reached Newmarket yet and I really don't feel like putting in a lot of work only to have it undone by a group of people who won't care.  Am now leaving the verge as is until after I see what they do, possible a couple of years the way they are going.

There was bare dirt in the council's garden bed in my nature strip.  It is in a sort of T-Junction, and the bed is very large, so I was considering putting something there, but council workers have came and planted grass (assuming native grass) and munched the whole area last week. .... maybe I'll still sow some flowers in the gaps ... I'm not a big fan of grass, and I could use some cut flowers...

I started weeding my verge a few days ago.  There is more weed than grass so the task has escalated somewhat. I am planting as I go because bare soil is just asking for more weeds - so far just the strip between the fence and the path.

Aloe vera along the back (I have lots of aloe plants needing a new home)  Thinking native violet, alyssum, pigface, sedum in front of it.  All low growing, impossible to trip on, non-invasive.  It should be developing nicely by the December garden visit.  

I asked the council years ago about planting groundcovers and they said I couldn't plant anything but, when pressed, they admitted that weeds and garden escapees were ok.  So there you go.  All these plants grow in my garden and have just moved downhill a bit.

I'm not so keen on growing food on the verge. I'd like to see them as true nature strips for wildlife corridors with some cheerful flowers for passers-by.

I am also not going to buy any plant to put outside until the BCC come up with a proper policy.  I've just emailed my local councillor asking him to check on the progress and timeline of that. 

How sunny is the spot Gayle? Thinking native Violets are not keen on sun but will happily grow in dense shade. Suggest Gotu Kola for a tough ground-cover. I've got a ton of it and can bring some if you need it, to Andy's GV on Saturday.

It's on the south side of the front fence and hedge.  Our front and back fence is a few degrees off east-west which means that in winter it is shaded close to the fence/hedge all day and in summer the face of the fences get hot afternoon sun.  This is where I intended putting the native violet, around the base of the aloe vera.  Further out towards the path - and especially between the path and the road - it is full sun all day so will need quite different plants.

I'm planning the alyssum close to the path but am still pondering what to do about the post bike.  Maybe I'll have to leave a grass trail for now.

Grass would be the safest there. By its nature: having its growing points well down towards the soil surface, means it's not killed by constant wear. That's why grasses especially creeping grasses are so good in high wear areas.


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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.

Place your business add here! ($5 per month or $25 for 9 months)

Talk to Andy on 0422 022 961.  You can  Pay on this link

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