Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I want to post about some "Captain Obvious" things that I am surprised that I didn't know.  As a result, this blog will probably be updated regularly.  

1. Calcium

Yep - deficiencies cause blossom end rot in fruit/veg.  Sometimes yellow veins in the leaves.  I know that.  I've always tended to use trace elements to fix it.  

Easier answer is to throw gypsum into the soil when you plant.  It alters the soil composition to break clay and clump the soil to make nutrient uptake easier for the plants.  It is also very high in calcium.  Gypsum works as a preventative, as well as a cure.  Unlike dolomite and lime, it does not alter the ph of the soil.  So, you can plant straight into it. 

Surprised I didn't know that!

2. Manure

Poo ain't poo.  Well, I knew that.  I knew:  horses have one stomach and cows have two.  So, cow manure has less weeds.  

I didn't know that both of those manures are lower in nitrogen which means that while fresh, they won't burn your crops like fowl manure (high in nitrogen) will.  Lots of nitrogen will make the plant grow like crazy, but fruit very little.  However, horse, sheep and cow poo are rich in organic matter, just like compost so they help growth and fruit.  

3. Spring and Autumn

I'm a preserve maker:  jams, chutneys etc.  I always figured I grew and preserved to get through winter.  I think that's not true in Brisbane.  I'm finding with the likes of tomatoes, and most else, that I can grow and preserve in spring and autumn.  Winter is too cold and summer too hot.  Talk about Captain Obvious. 

Feel free to add your own comments!

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Comment by Doug Hanning on April 22, 2020 at 18:45

Yeah Andrew the pickled quail eggs with cardamon and curry powder are so good as a snack. I will still do my video tour on Saturday as I had been looking forward to it for months and its dissapointing it cant go ahead as planned.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on April 21, 2020 at 17:32

Oh and Doug.  Don't worry if you need to reschedule mate.  It's virtual.  We can watch whenever.  I might even watch with a home made beer.  

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on April 21, 2020 at 17:30

Pickled golden quail eggs Doug.  Damn it.  I should have put that in the book! 

Comment by Janet Fong on April 21, 2020 at 11:52
I lay out egg shells under the sun, they become brittle quite quickly - about a week if sunny.
Comment by Rob Walter on April 20, 2020 at 20:02

Huh, a bit of googling led me to discover that arhcaeologist find eggshell fragments (often over 5mm in size) well preserved in areas at least a thousand years old. If the soil is not acidic they just remain as calcite and last more or less forever.

Comment by Doug Hanning on April 20, 2020 at 18:48

Egg shells break down pretty easy. Some folks leave boiled quail eggs in vinegar overnight and the egg shells dissolve before pickling. I just peel them the old fashioned way as I dont like wasting my vinegar. I throw my chicken, duck and quail eggs on the bbq grill and that makes them brittle and I can grind them in my hand. Pickled 120 a week ago.

  • On another note will do my garden virtual tour on the weekend that it should have happened, has been a busy 4 weeks trying to keep the people that work for me employed and deal with a tear in the meniscus of one of my knees. Hopefully we have turned the corner!
Comment by Rob Walter on April 20, 2020 at 16:08

I don't have an old blender, but processing them before they go in the garden sounds like a good idea. I might freeze them so I can deal with them in batches (and keep my eye out for a blender of some sort).

Comment by Christa on April 20, 2020 at 13:25

Rob, do you own an old blender, you could save your eggshells and blend them in some water and feed them to plants that need extra calcium, like tomato and brassica type plants.  The shell pieces break down to calcium enriched water.  

Comment by Rob Walter on April 20, 2020 at 10:42

I've just resumed putting eggshells in my compost after a break of a few years. I somehow convinced myself that I was imagining the fact that they never break down. I guess maybe they provide a bit of aeration to clay soil (in the same way sand does)?

My approach with urine as fertiliser is to use mulch as an intermediary to get the nutrients into the vege patch. I'm in a rental with lots of lawn, so I wee on the lawn, which then grows faster and has greener, more nutrient-rich leaves, which I then mow, dry and put on the garden. It's probably a year between fertiliser application and the plants accessing the nutrients, but what's the rush?

Comment by Susan on April 19, 2020 at 19:01

I want miniature goats but I’m going to have to wait until almost retirement and move to the farm

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