Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

What have I done? I am the anti-potato.

For some reason I cannot grow potatoes in Queensland. They always die on me about half-way through the growing season (OK, so it's happened twice, but it never happened in Melbourne). I know potatoes are a bit marginal in this climate, but it must be possible. I'll post a photo and see if anyone can help out.

It's been a very egg-y week. Hooray for Booty, PinkRosie and Heckle!! Thankyou girls. I had to tape some toy eggs together and put them in their nest to show them what it's all about, but they then produced their first eggs only a few days later. They've been doing egg-y type clucking for weeks and I was starting to despair. The books said prepare a laying mash every morning which had me spooked - our mornings are somewhat rushed and I'm not a good early morning person. Am very glad the old "this is an egg" trick worked. Can hopefully stick with the grain feeder, kitchen scraps, garden greens and forage diet (although maybe I need mash and don't know?).e

Our macadamia is flowering and still dropping the last few good ones from the previous season when the wind gets up. Great for biscuits. We have the long-arm macadamia cracker from Green Harvest - it's a gem.

Our lychee is flowering, as are the broad beans and the calendula. I'm pleased about the calendula because I just scattered seeds and ignored them. My king orchid is flowering - pretty :)

I've constructed a new bean/ pea spot in proper soil, not compost, so hopefully my legume situation should come good. The trellis will hopefully provide a bit of afternoon shade for the hottest vegie garden bed too, now that the sun is climbing in the sky.

We have celery everything, lots of parsley, we're eating the last of the carrots and parsnip but new ones are coming on. The self seeded lettuces are getting big enough to pick, whilst we still have big ones left that I've mostly been picking the outer leaves from. (I just let one lettuce go to seed - they're self pollinating - and once the seed pods had dried off a bit I picked the flower head, cut it up with secateurs and dumped the bits where I wanted the new lettuces to come. We also have some volunteers in weird places – like in gaps in the sleepers!).

The chooks keep pecking our strawberries. Sigh. Have some in a mini-garden which are safe enough though. We're also getting lots of snow peas from this, also curly leaf parsley, spring onions and it has my saffron crocuses in it too. I'm growing thyme and sage on the top layer.

Our broad beans are flowering madly and I'm guessing they're about to set. The tomatoes are green and getting bigger, as are the brussel sprouts, we still get enough broccoli spears for a stir fry every 4 days from 5 plants (I think it's italian sprouting broccoli) and I've put some in the freezer now too.

Pak choy and chinese cabbage are ready again, next wave of beetroot, carrots and parsnips is getting there. My spring onion seedlings are very slow in all this cold weather. Big excitement – picked the first cauliflower and 2 more are visible already. Cauliflower cheese with parsley and celery – yum!

I've been enjoying bringing the dill flowers into the house as cut flowers - great architectural form, a nice light yellow-green colour, and they last rather well, although they drop pollen.

Am worried I picked our bananas too early after all. Have rested a couple of ripe bananas on the hands and am starting to see proper signs of yellow. We’re still getting a paw paw every week or so.

Am getting excited about the weather warming up so I can plant some new things. I had a look over my seeds this week to see what I think. My daughter is requesting rockmelons. I’ve requested Yakon and Jerusalem artichokes from the Green Harvest catalogue. Think I’ll put them in the “orchard” area with the young citrus.

All our chicory is hearting up like crazy now – must be pumping the roots up. We’ve only been using it for salad greens. I don’t think I’ll attempt chicory root coffee, although I do like Caro & Ecco. Once I made my own coffee bean coffee. It took 5 person hours to make 250g (admittedly all by hand and no skill). Tasted OK, pretty much standard. There’s a case for Fair Trade coffee! Have three coffee bushes – no beans yet though. I’m looking forward to doing it again when they produce.

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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)

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