Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I hope you all got as much rain as we did last night. Lovely soaking rain that fell steadily for hours. I haven't checked the water tank but I'm hoping for at least half.

Two of our three artichoke plants are heading up - lovely. The third plant is a little squished (between the other two) and didn't recover so well from the aphid devastation - I guess it won't flower this year.

We went up to the bamboo man on the Sunshine Coast - on Kenilworth rd at Bellis Park - and bought two clumping bamboo plants. Excellent. Both have edible shoots and medium culms about 2-3 m long. They'll make nice garden poles/ stakes and I do think they look beautiful.

I've bought corn seedlings and will plant my three sisters guild tomorrow. I think I'll just interplant amongst the existing broad beans for the moment because we're still getting beans. All my tomatoes are going off - getting some every day now. I've also found some very good rhubarb seedlings to plant - the stems are very red, all the way up, even the leaf ribs are red. It's always tempting to plant the ones that aren't so red as well, but they don't get any redder and you can only really use the bottom red bit if you want good rhubarb flavour, so it doesn't work out. I'll have to force myself to sacrifice seedlings. It seems so brutal. I should probably have planted a month or so ago as rhubarb doesn't love the heat, but I didn't spot any lovely red ones until now.

I think I'll plant a few different types of basil again. Maybe do some pesto experimentation. Lemon basil is sounding tempting. I don't think peppermint basil would be any good...

I planted jerusalem artichokes and yacon. Yay for tubers. Thanks green harvest mail order - your catalogue and getting something in the mail is better than Christmas!

My turmeric and galangal all disappeared underground in mid-Winter, I'm expecting them to pop up again soon-ish. I didn't bandicoot any rhizomes this first year (although sorely tempted) because I'm wanting the plants to establish well first. Our next banana bunch will come down this weekend too - the other one is eaten all up. Pawpaws still steady - usually about two a week from one tree.

I was finally sensible and planted bean seeds into handfuls of soil in the vegie garden and sure enough now we have happy bean plants. I've also FINALLY bought some dolomite to sprinkle around (I find that no dig gardens often need a dolomite sprinkle for magnesium from the outset and this one has never had one - shame!). Also I had a closer look at my parsley and it's thrips not white fly (I'm not good at bending - gardener's back). I have cylindrical beetroot ready to harvest - but I'm disconcerted by them because it's hard to tell when they are ready. It's not like I have to pack them anywhere to save space - we keep bread in our vegie crispers. Our last cauliflower ( or maybe one or two small ones more) will come out tomorrow, and the last two parsnip (which will be monstrous by now - hopefully not stringy). Chinese greens, salad greens, broad beans, celery, brussel sprouts, silverbeet, parsley, tomatoes, spring onions, leeks, spinach and the odd carrot/ beetroot/ turnip/ cauliflower is our current fare. I pulled the broccoli but let one go to seed. I've let a turnip go to seed too. I'll put a photo of it's seed head up, it's the most impressive flower structure I've seen in ages - giant and symmetrical like a space station.

I finally got around to taking a photo of our ridiculous eggs.

Note the interloper at top, second from right - a store bought egg for comparison. Observe that our silly eggs don't actually fit in the holder - some of them fall through. Everything we make with them comes out electric yellow like we've been adding food colouring - weird. Maybe it's a pekin bantam thing? In any case it's a new chook phenomenon for me. Maybe it's the grain mix I'm buying for them. When I kept chickens before I used to make their grain mix myself so it would have no additives, whereas now I buy a ready made mix (maybe the mix is just better? I buy the non-organic one when the organic is sold out, so maybe it's worse..?).

Anyway, electric yellow and tiny they may be, but they taste fantastic!! :)

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Comment by Scarlett on October 20, 2008 at 10:48
I'm almost too ashamed to admit this - I took the hose off the tank on the weekend and realised that the valve was open!! No wonder the tank's not filling despite the rain!!!!! Oh the shame, the horror, the beautifully watered patch of clover that we don't want...
Comment by Florence on October 20, 2008 at 10:10
I checked out the Pet City at Mt Gravatt over the weekend, they have three different colours of cross breds, Black, yellow, and Red. I am thinking about getting two blacks, and maybe one each of yellow and Red, then get a couple of White Wyandotte from breeders. I think we'll need full size coz there's a lot of mouths to feed, also I would like to get all purebreeds, but purebreed's price appears to be double for full size chickens ^^", and since it's our first time I don't really want to blow our budget.... as we'll need to get a coop and everything else too. I will check out the products & services forum .. Cheers ~
Comment by Scarlett on October 16, 2008 at 9:47
We've got little kids so the bantams are good because they don't mind being handled and have gentle dispositions. Also they look good and have amusing hairstyles. The eggs are smaller of course, but then they eat less too. They are also not so scratchy and damaging to the garden and not as good at flying. I also like creating a demand for rarer breeds to keep the breeders in business.
I did a google search (I was looking for chinese silkie breeders in brisbane). I ended up with the pekins as well after speaking to the breeder. There were a couple of breeders out there - near Samford mostly. Can't recommend our breeder - chickens had scaley leg and feather mites, I don't think she even realised (but I cleaned them up with rotenone powder - it's mite dust made from powdered fish poison plant - Murrays used it to stun fish - available stock supplies, there's one on Samford rd or thereabouts). For everyday chickens Pet City at Mt Gravatt has them - worth a few phone calls. Years ago I had ducks as well and there were plenty of breeders out near Redlands as well - for both chickens and ducks. Snake & rat proofing is worth it for chook coops - lost some to giant carpet pythons some years back. There's a discussion forum on chook coops - in products and services i think
Comment by Florence on October 16, 2008 at 9:29
I am hoping to get some baby chickens in November after I come back from my brother's wedding overseas. Doing some research on how to build a chicken coop, and choosing the right chicken. Where did you get your chicken from? Do you recommend bantams?
Comment by Scarlett on October 12, 2008 at 20:28
Shows how much I know - our tank is not so much half full as about 3 inches full. Clearly the rain sounded a lot heavier than it was. When we installed the tank in it filled up after 24 hours of rain, so it's not impossible, but I was clearly dreamin'.

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