Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

It's been a long time since I got back into the garden.  Not a lot growing in the vegetable gardens I cleared a month or so ago... planted heaps of seeds but none of them seemed to want to grow with the exception of beetroot and a lonely kale plant.  After going to a heap of effort and drawing a map of where I planted what, this time I just planted willy nilly without taking notes - so am expecting everything to germinate lol!



I went to the green shed and bought a few seedlings (always hate doing this as they cost as much as a packet of seeds) as well as some dynamic lifter and fine sugar cane - supposedly for the chickens bedding.  Have now removed all the weeds from two long (2.4 x 1.2m) and one square beds out the back, given a boost with dynamic lifter and planted lettuce, silverbeet, italian parsely and basil seedlings.  Then numerous seeds of a very wide variety, as I mentioned I didn't write them down but there were some chinese greens, eggplant, capsicum, chilli, lettuce, zuchini and likely others that came to hand.


Awhile ago I dug up some of my comfrey and tried to propagate it by just planting bits of root, this worked really well and I have now some in two of the garden beds as well as underneath the new banana grove.  I will be doing this again and putting them in a number of other locations to use as mulch - probably ring the new banana grove as well.


The almond tree is starting to get leaves and I notice a couple of flowers (edit.. looking for photos to add to this blog I found it also flowered last October but no fruit, fingers crossed but it did say 7 years).  Searching back through my blogs, this was first planted in September 2008 so is only three years old.  Check out how much it has grown...

December 2008


September 2011


During the floods I lost one tamarillo, but the other one is starting to flower so hopefully will be able to propagate some more from seed as they are so tasty and take up so little room.  

The dwarf peach was planted in the ground last year, but after a number of relocation's of various garden beds it ended up in the middle of one of them so it has a collar to keep the dirt away from the graft.  It has a couple of fruit, but not as many as I had hoped.  Two years ago I got a bumper crop, and last year none so was hoping for more... 



Since severely cutting back the two guava the citrus have come back with a vengenance, they must require sunshine to thrive.  In the past I have had lots of problems with any new growth being attacked by aphids and ending up dwarfed but this year they have doubled in size!  Will have to see how they go as the guava's start to grow back - pretty sure that guava will grow from cuttings so might have to look at trying this and growing them somewhere else.  On an aside, should guava had red leaves in this season?  I will look it up but if anyone knows then I don't have to ;)

I have had a huge problem with paw paw this year, the two out the front have just died.  The leaves got tinier and tinier then there were non left and the fruit fell off.  Not sure what happened there, will plant another one soon and hope that it does a bit better!  


But the babaco that Lissa managed to strike cuttings of and gave me two, one is growing really well and even has three flowers!!!  It is under a couple of banana plants so quite sheltered.  The one in more direct sun is still alive and healthy but nowhere near as good as the other, I plan to plant another tree near it anyway since Ashely expanded that bed so hopefully that will give it a bit more shade.

It is only September and we have a new banana flowering.  It is one of the full size ducasse.  There is also two over wintered bunches that we are waiting to ripen.


I chucked all the out of date seeds in this bed and will wait and see if anything comes up before planting anything else.  It is a new bed and has a layer of chicken poo enriched dirt so if I don't get anything I will probably plant some corn here.

The herb garden isn't doing all that well, although I have just given it a boost with dynamic lifter and a light sprinkling of mulch so hope for better things soon.  It has rosemary, garlic chives, curly parsley, italian parsley, heaps of self seeded dill and fat hen and a sick looking lemongrass that I chopped and divided (out of season) that hopefully will come back soon.  Also a self seeded chilli plant.

On the animal side, two of our three chickens are laying again after a good dusting for mites... not sure what the other one is waiting for but am optimistic that means she will lay longer into the next season when she does start.  We have three remaining quails from Joanne and at least one of them is a girl as we are starting to get quail eggs as well.  Since our Alaskan Malamute Cody passed away last December the house has been a bit lonely, but about a fortnight ago a kitten adopted us and we have since named her Marley... hopefully she is a great mouse hunter as we have mice again.


I am hoping to host a Garden Visit in October, so if I get my butt into gear and finish making the place respectable again then you can all come and see for yourselves how it is growing :)

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Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 22, 2011 at 4:20
That's the stuff Lissa and I use - I've gone back to it after trying a few other ferts. I try and wet it first to speed its being absorbed into the garden. It really stinks when left for a while in a bucket with water. I've tried to be self-sufficient for fertilisers and it was physically too much for me to do.
Comment by Scarlett on September 21, 2011 at 20:46  looks better than dynamic lifter - has minerals and sulphate of potash as well
Comment by Scarlett on September 21, 2011 at 20:45

Rosemary Morrow talks about how to keep up with mulching and fertilising without spending a fortune in "The Permaculture Home Garden" - but you need to collect one wheelbarrow load of organic matter every day! (or equivalent). A glass clippings berth out the front can be a good start - and local business sources are often more than happy to cough up, but you need a trailer. 

Comment by Jane on September 16, 2011 at 17:32
Donna I have 2 different Guava trees, one that I think is just a common one has large leaves & It has been dropping these for the last month as the new ones apear. but the other which is I think is a pineapple guava dropped its leaves months ago is now very green & setting new fruit. I think they are real survivers, watch because they can send up shoots from the roots
Comment by Florence on September 12, 2011 at 21:17
Oh btw, if you need more corms of arrowroot I've got two sets here which I dug out from mum's yard, I was going to cook them but didn't end up doing it.  They're now starting to shoot and I don't have room here....
Comment by Florence on September 12, 2011 at 21:16

Great update Donna ~

Your Guava looks different from mine, your leaves appears bigger?  Mine stayed green over winter, and I believe it is Indian guava.

I envy your bananas, and I think the almond tree would be beautiful when it's covered with buds!  Didn't know it would take 7 years though ^^

Here's info on dynamic lifter

I found it too exxy, so I buy similar stuff from produce store... I must compare the nutrition value next time when it's time to buy more...


Comment by Donna on September 12, 2011 at 18:55

Not sure if I've used this one before... the last bag had been wet and when I went to use it was full of maggots - into the compost it went!  This one has other stuff, remember reading seaweed but sure there was other goodies too.  I have only just started using it in some garden beds and some of the trees - hope to make my way around the gardens in the next week to share the love :)  My kitten cost more than if I bought one off the pound - she arrived at 6mths and with a belly full that has since been removed, she is now spayed and microchipped but for all that she is a lovely cat, very tolerant and purrs with only one pat - not to mention she puts up with the kids man handling her all the time ;)  Wish I had remembered (known?) Lissa's secret ingredient - must try that one next time!!!  


In saying that I have the chickens bedding which is great as raw manure but need to compost it to make sure that it isn't too rich and that it doesn't alter the pH... the compost heaps have been moved a few times through some renovations and the bananas tend to get it as it gets chucked in the middle - really should be more consistent though and then I wouldn't need to buy much more extra which is what I am aiming for.


This year I will try to get comfrey, lemongrass and arrowroot growing around the place as well as planting a corner somewhere of lucerne so that I don't constantly spend a fortune on mulch - that's my main goal for this year.  It is amazing how much can be spend on gardening when in reality it is a luxury rather than a necessity.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 12, 2011 at 17:20
Great to see the pic of the Babaco, Donna ... mine languished in a pot until I planted it a week ago. Does the Dynamic Lifter you use have other nutrients added? Do you find that you get a lot of leaf growth and not much fruit? I've used Organic Xtra in the past and found it excellent, it's Lissa's secret weapon and it's got lots of other goodies in it besides chook poo. Kittens know where there's a vacancy, don't they? ;-)
Comment by Donna on September 12, 2011 at 16:42
I read the packet, it said veggie/ flower every six weeks and fruit trees spring/ autumn.  Depends on the quality of your soil and what other things you use eg compost, worm wee, seaweed, fish etc.  I have already used nearly half a big bag but that is on nearly half of my gardens and I have a lot of fruit trees too.

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