Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

An exciting day today - we harvested the first bunch of lady finger bananas. Two more bunches coming. The blue faced honey eater came and shouted at me and fluffed all his hair up in disgust when I was cutting one of the flower bells off. Funny critter - sorry little buddy! I left one for him - felt too mean. Found two ripe passionfruits and a small ripe pawpaw.

The Blue Java and Dwarf Ducasse bananas haven't flowered yet - they are in harsher spots. Down the side with washing machine grey-water is obviously ideal. The old sucker that we cut down was enormous! Have chopped it up, put the stem in the banana pawpaw circle pit to rot and used the chopped banana leaves as mulch.

Our broad beans are now flowering, as are the Tommy Toe tomatoes. The brussel sprouts are getting bigger and I can't see the cauliflower tips anymore - hopefully they're curding up in there. Have eaten the last turnip (hide the turnip slow food) and almost had the last beetroot. No mature pak choy or bok choy left. I'm not very diligent with succession planting, so we'll have to wait about a month for all of these again. Doesn't matter - heaps of carrot, parsnip, celery, silverbeet, broccoli, best-ever salad mix - hopefully the other brassicas will kick in while the little seedlings grow up. The chooks gave them a few beatings. Too soft hearted again, and can't bear to fence the big garden (aesthetics). After some urging was tempted to feel around for potatoes but resisted. The bandicoots can wait - we have lovely food connect spuds to keep us going.

Must do something about having proper beans and peas - it's a disgrace. Soil too composty - need a good spot for them, will have to give this challenge some attention. Not used to having legume trouble.

Our strawberries are very slow - have only eaten two so far, and these from an old plant in a neglected styrofoam box, not from the new plants I bought for this season. Too much parsley. Not enough chives. Rocket coming out our ears (yum :) . Garlic looking good. Will probably run short on spring onions again soon. I don't think any of my spanish onions made it (heat stress - planted too early in March).

The mulberry tree is green again and the self-pollinating pecan has dropped all its leaves. The lychee looks very happy with lots of new growth. I cut the turmeric and galangal back today 'cos they'd gone completely yellow.

I transplanted some leeks into the vegie garden that had self-seeded elsewhere in the yard (thankyou Eden Seeds). Amazing how they cope with massive mis-treatment. They are quite a favourite. The artichokes are coming back well (fingers crossed they don't get struck down again after this rain) but I'm pretty sure we won't get any this spring, we'll have to wait another year now - darn aphids :(

Am getting organised to send a postal order to Green Harvest. Lots of good things I haven't got yet in their latest catalogue. For example jersualem artichokes - yum!

We ate the first flush of mushrooms from our box and now heaps more are coming up. They are incredibly delicious!

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Comment by Scarlett on August 11, 2008 at 12:27
Egg shells was a jackie french thing - apparently the cabbage white butterfy recognises the round shape (from overhead) of brassicas and the smell - which is probably why dill interplanting really helps. Also if there are lots of white egg shell halves scattered around they apparently think the population is too high for good survival of their eggs and keep looking. Tried it once years ago - don't know if it worked, they've never been a big problem so it's hard to tel.
Comment by Donna on August 5, 2008 at 14:30
Hi Scarlett! Hardly an ego maniac, an enthusiast who definately helps the newbies by showing what *can* be achieved.

I am interested in the saffron bulb - I thought I read in a catalogue/ website somewhere that they wouldn't grow here (mind you the experts tell me tomatoes don't grow during winter either, but someone forgot to tell mine that are already a metre tall and starting to fruit...)

My death list is heaps longer than yours, although I seem to be having a little more success this time around - things are more sick than dead lol. Anthony came around with some bugs & fertiliser and basically went from one plant to another saying needs this, needs that, etc. At one point he said at least you don't have mosaic then the next plant it was oh, yes you do.

Never mind, my biggest problem that I am still fighting with is that I want to grow too many things all at once and am very impatient so the gardens end up overcrowded and messy. I hate to pull out anything when it is alive - whether it is surplus to requirements, in the wrong spot. overcrowded or sick but I am hoping to be strong and start doing what is necessary 'for the greater good'. Dreading when my fruit trees start to flower/ fruit as they are very little and I have read that I have to pull everything off so that the root systems grow big and strong ... surely I can leave one of everything ...

Anyway, sorry for rambling on your blog - I must update my own soon with some pics & more recent information. Just wanted to let you know I always look at your stuff, it is always full of helpful information.
Comment by Scarlett on July 30, 2008 at 11:00
ah, thanks so much for replying. you can't tell if people are reading, and sometimes i feel like some sort of ego-maniac putting stuff up that no-one wants to know about :)
fantastic only 5 weeks to go! you'll probably be sad when it's over, i know i was (but then I went off to Cuba so that was a very large distraction).
would love to hear what you're doing in your garden - the excellent thing is everyone does different things and you always learn new stuff. like which spring bulbs do you mean? i put some saffron crocus in this year. actually i have years worth of harvested saffron that i bought from some local growers at a fair in Mott Park put on by BCC - was called Caravanserai (not) or something. the lady said her folks have a saffron farm outside Brisbane - it was so cheap: like maybe a tenth of normal price. i don't know if it's good - seems good to me. anyway...
rotten cabbage moths, although i don't get too many now - i don't use eggshells but i do the mixed planting and lots of dill thing. also letting the dill flower to attract hover flies. i have some sort of slime that gets the dill occasionally though - erg. plantings too close together. another new one for me. plus i think you get more if the plants have hot roots. probably makes them smell more. i have more the cold damp problem.
you can't be envious until i can grow beans. seriously, it's an embarassment. plus i killed a mandarin, a rosella, a chocolate pudding fruit and a blood orange tree during the establishment phase (not enough water). the shame! (and the waste of money!!)
see you in cyberspace :)

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