Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Yesterday, I looked at the one big ripe pawpaw on my rather overgrown tree, and thought - I'd better pick that tomorrow, and take the top out of the tree....... Aaaargh. At least the critters (bats?possums?rats?) made a good job of it, and didn't just take a few bites and drop it on the ground!

Anyway, the pepino I got from Daley's three months ago is powering along - even some tiny fruits. The stump in the foreground is a lemon tree that the root stock took over a while back.  Its spot in the garden has now been taken by a china flat peach. The new lemon tree is round in the back yard.

The precocious persimmon had its fruit load reduced from 60+ to 8. That's right, 60. It was covered in flowers. Even now, I think 8 might be being a bit greedy, and more will probably come off. The persimmon is older than it looks - I nearly killed it a few years ago before I found out (thanks Annette on the radio) that it needs lime and doesn't want too much Organic Xtra at a time (I can be a bit heavy-handed with the fertiliser). Now it's trying to make up for lost time.

A tomato came up in the vege patch, and it looked nice and healthy, and not a cherry, so I encouraged it. It turned out to be a supermarket tomato - tastes like it, anyway - and it was very prolific. We have already had about half a kilo before I took the picture of all the fruit, and the critters got half a kilo. The bush is a bit sad looking now, but is still carrying a few more bunches as you can see. The critters have worked out that white bags mean goodies inside, and have even managed to open a couple when I didn't tie them up securely enough. They have been known to chew through the bag when it's something really yummy like loquats, but so far haven't bothered for the tomatoes. (Well, supermarket tomatoes, who can blame them?)

The blue barrow at the back in the tomato plant picture is for sweet potatoes. There is a red barrow as well. The sweet potatoes usually do well in them, but this season the critters ate the tubers I'd put to sprout in the bush-house just before I went away, (should've kept them in the house) and I haven't got around to organising another batch.

Pineapple alley is planted in a retaining wall, on pure clay/schist subsoil. I had 5 pineapples last year, and 6 are on this year. The pineapples get the liquid from the worm farm poured over them, as well as some Organic Xtra when I remember. The grape is about 4 years old, and never performs all that well. I bought it from Bunnings, I think, labelled as a Black Muscat, but I think it's a seedling. Of course, the poor performance could well have something to do with the lousy soil, but if the pineapples manage, why not the grape?

A few little mangoes on the mango tree in the foreground. I bought it as a Glenn from a local nursery, but when it fruited last year, the fruits (2) were green with a dark red blush when ripe. I waited so long for them to turn golden yellow, like Glenns are supposed to, that they got over-ripe and fell off. I guess it ain't a Glenn. That was about when I decided to get all my fruit trees from Daleys, and I haven't regretted that decision.

The latest acquisitions are a china flat peach, the pepino, a panama red passionfruit, and a pomegranate - so pretty with its red flowers that I won't take them off till fruits start to form. So far the possums have left the Panama Red alone. They used to attack my other passionfruit last season, chewing the new growth so badly I had to cover it up. At times my back yard looks like a curtain showroom. Hopefully they will be content with the sacrificial fennel growing near the fence.

The bit of rain we've been having has been most encouraging. Tanks are full, so all will be well, at least for a month or so. Thanks to everyone for all the good info on the site, and the garden visits which have been so interesting and enjoyable.

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Comment by Susan on October 31, 2015 at 17:32

Hi Barbara, I wouldn't worry about it not getting any sun for three months - they are completely deciduous and mine looks like a dead bundle of sticks until mid September when it bursts into life and and new growth.  In fact, I shouldn't have planted where it is, it should be down the side of the house in full shade during winter and I could use it's spot for something else.  Am going to try the lime thing with the persimmon.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on October 31, 2015 at 9:36

Persimmons are as tough as old boots. Not tried one in a pot though. 

Comment by Barbara Tealby on October 31, 2015 at 9:31

I'm really nervous about doing anything to the persimmon plant, Lissa, having killed so many in the past, but (again, on the radio, or was it Gardening Australia?), I heard that you are supposed to give them 'all the good things' in the spring, so I added some more lime and some Organic Xtra and topped up the potting mix last week. Hope it doesn't keel over.

Comment by Barbara Tealby on October 31, 2015 at 8:59

Roger, I'm not an expert on pomegranates, having had mine for all of a week, but maybe there is a bit much nitrogen from the horse manure, and they need potash or phosphorus to fruit.

Comment by Barbara Tealby on October 31, 2015 at 8:57

Susan, The pomegranate is just a baby, cv ''Wonderful'' like Roger's, and the flowers were on it when it arrived. I hope it grows really well this summer, as it needs to be over a metre tall by winter, or it'll get no sun for three months, since it is planted in a garden on the southern side of the house, 3 metres from the house. Sounds like yours might be a seedling, or you might just be feeding it too well. I've been told they thrive on neglect

Comment by Lissa on October 31, 2015 at 8:24

Ah- getting my poms and pers mixed up. My Pomegranates are going great guns, it's the Persimmon which struggles.

I try to cut back the Poms every winter when they drop their leaves. Very spikey plant. I didn't manage to do it this winter past but both plants are covered in gorgeous orange flowers. Hmmm. Connection between this and not cutting back? I doubt it, more like the season suits them, but worth remembering for future.

Comment by Roger Clark on October 31, 2015 at 7:17

The jury is still out on my Pomegranates. These were bought as 6 or so "Unknown variety" cuttings a few years back from someone out Cleveland way. I have a small hedge of them which have produced fruit but not many. I figured that as they got older they would bush out and produce much more. Each year I prune the height back to get them to "hedge", and this year there were a lot of flowers, and my expectations soared. Then we had a bit of rain and all but a couple fell off.  Will they develop more? I doubt it, I'll use my usual excuse for poor production (my soil). Meanwhile my known species Pomegranate, a "Wonderful", has a lot of flowers and is in a better class of soil (an old vege garden). I know that some will suggest that as these are a Mediterranean plant they may not fruit well in our humid climate, but they certainly grow well and other examples of Med plants such as Citrus will fruit very well. Maybe I'm missing a vital ingredient to the soil, I fertilise with horse manure and mulch well but apart from that They are pretty well neglected. Any Ideas out there? Do they like a more neutral PH? My soil is naturally quite acid but I have loads of wood ash available, which will obviously sweeten up the soil. Maybe I should try wood ash on a couple of trees and monitor what happens. I'll wait a week or so for any more expert opinion to come through before trying that.

Comment by Lissa on October 31, 2015 at 5:58

Great blog Barbara :)

Yep - think we've all learned the hard way that buying reputable fruit trees from a good source like Daleys is the better way to go. I've been a sucker for "interesting" seedling plants from the markets in the past and I'm still waiting for them to do anything.

Your toms look terrific. Don't worry that their heritage was the supermarket. They were grown organically at your place and will taste great. Those that the critters don't eat.

My poor Pomegranate doesn't do well these days. It's neighbours have overshadowed it. Plant is healthy and tries it's best but the fruit don't stick. And nothing like your 60. Perhaps I should give it a bit more lime as you and Annette suggest.

Comment by Dave Riley on October 31, 2015 at 0:15

So are the pomegranates worth their while? I got some seed then looked at the hard yards and time scale (5-6 years) and thought better of the project. 

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on October 30, 2015 at 21:59

The yard is looking great Pat.  

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