Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

This year I deployed a cunning plan. I planted potatoes when I had them to plant.

I snaffled planting stock from all the new varieties that hit the supermarket shelves  and planted them out willy nilly throughout most months.

And I've been harvesting my way through them ever since.

I prefer to store these spuds in the ground so I mark each plant with a rod as it dies back so i can locate the tubers later. (In mounds this is easy storage as the water drains away in the sand).

Needless to say my harvest is tasty although the amount of potatoes from each plant has not been great.Nor are the spuds large.

My best performer has been the  Kipflers. Go figure. Double the amount from other varieties.

I have some sprouting stock on hand so I'm going to plant out some more spuds in the shadier regions of my patch.A Summer experiment.It may not be the optimum time of year to grow spuds but I see where 'tis possible so long as you keep humidity in mind. On sand -- I think I have a chance.

Since my sweet potatoes have not thrived -- like never -- i gotta get my carbs from somewhere else.

I just planted out a batch of purple yams-- Dioscorea alata -- which i grow , not so much because I love them to eat -- but i love the way they grow -- with their upright climbing, almost delicate,  stem.

I have  a lot of Jerusalem Artichokes about but I can't recall where I planted them.And out there  somewhere are more yacón and jicama .

And that's it: it has been a sorry year for root veg.  Best not talk about my carrots and radishes, beetroots...But then i got some amazing turnips.

Better luck next year, Dave.

Plant of the Year for 2016:

Not so straightforward this time around. Looking at the contenders, I have to say that finally the spring onion and I have merged. These faithfuls have kept me supplied with an allium hit all year -- month in/month out. That means I grow a lot of scallions. You bet. They are my staple. I haven't chopped up a 'normal' onion seemingly for ever.

Mind you,while I'd Iike to become a spring onion aficionado, the many varieties don't perform as well as the bunching types I buy as seedlings from the Caboolture markets.

So many of my spring onions now are thick stemmed  but they sure do cook up well. In the past i harvested them much smaller, but because I've reached optimum management numbers I've mastered the logic of perennial supply. There is always -- always! -- room to plant spring onions.

This year too was the time of the pigeon pea -- of which I have many 'bushes'. First time with PPs so I'm learning. There are PPs and then there are PPs. If you want to consume them green I reckon you gotta go for the large pod variety. So I'm culling my bushes. It isn't worth it growing your own dry peas --as they are so cheap to buy in Indian grocers. I'm set to plant out some PP hedges -- lovely flower, mottled shade for underneath, rooting downwards rather than at surface, great for supporting tomato bushes and climbing beans.

The green peas go with a lot of dishes and the trick is to always harvest the pods when you can feel well formed peas inside. Easy to grow.

The irony is that this year I'm becoming almost veg self sufficient --except for essentials I have to buy in-- like carrots!(and garlic). If you eat with the seasons  you get to eat a menu harvest. My big challenge is to consolidate a regular sweet pepper supply. I can do it with chilies but the bigger boys are being resistive. Then there is Turmeric: resistive also.. . The big surprise were the cabbages -- I'm still harvesting them. The thrill was that by growing Leaf (aka: Chinese) Celery I'm supplied in that department (I use it like a herb) without fretting over watering.

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Summer spuds  planned some late last year and with the early hot weather plants grew OK but did not produce under ground this year have planted some cuttings from bought potatoes  in shade under a tree trying to grow seed potatoes for next year potatoes can be planted close together.

Shame about the PP removal, the green pigeon peas make a great addition to a salad, I'm unsure if I have small or large pods... the seeds came from Jan Holley, I can get some to you if you'd like to give Jan's a go.

Nice sounding underground production Dave.

Oh I have big pods with big peas. It's just that some bushes offer  quite small peas . I think there are 100 plus varieties of PPs so options are sure to vary. The small pea plants are more productive than the big pea plants -- more pods. I suspect the big peas tend to be yellow flowering.

I'm playing in my own version of Mendel.

Rob, how do you use green pigeon peas with salad.  Are they boiled or soaked?   What colour is the flower on your PP. 

Christa, straight out of the pod unchanged. The fresh green PP I have, seem to be slightly dryer than other peas, more like a bean, and has a subtle flavour of an undefined? spice.

Added to a salad (when green, straight out of the pod) adds extra pleasant dimensions of texture and flavour to the salad. 

I was worried I was having the I grew this so it must taste good, bias, until visitors complemented the salad on it's tasty little peas.

Another nice pea in a salad which has the same texture as the fresh green PP is an non-dried/unhardened chick pea, straight off the bush (grew these last year, but not this year). Fresh chick peas taste so different to a re-hydrated one, I could't believe I was eating a chick pea the first time I pick one. Taste differs in that it's a little sweeter and without the subtle spice of a PP. I ate these as stand alone treats, and it become difficult for these to make it to a salad.

I have red pigeon peas and yellow pigeon peas, I've been meaning to check on pea size difference between the two. The red flowering one is very pretty. The red one is a colour combo of red, orange and yellow.

Hmmm, much food for thought ... Rob how do you think green Chick Peas would go as 'Edamame'? I love Edamame but find the Soy plants a trial to grow although I know they prefer the heat I've not had much success in getting them up.

Thinking about eating non-garden-variety Peas raw. The dried beans/peas (Chick, Lima, Red Kidney etc) are supposed to be rinsed and cooked with a couple of waters on account of some substance/s in the seeds. Do you know anything about this?

Looking up both Edamame as well as toxicity of pigeon and chick peas now.

I found out there was a reported need for steaming broad beans after eating, and eating many broadbeans, I have heard and read varied versions of the broadbean story since. Such as don't eat if it's matured as far as having a black band around middle, unsubstantiated, but ok to eat of your not of Mediterranean blood... 

Thanks Rob -- the Edamame although 'green' is still cooked. Looking into growing Chick Peas, dang but they are a cool-season crop with Soy being the warm season plant.

I've never thought of eating Broad Beans raw, but regardless Chick Peas would not necessarily be palatable (never mind the toxins) raw nor I imagine would Pigeon Peas. PPs are so easy to grow and so productive they are shouting out to be grown and never mind the more exotic Chick Peas or indeed Soy!

Both Chick Pea and Pigeon pea come up clear of toxins on a quick search.

There is a poisonous pea being used to thin-out or even substitute both Chick Pea and Pigeon Pea in India named Lathyrus sativus. This is apparently being purposely done for economic gain. It's sold dried and is poisonous regardless of cooking or soaking.


'In Mexico, Guasanas is a recipe for green pods that are boiled in salt water, shelled, and eaten almost like edamame.' Link below....

Guasanas Recipe

Got to go for now, but I'll search more on the subject of PP and CP safety when I get back.

I'm quite comfortable with raw eating for both PP & CP under the following conditions...

*You or someone you know/trust grew them.

*If (god forbid) bug poisons have been used when growing, rinse.... or just don't bother eating the tainted product.

*You believe they taste great :)

From what I can see, it's the old google yes man syndrome. If I poise a question like "are chickpeas poisonous when raw?" I find many posts in forums and blogs saying yes, and even loose and unsubstantiated attempts to explain... after a few of these types of sites, you will notice that there are no decent reference links.

Due to so many posts incorrectly saying it's toxic, or whatever, a more passive search like "are chickpeas ok to eat raw?  you will get similar results to the earlier search.

When you step away from search engines or just use the search engine (google in this case) to find a decent plant botanical database or dare I say it Wiki!, yes Wiki is ok because you also get links to revenant and usually institutional information bases, suppling you with a more trusted and if lucky peer reviewed source of information.

I'm not saying to take wiki as gospel, there's BS there as well sometimes, use the links or references at bottom of page to gauge the BS level of the Wiki info (most of the time it checks out ok)

..... I digress, when you simply search for "chickpea toxicity" in google, you are searching for less loose talk and more for data with references or trusted database. It's from here I will usually find more trusted sites.

It seems that a lot of this loose talk comes for semi-related issues with the selling of poisonous substitute of dry peas or flower (Lathyrus sativus in India and other developing areas for example)

The other source of confusion is regarding the substances which may limit digestive absorption which are formed when sprouting certain seeds (chick and pigeon peas not included).

Links (in this case I have been lazy and just put in wiki links.... use the links within wiki, there's plenty of good ones for both peas)


Pigeon Pea

If there is good, trusted documentation that contradicts what I have found, don't be afraid to speak up, we all benefit.

Thanks Rob :)
Does that include Madagascar beans..? Oops


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