Help me plan/dream

Horrendusly lucky in that my partner and I might buy a house in the next year or two. Have experience with small veggie patches in various rentals. However we are currently in a unit, and I'm missing it.

Therefore I'm attempting to garden vivaciouly via spreadsheet. Help me. Please? :)

Probably a small suburban yard. We work full time, so anything that can't be eaten gets zero attention, but obviously edible things will get some care. Might get chooks if space permits. Have a worm bin already. Really don't see the point of grass, so we're gonna gradually eliminate any lawn and have something nice instead. Addtionally, large native productive trees might accidentially fall into holes in nearby council land.

* Local sucess stories - what grows really well for you? E.g. A tomato plant we once bought at keperra tafe horticulture sale was legendary - wish I knew what it was!
* Cultivar reccomendations on fruit trees for Brisbane, and where to find them.
* Interested in edible locally native stuff. Because it should grow!
* What species of lilly-pilly are tasty? There are so many! I know there was a nice one at the back of PAH that I used to snack on...
* Any other tips on planning?

Thank you, this seems like a nice community :)


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  • @ Dave and @Cristina Thanks - well may maybe I'll look into potted gardening :) Be nice to have something to take with us.

    Oh and I know - It took me 4 years of watching plants die at my last place before managing to get some results (In a cold, damp shadowed area behind an Melbourne apartment block where the weeds daren't grow) - and even then I think success was more from a an ususually good season!

  • Sarah, You mention that you have a slab of concrete out front, well you could plant some cheap umbrella trees or fast growing plants in half blue wicking drums.  These should create shade and make an area to keep some tree pots. You could fill them with cheap bags of soil or buy an old gazebo.  It would be a temporary thing to get some citrus or hardy plants growing. 

  • Despite your hot space, experimenting with potted herbs is a useful training exercise. Parsley, coriander, spring onions, chives...are easy care. It is worth it at least so that you can relate to watering needs and soil types.

    I had a veg garden ontop of  a verandah in a shopping precinct once -- above a newsagent...

    Too hot? Then shade the plants with another plant (eg: potted rosemary or curry leaf) or shade cloth. Or move the containers around. This time of year isn't like that, so look to the greens, at least.

    I've been coaching my daughter into veg gardening and we used to train kids at the primary school garden -- and learning to care for plants is the first ask. Primarily because annuals require attention.

    It is really about routine and observation...and predicting the plants' needs. Learning to water, when, how, why -- for instance. Everything else is secondary: weeds, fertilisation, etc. If you have a worm farm, you are already making soil.

    My daughter is in her 30s and, lets' say, we still have a long way to go...before her harvests are reliable. I had to argue yesterday that maybe chickweed wasn't something she planted. She was very insistent otherwise.

    FYI I have a neighbour here whose backyard is a dense orchard of about 50 trees -- all in growbags!

  • Yum, thanks Susan, lots of good ideas. (Another tromochino suggestion, will have to give them a go!)

    I should pay attention to which is my favourite manderine since there about at the moment, and we eat alot of them :D Oranges and mandarines are probably head of the tree options for us.

  • Hey Sarah, 

    I’m so pleased that you will be buying soon and can start your garden.   I agree with getting to garden visits if possible but also looking through the blogs and photo posts will give you a good idea. 
    I’ve got plenty to recommend so bear with me.  
    Fruit - go to Daley’s for specific varieties (most of mine are bought from them, but I’m not a snob.   Bunnings will do especially for citrus, they have a large range.)

    Seeds- green harvest, diggers and the seed collection for weird and wonderful but good old Mr fothergill’s is also great especially for the f1’s.   Again, I’m not a snob.   I will only grow their marathon f1 broccoli for example because it has always out performed every other broccoli in my garden. 

    So from my personal experience, I will give you my best performers that I also love to eat.  I grow often more than 1 variety in my yard so I have a few different types of things that I’m comparing to. 
    Banana’s: goldfinger is a must!

    Orange: cara cara (I also grow Valencia &navelina)

    Mandarin: emporer, imperial and  Afourer (I grow 6 varieties)

    lemon: Eureka - omg you will never be without lemons except last 2 months of Autumn.  
    Lychee!! (But I don’t have variety name)

    mulberry! I grow 4 types.  My favourite is Beenleigh black 

    Mango: I grow 2 types both are good   Irwin and r2e2 

    Pawpaw: no variety just saved seeds from store bought that I liked.  

    I grow many more different trees and only on 580 sq m but these are so reliable and prolific and tasty that you just have to plant these first and play with the others.  

    interms of vegetables, there are a few that I wouldn’t be without and while I swap and change varieties of other things, these varieties are ALWAYS grown.  Trombonccino (only type of “zucchini” that does any good in my garden; rattlesnake beans, san Marzano tomatoes, listada di Gandia eggplant (these 4 are from diggers but I now save my own seed).  marathon f1 broccoli, cabbage mini, purple Vienna khol rabi, sun gold f1 tomato- these are from Mr fothergill.  
    So, I hope this helps. 

  • Wow thank you all for responses:

    Front of our unit is pure concrete and will bake anything so I'd written off pots. Unless I sneak them in a common area down the side. But now you mention it we have south-east facing window ledges could maybe support a little herb pot, maybe some of my familys' unkillable mint...

    @Dave - Yeah, Syzyguim is probably not worth the space, but if it happened to grow on some nearby land... Think the warrigal green suggestion came from here - I love me some spinach-y greens :)

    @ Doug I'll keep an eye out for the next one  - only just moved back to brissie :)

    @Barbara - Nice, thanks for the suggestiong - do they taste like zucchini? Never thought about mulberries in a pot but it makes sense - certainly don't need a whole tree's worth of them!

    @Andrew - thanks, used to live out that way but not these days :)

    @Mary-Ann: Yes! I love their info pdf. Thats one for when we've got the ground/pots. Don't tempt me now that I actually live in driving distance! :D

  • if you want to know about native edibles the best place to visit is Pine Rivers Community Nursery at Kumbartcho

    Eatons hill - very knowledgeable and a great place - you could spend a day there with all the walks along the river etc.  they are tube stock so would do well in pots for a couple of years -and the usually about 2$ gets cheaper the more you buy ...for non natives  friends have had great success with blueberries, figs,mulberries lots of citrus tomatoes beans    in pots - all our herbs are in pots - we grow lettuce for eating and chook and fish food in styrene boxes 

  • If you are near Keperra, I'm happy to show you around my place at McDowall. Happy to be honest about what works for me and what doesn't. 

  • Oh, and Pawpaws.

  • For trees - Figs and mulberries will grow and fruit reliably in big pots - or in the ground. Lots of people in BLF have had success with growing fruit trees inground and keeping them well pruned.

    My standout veg the last few years has been Tromboncino - a zucchini on steroids. I grew mine up on to the Hills Hoist in my backyard one year, and along a fence last year. You can get a bit sick of Tromboncinos, though as they are such prolific producers. 

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