Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

My goodness, time just flies!  I have been having trouble finding time to garden, what with David who is now 5 and at 'big school' and Brendan who is coming up to 2 - my boys are growing up so fast!  With working full time as well I always struggle to find time to garden, but hopefully when it is all nice again I'll find the time to maintain it...


Every time I looked at the gardens recently I shuddered and it got to the point that I was too scared to even try to do anything because I knew just how big a task it would be... so I bit the bullet and took two days annual leave so that I could have a big chunk of time to get through the worst.


After the last garden visit I pulled up the pumpkin vines that had taken over the backyard and even started to climb the almond tree.  I rescued the pandan and pit pit which were underneath the mess.  I also weeded one garden bed and used a heap of banana leaves and trunk for mulch which I am waiting to brown a bit before planting out.  On the same weekend I cleared a heap of sweet potato vines and dug up a washing basket full of sweet potatoes, in the process creating two huge piles of waste to turn into compost which are strategically placed in spots in the garden (yes in full view but then the banana circle compost pile is already overflowing!).


Today was my first full day to devote to cleaning up my garden, and I started by pruning all the fruit trees out the back yard.  My gosh, the guava's were ginormous.  I also gave the almond a prune, along with the feijoa, coffee (who knew it would survive my extreme neglect), mulberry, cherry, chocolate persmimmon and a few citrus trees.  One tamarillo was dead, so it was pulled out along with millions of weeds, some yakon and more sweet potatoes.


Thank you to the lovely seed saver members who have shared planting material with me in the past - it is amazing how much you get out of a small amount in very little time.  It's great to share planting material, especially considering the cost of buying commercially!  I am so glad that I am now in a position to be able to share planting material of so many things that are suited to our climate because of these generous souls :)


As my garden just eats mulch, I separated my lemongrass (which was less than two years old) into 25 separate bits and planted them in a really dry garden along one side of the house.  I also separated the arrowroot (again less than two years old) into at least ten sections and replanted.  These will be my mulch plants, along with the banana leaves... I am still thinking of planting a couple of square metres of lucerne somewhere and just mowing over it every so often.


On the topic of mulch, when I pruned the guava I got so many branches that I decided to cut the smaller ones and strip the leaves off the larger ones and have created a discussion on the best way to use these as mulch beneath the fruit trees.


The herb garden has been sadly neglected along with the rest of the garden, but the rosemary, garlic chives and lemongrass were all still doing well.  When pulling out weeds I discovered a heap of self seeded dill seedling so separated some of these.  The biggest weed in my gardens is horrible running grass which I absolutely hate grrr.


There is now a huge amount of soon to be compost in the middle of my lawn along one side of the house which I will find a spot to pile it up on and let it compost gradually.


Tomorrow I will continue... hopefully the front garden and the gardens outside the fence will be tidied up - along with the big veggie garden.  And the big piles of waste I am creating be moved into a pile on a garden somewhere in need of compost sometime in the future.  This will be a huge task as there are some trees/ shrubs that have never thrived where they are so will need to find homes for and the passionfruit and beans that currently cover the fence and climb over 10 metres into the canopy of a huge tree on the verge will need to be demolished - well maybe the bean will live but I have given up on the passionfruit ... at least in that location as it never fruits just produces masses of beautiful flowers!


I am very sorry that there are no photos in this blog, I am at a loss as to the location of my camera.  Last seen it was on the kitchen bench with no batteries... hopefully Brendan has posted it somewhere inside but after a number of pretty exhaustive searches am beginning to come to terms with biting the bullet and buying another - just one of the joys of children I guess.


Hope everyone is well and I look forward to seeing you at a Garden Visit soon!  :)

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Comment by Florence on July 6, 2011 at 14:03

Um.. that's interesting.. there's some sweet potatoes rooted next to the lime tree, and I'm sure around the peach tree as well at my parents place.. better go and pull them up....

How much sweet potatoes did you end up harvested?


Comment by Donna on July 6, 2011 at 13:29
That's interesting Sandy, might be worth a try, although my vines (eventually) rooted at a number of points which you wouldn't get if you did it that way... also I liked the ground cover I got - although it may have contributed to the death of one of my tamarillo trees as there were a couple of large sweet potatoes right next to the roots!
Comment by Lissa on June 16, 2011 at 6:24

Not humiliating - inspirational. "Garden neglectitis" happens to everyone at some point for all sorts of reasons.

This is an opportunity to see what will thrive all on it's on in your garden without supervision too.

Comment by Scarlett on June 15, 2011 at 20:35

sounds great. oh no, not the camera :(   i hate that posting things in the bin phase.

great thing about gardens you can always come back to them :)

Comment by Donna on June 15, 2011 at 15:25
That would be great Florence, I'm going to try a different location next time with more shade!  My sweet potatoes just took over everything, they were left in from that time yonks ago you gave me the cuttings so certainly been in awhile...
Comment by Florence on June 15, 2011 at 11:16
Great work there Donna ~~
Your sweet potatoes really sounded very productive!  I think I don't leave my sweet potatoes in the same spot long enough.. and I should really pile more dirt on the vines.. I just get heps of leaves and not much tubers in comparison.
Pity about the passionfruits...although all the literature seems to suggest grafted passionfruits, but I found the ones I've grown from seeds from fruits I purchased or given more productive myself.. especially the yellow variety ^^ We have heps of green fruits on the vines right now although we just had a late summer harvest, I'll try to raise some seedlings when we have some ripe fruits.
Comment by Donna on June 15, 2011 at 7:21
It would have been humiliating to show everyone just how bad it was lol - you could barely see the grass for the huge pile of weeds on it!  I still have my work cut out for me again today, but hopefully it will go more quickly now that I've made a start... if I finish it all I might even sneak off to the green shed and get some seedlings ;)
Comment by Lissa on June 15, 2011 at 6:43

She's back! :)

How cathartic is a good clean up :D Will do you the world of good. Good feng shui and all that....

Great pity you couldn't take some before and after pics - they would have made great viewing. Very inspirational for everyone.


Comment by Donna on June 15, 2011 at 6:17
The yard is about 800 square metres, and the house is only an old small two bedroom so there is a fair bit of room for gardens :)
Comment by Susan on June 14, 2011 at 19:27

Hi Donna,

I'm so glad to hear that I am not the only one who's garden gets beyond her :)  I've only just been able to start tidying up and planting again now that Zac is almost 3.  Before that, it was too hard to try and do anything because you could guarantee that as soon as I got my hands dirty, Zac would start screaming for attention.  Now he's happy to sit out in the garden and dig while I work for at least an hour so I finally feel that I can start accomplishing stuff.  Just HOW big is your garden to have that many fruit trees?


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