Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Well it has been the rainiest December in history and everyone is getting very sick of it.  My yard is very wet and you squelch wherever you walk... unless it is mud then you slide.  The chicken pen is a slurry and a fair few spots are underwater.  Lavendar looks especially bedraggled compared to the others.

I'm worried that if the rain doesn't stop soon some of the fruit trees will end up dieing from being waterlogged but nothing has succumbed yet although the new growth on the citrus is terrible, pretty sure it is a mite - they always get it when new growth appears unless I give the plants a light spray with Neem oil... but it was too wet this time so I will have to prune the new growth if it ever stops raining.

There are now four banana bells - the original two should be ripe soon I hope, but will have no idea of how to tell until they go yellow unless I wait for Ali's to be picked and then wait a few days.  They are putting out heaps of suckers and are loving the rain so far although one of the new suckers was in a huge puddle for a day or two but it seems to have drained for now.  No matter how many suckers I cut off they keep throwing more and they seem to grow within a week!

The yakon, arrowroot, ginger, tumeric, pit pit and comfrey are all going great guns and have turned into an overcrowded jungle.  That's what I get for forgetting that I left some tumeric and ginger in the ground when I harvested then planting pit pit and yakon there...

The back bed has carrot going to seed it in there so I threw a heap of alfalfa around and will use it as green manure.  I'm not sure what variety the carrot is but will be keep to try and save seeds as they don't readily go to seed in our climate usually...


My stupid passionfruit still hasn't put out any fruit, flowers galore but nothing/ nada/ zip.  I didn't fertilise it except a handful of potash and some boron black gritty stuff from Anthony - humate? It's living on borrowed time at the moment I might take Lissa up on some of her seedlings.  Of course Ashley's is doing really well...

The sweet potato just gone totally crazy and invading the whole place now!  Doubt there will be any tubers think there is way to much vines!  I will get in there and chuck some shovel loads of dirt around on top to see if I get get them to root.


The tamarillo's have got heaps of fruit that I have high hopes will ripen and give me a decent crop of something... imagine what it must be like to get a 'glut' of something... although the banana's will be too soon.  There are some limes and the guava's are both fruiting as well, starting to get some real benefit out of the fruit trees.

There is one pineapple that is fruiting but the others are all growing quite fast - for pineapple that is.

Good luck to everyone's garden and hope that the rain doesn't do any permanent damage to our plants!


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Comment by Elaine de Saxe on January 9, 2011 at 15:44
I reckon that we squeeze what oxygen is in the ground out, by walking on it and we only do what we have to on the soil while it's so wet. Unless someone comes up with a solution for the Lychees, I suggest you check the DPI site or which can help to identify pests and diseases. The lettuce will survive out of the rain, ours are on the back patio with just enough light to support growth which is very slow.
Comment by Donna on January 2, 2011 at 8:24
Hope your chook is okay, mine are not laying at the moment (well maybe one egg a day) - two have just stopped being broody and I think one is moulting.
Comment by Lissa on January 2, 2011 at 6:49

The tanglefoot sounds useful:

What's your experience using this?

Sounds like something that would be helpful with the Soursop as the aphids and ants cannot be deterred with mere water. They don't appear to be doing all that much damage, but they must be draining some of the goodness from the fruit.

I'm not going to get one single Wampi or Lychee from the crops as the fruit bat has eaten them all. I'll have to work on this problem for future crops.

What do you do with the bananas when they blow over Florence? - do you prop them back up again or destroy them?


Comment by Florence on January 1, 2011 at 20:20

I found the chooks in the bottom of the pecking order are kept outside in the rain and get drenched.... I think one of them have caught a cold a week ago as she was much less active, and was hiding away for a couple of days.  

Your garden's doing well ~ The banana roots must anchored really well ~ I have a few things blown over partly due to the soaked soft ground, and party of course strong winds

Comment by Donna on December 31, 2010 at 10:55

I'm hopeless at cuttings... but I'm happy for you to give it a try :) When is the best time to do this, it is covered in fruit at the moment.


Thanks for the reminder about tanglefoot, I might see if I can get some otherwise I'll try vaseline.

Comment by Donna on December 30, 2010 at 7:21

Guy, citrus are not my friend really... I have been struggling every inch of the way to get them to thrive - every time they put out new growth the aphids attack it and I have had to resort to neem oil.  Although out of all of them the tahitian lime is the best by a long shot! 

I have lemonade lemons (which I almost killed but did come back and is growing again), mandarin (always covered in black soot and the new shoots get attacked by aphids/ ants) the lime and a mystery one that I have forgotten but is probably myer lemon which is going pretty well.

It would be worth starting a new discussion to get input as I know a few people have struggled with citrus in our climate.


Comment by Donna on December 29, 2010 at 6:19
Hmm, I can see a photo blog with close ups on a weekly basis coming up :)
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on December 28, 2010 at 23:14
The flying foxes are the best judge of fruit ripeness ... with an old-fashioned Ladyfinger banana, climbing a ladder was the only other option I had. I figured when the flying foxes started to chomp the fruit, it was time to cut the bunch. Bunches are very heavy! And the sap stains everything it touches so use your oldest clothes to work on banana plants. The fruit will all ripen within a week so getting the fruit preserved
by drying, spicing, pickling, freezing ... whatever it takes you need
to work quickly or eat quickly to make use of the fruit before it rots. Chop down the main stem and leave it to rot down around the stool (the banana rhizome). A machete (jungle knife) or a cane knife are useful, a saw catches on the fibres so something sharp and heavy is best for chopping banana stems into pieces.
Comment by Scarlett on December 28, 2010 at 20:53
ignore the sweet potatoes until you trip over them :)  - plenty of spuds next April!

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