Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

14/03/11 Autumn - the weather is just beautiful already with milder days. It's almost enough to take my mind off the colonoscopy I'm facing later today, or rather, the muck I had to drink in preparation. Thank goodness for gardening to divert my attention from it all lol (and Minties to help remove the dubious flavour).

I'm a normally a nibbler when I mooch around the garden and it's painful not to be able to indulge. I just want a lovely big meal of veg and meat with some FIBRE in it!

The pumpkin vines (heirloom pack I bought from Diggers) I gingerly placed a few seeds of around the yard are doing their best to take over everything. There are mainly male flowers but I did manage to find one female yesterday morning and have hopefully succeeded in pollinating it.

Lettuce are going to seed nicely. I haven't collected lettuce seed before but others seem to do it without too much fuss, so shouldn't be too hard.

Rodents are eating any crop I get on - seem to be after the seed inside. They chewed holes in the Banana Rockmelon (was able to save the bulk due to the size of the fruit) but have completely consumed all my tomatoes, eggplant and red okra. They also attack my cucumbers. Oddly the ones growing on the outside of the beds are untouched. My dogs think the rodents live on the inside and when I let them, dig deep holes trying to find them. I've found two dead mice they've killed (near the aviary) and a large dead rat most likely killed by Nathan's rat poison. Both my neighbours have chooks so the rodents are having a field day between our three yards.

I just hope the rodents leave my beautiful fig fruit alone. The little plant has a couple of dozen developing.

Back from the loo again :(

More diversion needed.

13/03/11 Isn't she a beauty - self sown by some thoughful little bird. I wish I knew which it is so I can admire and thank them. This is the second self sown providing a big crop and there are a couple more little plants coming up around the yard that I transplant to better spots when I find them.

Back again :(

13/03/11 This is where the compost pile was (Lychee branches in the foreground need cutting down smaller). I've just moved it all into bed 1 on top of the existing well broken down compost and new grasss clippings and will add some horse poo, Organic Xtra and granite/deco (potassium) and basalt (calcium). The ground is still extremely soggy/slippery as this is the low point in the yard and I guess all the flood water pooled here.

13/03/11 First self sown Pawpaw is making a good comeback after breaking during a storm due to it's load of fruit last year.

Weed Tea (black tub) - don't know how I managed without this in the past - great way to give the seedlings and cuttings a boost and use up noxious plants.

14/03/11 Babaco cuttings now in indivual pots (still in the sandy seed raising mix) and still seem to be doing well. Some of the cuttings had roots forming and others didn't, yet they all show new growth.


25/03/11  Bed one  replanted - some of the seedlings not doing so well - not sun hardened??

At front - yellow dwarf bean, to right Zuchinni Blk, middle is carrot medly and parsnip seed, left & right towards back are lettuce (can never have enough lettuce on the go), back is corn and roma tom, neither of which are doing well. Quite a few of the seedlings died the next day in spite of being handled with the usual care.

At the front of the bed are Cape Gooseberrys (trying again to succeed with these!) and a Tomatillo (had two but stepped on and broke the one to the right :S hopefully it will come good).

25/03/11 Dwarf Macca - not doing much (some new growth), but still looking healthy.

16/04/11 Pumpkin vine is taking over the backyard but not producing any fruit (heirloom seed mix from Diggers). It's literally giving me nightmares and I have pretty much decided to remove it all.

17/04/11 Choko vine on front fence. The babies are delicious! This has grown within a short time and is already producing lots of fruit. Vine tips, tendrils and even the roots are edible.

16/04/11 Hugo in back right corner.

16/04/11 Bed 1 - dwf yellow bean, zucchini (Blk), mixed carrot, lettuce, corn, rocket. Tomatillo at the front along with Cape Gooseberry.

16/04/11 Dwf banana - variety unknown.

16/04/11 Chilli - Corno de Toro?? tealeafed from Roma St gardens. Quite mild.

16/04/11 Spuds ex fruit shop. Must plant out the "special" ones I have in the pantry - grown from purchase last winter.


Still "between jobs" so I have plenty of time to spend in the garden. I've planted heaps of seed for various broccoli and cauli - some for the second time - did get four mini-cauli seedlings out of the first planting.

I have removed the all-invasive heirloom pumpkin vines. Nothing on them but some embryo fruit to show for all the growth. Very glad to have it gone! as I couldn't get at the plants in the back of the yard and the elevated beds were gradually becoming islands.

25/04/11 I have my yard back! Freya in the foreground.

Bed 1 is coming along nicely although the whatever (??) is eating the tops of the carrot seedlings. No sign of any caterpillars etc in the morning, so I've sprinkled them with Vege Dust. Lots of rain at the moment though so must remember to re-sprinkle.

25/04/11 Bed 1:

Zuchinni; Bush Bean "Frost"; Bush Bean yellow (? seedling from Caboolture Mkts); Carrot "Heirloom Mixed"; Radish "Daikon"; Cauli "Mini"; Parsnip "Hollow Crown"; corn; Roma Toms.


Bed 2 has been replanted. The depth is lower than I would like but I have lost my lovely mower people who brought me heaps of grass - must find another. Stephen is mowing and doing handyman jobs for me at the mo but he doesn't have lots of grass to bring me.

25/04/11 Bed 2 replanted:

Pea "Sugar Snap"; James' climbing bean (?); Silverbeet "Five Colour mix"; Celery "Stringless"; Carrot "St Valery"; Tomato "Amish Paste"; Dwf Bean "Sex Without Strings"; Beetroot "Bulls Blood".

25/04/11 Dwarf Banana fruit coming along nicely. Elaine has given me a bunch bag.

25/04/11 Somewhere nice to sit with a cuppa and look out over the backyard.

20/04/11 Listada di Gandia; Jeruselum Artichokes (where did they come from ?? don't remember planting any); Jalapeno chilli (according to Kate from Cab. Seed Savers); toms.

19/04/11 Goodies hidden under the pumpkin vine - gave the embroyo pumpkins to Elaine; figs; 3 sorts of cucumbers (including Gympie Gold ex Cab. Seed Savers seed); Jalapeno chilli.

17/04/11 Front Yard - chokos are doing well and grow so fast without any bugs. I've planted out the Tamarillo plants I grew from seed along with strawberry runners from Jess. I've removed some of the Pit Pit which was looking a bit ratty.


Visited the Yandina Markets yesterday with Jess and Michelle and it was a very productive visit!

Apart from the gluten free goodies on offer (home made fruit tarts, smoked sausage, cane juice) there were lots of edible plants and interesting veg to choose from. Picked up some more plants from the community garden nusery later as well at $2 a pop. Cheap cheap.


What's happening in the front yard? Filled up the back now making the most of the front yard! Have turned the patch of grass between the fence and the path into a no-dig bed - Midyim and lavendar to be planted.

Tahitian Spinach bought from Yandina Community Gardens. Entire plant is edible apparently - yet to try it.

Note: leaf joint is completely underneath the leaf, unlike the inedible alocasia on the other side of the fence which comes to a point with the leaf joint.


Dwarf Wurtz showing lots of new growth.


New bed outside front fence waiting for the grass to die to plant Midyims and lavendars. Choko on fence to right.


Pomegranates - grown from seed on left, Wonderful on right.


Yellow Jaboticaba (NOTE: this never did grow, sat there like this for over a year and then died) , Cassava at back and strawberries.


Black Jaboticaba, choko on fence, raspberry.


Tahitian Spinach, Tamarillos, Canistel, strawberries.


This last week it has become really chilly and the ugg boots and extra coats have been put into use.

The rats in the ceiling have gone quiet - dead? hybernating? At least they are leaving my seedlings alone now and not eating the middle out of my eggplants. The dogs have killed a few and enjoy our night time forays out into the yard to hunt down the ratties.

Everything is thriving at this time in the garden and being off work has meant that I can get a few jobs done that were on the wish list, like the garden bed outside the front fence, now all planted up with Midyim, Lavender and some native ground cover bought from Indigiscapes.

I have discovered a loofah growing mysterioulsy where I never planted one, in a great spot where I can train it over the tank. Just what I wanted! but lord knows where it came from

Stephen (handyman) has put in a terrific post for my rain water tank hose which is connected to a really powerful pump. Love having it all tidy like this. He did a great job.

The seedlings in Bed 2 (below) are coming along well - carrots, beans of various sorts, peas, toms, celery, spinach, beetroot.

Listada di Gandia at the front producing more flowers and giving me good return in fruit for buying the seed. The cuttings I took seem to be doing well also.

The Dwarf Ducasse is now planted out and producing new leaves.

Two of the three potato grow bags showing new growth.

These two bags are from spuds I kept back from the first cropping, so very excited to be growing second generation.

Corn seems to grow all year round and I'm never disappointed with the results. Just have to keep checking for the dreaded caterpillars helping themselves to the flowers and developing cob.

Most of this haul went into a roasted vege bake (not the cucumbers) which turned out tasty.

I did add some pea eggplant bought from Yandina Market but they are bitter and horrid which reduced the pleasure somewhat. Have to pick them out before eating a mouthful.

Actually had some honey bees visiting - haven't seen any in ages. There are quite a few flowers around the place to attract them. Nasturtium are making a comeback getting ready for spring.


The rats have stopped eating my seedlings! (Can still hear them shuffling around in the ceiling despite the bags of rat poison). There are minimal grasshoppers, caterpillars and slugs doing damage! Time for growing some crop!

Below - Bed 1 coming along nicely - carrots are growing quickly and some of the broccoli and cauli seedlings are finally taking off without things eating them. Should be able to pick the little crop of corn soon.

Have soaked and planted the Bali Corn seeds Jacqui gave me, about 100 in all - fingers crossed that some of them come up - could be just my luck that they ALL come up lol.

Below - 24/05/11 Jeruselum Artichoke - a little surprise crop found at the bottom of some dead branches of plant. Really not my favourite thing - am yet to find a way to cook them that makes them really irresistable.

Below - Bed 3 (on left) with last of cucumber plant still in it, needs to be replenished and replanted with winter veg. This has been a prolific cropper but stupidly I don't seem to have kept a record of which seed I used! It was from seed I had saved from a previous crop I think - should still have some in a packet.

Below 20/05/11 - spuds doing well.

Below - Loofah has come up by itself beside the tank. Seems to have a symbiotic relationship with ants in that it produces sugar from little spots at intervals along the stem.

Below 24/05/11 Bed 2 - coming along nicely - mostly beans and peas this time as they should blanche and freeze well. Also some toms, Florence Fennel, carrots, spinach and celery seeds planted and all coming up.

Below 20/05/11 - First of the carrots (heirloom mixed colour again) and zuchinni. Have removed the zuchinni to make room for more cauli type plants. Really don't like zuc :S


I've notice one of the tomato plants leaves are rolling up. Seems it's due to the cool wet weather we're having and will self correct:

Leaf roll, or leaf curl, is a physiologic distortion that may develop with periods of cool, rainy weather. It cause the lower leaves to roll upward and become thick and leathery. Leaf roll does not affect plant growth or fruit production and requires no treatment.

27/05/11 Below - replenishing Bed 3 with all the compost I had.
27/05/11 Below - minerals for the bed - dolomite (calcium), granite (potassium), basalt (calcium & iron).
27/05/11 Below - Hugo, Freya and Gretel hunting for buried kitchen veg scraps (last nights broccoli was the temptation).
Autumn is almost over - we've had some chilly days but last night there was quite a dramatic storm with lots of thunder and rain this morning, so quite a comfortable temp due to the cloud cover.
This is my second autumn/winter season growing veg - peak growing time - and I have a much better idea this year what will produce well for me. Lots of beans, peas, carrots, cauli and broccoli planted.
Jacqui's Bali corn seeds have been most co-operative and many of the 100 seeds planted are sprouting. About 50 have been put into Bed 3.
Rats - have had so much trouble with them eating my newly planted seeds and sprouts on the seed shelves. Have bought a whizzbang throttling trap from Bunnings, but yet to kill anything with it.
Joseph (Mok) has found this recipe for making rat cakes - poisonous to rats (and rabbits) but not harmfull to dogs (who can pass wind and won't bloat up....apparently).

The recipe is to mix one part sugar (castor sugar is ideal) with one part sodium bicarb (baking soda) and one part flour. You add a bit of water to form a dough and dish out pieces of this "cake" to areas where rodents are active.

The digestive system of rodents cannot expel gas and the idea is that bicarb produces CO2 when it comes into contact with acid (in this case stomach acid). The gas causes the stomach to expand, resulting in either an implosion or suffocation - by pressing up against the lungs.

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Comment by Lissa on July 21, 2011 at 6:12
Hi Paul - you've posted your response to Elaine in my blog. You might want to send it to Elaine herself.
Comment by Lissa on May 14, 2011 at 17:43
Once the "tomatillo" fruit ripen (tiny at the mo) I'll post a pic. They obviously grow much easier for me than my precious CG!
Comment by Lissa on May 14, 2011 at 17:05
You could be right - they were both certainly there at the same time. The link above says the larvae bury themselves in the ground and eat the roots though, which wasn't which the black things were doing - they were eating the leaves.
Comment by Lissa on May 14, 2011 at 16:54

I have that beetle and the squooshy black larvae Elizabeth , but I don't think they're related. Someone told me recently it is a Cucumber Beetle and it's a nasty little pest.

This lot of Cape Gooseberry aren't dying on me thank goodness but there aren't any fruit for me yet.

The other plant I bought as a Tomatillo looks much like a CG which I find odd, as I thought these were more of a tomato variety. You can see it a bit younger in the pic labelled 25/04/11. This is growing prolifically and has many little lantern fruit developing.

Comment by Lissa on April 23, 2011 at 7:26

I bought mine from Kendalls - would not recommend them to you though. Slow and expensive.

Daleys had some for sale the other week and we know they're reputable.

Comment by Vanessa Collier on April 22, 2011 at 21:51
Hi Lissa - your garden looks very lush and beautiful.  I have a rampant pumpkin vine too that hubby mows when he gets sick of it.  The variety changes a bit each year and it just grows itself.  I've never planted a pumpkin seed in my life (just throw them in the compost).  Where did you get your dwarf macca?  I'm thinking that will be my next fruit tree purchase. 
Comment by Lissa on March 24, 2011 at 6:13

All is well - testing each 5 years now lol.

I've never had a pawpaw reach that kind of height - I have no idea why. They all fruit low.

The little red one is getting flowers on it now - something to look forward to.

The soggy patch is right up against the raised bed so I have to be careful not to plant anything that will impede my access to the contents of the bed. I tend to put my compost heap there withe some woody material at the bottom.

Like all things, it will pass.

Comment by Scarlett on March 23, 2011 at 15:50


glad to hear all is well Lissa. I hope you don't have to drink that horrible stuff too often ;)


yes, we always had to bust out the ladder for the second fruiting season. 


lissa you could try and make the most of your soggy patch - try taro, or vietnamese mint, or a pond with little mozzie eating fish and water chestnuts, or kang kong maybe

Comment by Florence on March 17, 2011 at 8:28
Um... one is a bought bi-sexual plant, and the others were grown from seeds of bought fruits... so they're not any special kind...
They can be reached up on a ladder, although a couple of them maybe out of reach soon the way they're going... One of the tallest two is not productive producing only a few fruits a year, the other tall one produce heps of fruits, but smaller and don't taste as good and most were fed to the fruit bats, so maybe we should chop these down and replant new ones.  Have several large seedlings growing in the neglected veggie beds, so maybe should transplant those...
Comment by Lissa on March 16, 2011 at 15:34

Not tall due to have snapped off when laden with fruit during a storm last year :) This is it's big comeback.

I've never had one get so tall that I can't reach the fruit - is it a particular kind that you're growing Florence?

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