fruit (16)

Back in the Garden- Oct 2016

Last month, I ventured back out into my garden after a lengthy absence, not at all sure what I would find. I was delighted to find that most of my fruit trees survived, though some fared better than others.

(Funny enough, the Nasturtiums had gone completely feral so the yard didn’t look nearly as bad as it was because it was all covered with a layer of cheery orange flowers!)

9779268883?profile=original

Over in my “orchard” of dwarf fruit trees, the Dwarf Red Shahtoot was covered by the strangling vines that grow over everything that sits still long enough around here.

I thought for sure it was dead (not just dormant) but saw green through some of the bark. One side of the tree has survived, at least, so I gave it a good feed and a coat of BD paste and hoped for the best. 

Soon after, I had buds, leaves and berries. I’ll still have to wait and see how much of the tree comes back to life.

9779270273?profile=original

My 3 tropical apple trees seem to have been completely unbothered by my lack of care. 

9779270476?profile=original

Two of the trees, my Golden Dorsett and Tropic Sweet, have now bloomed and

set a reasonable number of fruit.

 I’ve even had to thin the fruit a bit, with as many as four fruit in a group.

The Tropical Anna hasn’t bloomed yet but is putting on new growth.

9779271864?profile=original

The orange trees were absolutely covered with blooms and the fragrance was heavenly!

  The fruit is beginning to swell and it won’t be long before I’ll have to think about thinning those out, as well.

9779272268?profile=original

The poor little Tahitian Limewhich has never looked terribly healthy, is doing its best. It has bloomed and is actually trying to set fruit.

9779273252?profile=original

The Dwarf Peach, whose very healthy “belly” drags the ground anyway, bloomed and has set a few fruit. I still have to figure out a way to protect those peaches from rodents given their proximity to the ground! (I’m working on “peach cages”. Otherwise, I’ll have to enclose the whole little tree in wire mesh and stake it to the ground if I plan on getting a peach.

The Lots-o-Lemons is just beginning to bloom and sadly, there are still no blooms on my Jaboticaba tree.

9779273667?profile=original

Over in another area, my Dwarf Freemont Mandarin was doing poorly with an ant infestation and sooty mould, which it has battled since I got it. Nothing else I tried worked, so I banded it to stop the ants and removed every single leaf except for the new growth. Cross-my-fingers, it seems to be working.

9779274457?profile=original

The Dwarf Nectarine put out its brilliant red foliage and single bloom. I was surprised to find one tiny fruit growing a few days ago.

9779275291?profile=original

I untangled the sprawling, gangly-looking

Pepino plants and installed them vertically in a couple of tomato cages. They have begun putting out more foliage, blooms and fruit.

The white Choko, has begun climbing back up the fence, and I have 3 plants starting for anyone who needs one.

9779276085?profile=original

Back up near the top of the yard, the Red Tamarillo is happy and fruiting like mad. I’m able to bag some of it, but I’ll have to plant the next tree somewhere that allows me to more safely access it and not teeter on the edge of a slope with a ladder.

9779277662?profile=original

The Pigeon Peas have been providing food for the birds and the bees. I’ve managed to get a couple of meals-worth for myself, as well.

9779277896?profile=original

They are beginning to slow down, now, so I’m trying to get some more started to plant elsewhere and make sure I have plenty to share next season.

9779278680?profile=original

OH! And I can see the very start of a Pineapple on one of the 3 plants I originally got from Elaine.

9779279082?profile=original

Down at the very bottom of the yard is where I planted the Cherry tree. I was so happy to see that it has survived and is putting out leaves and blooms on all branches.

9779280472?profile=original

9779281652?profile=original

The nearby Dwarf Black Mulberry is also doing well and putting out plenty of fruit.

I’ve also started planting out some annuals, like Roma Tomatoes, Spaghetti Squash, Zucchinis, Yacon, and lots of flowers to bring in the pollinators and other good bugs.

Too much out there to mention it all, but I was so glad that most of the garden survived without me. It still needs a lot of work, but at least I don’t have to start completely over.

Read more…

2016 SPRING - SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER

Verge gardens have been given the ok finally by the Brisbane City Council - a great deal of the credit must go to Jerry Coleby-Williams for years of effort to achieve this.

9779219074?profile=original

Problem is I live in the Moreton Shire, where verge gardens are still frowned on. Never mind. I still have a verge garden and it gives me and passersby pleasure. It's coming along nicely with flowering plants and herbs and starting to look quite pretty. Faces west so tends to flag a bit in the summer heat.

9779216499?profile=original

Readers of my other blogs may remember my attempt at Heliculture or Snail Farming. Which actually turned out very successfully....but I just couldn't bring myself to throw my dear little snails into boiling water. So around Autumn I let them all go free.

Apart from one lone snail I've not seen sign that any survived through winter though they do hibernate in the cool weather. They are really quite delicate and don't fare well in Brisbane's heat without lots of TLC in the form of food, shade, protection from drowning in heavy rain (oddly enough) and bowls of fresh water for soaking in and drinking.

I was quite thrilled, while taking photos of flowers out the front this Spring, to discover these two had found each other and were making snail love :) Hermaphrodites they aren't of one particular sex.

9779104665?profile=original

My new Black Mulberry is producing a handful of fat sweet fruit every couple of days after only a year in the ground. I just love mulberries. Must be one of the most "giving" of fruit trees.

9779219295?profile=original

And thanks to Susanne I have Silk Worms as a project for my grandson, though he is yet to see them.

03.10.16 Clayton came around with his Mum and found the caterpillars quite fascinating.

9779220467?profile=original

The Dwarf Pink Shatoot mulberries are also promising a bumper crop. Very sweet and delicious.

9779221256?profile=original

I had a bit more success this year growing potatoes in the totally decomposed compost pile using store bought chitted spuds (white and purple - exact types unknown).

Now that the plants have flowered and died off I have gone hunting and I'm a little disappointed. All good quality spuds but smaller than I hoped. This is a portion of the total crop. Some still in the ground, some already harvested and eaten. That's a Canistel seed in the basket with them, not a cockroach as a workmate suggested!

9779221663?profile=original

Spring is the time for seed saving from winter cropping plants like this purple bean. Keeping seed in the fridge is best. I don't have the room for this and keep my collection of seed as cool as I can in a big box in the laundry.

9779221700?profile=original

Canadian Wild Lettuce or A Choy seems to be coming into it's own a bit later than the regular lettuce. This plant was acquired as a lettuce substitute for summertime. Leaves are a bit more toothsome than regular lettuce.

9779223470?profile=original

Lots of plants are blooming including the Cranberry Hibiscus. Friend James has turned the hips into a delicious version of Rosella jam.

9779223689?profile=original

I know it's not classically pretty but I really enjoy the spikes of flowers on the Plantain - a useful edible weed that comes up around the garden by itself these days. Source of psyllium but a bit difficult to harvest any useful amount...like Amaranth, I eat the leaves.

9779224872?profile=original

I've struggled in the past to keep Watercress alive in a pond but look how well a few small cuttings have done in this simple little wicking pot made from a rubbish bin. Whether they survive through summer heat is another matter.

03.10.16 Cut the plant right back. It looked all screwed up and sickly - happened very quickly.

9779225484?profile=original

Some of the Portuguese Walking Stick Collards Couve galega are now over two years old. They came into their own again during the cooler months, providing me with beautiful fresh greens, but are now beginning to be afflicted by aphid and caterpillar once again. 

03.10.16 My son gave me a hand to pull out some of the plants as I want to make the garden look nice for potential buyers. The Daleys plant was also pulled out as it looked awful compared with my other Collards.

9779225895?profile=original

The Daleys version of the Walking Stick Collard is doing well also but so not worth the large amount of $ paid for it. Never mind, it was an interesting exercise to do a comparison.

03.10.16 Pulled out. Not looking attractive.

9779227257?profile=original

Having no luck growing large capsicum I've grown very fond of the mini capsicums I buy from the shops (fruit below are my own home grown). Seed is immediately planted out while fresh and more often than not comes up.

9779218458?profile=original

9779227895?profile=original

I seem to have Swede or Rutabaga growing - don't remember planting any seed but sometimes I just go out there and broadcast seed around that needs using up. Very fond of Swede roasted or in stews.

03.10.16 Eaten :)

9779228658?profile=original

Some of the long pawpaw on the self sown plant are finally ripening. They have taken much longer than the classic round yellow ones. I seem to remember the fruit being redder last time around. Friends assure me these are still "red" pawpaw. Very nice eating though not quite as sweet as the yellow in the front yard.

9779228886?profile=original

17.09.16

Lordy I feel productive today! And I haven't even broken a sweat.

My mower guy, Josh, has turned up to make the yard look neat and tidy without me getting stressed over the mower and while I was talking with him out the front, two truckloads of Samoan tree loppers were driving by, must have seen the look of yearning (for trees lopped) in my eyes. They stopped and we came to an agreement to cut back the ailing (dead branches) Tibouchinas on the front verge.

The big guy in charge, Silila, really wanted to get stuck into the now overgrown Lillypilly at the porch gate but I just couldn't afford to have both done. Pleased to have the T's cut back though. The boys just did a basic chain saw job without finesse but it's good enough.

9779229663?profile=original

Evidence that my old dog Hugo still has it in him. He disappeared for longer than usual on one of his night time toilet breaks last night and I found this next morning. Good dog.

9779230081?profile=original

The backyard is a mass of flowering plants, including these Mustard Greens, lettuce, broccoli, nasturtium. My SN Bees and honeybees are having a field day along with lots of other insects creating new seed for next year.

9779230698?profile=original

9779231663?profile=original

24.09.16

What a truly beautiful day it is. Sunny and warm without the heat of summer. I am dedicating this weekend to garden pottering and resting after a particularly grueling week at work.

The Jaboticaba is an absolute mass of flowers and for the first time I have seen my bees working away at pollinating. In the last month the plant has already produced two small crops of fruit as an enticement to this major effort. In a matter of weeks I will have a huge crop of fruit to eat and share.

9779186073?profile=original9779186864?profile=original

You can just see one of the honeybees working away at a flower, centre - under the branch.

9779187468?profile=original

Rob had some fake butterflies in his garden for deterring pests (they think the plant is already "taken") and I liked them so much I went looking on eBay for some. The solar were quite expensive so I settled for these incredibly cheap jobs @ 10 for $1.67 delivered to Australia! They are well made with quality butterflies, little springs and a fine metal stick - great for sticking into the flesh of tall plants or the soil.

9779233689?profile=original

The Dwarf Wurtz is once again flowering up. I also hope it's this year I will actually get some fruit.

9779234085?profile=original

The Dwf Macadamia is also blooming again. It produced plenty of small nuts last year but they all fell off on the first hot day.

9779234499?profile=original

26.09.16

What a dreadful morning. I have made the heart breaking decision to euthanase my darling Hugo as his health had deteriorated so much despite medications. Will miss you so much Honey Bear.

9779235458?profile=originalI was thinking about how much we love our pets. They are really so much more than just pets they are loyal loving uncritical companions.

I have owned (sometimes jointly) around 12 cats and 6 dogs over the years and like kids, we're not supposed to have a favourite, but Hugo was definitely my favourite. He was funny, had a sense of humour, bossy, loving, didn't expect much more than his daily run up and down the front fence after any dogs silly enough to walk by with their owners, and of course food on time. He was a stickler for food on time.

I was never supposed to have Hugo. My youngest daughter was working at Puppy Kingdom 14yrs back. We already had two young dogs (Miniature Pinschers Gretel and Freya was on order from the breeder) and our council frown on more than two dogs in a household. I admired the pack of Schipperke pups when they came in (they look like black kittens) but knew they weren't for me. Then one of the tiny pups got very sick. Erin was concerned as it wasn't getting the care he needed to survive so she got permission to bring him home. I carried that pup around in my coat pocket (it was winter) to keep him warm and just plain fell in love. He was mine and I wouldn't part with him. The pet shop owner sold him to me at half price. What a bargain.

For the first time in my life I am petless. Well, apart from four old Cockatiels which I will have to find a home for and some silkworms in a box. It's a sorry state to be in. Being petless is also the cue to sell the house jointly owned with my daughter.

So this is the end...or it will be soon, if the house sells quickly. Fifteen years in one spot. Almost the longest I spent living in any one house (my husband used to like to move every two years, which isn't good for a gardener).

It's not to everyone's taste with the majority of the yard dedicated to growing food, but hopefully someone with a passion for gardening will come along and love it. With all the mature fruit trees that I waited years to start cropping. The raised beds full of beautiful soil that I created myself from scratch. The unusual plants it has taken me years to collect. Perhaps with the honey bees and maybe the native bees though I suspect I will have to sell them separately. Not everyone wants to keep bees. How the hell do we move a large top bar honey bee hive?? With great care I guess.

04.10.16 Today brought home Hugo's ashes. My dog in a box :(

I was going to sprinkle him around his "sisters" graves but I find I want him with me at my house in the future. He will stay in his box until then.

09.10.16

Lainie, Cameron and their daughter Halle have been kind enough to offer a good home to my four old Cockatiels - Odette who must be about 17/18, William about 13, Primrose about 15/16, and Baby Bob about 10.

No pets left apart from a box of silkworms. Very quiet here now.

9779236267?profile=original

The native bees have gone to Bob Luttrells, mainly due to the experimental honey supers he had on them and his interest in the DNA of my "not quite" Carbonarias (see hive split blog). I will buy a hive of this same strain of bee back when I have a garden to put them in. Basically my own bees back which is nice.

Many of my pots have gone to good homes - some with friends, and some with my lovely neighbours. Many of the remaining pots will go to the Keperra Community Garden.

A huge thank you to Phil for coming out yesterday and helping me do some of the hard physical jobs (and then he went looking for more!). I just needed that motivation. The yard is looking very tidy and ready for new plantings and new owners.

9779236469?profile=original

9779237259?profile=original

While shoveling the compost pile (that was on the right in the pic) into the beds as top dressing for planting, I found a whole basket full of potatoes in there. Very nice too. Had some roasted with dinner last night.

9779237895?profile=original

As for being petless, nature doesn't want that to happen to me and a little tortoise shell cat has moved in under my house. She is a funny little thing - comes close to rub herself against me but hisses while she's doing it. I will try to catch her and take her to the RSPCA. If not, the new owners will find they own a cat along with the house.

Well, the house sold within some five days of being on the market. I got the price I wanted so I am happy enough. 

The lady who bought it, Linda, is a keen gardener which makes it all feel a bit better. I hope she gets as much enjoyment out of the lovely little house and garden as I did. 

I'm off to look after a friends house and garden for some months while she is overseas. From there I can sort out what is next.

THE END........ for the time being anyway.

Oh - forgot to add - the b. Dwf Wurtz avo is finally fruiting. Waits until I'm leaving blasted thing lol.

Plants I want when the dust settles and I am in my own place again:

MORINGA

SABA NUT

LONGAN

BANANA - various

ROSEMARY - upright bush type

CUSTARD APPLE

TAHITIAN SPINACH

Read more…

JABOTICABA - Myrciaria cauliflora

9779173078?profile=originalPlanted somewhere around Spring 2010 (Sept/Oct/Nov). The tree as it looks at 11.02.16.

This pretty little tree is the epitome of easy to grow, almost pest free, multiple fruiting sweet deliciousness in my book. I just love it.

It is a small leafed Jaboticaba bought from Daleys and planted maybe 5yrs ago.

Daleys now appear to have quite a few different varieties on offer including one with giant fruit! Check out their website: HERE

I mention the tree in a spring blog 2010 September to November, so it must have been planted around then. I planted a yellow one bought from the BOGI fair at the same time but it never grew and died a couple of years later. Root bound by the looks.

04.05.2011 Young tree.

04/05/11 Black Jaboticaba, choko (rt) and raspberry (left).

05.10.2013 Blurry shot of the first fruit forming. Perhaps three years from planting.

First Jobitcaba fruit :)

24.10.2013 first crop.

Yum....Jaboticaba

22.04.2014 second crop forming.

2nd ever Jaboticaba crop

16.10.2014....and picked.

Jaboticaba harvest

12.01.15

9779173476?profile=original17.01.2015 getting quite good crops.

Jaboticaba

27.09.15 New flowers forming.

9779146085?profile=original08.11.15 From flower to fruit approximately 5 weeks.

9779174289?profile=original14.11.15 Cropped.

9779147668?profile=original22.11.2015 making Shrub drink from the crop - RECIPE HERE.

MAKING SHRUB

07.02.2016

CROP

11.02.16 New fruit forming immediately after last crop.

9779181465?profile=original02.03.16 Three weeks later those fruit are starting to colour up.

9779181687?profile=original

12.03.16 Four or five weeks from flower and a full basket of fruit. I've already eaten quite a lot during the week. They sweeten each day.

9779183666?profile=original

03.07.16

Much earlier than expected the plant is putting on flowers again. Could be a reaction to the unexpected warm weather up until about two weeks back.

9779183495?profile=original

31.07.16

Fruit forming from the blooms shown above AND new flowers. Incredible.

9779184279?profile=original

18.09.16 And the tree has already produced two small crops of sweet fruit.

9779186073?profile=original

24.09.16 And the tree is in full snowy bloom working on a bumper crop. I have trimmed back some of the outer branches which didn't have flowers on them so give a better view of developing fruit.

9779186864?profile=original

For the first time I have seen my honeybees pollinating the flowers. Bees in both photos.

9779187468?profile=original

9779188097?profile=original

16.10.16 Repeat cropping. Delicious.

9779189075?profile=original

Read more…

2014 WINTER June to August

Nights are cool but the days beautiful. The garden is very productive despite my lack of time to look after it, and I get to eat my own fruit and veg daily. No time to do any watering as I leave for work around 6.30am soon after it's gotten light.

The Carambola has been exceptionally productive, giving me good fruit every day. Most fall and smash but some portion of them is edible. Throwing away many kgs of ruined fruit but also giving away a lot of good fruit.

9779131052?profile=originalRed Tamarillo are ripening. Yellow ripened some weeks ago. 

9779131275?profile=originalLots of smallish Pepino fruit developing and I've had a few to eat - really quite delicious and a definite favourite of mine. I cut back most of the patches of plant (still to get to some) which did them good. Fruit could be a lot bigger though - lack of water? nutrition? Still sweet and juicy despite their size.

9779131460?profile=originalThe fig out the back is trying to fruit out of season. NOTE: A short time later this plant dropped all it's leaves and developing fruit, just as it should.

9779131856?profile=originalIt's actually going to be a good year for Soursop after no fruit at all for about three years. Tree is covered in a dozen or more good fruit, some too high to reach. NOTE: The fruit started dropping from the tree in large numbers. I have given the tree a good soak in the hope that extra water during this dry period will help it hold it's large developing crop.

9779131878?profile=originalPlenty of good pawpaw both red and yellow. 9779132069?profile=originalThis is Deer Tongue lettuce. Almost lost these as only one plant survived last time to give me seed. I just tuck seed down beside the beds and cover a little with mulch. The seeds come up when they're ready.

9779132477?profile=originalRuttabaga, or Swede, one of my favourite root veg for winter soups and stews or baked. Apparently good made into chips or mashed also. These are from the second half of the packet of seed I bought last year which performed so dismally for me then.

9779133053?profile=originalNOTE: 31.07.14 Crop from the Ruttabaga. Sweet, crunchy and delicious.

9779133258?profile=originalSnow Peas are still going strong. Nice, but I would much rather have had Sugar Snap pods but that's what I get for using commercial seedlings instead of growing what I really want from seed. NOTE: End of July, and these plants are still producing pods though in much smaller quantities.

9779132892?profile=originalHeaps of lovely crunchy little yellow Zuchinni.

NOTE: Beginning of August and these plants are producing plenty of good fruit still.

9779133856?profile=originalDaikon Radish-like veg still hasn't gone to seed. Will try to be patient. It has now been attacked by aphid. NOTE: Beginning of August and it is finally going to seed. Pretty convinced that it is a Daikon Radish.

9779133887?profile=originalEggplant are still growing new fruit. I've had enough to share around of these Listada di Gandia and the round mauve. Black have stopped.

NOTE: By the end of July I have removed all developing fruit as the plants are struggling.

9779134874?profile=originalReplanted Sweet potato towers x 3 are all going well. Goodness I like this idea, it has worked such a treat.

9779135661?profile=originalNew self watering herb garden bought from Productive Gardens. So far so good. Has to be better than those hanging baskets I insisted on using for the last 13yrs which dried out so quickly.

NOTE: A couple of plants have died for some reason - the Vietnamese Mint being one of them and it should love having it's feet wet all the time, so I guess it's just a seasonal problem. Everything else is thriving. The regular mints in particular seem to like it.

9779135698?profile=originalDaily broccoli crop - some caterpillar damage but not much. I run the head under the hot tap when I bring heads in to kill the caterpillars.

9779135883?profile=originalNOTE: It's the beginning of August and I still have daily Broccoli crop to eat. Staggering the seedling planting this year was the best thing I've done. The odd caterpillar still but most is free of any pest. The days have actually warmed up to 25C though the mornings are still nippy.

9779136456?profile=originalThe Nopales cactus have been flowering. Pretty, simple little flower which will hopefully lead to something edible in the fruit line.

NOTE: Fruit don't seem to get any bigger over time. They're still sitting there, looking just like this minus the little flower.

9779026879?profile=originalIn the front yard, I've been using the nice rounded fruit of the red pawpaw as a veg in chicken soups. Mmmmmm. Good warming winter tucker cooked along with some home grown ginger and chilli.

9779137258?profile=originalHave cropped dozens of small and large (folk at work prefer them big) choko. The plant is in hiatus, waiting for the next thunder storm to start cropping heavily again.

NOTE: Beginning of August and I have cut the plant right back again.

9779138465?profile=originalSelf sown Plantain, an edible weed, which I've grown very fond of. I use it a lot in soupy type meals but would no doubt be good in stir fry as well. Tends to keep it's shape in soups unlike other greens which disintegrate.

9779138670?profile=originalI've had a few strawberries to eat so far. Keep meaning to give the patch some manure.

NOTE: The patch is suffering from the current dry. I give it a drink each weekend but that doesn't seem to be enough.

9779138899?profile=originalAnd the best bit - some new raspberry canes, Chillwack from Garden Express, to go with the Williamette I bought from them some years back which have proven such a success.

9779139668?profile=original28.06.14

New addition - Saba Nut or Malabar Chestnut, Pachira glabra bought from Heart Garden Nursery.

Relative of the Baobab tree which shows in the tiny bloated trunk. Drought, flood and disease resistant and cropping within three years even the leaves are edible (it is deciduous). I have Peggy to thank for putting me on to this little beauty. Here's a really good VIDEO from Daley's Nursery.

9779140276?profile=original9779140660?profile=original15.07.14

Cropped my one and only cauliflower a couple of days back. Not sure what happened to the other seedlings I planted but this one produced the goods. Good eating to the last bit!

9779140862?profile=originalAlso finally got around to cropping the Water Chestnuts and it was worth the year long wait.

Some good sized corms this year as opposed to last when I probably over planted the pot, being greedy. The picture below shows the entire crop (little corms are for replanting) and the pot replanted with good quality potting mix (Searles) and some Organic Xtra and replaced in it's bucket of water.

9779087885?profile=original02.08.14 A few good toms to be had. I'm not much of a tomato grower! I just leave them to their own devices and reap the rewards, if there are any.

9779141873?profile=originalCropped the Purple Yam growing in the pot (lack of anywhere else to put it). The vine died back so I took that as a sign that I should see what was below the ground - ugly son of a gun and slimy when cut. Ate these bits roasted. Not bad. Definitely an acquired taste. I grew up on regular potatoes and they are my preference but of course, they don't like to grow for us here in Brisbane.

9779141677?profile=originalStill plenty of yellow Zucchini on the two plants. I find them a bit flavourless but they are firm and beautiful to look at, good in a stew etc.

9779143099?profile=original

Read more…

2012 SPRING September to November

9779032491?profile=originalSpring again :)

The weather has warmed within two weeks as usual, which is a delight, but we haven't had rain for many weeks. The tank is almost empty - I've basically stopped using it. On the plus side the bees are very active in the garden, both native and honey galore.

They both love the nasturtium flowers which are blooming in a wonderful variety of colours. I'll miss them when they're gone.

9779033467?profile=original9779034066?profile=original9779034454?profile=original9779035062?profile=originalStill cropping plenty of brocolli - both the regular sort and Rapini. Honey bee and native bee are loving all the little flowers (below) on the rocket, mustard and brocollis.

9779035085?profile=originalThe caulis are finishing up - some of the last below. Not as good value as the brocolli which repeat crops, but still nice to have. The white ones came out quite small, the lime green a little larger and the purple a little larger again.

9779035685?profile=originalThe carrots have been good producers again. Many aren't classically shaped, sometimes cracked, but always usable and tender. Below is some makings for dinner - Cardoon, Kohlrabi, Rapini, Nasturtium and carrot.

9779036457?profile=originalI grew one punnet of Kohlrabi - should find room for more in future as they are really nice. Sweet and crunchy. Some have been slow to bulk up but it has meant they were staggered for use over a period. Not sure if the one in the background will ever bulk up.

9779036269?profile=originalCorn is starting to silk up after growing slowly all winter. Might end up with some crop this time! The last two efforts were a total waste of time (faulty seed that created plants that didn't make pollen was the last lot).

I've used the space between the plants to grow other things like Rapini Brocolli and toms.

9779037479?profile=originalThis salvia has grown around the 2m mark. Very beautiful. Oddly though the bees don't seem to frequent it like they do the smaller salvia.

9779037880?profile=originalOne of the lime green caulis - very pretty.

9779038080?profile=originalSelf sown Rocket between the pavers under the clothesline. The tip is around the 2m mark and the bees just love the flowers. I've been taking leaves for sandwiches almost daily.

I kept treading on this when it first came up, never expected it to live let alone become such a hardy giant. I really admire this plant lol.

9779038683?profile=originalStill cropping the brocollis daily, both the regular below and the Rapini. Such a value plant!

9779040090?profile=originalRapini below.

9779040466?profile=originalBed 2 below still cropping well. Sugar Snap peas, brocolli, silverbeet, yellow squash (Ikeep forgetting they are there!) and toms (yet to produce). Deer Tongue lettuce up the other end out of view along with the Broad Beans.

9779040692?profile=originalThree self sown lettuces (different ones from last year).

No idea what variety but they are really good eating and very hardy. Nothing seems to bother them - not the bugs or heat. They just sit there calmly waiting for me to come steal a couple of leaves each day for sandwiches.

9779042084?profile=original9779042483?profile=original9779043877?profile=originalLush growth from store bought spuds that shot. Such a contrast to the struggling and ratty looking bought jobs.

9779018883?profile=originalKangkong seed in the front pot - some are starting to shoot. Can't wait for these - yum.

Water chestnut in the pot behind actually has some shoots. Might even succeed this time!

9779044471?profile=original19.09.12

Just have to record the tale of the chopped off Tamarillo. Here it is below growing alongside it's normal sized siblings.

Many weeks back, during a bout of rain and wind, one of the Cassavas toppled over taking the Tamarillo beside it down as well.

They both lay there on the ground for days before I had the opportunity to take the saw to them. I struggled to pull the Tamarillo roots out of the ground, thinking it's life was definately over, but had to give it up as too difficult - thought it would be easier once it died all by itself.

Lo and behold! It's come back better than ever.

Maybe all Tamarillos need to be chopped off midway during winter to encourage low growing fruit?!

Yet to see if it tries to reach it's old height, but this could definately be a good thing.

9779044889?profile=original9779045485?profile=originalVery, very dry weather. No real rain for months now and the bureau tells us there is a windy hot spell coming at the end of the week. Plants are all struggling in the garden again... deja vu to the long dry. Tiny bit of rain last night, just enough to dampen leaves but not the ground.

My tank is virtually empty and I'm back to using town water with a hose that is too short to reach all the garden! Frustrations.

My contract with Wesley has ended also so having a holiday while job hunting. More frustrations as my net drops out for weeks at a time which impacts on all parts of my life. Telstra tech coming this Friday to hopefully solve the puzzle and fix the problem once and for all. Would be a great end to my holiday to have it fixed! Training work starting with MAT at Northlakes in a few weeks but fingers are crossed for a job with Prescare here at Strathpine.

Andrew has been living with me for the last five weeks since his op on 13th August on his left ankle. He couldn't weight bear for many weeks and is only now just getting mobile. I'm having his unit professionally cleaned this weekend while he's out of it. (04.10.12 weeks later the cleaning job still hasn't been completed).

Meanwhile back in the garden, have redone half of bed one using trimmings from the garden, two bags of manure, sprinkles of minerals and topped off with garden soil from those prissy little 24lt bags they have now at Bunnings (all free though thanks to my rewards vouchers from surveys) - other half is still taken up with carrots and Cardoon. Both still thriving and producing useful crop.

Cardoon is something I never want to be without again. Incredible plant - so hardy and the stems are just wonderful in casseroles and stews. Waiting on some flowers now so I have seed for next year though I still have some left from the original purchase from Bakers Seeds in America. Could even be one of those plants that will grow well in our hot summer. Nothing seems to set it back. NOTE: Email response from BS tells me Cardoon is perennial and has the potential to become a weed if let loose on the environment. It should flower in it's second year.

In the redone end of the bed one (below) I've planted James' climbing beans alongside one of the cheap Bunnings frames and silverbeet seed.

The eggplant is self sown and I'm letting it grow for the moment.

9779046657?profile=originalI've pulled out the Sugar Snap peas, which did eventually give some delicious crop, though nothing like the success of last year. These were from saved seed. Start again??

The silverbeet (from bought seedlings) is just starting to provide some leaves - excellent though, had some steamed with a Lamb Shank roast last night and it was good :)

The yellow squash are providing a few small fruit though nothing to rave about.

The brocolli is still going and providing! Love this plant that keeps on giving. Bees are enjoying the flowers also.

The caulis provided one small head per plant and then had to be pulled. Some still remain.

Corn is starting to silk up - quite short plants this lot, from bought seedlings. Toms are starting to grow some green fruit after waiting on them all winter. I hope I get some to eat before the caterpillars do their thing!

My Lychee is too tall (Joseph has been finding videos for me to look at) and it's a bit late to be cutting it back. The top needs to be cut right out - full of rust anyway. Time to move out of this house and leave my mistakes behind lol.

The Persimmon is making a brave effort to send out new growth and maybe create some fruit for me. It's stuck between two tall plants and doesn't get as much sun as it needs.

9779046880?profile=originalThe waste-of-space Dwarf Pink Shartoot mulberry is making an effort also to prove it deserves to be in the garden. Only reason it's still there is due to my laziness in removing it.

The fruit also looks promising but never comes to nowt.

Elaine has given me some cuttings for what she calls a dwarf black variety of some sort. They're doing well in their pot and just waiting on some rain to soften the ground so I can plant them out.9779047674?profile=original9779048653?profile=original

Some of the Dragon fruit plants are doing well, this one in particular. No idea which one it is but hopeful of some fruit this season. A lot of the stems are growing over the neighbours side of the fence, of course :/ I cut back some I could reach and planted them on my side but it likes the morning sun side of the fence.

9779049069?profile=originalFinally cropped most of the Cassava at Joseph's Mums encouragment. Now all I have to do is use it! Just need to sit down, peel it and grate it. Then bake it with sugar to make a slice of sorts. Or steam it.

Looks so unappealing, but I have eaten it prepared this way before and it was truly delicious.

NOTE: This and the rest of the crop ended up in the compost as by the time I cut into them they were going mouldy and veined.  Ate a little bit roasted and it was ok.

9779049299?profile=originalCallistemon is blooming much to the delight of the honey bees and nectar feeding birds. Don't see many of the native bees on these flowers though which is always a surprise.

9779050299?profile=original9779051053?profile=originalThe Nopales (edible cactus ex Addy) are doing well with lots of new paddle growth.

The way it creates new paddles is very pretty to observe, with the little tufts forming first. Love the glossy look of it. Very hardy also, the pot became quite waterlogged during the last heavy rains but it didn't blink an eye, so to speak. Also coping with the current dry. Another good hardy plant to have around for food value.

Should be able to pick and eat one before too long. Another new experience!

See the Nopales blog for videos and information.

9779051680?profile=original9779022874?profile=originalTried some of the Nopales fried up with bacon and egg for breakfast this morning. Not bad, but not what I expected as was told it was "sweet and refreshing". Tasted a little vinegary but not unpleasantly so.

Below - preparation and cooking. Ended up with one tiny spine in my thumb for a few hours despite the paddle being almost spine free and scraped.

9779052268?profile=original

9779053061?profile=originalThe Dwarf Ducasse is doing well. Hopeful for a bunch of narnies before too long.

9779053654?profile=originalBroad Bean pod - one of. First time I've grown these and really unimpressed. The pods are watery and tasteless. Will leave some for the big seed but not a lot of point growing them if I don't like them.

NOTE: Ate some chopped up in dinners - both large and small pods. Plants were chopped up when I redid the bed.

9779054087?profile=original01.10.12

The only rain we've had is some piffly drizzle during the night. Just enough to put a little water in the bottom of the tank. I'm starting to put in more seeds and seedlings around the place so must go out daily to water using town supply.

The lovely spring weather is tempered for me by the fact that things are pretty grim (once again) on the employment front.

Andrew is still with me post op, maybe for another week. Erin and Clare had a girls day out with Amanda yesterday (Sunday) and we had bub for most of the day. He's actually quite interested in what's going on in the garden. More interested in plants than dinosaurs!

Below - I'm trying to outwit the rats with a new propogating tray bought from Masters. Using regular potting mix with weed tea in the water holding tray.

NOTE: Daily checks of the seeds shows good results though the Winter Melon seeds are very slow to make a show.

9779054273?profile=originalPropogation tray is $15 so not exactly cheap, but beats losing all my seeds to the b. rats. Have managed to exclude the rats from the aviary with a brick blocking the one persistant last hole they keep making (foam and sticks didn't work) and have thrown poison around the ceiling, again.

Below - I'm actually doing well with some Super Sioux tomato plants grown from seed (can't remember where I got the seed!). Bit of a shock to have tom success.

They're supposed to be good in hot dry situations. These get almost daily watering now the weather is heating up.

9779055263?profile=originalBelow - the Cardoon is still going strong! Wilts a little in the heat, but a small drink soon fixes that. Very hardy stuff. I've emailed Baker Creek Seeds asking about it's lifespan and heat coping capabilities as I can't find anything much on the net. One guy said he cut his back and it came again.

NOTE: Response from BCS tells me the Cardoon are perennial and have weed potential. Flowers come the second year.

Carrots in this bed were from Baker Creek seed also and have given me lots of return. They are all good to eat. Time I redid the bed though.....

9779029259?profile=originalBelow - after seeing Elaine's giant and delicious Pepino grown in the tub I've been motivated to try a little harder with this wonderful little fruit.

I've created a nice rich area (thanks to Masters $5 25lt bags of manures and mushroom compost) in the front yard and planted three Pepino plants along with another Listada di Gandia bought from Bunnings.

I've put some seed for Butternut Pumpkin in as well. I hope I don't regret doing that - don't want it taking over the front yard. Hugo runs all over this bit of garden near the fence, hence the little bit of protection for the left plant which is where he does his speed turns.

9779056469?profile=originalBelow - up close of the Pepino flower. You can see it's the same family as potatoes etc.

9779056869?profile=originalOne of the new member actually posted me some mulberries as a thank you for seed sent, plus Andrew and I collected a bit more from the mulberry tree near Bribie. The end result was a really quite yummy Kefir and Mulberry cake to share with visitors. The sweet mulberries were a perfect foil for the tart, almost lemony, flavour of the Kefir.

9779058280?profile=original I have piles of Cassava and realise I'm just not going to do anything with it. Roasted a few small pieces and it was ok, but I have oodles of the stuff and can't see myself sitting down to scrub and grate it all. Will try to give it away.

NOTE: Noone wanted it, surprise surprise. The lot ended up in the compost as it started to go mouldy and veined.

04.10.12

Still very little rain, but enough some nights to achieve about 1/4 tank of water . Enough to use on the seedlings each morning.

Bed 1 James' Bean seedlings are coming along well. Nearly all came up (two seeded planted per hole). I've also transplanted some of the Deer Tongue Lettuce from Bed 2 before I replenished it and smothered anything still growing - didn't want to lose the opportunity for seed from this prolific and useful little lettuce grown from last years seed.

Elaine has given me some tiny Purslane seedlings - these have also been planted in Bed 1 in the hope that they will grow and flourish (yellow label at the front end of the bed below).

Also planted are Silverbeet seeds - quite a few have come up already. Tiny and fragile until they get a hold and very easily killed off with neglect in their early stage. Daily watering is a must.

One self sown eggplant has been left more out of curiosity than anything. The Cardoon is in the background - now told this is a perennial, so it may be here for some time. Will see how it copes with our summer.

9779059068?profile=originalBelow - Kuroda carrots are still producing good crop from Bed 1. Some are a funny shape, but they all taste good. The Amarillo (yellow) and Muscade (orange) are also still producing.

HINT: once carrots seeds are established water them sparingly - this makes the roots (carrot) grow down looking for water.

9779059674?profile=originalThe lush growth around the tank of Salvia, Nastutiums and Cape Gooseberry was becoming tatty. All cut back and piled ready to go into replenishing Bed 3 (see next pic).

9779060099?profile=originalGarden trimmings ready to be cut up and go into Bed 3 (behind) once the corn and Kohlrabi have been cropped.

9779061063?profile=originalBelow - Bed 2 replenished with everything from the compost pile (garden trimmings, rotted grass clippings, fallen leaves etc), some manure (sheep?)and lucerne mix from the Caboolture Mkts ($5 big bag), good sprinkling of Granite (Deco) for potassium and Basalt for calcium and iron, some Organic Xtra, a bag each of chook and cow manure from Masters ($5 a 25lt bag) and topped off with Masters Veg and Tom growing mix (basically compost $5 for 25lt bag) to provide somethig to plant the seeds in.

Reseeded mostly with carrots (Red Kuroda, All Year Round and Harlequin), some Sex Without Strings bush beans and a patch of Hollow Crown Parsnip.

The acid free tom plant has been left from the previous planting (quite nice small round fruit - indeterminate type).

HINT: Allow the indeterminate tomatoes space to ramble along the ground so they can root and provide extra nutrient to the plant for a better crop of fruit. Preferable to encouraging upright growth which limits nutrient uptake.

String Beans (extra long variety from last years saved seed) and a few seed for Spacemaster cucumbers have been planted against the trellis.

Daily watering is necessary to keep the medium moist for the seeds to germinate and take hold.

9779061283?profile=originalBelow - the corn is once again a disappointment, partly due to lack of rain. No pollen fell as far as I could tell - although these were grown from seedlings this time instead of seed like the last batch, which also didn't create pollen.

9779062267?profile=original

The crop from this corn wasn't good (below).  I've looked back over the last two winters for quality - last winter wasn't good, 2010 I did not report on the outcome so suspect it was also bad.

NOTE: winter corn planting experiment most likely shows that it's not really worthwhile for the time and space taken.

9779063055?profile=original06.10.12

Still no rain. One fifth a tank of rainwater left which I use on the seedlings daily.

I've put up one of theVege Nets from Green Harvest and am very pleased with it's ease of erection.

Due to the climbers planted along the trellis I can't clip the net down on that side. From other pics I've seen this probably isn't much of a problem though I'm wondering if full and complete exclusion is needed to keep the bugs out.

I can water directly through the net which was something of a concern. Thought I might have to lift each time.

9779062888?profile=originalThe clips I bought to go with the net are great. Very practical. Should have bought more while I was about it though.

9779063883?profile=originalThe banana bunch on the leaning tree are starting to fatten up. Thanks toJoseph and Allan for making the cross frame to keep the plant erect until fruit ripens :)

9779065489?profile=originalThe covered seed raising tray is a great success. The seedlings stay constantly moist and many have popped up. No sign of the Winter Melon seedlings though. They could just be slow to germinate. Fingers crossed as I really want these!

9779066483?profile=originalBelow - all dry. Waiting on some rain to be able to plant something around the tank. The Cape Gooseberry has left lots of seed so they should come up on their own next year.

9779066896?profile=original19.10.12

The Nasturtium all reacted to the heat the same way last week and have been pulled and used as green compost in the elevated beds, or mulch in the ground beds.

The Kangkong seed in the wet pot were being coaxed along - a few had sprouted but kept floating to the surface and had to be poked back down, but were looking hopeful. Especially one little plant which was growing well.

Went back to work this week so have had less time in the garden and this morning when I checked the pot (still wet but without visable surface water) and there is nothing left to show for any of the seedlings. Very disappointing. Will have to look out for seedlings to buy as all my seed went into this wet pot.

The Winter Melon seed have finally produced TWO seedling. My goodness these are reluctant, which is surprising as melon seed usually sprout easily.

9779022260?profile=originalHave redone the top end of Bed 1 (Cardoon still controlling the middle of the bed) and around 14.10.12 planted Golden Bantam seed from Lost Seed.

9779068266?profile=originalBed 2 - the cucumber and Snake Beans are coming up. Carrots are sparse coming up - could be due to the dreadful hot days that immediatly followed my sowing the seed. I tried to keep them moist, but one day they got a bit dry.

9779068872?profile=originalA great patch of cherry toms and Red Amaranth have come up - lord knows how the seeds ended up in a patch of soil straight out of a bag layed down over layers of manure over compost!

Will transfer the Amaranth, which is very nice eating and came from bought seed originally, but the acid cherry toms take over the world and will have to go.

Weed from the hay/lucerne/manure bought from Cab. Mkts is also coming through. Wondering if I should  stick to the well composted 5 in 1 from Bunnings (bought with my gift vouchers so nil cost to me).

9779069272?profile=originalHave a few different types of eggplant planted this year - orange, white, some more stripey bi-colours and hopefully some self sown black ones coming up in Bed 1.

Below is a white - could have blossom end rot. My first fruit, so not familiar with the way they normally look.

9779069698?profile=originalBed 3 below waiting to be refreshed. Cucumber and the Winter Melon seedlings to go in here. Roma toms and Black Krim (one out of two remaining alive) from Joseph are still growing in the bed.

Will probably leave them where they are and just build up around them. Does them no harm - they just send out more roots from the buried bits of stem.

9779070272?profile=originalSeedlings for this garden.

9779071456?profile=originalBed 1 below - James Beans are doing well, climbing their frame just the way they're supposed to! (yay, something went to plan).

The little lettuce seedlings have fallen victim to caterpillars since I went back to work Monday. While I have been watering twice daily to keep everything moist in the current heat, it just goes to show how a daily close-up visual check is important to keep track of what is happening with your plants.

Some of the transplanted Deer Tongue are now doing very well - would hate to lose all seed for these lovely little lettuces. Nothing much bothers them either.

The self sown eggplant is loving the new manure / minerals and daily water - really hoping this is a black.

The Cardoon turns out to be a good chop and drop plant. Edible and useful as green manure.

9779071501?profile=originalHave found quite a few clumps of these tiny golden cocoons with attendant caterpillars (usually these green Cabbage White Butterfly ones).

Some research turned up information on the Apanteles glomeratus (thank you Joseph) which is a natural predator of caterpillars. Now that we know exactly what they are I finally found some video (watch to the end) and photos online.

They hatched really quickly and just took off. No wing drying time like butterflies! The size of a small black ant with clear wings and long active antennae.

9778939461?profile=originalhttp://www.insectes-net.fr/pieride/images/pier116gf.jpg

26.10.12

Days are either hot, up to 32C, or chilly but still no rain. Luckily :I I'm still not working apart from some part time stuff so I can water seedlings once or twice a day to keep them alive.

Trying to grow silverbeet from seed is proving very frustrating - seed I have don't seem to be very viable (Mr Fotherfills Fordhook Giant with a sow by date of Aug 2014) as not many come up and if they do, the bugs eat the tiny plants off almost before my eyes. I have planted seed many time and have virtually nothing to show for it. Tried half toilet roll holders as protection but something still gets to them. Could even just be the heat on some occassions.

Have put some seed into the seed growing tray with the lid in the hope of growing something to height away from the bed.

Have bought some more clips to hold the Vege Nets down due to some strong winds we had the other day. Didn't blow right off by any means but did come loose here and there. The nets don't seem to do much to reduce the impact of the heat on the beds. The bed on the right is completely sealed off so curious to see how well seedlings go in here.

Those squarish brown beetles have been hatching in dozens out of the beds and become stuck in there. They just sit and don't do any harm.

9779072671?profile=originalBelow - Jame's Beans are going great guns and have reached the top of the frame and beyond. Have started flowering already. You can see one of the toilet roll holders "protecting" a silverbeet seedling at the very bottom.

9779072874?profile=originalBelow - Golden Bantam seeds from The Lost Seed - very good rate of germination. Have had to pick some of those hairy brown caterpillars off one or two plants.

How the heck they get into the bed in full blown adult size I would love to know. No sign of any tiny ones.

9779074862?profile=originalBelow - the Super Sioux seed have grown into a nice semi-determinate plant with quite a few good fruit on it. It's heat tolerant so definately one to grow in the future. Elaine has been given seed.

9779075471?profile=original29.10.12

Cool and relatively moist out this morning.

After a potter and cutting back some of the lanky Salvias past their prime (they make good chop and drop) I've brought in a Nopales pad, a tom and a couple of small white eggplants so have decided to have a bit of a bacon and egg fry up for breakfast.

No doubt about it, the Nopales have a bit of a tang on the tongue. Not unpleasant mixed with the other more subtle flavours.

9779076100?profile=original03.11.12

Below - Golden  Bantam coming along well. Finally had a couple of storms, the last gave about 2.5cm of rain and increased the tank by about 1.5 thousand litres.

9779076900?profile=originalBelow - Jame's Beans are such a wonderful bean - doing very well. Lettuce were transplanted here so they could seed. Eggplant is self sown.

9779077277?profile=originalGrowing a few different types of eggplant this year. This is Rosea - bought seedlings.

9779078256?profile=originalBelow - Brazilian Orange grown from seed, yet to fruit but growing strongly.

9779077897?profile=originalBelow - Flea Beetle damage to leaves of Listada di Gandia. Always reliable cropper - still coming back from winter with a few small fruit on it.

9779079287?profile=originalBelow - one of the little Flea Beetles. Cucumber Beetle are also starting to chew on them, plus one baby grasshopper. Everyone seems to like eating Eggplant.

9779079668?profile=originalBelow - Unknown variety bought as seedling from Caboolture Mkt (looks a lot like the Rosea). First time I've seen possible Flea Beetle damage on the fruit as well. NOTE: cooked this and it was bitter!

9779079689?profile=originalHave found a pic online of the Brazilian Orange that I have growing but not fruiting:

Here's a really good Australian site Know Your Eggplant.

Some of the varieties available worldwide.

Below - Salvia and Cleome cut back after a bit of rain. Makes good mulch along with the dying nasturtium plants.

Evan's Vetiver is growing well. Was reading the other day about the delightfully perfumed roots - hopefully will have enough growing one day that I can experience this myself.

9779080677?profile=originalBelow - Around the tank tidied and now regrowing strongly after the application of some cow manure (Masters) and a bit of rain.

Mekong Red Amaranth transplanted from one of the beds where they self sowed. They transplant so easily. Bunnings Zinnea - couldn't resist :)

9779081459?profile=originalBelow - Lots of lovely cucumber seedlings doing well under the Vege Nets.

9779081501?profile=originalBelow - The Ceylon Hill Gooseberry bush is growing well. Ocassionally flowers a bit but no sign of fruit setting as yet. Asparagus are making a brave effort to send up shoots but I suspect some plants have died in this dry spot.

9779083263?profile=originalBelow - Carbonaria bee hive doing very well. Happily bringing back little white, red or yellow pollen sacs on their legs. Would love to know where they are going! Interesting to sit and watch all the coming and goings with bees removing pupae cases on a regular basis.

9779083485?profile=original9779084676?profile=original09.11.12

Days are at least a little overcast with a bit of rain here and there.

Compare the pic taken only 6days ago of the Golden Bantam corn! Such a strong grower.

9779085069?profile=originalBelow - The Cardoon has started flowering. Big surprise to find these this morning. Tempted to eat one like an Artichoke but I really want some seed.

9779085676?profile=original9779085898?profile=originalBelow - Bananas getting close to ripening.

9779086885?profile=original....and another bunch on it's way.

9779087860?profile=originalBelow - Current backyard view. Things under the Vege Net are growing very well. Silverbeet in the netted beds are growing much quicker and without pest problems than the ones on the unnetted bed.

9779088273?profile=original9779088675?profile=original18.11.12

Getting close to the end of Spring and finally some good rain. Wonderful thunder storms yesterday (mid day) and last night, rain all night (more storms for all I know but I slept through it all) and more storms this morning with good rain. The tank is overflowing and I wish I had room for more of them.

The birds are singing everywhere with pleasure. So nice to sit outside and listen to the dripping sounds while sipping tea.

I couldn't help grabbing an umbrella and wandering around checking on and snipping plants. I was conscious all the time of the thunder overhead and the possible stupidity of what I was doing (lightening strike) but couldn't help myself. I just love being in the garden in the rain.

Everything is thriving at the moment. I've bought some Nutri-Tech Total Cover and must try to get some of this around the garden today now that it's rained. Off to one of their field trips next Friday (persimmon farm near Yandina).

Pity I can't capture the raindrops and sounds of thunder!

9779088698?profile=originalManaged to mow and whipper snip last Monday so all looking tidy.

9779089869?profile=originalDancing Lady time again :) Edible Hibiscus (red) in the middle - has lovely tangy flavoured leaves.

9779089901?profile=original9779091083?profile=originalBelow - Jame's Beans are the wonderful croppers - astounding when you think the seed were only planted at the beginning of October, about 6 weeks ago. I get a handful for dinner each night and they are GOOD!

9779091465?profile=originalBelow - crop on the self sown Tamarillo.

9779092494?profile=original9779092692?profile=originalBelow - Golden Bantam growing really well. Seed planted around 14.10.12 - four weeks ago!

9779093653?profile=originalBelow - Custard Apple responding to recent rain with new growth after throwing all it's leaves during the dry. I'm using underneath this tree to put any big garden rubbish. My messy version of the Insect Hotel.

9779094275?profile=originalBelow - Loving the Vege Net. Protects plants from bugs, heavy rain, sun. Haven't had any hail yet to test it on. May need more clips to hold the mesh down for heavier weather.

9779095052?profile=originalBelow - Both Abicas are making a healthy comeback after being cut back. Pepino and fig in the background.

9779095475?profile=originalBelow - Dwarf Black Mulberry courtesy of Elaine's cuttings. I couldn't seperate the different cuttings roots, so planted the whole thing. It had one little sweet fruit on in in the pot :)

9779095488?profile=originalBelow - Bed 3 growing well - Cardoon still very happy despite the increasing heat, surrounded by the Golden Bantam corn and Jame's Beans.

9779096462?profile=original20.11.12 Below - the giant garlic has been a bit of a let down. At least a couple of the plants died off over their slow growing period. I ended up roasting one of these bulbs with some chicken drummies and they were almost perfumy in their flavour. Didn't taste garlicky which was what I was really looking for.

9779096654?profile=originalBelow - Lychee has been properly cut back with Andrew's help. Lots of rust in the top leaves has been removed.

9779097068?profile=originalAll the cuttings have ended up under the custard apple.

9779097494?profile=originalBelow - green visitor on the roof guttering :)

9779097291?profile=original25.11.12

Spring is almost over.  We've had lots of overcast weather since last weekends storms but no rain. Not too hot most days.

I really like the Vege Nets - they seem to have allowed plants to get a hold without getting burnt or attacked by too many insects, but the plants under them are now bulging at the seams and it's time to remove it. I have kept it sheltering Silverbeet at the end of both beds for the moment.

9779098287?profile=originalBelow - Direct sown Silverbeet plants in Bed 2 are doing much better than.....

9779099474?profile=original...seedling (my own) sown plants in Bed 3. Despite this, direct sown in Bed 1 did not work over and over again. But that bed was not protected by the Vege Net.

9779099691?profile=originalBelow - One of the brocolli stumps has reshot. I don't expect much from it but am curious.

9779100475?profile=originalBelow - James' beans are cropping wonderfully. Handfuls daily and hopefully some seed to share at the Christmas get together.

9779101284?profile=originalBelow - The Golden Bantam is growing healthy and strong and has reached the top of the frame.

9779101485?profile=originalBelow - The Red Okra have grown well under the Vege Net. Removed netting this morning, so will see how they fare in full sun from now on.

9779102495?profile=originalBelow - Mystery plant is growing great guns. I will wait to see what it is before considering removing it.

9779104475?profile=originalBelow - The Cardoon flowers are colouring up. Next pic is one of them cooked beside two rather large store bought Artichokes (3 for $2 at Lawnton Country Mkts yesterday). None of them gave me much to eat - bit at the base of each leaf to peel off with my teeth was nice. Can't figure out why I like them so much lol.

9779105070?profile=original9779105300?profile=originalBelow - Cucumbers and carrots Bed 2.

9779106268?profile=originalBelow - Some of the carrots - patchy germination, most likely due to the very hot days that followed sowing is all I can guess.

9779106487?profile=original

Below - Meanwhile, in the general beds some Jicama has shot again by itself (must have missed a bulb when cropping)...

9779107468?profile=original...the Monstera Deliciosa (from seed) is growing ok in a really crappy spot...

9779108262?profile=original...I think these wierd tubers are the Aerial Potatos. They are climbing the Melaleuca and fence...

9779108487?profile=original...a passionfruit has self sown and is also climbing the Melaleuca - the tough looking vine to the left of the trunk is what I think is the Aerial Potato....

9779109087?profile=original...the fig has three little fruit on it after a year of beetle damage and other catastrophes. Disappointing but hopefully more will develop...

9779110276?profile=original9779110699?profile=original...the Dwarf Ducasse has three pups which I will not be removing. In the past when I've done this my bananas just send out more pups anyway! so what is the point (apart from giving them away)....

9779112054?profile=original...Pepino are flowering profusely - the Blue Banded Bees just love these.....

9779112271?profile=original...the Grumichama is growing slowly but steadily in the Brom bed.....

9779112689?profile=original...my one remaining rose, Seduction, is reliably flowering.....

9779113495?profile=original...new Rosemary plant and the resurrected Caperberry bush (below the nasturtium) are doing ok in the rather dry spot beside the tank...

9779114474?profile=original26.11.12

Andrew Cumberland has given us information for making our own Liqueur.

This is the Spiced Plum on the 24.11.12, the day it was made and then today 26.11.12. This batch is pretty expensive due to buying the vodka ($30 for 700ml). If I can learn to make my own spirit using a kit it will bring the price right down.

9779114694?profile=original9779115487?profile=originalHave seen this pretty medium sized ant around the place lately, called a Strobe Ant, thanks to Brisbane Insects for identification.

DSC_8310.jpg (182221 bytes)

Also returned after winter are the Blue Banded Bees (again thanks to Brisbane Insects for pic as I cannot catch one in flight with my little camera). They just love Salvia, Eggplant and Pepino flowers. The buzzing sound is quite loud so you know when they are around.

Something of interest from the BI site: Blue-banded Bee Males have five blue bands while females have only four. The males have the abdomen tip segment in blue while the female has this segment reduced.

DSC_5796_small1.jpg

wpeB.jpg (27571 bytes)

28.11.12

Very hot and humid day. The air is so still - reeks of thunder storm for this arvo.

I've just put down a heap of Yellow Tamarillo seed - will be interesting to see if they grow Yellow fruit in the long run. Bit hard to follow though as I tend to give most of them away lol.

Have French Lavender cuttings on the go along with some salvias and trying the Non Acid Toms from cuttings. So far 4 out of 6 cuttings are surviving well.

I've put the one and only surviving Kangkong seedling into the moist pot and moved the pot to a place of afternoon shade. I do think I need to pot the way of the Water Chestnut, with one pot inside another containing the water. Too hot to do this today.

9779115859?profile=originalOne of the Cardoon flowers has opened and the colour is glorious. Will watch it's progress with interest and hope for seed.

9779116278?profile=original9779117262?profile=original

Read more…

2012/2013 SUMMER FEBRUARY

9779053098?profile=original

01.02.13

Time to cut up non-producing plants to  replenish the beds and do some propagation after all the rain. The temperature is much more comfortable though steamy, perfect for plant propagation.

I've planted up a heap of my first lot of Cardoon seed, some strawberry runners (for Joseph), red salvia removed from places I didn't want them growing (I cut back the Pineapple Sage the other day and chopped it up for mulch, but this is also a good one to grow from cutting), Cranberry Hibiscus and Cleome from cutting, Pepino and Betel leaf from cutting - the latter produce little rootlets almost begging to be reproduced.

I have lots of wildlife visitors to the garden - lizards, insects, birds. I try to find the name of each one so I can learn their role in the garden but some of the insects are very hard to identify.

Have identified this one as a Red-spotted Mirid Bug (Trilaccus nigroruber). One of those great, almost invisible, little predators we like to encourage to the garden. This insect is a predator of larvae of other small insects. I've watched it sticking it's proboscus into crevices and holes on the eggplant it seems to favour.

Brisbane Insects

9779075852?profile=originalThis morning while taking cuttings, with the dog standing right under the bush, a little Silvereye flew straight between us and sat on the bush completely unafraid and sang it's little song. It's mate and it were working the garden for caterpillars. The mud wasps have been gathering these lately also.

I'm appreciating that nature sets up it's own balance between predators and prey if you let it.

Silvereye - photo from Bird Life Australia

Have finally this morning seen the solitary native Leafcutter bee. I see evidence of it's work on my rose bush with neat little circles cut out of the leaves but not the bee itself. It is very fast moving but obliged by stopping right in front of me to groom itself for a whole 10secs so I could get a good look at it.

Here's some video from the Aussie Bee site.

Photo courtesy of Brisbane Insects.

They carry their pollen under their abdomen rather than in pollen sacs on the legs. Neat little white V on the face.

9779076466?profile=originalFrom the Qld Museum site here's the nest! Will have to keep my eyes open for this around the yard:

The cigar-like nest of a leaf-cutter bee removed from in fold in a curtain. This nest is composed of several individual cells staked end on end.

The cigar-like nest of a leaf-cutter bee removed from a fold in a curtain.
This nest is composed of several individual cells staked end on end.

02.02.13

Spent the morning working on tidying up the front yard. One of the mower guys and Heath have given me piles-o-grass so it was a good opportunity to start the no dig gardens in the front with all the Bribie newspapers courtesy of my Mum. 

Heath will also take out the palms and pony tail plants for me next time he brings his chainsaw. I think he enjoys having something to cut down myself!

I've also cut back all the dead growth on the white Mandevilla - something that has been bugging me for ages.

9779077667?profile=original9779078270?profile=original03.02.13

I've had to throw out kgs upon kgs of fruit from the Carombola due to fruit fly sting plus bruising when they hit the ground.

The bruising can be avoided but the fruit fly is a big problem, so I've hung a Wild May trap this morning. First time I've tried this product. It could take a very long time to eradicate or reduce the problem.

The tree is flowering again so it will be interesting to see if I have better results with the next lot of fruit.

9779078681?profile=originalThis is exactly what I saw in my garden yesterday - a mating couple of dragonflies. The female with a very red abdomen. There was a second insect with red abdomen, so assume it was another female, keeping them company nearby. Libellulidae - they were very long, about 7cm.

Pic courtesy of Brisbane Insects:

9779079277?profile=original04.02.13

I've just spread around in the bare patches under the few corn plants that survived the recent heat, the rest of Joseph's chinese veg seed - Pak Choy (Chinese White Cabbage) and Gai Choy (Chinese Mustard, Bamboo Leaf).

07.02.13

Enjoyed the antics of my resident Willy Wagtail this morning. Looks like it might be a juvenile. It sits on my clothes line preening itself after a bath then heads for the roof line where it picks off flying bugs mid air.

Photo courtesy of Birds in Backyards.

9779079479?profile=originalI've planted a bit of seed into grow pots. The Cardoon planted a few days ago from my own saved seed is coming up already! And I was worried it might not be viable.

Planted: Red Nasturtium "Imp. Empress", Artichoke "Imprerial Star" (long shot for sub-tropical), Orach "Ruby Red" (4 seed only, not really it's time), Black Eggplant (from store bought fruit), Wampi (what the hey - someone will grow seedlings) and cuttings from various things, mainly to give away. Also need to plant the Edible Chrysanthemum seed today.

Bed 3 is ready to go with pea and bean seed. Trying to hold out to March as I expect a bit more heat between then and now. Very little worm activity in any of the beds which is puzzling. Something to do with all the rain?

The Dragon fruit bloomed last night - it did rain a little so I hope they pollinated ok. Gave them a dust myself with a slightly wet finger as well.

9779079677?profile=original9779080084?profile=original17.02.13

The weather has remained showery and relatively cool, perfect weather for seed sowing, so I've crumbled and sown seed before my original March aim.

Bed 3 - Beans: Flageolet flagrano (bush bean ex Craig); Purple Pod climber (my saved seed); James' climber (my saved seed).

Peas: Sugar Snap (my saved seed) and Purple Pod (donated seed source unknown) - both climbers. There's also a Cardoon (my saved seed) in there along with some silverbeet which has struggled along through the heat, plus various sweet potato growing under the A frame and putting the unused interior to purpose.

Bed 2 - Cauliflower "Sixty Days" (Green Harvest) apparently well suited to warmer areas and can be frozen; Broccoli - Early Purple Sprouting (Baker Creek Heirloom), Green Sprouting Calabrese (The Lost Seed), Waltham (my own saved), Rapini (Baker Creek Heirloom);  Kohlrabi (Florence);  Purple King beans on frame(donated seed dated 2011 source unknown) and one Cardoon (my saved seed).

There's also some silverbeet struggling along after the heat, a Listada di Gandia eggplant (Bunnings seedling), Sweet Leaf (James' cutting) and some shallots (rooted stubs from store bought).

I've tossed some coriander, dill and fennell amongst everything with the aim of detering pests.

Bed 1 - Joe's beans (climber from Elaine or Jane); existing corn Golden Bantam - half of these didn't come up in the heat and are only 80cm or so tall and going to silk, under these are chinese veg (seed from Joseph); the Cardoon plants have mostly died off but two are making an effort at comeback after being cut back; some Mekong Red Amaranth (self sown) and an eggplant self sown.

Around the general yard I've planted Sunflower (saved seed); Edible Chrysanthemum (Suceed Heirlooms), Fennel (source unknown); Dill (ex Anne Gibson); Phacelia "Syn. Californian Bluebell" (Green Harvest) which has fragrant lavender-blue flowers and fern like foliage, attracts hoverflies that control aphids and is good bee forage amongst other things; winter lettuce (saved seed - slow to bolt variety unknown); coriander (Eudlo seed savers).

Many of the herbs have been planted down the length of the bottom of the bed at ground level or just thrown around the general beds. I'm interested to see how many come up.

I'm thrilled that so many plants are now naturalising themselves in the garden. These include Amaranth both red and green, rocket, mustard greens, Egyptian Spinach, nasturtium, lettuce. Many of these are coming up yet again after all the recent rain. Even Jicama have come up again by themselves.

Asparagus have improved with the rain but are still only producing the odd stem that I can take. Extremely good though! They nearly all get eaten while I'm pottering and don't make it to the kitchen.

Nasturtium have sat quietly as little plants all summer long. I expect they will take off shortly as the weather becomes cooler - there's also still plenty of seed lying around all over. Can't wait to plant out the new red seedlings.

The Ceylon Hill Gooseberry has some kind of bright yellow mould on every fruit. This morning I checked again and it has changed from bright yellow to a dark colour. The fruit doesn't seem to be affected. The asparagus is growing thickly around this plant and I expect the combination of lots of rain and less airflow has contributed.

18.02.13

Beautiful cool moist day. The garden is loving it! Bean seeds planted three days ago are coming up already. These are purple pod beans.

9779081676?profile=originalBelow: Self sown patches of goody are coming up everywhere.

9779081876?profile=original9779083091?profile=originalBelow: Dragonfruit on the fence has 7 fruit on it. Two unfortunately are over the neighbours side.

9779083860?profile=originalBelow: I've put some cuttings on the hose post and up the dead Grevillea.

9779083479?profile=original9779084855?profile=originalBelow: The Red Okra is still going great guns. Such a pretty plant, flower and fruit.

9779085272?profile=originalBelow: The Lebanses Cress from Ana is doing very well. There's enough that I can start taking some for my sandwiches.

9779086254?profile=originalBelow: The Kangkong that I struggled to get growing is now doing very well.

9779086685?profile=originalBelow: The Custard Apple dropped a few fruit but the bulk are doing well. You can see where the Leaf Cutter bee has been busy at work taking bit of leaf for her nest.

9779087673?profile=original9779087484?profile=originalBelow: The Dwf Macadamia has put on lots of new growth. Something has been eating some of it.

9779088491?profile=originalBelow: Rattle ants have moved into the insect hotel in the Soursop along with some tiny ants and a mud dauber wasp. Rattle Ants seal off the entrances with silk from their larvae.

9779089459?profile=originalBelow: The Betel Leaf is just loving the moist weather. Even the one under the Lychee has finally taken off.

9779090282?profile=originalBelow: Self sown eggplant - I have to assume it's Listada di Gandia. The fruit is more elongated that the original, same as the fruit from the Bunnings seedling.

9779090689?profile=originalBelow: Fruit on the Rosea bought at the Caboolture Mkts. More rounded.

9779091663?profile=originalBelow: Looking up the side - Soursop on right, Carambola in the middle, bamboo at the top end.

9779092262?profile=originalBelow: The swt potato tower is growing well. I have maybe three or four different types around the garden now. They grow so much more easily than regular potatoes.

9779054693?profile=originalBelow: Mystery melon self sown and growing so much better than anything I have planted myself.

9779093493?profile=originalBelow: Water Chestnuts doing great at last. Have only just finished eating the remaining ones I was given from last season. They keep so well in the fridge.

9779094457?profile=originalBelow: Last of the Golden Bantam corn that survived the hot spell. Won't EVER bother growing these again - they silk up at different times and the cobs are tough and tasteless.

9779094678?profile=originalBelow: Threw all of the remaining chinese veg seed from Joseph under the corn and most of it has come up in this moist weather. Nice :)

9779095266?profile=originalBelow: Give it a couple of days with me not paying much attention and the Winter Melon is taking over the washing trolley. Can't touch it now as it's developing a fruit. This plant grew from potting mix I threw out when seed didn't germinate.

9779038684?profile=originalBelow: Bed 3 newly planted with pea and bean and one cardoon from saved seed. Still growing Okra, swt potato, silverbeet. Climbers are down the length of the frame, bush bean is under the Okra.

9779095883?profile=originalBelow: Bed 2 newly planted with cauli, four different kinds of broccoli, one cardoon and beans along the climbing frame. I've thrown some herb seed in there for the hell of it, dill or fennel and coriander.  Still growing silverbeet bottom end, Sweet Leaf, eggplant and chives at the top end.

9779096092?profile=originalBelow: Bed 1 mostly to be redone - Joe's beans coming up at the top end. Still growing corn, chinese veg, eggplant, amaranth, basil.

9779097089?profile=original25.02.13

Only a few days of summer left, thank goodness. The last two days have been hot and steamy (the artichoke seedlings did not! appreciate it and some have died) but this morning is dripping rain again.

Went along to Bob Luttrell's open garden yesterday and was able to attend most of his talk about his experiences with native bees over the years and demonstrations of various hive designs. He's working on lightweight cement structures at the moment. And metal covers with tile roof that fits over the main body of the hive - he feels this keeps out the predators who won't fly up from underneath.

Bob showed us various vertical splitting techniques with different hive designs. Hopefully I will end up with one of these to try when we eventually split my hive.

Below: Last look around the garden before autumn. Time to read last autumns blog! which of course, is the whole point of having them.

9779097277?profile=originalBelow: The Cardoon is sending up new shoots. Lucky I don't pull things out anymore - I just cut and leave the stumps in the ground.

9779097894?profile=originalBelow: To provide support for the peas and beans, I've put up some netting that I bought some time back. Not an easy task to fight with this stuff on my own, but I eventually won!

9779098064?profile=originalBelow: The self sown Winter Melon which has now claimed my washing trolley as it's own, is producing more fruit which is quite wonderful. I have only one left in the pantry and would really like more to eat.

9779099462?profile=originalBelow: More Dragonfruit is ripening. Currently selling for about $5 each around here, though Joseph has found them on the southside for about $1.50 each.

9779099677?profile=originalBelow: The cutting I put on the hose post seems to be putting out a flower bud....even though the piece isn't rooted. Will be interesting to see if this develops further.

9779100090?profile=originalBelow: Looks like I might have Myrtle rust on the Ceylon Hill Gooseberry. Not a good shot, but note the marks on the fruit and leaves. These were initially yellow circles.

9779101065?profile=originalBelow: The Cranberry Hibiscus is such a pretty edible to have in the garden. Seedlings are coming up around the cold compost pile though I don't remember seeing any seed pods.

This one responds well to pruning to keep it neat and promote the fresh young leaves which are the best eating.

9779101097?profile=originalBelow: The self sown mystery melon must be getting near the time for harvesting. Looks like a Honeydew to me. Don't remember eating any HD this summer, rockmelon yes, so lord knows where the seed came from to end up in the kitchen veg scraps dumped in this spot. Perhaps it's regressed to one of the parent plants?? Whatever. It's a little gift.

9779101285?profile=originalBelow: Didn't want to waste any of my one beautiful pumpkin so pricked it full of holes and roasted it......

9779102256?profile=originalBelow: The end result to put in the freezer for later use. The flesh was still quite chunky but could be squashed down once it was in the bags. Nice and flat for storage. One lot used for Pumpkin Cake which I've been enjoying nightly with some icecream, really quite yum.

9779102478?profile=originalBelow: FRONT YARD - Finally started real work on the front yard thanks to Health using his chainsaw to cut off the Ponytail plant and two fountain palms for me. That big mound down near the air-con unit is where one of the palms is still quite big and viable. Aiming to kill it off with the substantial heat from the grass cuttings. It will eventually rot down.

Steve the mower guy is bringing me lots of lovely grass cuttings. I just love looking at this pile and thinking about what I can plant when it's all rotted down. Doesn't take long. There's newspaper and ground cover under this lot.

9779102901?profile=originalBelow: The Jaboticaba is doing very well. Really looking forward to getting a first crop. The raspberries struggled this year but there's still plenty of healthy stock. I will be propogating them all along this bed. Will try to keep them some better form, but for all that, they crop just fine left to their own devices.

The choko (green) has made a comeback as always, when it rains. The white one couldn't take the heat. Many people are asking me for fruit to grow so it seems everyone has lost their plants.

9779103291?profile=originalBelow: The Dwarf Wurtz is doing well. After dire warnings from many NOT to prune it I found a video on YouTube from a professional who just gets stuck in, so I've trimmed off some of the growth and branches that were annoying me. There's still more...I'm working myself up to it!

Pomegranates in the background are growing well - seed sown on the left, Wonderful in the middle.

9779104058?profile=originalBelow: The "four sisters" - Tamarillos grown from seed at the same time, have had very different journeys. The one in the foreground, in what I considered to be the worst spot not getting much natural rain, has done the best - managing to keep both it's fruit and leaves. The one on the right was bowled over in a storm, cut off and has kept it leaves (there were not fruit). The two in the right background kept their fruit and dropped all their leaves during the recent bout of heat that went on for a few weeks.

I've cut them right back in the hope that they recover.

Canistel in between plants (right) is still plugging along. New growth, but it's a very slow grower. Tempted to get rid of it but it's healthy, so can stay for a bit longer.

The rocket is now self sowing in this bed. Pepino struggles out here - probably too hot and dry for it. The strawberries are settling in nicely - original plants from a couple at Redlands a few years back.

9779104296?profile=originalBelow: Heath has been giving me grass over the fence. Finally convinced him not to dump it! but he still looks puzzled that I would want it lol. He's tossing the backyard stuff over into my banana patch.

9779105266?profile=originalLESSONS LEARNED THIS SUMMER:

  • Do NOT grow Golden Bantam corn again. Plants don't grow at the same rate, therefore don't pollinate at the same time. The end cob is tough and bland. I tried seed from three different sites and they were all as dismal.
  • Take precautions for fruit fly BEFORE the tree fruits! (Carombola). NOTE - my fruit fly trap has caught nothing in a week and yet all the fruit is stung. Perhaps it's not fruit fly sting? The Americans have problems with stink beetles (?) but no sign of any excess of beetle either. NOTE 17.02.13 fruit fly maggots are hatching in bagged fruit.

Read more…

Food Pyramid reversed

From Hungry for Change:

How Turning the Food Pyramid on Its Head Can Help You Slim Down

 

By Dr. Mercola

A full two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese and childhood obesity has tripled over the past 30 years.

While the American agricultural system may be the envy of many less affluent nations, it also has many unintended consequences. One of them is a food system that promotes cheap food largely devoid of nutrients and chockfull of unhealthy ingredients that has caused obesity rates to skyrocket.

If you’re like most people, you probably do not know that there is NO link between agricultural subsidies and nutrition. This is a major part of the problem.

Directly related to this issue is the fact that the government’s nutritional guidelines are in large part mirrored by these same agricultural subsidies, rather than being built upon sound nutritional science. 

The original food pyramid created and promoted by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), told you that the “base” of your diet should consist of grains, pasta and breads, despite the evidence showing that grains, which break down into sugar in your body, promotes fat accumulation and drives insulin resistance and related diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. 

In short, the reason you’re told to make grains the cornerstone of your diet is because that’s what farmers are paid to grow in the US. There’s a lot of it, and it’s inexpensive compared to healthier foods like vegetables, for which few subsidies are offered.


Conventional Farming Promotes Consumption of Unhealthy Foods

There’s no denying the fact that modern agricultural practices promote the consumption of an unhealthy diet. Today’s sky-high rates of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease can be tied directly to changes in how our food has been grown and produced over the past 40 years. 

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), between 1995 and 2010, a mere 10 percent of American farmers collected 74 percent of all subsidies, amounting to nearly $166 billion over 16 years.

These farm subsidies bring you high-fructose corn syrup, fast food, animal factories, monoculture, and a host of other contributors to our unhealthful contemporary diet.

A report comparing federal subsidies of fresh produce and junk food, prepared by US PIRG, a non-profit organization that takes on special interests on behalf of the public, revealed where your tax dollars are really going and it's quite shocking: If you were to receive an annual federal subsidy directly, you would receive $7.36 to spend on junk food and just 11 cents to buy apples.

Equally astounding is the following statistic gleaned from a recent interview with Michael Pollan, in which he points out that according to USDA data, 92 cents of each food dollar now goes to someone other than the farmer—it’s actually spent on the various manufacturing and packaging processes associated with processed foods.

“We’re not going to undo that unless we buy more directly from farmers and buy unprocessed food,” he says.


And I think that’s a crucial point, really. Imagine if food growers could get most or all of each food dollar instead of it being spent on plastic wrappers and food processing! Then they might actually be able to afford growing something other than corn, soy and wheat, which are three of the unhealthiest staples of the processed food industry...

Following USDA Diet Recommendations Is a Recipe for Obesity

Some of you may be old enough to recall the 1992 Food Pyramid, which had grains as the largest bottom block of the pyramid, encouraging you to eat 6-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta each day. 

This excess of carbohydrates, most of them refined, is precisely the opposite of what most people need to stay healthy. At the very top of the pyramid was fats and sugar, and while sugar clearly belongs there, healthy fats do not. In fact, most people would benefit from getting anywhere from 50 to 70 percent of their total calories from healthy fats!
The food pyramid was replaced with “MyPlate” in 2011, which slightly downplayed grains as the most important dietary ingredient, making vegetables the largest “slice,” but it still has a long way to go before it will offer a meal plan that will truly support your optimal health.

One of its most glaring faults is that MyPlate virtually removed all fats from the equation! In fact, except for a small portion of dairy, which is advised to be fat-free or low-fat, fats are missing entirely... There is no mention of the importance of dietary fats, even the "politically correct" ones like the monounsaturated fats in olive oil and nuts, such as pecans (canola oil is also in this category, but I advise avoiding it and using coconut oil instead).

Of course, one of the most important of the healthy fats is animal-based omega-3, which is also absent from the plate. Deficiency in this essential fat can cause or contribute to very serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year. 

Not surprisingly, the US government still has not acknowledged the ever mounting data showing that saturated fat is actually an incredibly healthy, nourishing, and all-natural fat that humans have been thriving on for generations. It provides the necessary building blocks for your cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances that are critical to your health. Saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources, such as coconut oil, avocado, non-CAFO meat and dairy, also provide a concentrated source of energy in your diet.
When you eat fats as part of your meal, they also slow down absorption so that you can feel satisfied longer, which helps curb overeating. In addition, they act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and are needed for mineral absorption and a host of other biological processes. To get these healthy saturated fats in your diet, you need to eat animal foods like butter and other full-fat raw dairy products and eggs, yet these foods are still demonized by the establishment.

What a Food Pyramid Based on Nutritional Science Really Looks Like

In an effort to remedy the situation, I’ve created my own food pyramid for optimal health. My pyramid, which is based on nutritional science opposed to agricultural subsidies and industry lobbying efforts, is almost the inverse of the original USDA food pyramid, featuring healthful fats and vegetables on the bottom. 
Again, most people would benefit from getting at least 50 percent of your daily calories from healthful fats, such as avocados, coconut oil, nuts, and raw butter. In terms of bulk or quantity, vegetables should be the most prominent feature on your plate. Veggies provide countless critical nutrients, while being sparse on calories.
Next comes high quality proteins, followed by a moderate amount of fruits, and lastly, at the very top, you’ll find grains and sugars. This last top tier of sugars and grains can be eliminated entirely, and your health just might become the envy of everyone around you... While this may sound impossible to some, I can attest to the fact that quitting carbs is doable. In fact, once you’ve successfully switched over from burning carbs to burning fat as your body’s primary fuel, carb cravings actually disappear, as if by magic. There are two primary ways to achieve this metabolic switch, and these strategies support each other when combined:

  • Intermittent fasting: I prefer daily intermittent fasting, but you could also fast a couple of days a week if you prefer, or every other day. There are many different variations. To be effective, in the case of daily intermittent fasting, the length of your fast must be at least eight hours long. This means eating only between the hours of 11am until 7pm, as an example. Essentially, this equates to simply skipping breakfast, and making lunch your first meal of the day instead

  • A ketogenic diet: This type of diet, in which you replace carbs with low to moderate amounts of high quality protein and high amounts of beneficial fat, is what I recommend for everyone, and is exactly what you get if you focus on the bottom three tiers of my food pyramid


Other Atrocious Health Recommendations That Drive Obesity and Disease Rates


Make no mistake about it, obesity is the result of inappropriate lifestyle choices, and unfortunately, our government has spent decades disseminating astoundingly inaccurate information about diet and health. In many ways, the US government has become little more than a propagator of corporate-sponsored propaganda. The following is just a tiny sampling of the pervasive misleading information on weight and obesity disseminated by our government agencies:

  • “All sugars are equal, and are okay in moderation:” The science is overwhelmingly clear on this point: fructose and glucose are NOT metabolized by your body in the same way. For example, while every cell in your body utilizes glucose, thereby burning up much of it, fructose is turned into free fatty acids (FFAs), VLDL (the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which get stored as fat. Furthermore, the entire burden of metabolizing fructose falls on your liver, which creates a long list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and causes gout. It also promotes visceral fat. When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as fat. 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored as fat. As a standard recommendation, I advise keeping your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day, or as little as 15 grams a day if you have insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or are overweight

  • “To lose weight, just expend more calories than you eat:” This outdated advice has been shown to be patently false, as not all calories are created equal. In a nutshell, counting calories will not help you lose weight if you're consuming the wrong kind of calories

  • “Choosing diet foods will help you lose weight:” Substances like Splenda (sucralose) and Equal or Nutrasweet (aspartame) may have zero calories, but your body isn't fooled. When it gets a "sweet" taste, it expects calories to follow, and when this doesn't occur it leads to distortions in your biochemistry that actually lead to weight gain

  • “Avoid saturated fat to protect your heart:” The myth that saturated fat causes heart disease began as little more than a scientifically unsupported marketing strategy for Crisco cooking oil. Most people actually need about 50 to 70 percent of their diet as healthful fats from organic, pastured eggs, avocados, coconut oil, real butter and grass-fed beef in order to optimize their health

  • “When it comes to cholesterol levels, the lower the better, to avoid heart disease:” Cholesterol is actually NOT the major culprit in heart disease or any disease, and the guidelines that dictate what number your cholesterol levels should be to keep you "healthy" are fraught with conflict of interest -- and have never been proven to be good for your health. Meanwhile, bringing your cholesterol levels down too low can have significant health ramifications, from mood disorders and violence to, ironically, heart disease


Yes, You Can Slim Down Without Even Trying...


Once you realize the root of the problem, which begins with agricultural subsidies that are based on economics and have nothing to do with growing nutrient dense foods for the masses; which in turn has spawned dietary recommendations that are also based on industry profitability opposed to nutritional science, then it becomes easier to understand why a full two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Even the education of registered dietitians is sponsored and taught by the junk food industry!

Sadly, these deeply flawed dietary recommendations fuel the nation’s poor health scores, and drive the now colossal health industry, which in turn is run by the pharmaceutical industry... It’s really one big vicious circle.

You CAN break free.


Perhaps one of the most powerful scientific discoveries to emerge in the past several years is that the old adage “a calorie is a calorie” is patently false. The research clearly demonstrates that even if you control the number of calories you eat, if those calories come primarily from fructose and grains, you are at increased risk of obesity and pre-diabetes, which includes both insulin and leptin resistance, fatty liver, high blood pressure and high triglycerides. Insulin and leptin resistance in turn form the foundation for virtually every chronic disease you can think of, including heart disease and cancer.

The answer, therefore, is to turn the conventional food pyramid on its proverbial head, and dramatically reduce or eliminate virtually all grains and sugars, especially fructose. This in and of itself will go a long way toward preventing accumulation of excess fat. However, to be truly effective, you want to make sure you’re replacing those refined carbs with vegetables and healthful fats.

Now you’re entering into a diet that will allow your body to shift from burning carbs to burning fat (or ketones) as its primary fuel. At this point, weight loss is not the only benefit you’ll reap. Compelling research shows that this type of diet, also referred to as a ketogenic diet, is an effective prevention and even treatment strategy for cancer.

Intermittent fasting is another powerful key that will help you transition your body from obtaining the majority of its fuel from glucose stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver, to the fat stored in your tissues. This is one of the most effective ways I know of to burn off excess body fat and eliminate sugar cravings. These are all things that are well within your power to do. Next, I urge you to become involved with changing the system that has brought us to this unfortunate point in our evolution.Growing sprouts in your home is a powerful way to eat very healthy and inexpensively.

Changing your shopping patterns by supporting local agriculture will not only help improve your health, it will also help improve the environment and bring back our rural communities. One way to get involved is to simply buy more food from your local farmers. It is important to understand the impact you have when you spend your money on processed factory food. 

Read more…

Last revised 27.06.15.

I'm a list maker.

I like to gather information together in one spot so I don't have to keep hunting it down or scratch my head wondering where I read something and not being able to find it again. And I like to share, so please feel free to use this list of links or recommend more sites to be added as it's a continuous work in progress.

It is up to you to decide if you wish to deal with any of the companies, this is not a recommendation, just a list.

Share any comments on your experiences with various companies, such as postage (good, bad), packaging (good, bad), viability of product......you get the picture :)

AUSTRALIAN SEED SITES by state, as many of us like to buy local seed to suit our climate and support local companies:

BEAUTANICALS QLD

BIOME ECO STORES Qld

BOONDIE SEEDS QLD

EDEN SEEDS / SELECT ORGANICS QLD

GREEN HARVEST QLD Maleny

ISABELL SHIPARDS HERB FARM QLD

SUCCEED HEIRLOOM QLD

VAN VEEN ORGANICS QLD Elimbah (just north of Caboolture)

GREENPATCH SEEDS NSW

ROYSTON PETRIE SEEDS NSW

THE HIPPY SEED COMPANY NSW

THE LOST SEED NSW

DIGGERS CLUB VIC

GARLIC WORLD VIC

GOODMAN SEEDS VIC

HUMPHRIS NURSERY Vic

NEW GIPPSLAND SEED & BULBS VIC

THE SEED COLLECTION Vic or FB page

WHITEHOUSE NURSERY Vic

AUSTRALIAN SEED WA

SEEDS2FREEDOM WA

HEIRLOOM HARVEST SA

SEEDS 4 YOU SA

THE ITALIAN GARDENER SA

CORNUCOPIA SEED TAS

PHOENIX SEED TAS

RANGEVIEW SEEDS TAS

SOUTHERN HARVEST TAS

YELWEK FARM TAS Oca, Potato Onions, Garlic, Onion Shallots

OVERSEAS SEED SITES:

Want to know which seeds customs will allow you to bring in? Check out ICON- AQIS’s import conditions database.

Further information can be found at DAFF.

BAKER CREEK HEIRLOOM SEED America

WHATCOM SEED COMPANY Oregon

FRUIT TREE/PLANT SITES by state:

QLD

AIRPORT NURSERY Hervey Bay Qld

AUSTRALIAN NATIVE HIBISCUS QLD

BLUE SKY BACKYARD BANANAS QLD

CREEC Qld Caboolture - native tubestock $2 Ph 38889285

GEMVALE ESTATE DRAGON FRUIT FARM QLD -974 Eatons Crossing Road, Draper Qld 0422301733

We allow farm visits. Email: louceccato@gmail.com

HEART GARDEN Bundaberg Qld

INDIGISCAPES CENTRE QLD

ISABELL SHIPARDS HERB FARM QLD

KUMBARTCHO QLD

LIVING BAMBOO QLD Samford

RED FOX DRAGON FRUIT FARM QLD Nanango

TAMBORINE DRAGON FRUIT FARM QLD Mt Tamborine

VAN VEEN ORGANICS QLD Elimbah (just north of Caboolture)- 70 Bigmor Drive, Elimbah Qld 07 5408 6470 / 07 5495 7946 / 0422 107 914 - most of the fruiting plants are grafted and most of the native are seedlings, however there is some seedlings fruit plants.

WITJUTI GRUB BUSH FOODS NURSERY Obi Obi  Qld

NSW

BAMBOO WHOLESALE NSW

DALEYS FRUIT NURSERY NSW

FORBIDDEN FRUITS NURSERY NSW

FRUIT SALAD TREE COMPANY NSW

VIC

DIGGERS CLUB VIC

FLEMINGS NURSERY VIC

GARDEN EXPRESS VIC

YALCA FRUIT TREES VIC

HERITAGE FRUIT TREES VIC

SA

PERRY'S FRUIT & NUT NURSERY SA

TAS

WOODBRIDGE FRUIT TREES TAS

SOCIETIES, ORGANISATIONS AND NETWORKS:

ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGY ASSOC

AUSTRALIAN FOOD SOVEREIGNTY ALLIANCE

AUSTRALIAN CITY FARMS AND COMMUNITY GARDENS NETWORK networking community gardens around Australia

AUSTRALIAN GREEN DEVELOPMENT FORUM

AUSTRALIAN TROPICAL FOODS

BOGI (Brisbane Organic Growers Inc)

CAPE TRIBULATION EXOTIC FRUIT FARM

ECO RADIO BRISBANE FB page

IOPS - International Organisation for a Participatory Society

MORETON BAY ECO ALLIANCE FB site

OPEN FOOD NETWORK

PERMACULTURE RESEARCH INST. OF AUSTRALIA

RARE FRUIT AUSTRALIA INC

RARE FRUIT SOCIETY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA

ROGI (Redlands Organic Growers Inc)

SEEDSAVERS Seed Savers Handbook - for full list of groups

SUB TROPICAL FRUIT CLUB OF QLD INC

TROPICAL FRUIT WORLD

URBAN AGRICULTURE NETWORK

WILDLIFE PRESERVATION SOCIETY MORETON SHIRE

COMMUNITY GARDENS, GROUPS, BLOGS:

BEELARONG COMM. FARM Morningside

BUDDINA COMMUNITY GARDEN - Sunshine Coast

CABOOLTURE SEED SAVERS

EARTHWISE GARDENING 

EUDLO SEED SAVERS

FOLIA

GRACEVILLE COMMUNITY GARDEN

GREEN P - Sandgate Community Garden

GYMPIE COMMUNITY GARDEN

JANE ST COMMUNITY GARDEN

JERRY COLEBY-WILLIAMS and FACEBOOK JC-W

LOGAN FOOD GARDENERS

MANGO HILL COMMUNITY FARM INC

MANLY WYNNUM COMMUNITY GARDEN

MILLEN FARM Samford

NOOSA SEED SAVERS

NORTHEY STREET CITY FARM

QUEENSLAND HERB SOCIETY

ROCHEDALE COMMUNITY GARDEN

SAMFORD LOCAL GROWERS

SEED SAVERS

SELF SUFFICIENT ME

SOUTHSIDE SUSTAINABILITY CENTRE & COMMUNITY GARDEN Bulimba Creek

SUCCESSFUL GARDENING Annette McFarlane

SWAP, SHUFFLE SHARE

VERA STREET COMMUNITY GARDEN Toowong

WESTFALEN COMMUNITY GARDEN, Dunlop St, Collingwood Park Contact: Mr & Mrs Graham & Gillian LYNN on 3814 5080

YANDINA COMMUNITY GARDEN

TRAINING, WORKSHOPS, BOOKS, VIDEOS, EVENTS, INFORMATION and PRODUCTS:

AUSTRALIAN ORGANIC SCHOOLS offers training material

BACKYARD ORCHARD CULTURE Dave Wilson Nursery - sensible info re multi planting and keeping fruit trees at the right height in a backyard

BIRDS IN BACKYARDS

CENTRE FOR GROWING SUSTAINABILITY

CHOOK TRADER chickens etc for sale

CITYFOOD GROWERS Peter Kearney, Maleny

DINNER GARDEN

EARTHBOX AUSTRALIA

EARTHWISE GARDENING

ELIZABETH FEKONIA

FOODMATTERS 

GEOFF LAWTON - free permaculture videos including urban

HIDRO GREEN ENERGY

INDIGISCAPES

KEFIR Doms site

KITCHEN GARDENERS INTERNATIONAL

KUMBARTCHO

MAD MILLIE CHEESE MAKING KITS

MORETON SHIRE COUNCIL

NUTRITECH SOLUTIONS

THE MICRO GARDENER - Anne Gibson

PERMABLITZ BRISBANE

PERMACULTURE RESEARCH INSTITUTE

RegenAG community based family enterprise committed to helping regenerate Australia’s farms, soils, communities and on-farm livelihoods.

WEEDS AUSTRALIA

WEED SPOTTERS QLD

BEE SITES:

ANBees online group

AUSTRALIAN NATIVE BEE RESEARCH CENTRE

AUSTRALIAN NATIVE BEES - WHERE TO BUY

BOB THE BEE MAN Bob Luttrell

BRISBANE BACKYARD BEES

BURNETT BEE KEEPING SUPPLIES Kingaroy - Australia wide service

KIN KIN NATIVE BEES

NATIVE BEES OF AUSTRALIA Museum site

THE NOVICE BEEKEEPER blog spot

SOCIAL INSECTS LAB Sydney Uni

SUGARBAG Tim Heard

ZABEL Russell and Janine

FOOD SITES:

BONNIE BEEF Qld

EDIBLE YARDS

FARM MATCH and FB FARM MATCH

FRESH LOCAL PROVISIONS Samford

GOORALIE FREE RANGE PORK Qld

KOOKABURRA ORGANICS

ORGANIC & QUALITY FOODS Qld

OLIVFRESH ORGANIC OLIVES Qld

QUAIL KINGDOM Qld

TILLARI TROTTERS Tamworth 100% free range see discussion

Read more…

Spring gardening

It's a lovely time of year in the garden and it's been nice and cool so far, although the temperatures have been starting to climb for the past couple of days. I've finally finished exams so I'm looking forward to tending a lot more to my vegie patch and hopefully putting in a new bed for next year.

We went to the Roma St botanic gardens in October and found this great topiary giraffe - it's so cute. : )

After that huge amount of rain we had I waited a week or so and then decided to harvest the garlic. We got bulbs from all the cloves that I planted. I think I may have left them in a little too long - almost all the leaves had died back. Hopefully they'll still taste good.

And Lissa - Here are my blueberries so far. I picked the third one this morning - it was hiding under a leaf. There are more on their way and new flowers and buds on the bush so hopefully I'll get more over summer.

The lone strawberry plant that made it from seed has got heaps of small strawberries on it, waiting to plump up and ripen over summer. Yummy!!! I think strawberries would be my favourite fruit.

We've had a lot of visitors to the garden lately - or maybe I've just been home "studying" so I've noticed them more. We have two kingfishers that hunt in our yard each day. I'm not sure if one's a baby or just the male/female of a pair.

The kookaburras are still around, and I frequently walk out the back door to find one sitting on the washing line looking for lizards and worms. Mummy magpie that terrorised cyclists on our street while nesting has also been raiding the yard for her baby that sits near her and squawks.

The fruit trees are growing slowly but surely. The washington navel has one orange growing on it about the size of a giant marble and has dropped all the rest. The valencia seems to have dropped all of its fruit buds and the mandarin still has most of its fruit buds. It's their first year in so I'm not expecting a huge crop from any of them.

The avocado tree still needs a home in the ground and we keep changing our minds as to where to put it. We need to get some sand for drainage before we plant it too. The passionfruit is fruiting again (sorry Donna!), and is really responding to all the rain and my efforts at remembering to water it.

The corn is doing well and is nearly a foot high. I planted cucumber in between the rows, although it is fast outgrowing the corn, even though I planted it later.

The dwarf butter beans are flowering - purple flowers which are quite pretty. The bean fly doesn't seem to be so bad this year, although time will tell when I'm wanting to harvest. Do dwarf beans need anything to climb on or a support? They are just flopping on the ground at the moment and seem to be quite happy for now.

The tomatoes all have very nice large fruit which are being attacked by slugs and flies. The plants themselves have succumbed to septoria leaf spot, and no matter how much I try not to water leaves and pick off the affected leaves I can't get rid of it. There's no natural or organic fix for it that I've found. On the other hand, we are inundated with kilos of cherry tomatoes. I have to go out with a little bucket to pick them each day just to keep up with them. They're also affected by the leaf spot but don't seem to mind too much.

The water chestnuts are growing well and are starting to spread through my makeshift clamshell pond. The QLD arrowroot it growing very fast and will soon be screening our water tank. Thanks again Elaine. The young peanuts survived the onslaught of slugs and snails during the rain and are now starting to take off.

Well that's all from me for now. Hopefully I'll be able to blog about more additions to the patch soon.

Read more…

Donna's Garden - October 2010

Well, I am too scared to check just how long it has been since my last blog - it certainly feels like forever! Working with two little kids never seems to leave enough time to do anything... as my garden can certainly tell you!

We are about 3/4 of the way through putting an irrigation system in which will mean that my poor plants won't be subjected to so much stress by non watering... surely I can find enough time to turn the tap and timer on ;) At the moment there is two systems with most of the veggie gardens having drip irrigation, trees having their own drippers and the side and front garden having microjets - I'll keep an eye on it (if it ever stops raining long enough to need it) and see if that is enough.

I have a fair few things flowering at the moment and will be busy collecting seeds to share including broccoli, radish, italian parsley, mustard for green manure, mizuna, dill, coriander and marigolds for nematodes/ green manure.

9778993298?profile=original

Broccoli


9778993870?profile=original

Radish

9778994287?profile=original

Italian Parsley

9778995872?profile=original

Dill

9778996493?profile=original

Coriander

The main (original) asparagus bed has done well, we have picked heaps and am now leaving the rest to feed the roots up for next season. The ones that were planted last year haven't done very well as I haven't looked after them or watered them, plus the chickens scratched up one bed... hopefully a lot of love and affection this year will bring the ones that survived back to health.

9778996884?profile=original


There is kale and brocolli still going strong, these will have to be pulled out in the next few weeks although I am hoping that the curly dwarf kale will go to seed, it was a winner in my garden this year! There are also a few beetroot and carrots still to be harvested.

9778997698?profile=original


I am trialling lettuce in the orchard under the trees in styrafoam boxes to be used as a baby mescalin size for salads. At the moment there are two, but I think I'll get another one as they are usually cut and come again... hopefully this will mean that there is heaps of lettuce for salad this summer. I will also keep planting in the main beds to see if I can find one that is truly 'heat tolerant' to grow to full size, also the chooks love it even if it bolts to seed.

9778998662?profile=original


Speaking of chooks, they are doing well. Bubbles has already gone broody and finally given up on the eggs, now one of the white sussex (Betty or Flossie - can't tell them apart anymore now they are the same size) has gone broody. They all seem to lay really well and we are probably getting six eggs a week each when they aren't broody - heaps of quiche/ egg dishes, the favourite at the moment is omelet with a kale/ dill/ fetta filling yum! I find they are no trouble, we have a 5kg feeder which I check weekly when I change their bedding, there are two home made waterers with special cups which are checked and filled at the same time. Daily we get 3-4 eggs and they are only on the cheap pellets which is about $13 per month... I don't give them kitchen scraps but give them something green pretty much every day from the garden - I am thinking of growing them lettuce along with mine to put in once a week as a special treat. They get let out on weekends when the dog is shut up inside but I have put temporary fencing around nearly all the garden beds so they can't scratch/ eat my veggies. I wish we had got them years ago, they are great and I recommend them to anyone!

9778998873?profile=original



The trees (that haven't died) are all going really well with the exception of the sole remaining blueberry, the apple and nashi espalier attempts. Think I am going to bite the bullet and rip these out soon, the blueberry is in a pot so it can soldier on for another year. There were a couple of blossoms on the almond, there are flowers on Ashley's passionfruit (his wasn't trimmed but mine was - his is flowering and fruiting but mine isn't - they weren't fertilised at all except with potash), the tamarillo is flowering, heaps of paw paws coming on, heaps of pepinos coming on. The citrus most have new fruit, the avocado and guava are growing huge and most of the trees have new growth. The fig looks great at the moment with heaps of lush new leaves.

9778999473?profile=original


9778999695?profile=original


9779000499?profile=original


I cornered Annette McFarlene at the BOGI fair and asked about my banana grove. I had four Ducasse that were neglected and struggled with lack of water/ competition from grass and took a year before they started to grow. I let a few suckers grow on thinking that would be the 'baby' for when the mother produces fruit, but these are now as big as the parent - nearly four metres! So each one of the originals has at least two plants, and one has four at differing sizes. In addition to this I was keeping them tidy and cutting leaves off as soon as they started to get a bit yellow not thinking about the job they do getting nutrients from the sun/ retaining water etc. And to top it all off the leaves are shredded by the wind/ clothes line/ tree so not getting as much leaf area! I have been dumping the chicken bedding in the middle and compost too as well as trying to keep the water up to them. She has assured me that they are *not* ornamental and advised they are likely to flower in November (fruit in January) so eagerly watching to see if her prophesy comes true!

9779002055?profile=original


My sandy soil just seems to be a nematode trap, I get it in at least one bed every season despite rotating them and in the weirdest things too like silverbeet?! Anyway there have been a couple of green manure crops at the end of winter and now the big bed has marigold seedlings coming up to do it for nematodes now.

9779002101?profile=original


There isn't much new growing at the moment but I will hopefully get out there next weekend and plant a few seeds for summer. Probably try the last of the winged beans (the other ones didn't come up I don't think), corn, okra, purple king beans, snake beans, cherry yellow pear tomato, and a few others that I can't think of right now.

The side permaculture/ orchard style will also be where I try eggplant, chilli and capsicum this planting - they just seem to take so long and I feel it is a 'waste' of my veggie bed space :) There is yakon, taro, cassava at the moment as well as a couple of sweet potato patches. I noticed there are a few self seeded things coming up including a stars and moon watermelon so they will be good ground cover too.

9779002479?profile=original


My herb bed is chock a block but a lot of it has gone to seed - I will get in there and thin out some stuff and get some new seeds in soon I hope. I planted some fat hen seeds that were given to me by Jacqui at the first Garden Visit at Jane Street and these look to be going to seed, I will have to look up what to do with them!

9779003277?profile=original


New things I am going to try and get crops off are wheat for wheat grass which is really healthy for you and tastes okay if mixed with apple juice. Also chia as it has really high levels of omega 3 which is lacking in most peoples diet nowadays.

Interestingly I have had both boys tested at a naturopath recently for intolerance/ sensitivity and deficiency. They are both lacking int he B vitamins as well as potassium, magnesium and silica - I laughed and said I could easily make up a watering can and sit them outside for a dose :) Apparently these are often deficient in a modern diet with non organic and processed food. Brewers yeast is supposed to be really good so am trying to add it to their diet. Poor baby Brendan has had a bad run with his digestive system over the past few months and as a result he has yogurt with chia seeds, digestive enzymes, probiotics, slippery elm and brewers yeast morning and night - he loves it weirdly enough! David is another matter, I have to hold him down and syringe his into his mouth - hopefully he gets the idea that it is easier for him to just drink it - his is a really yummy chocolate milkshake with whey isolate, pysillium husks and brewers yeast. Nearly everything I cook has ground up linseed or chia seed included in it for the omega 3 content.

It was interesting when labelling my photos that a large number of my plants are from other people thanks to the Brisbane Seed Saver group and the monthly garden visits. It is a great way to meet new people and talk about our gardens and I would like to thank everyone for participating and sharing so much knowledge, seeds, plants and information. It is a great network and hopefully it will continue to grow as new members join. Thanks again to everyone who has given me things for my garden!

9779003675?profile=original


9779004663?profile=original


9779004489?profile=original


9779005272?profile=original


Anyway, that's more than enough dribble about my garden - hopefully next time it won't be so long between blogs... and I look forward to reading about *your* garden!


Read more…

Donna's Garden - 16/08/09

Well Gardenate.com finally got me off my bottom this weekend, I have planted seeds in an old concrete tub at the back door with hessian over it to keep it moist...hopefully. While a lot of them were supposed to be planted direct I decided to try it this way so I don't forget to water them if they are randomly scattered in different gardens.I planted celeraic, carrot, cucumber, eggplant, globe artichokes, kohl rabi, lettuce, luffa (my last two seeds of angled luffa - hopefully get something to save this year), okra - red & green, pumpkin, radish, rockmelon, sunflower, tomato & watermelon. The plan is that in another month I do the same again and hopefully will end up with successive planting this year!In the bed that had nematodes (finally used the molasses thanks Florence) I have tried planting direct corn, rockmelon and snake beans so if they come up will have a guild going for summer.Along the front fence the new asparagus are coming up (thin spears), and one of the potato boxes has come to life - the other one isn't doing anything yet and there is still one more box to go when the potatoes sprout a bit more. This bed has been fertilised so hopefully the acerola cherries and remaining jaboticabas do a bit better this year. The peas/ beans are already producing even though they are barely 10cm high and not tall enough to climb yet.The brussel sprouts and squash are coming along well, although *sigh* have powdery mildew again - will have to give the squash & zuchinni up the back some bugs and try to get rid of it.Asian lettuce (mizuna, mibuna & red mustard) are doing well, and my capsicum from last year is still going with one normal size capsicum just turning red. No asparagus yet from last years crowns - can't wait for spears, this year I am allowed to eat them!Still have cabbage, kohl rabi, spring onions, and garlic doing really well in one bed. Tomatoes, asian lettuce, nasturtium (huge) and sick zuchinni in another. Seedling sized (grown from seed) beetroot, silverbeet, asian lettuce, zuchinni, chilli plant in another. The little bed around the clothes line still has chilli and some self seeded tomatoes as well as a couple of stray basil plants. The herb garden has curly and flat parsley, coriander, garlic chives and a few stray lettuces - couldn't get coriander seeds or basil seeds to take so will try them in the seed box next time it is empty.Have just created a blueberry bed and have five different varieties that are supposed to fruit at different times so if I can keep them alive should have blueberries for about five months (next year or the year after when the grow a bit anyway). Any ideas what I can underplant in this bed that likes a low ph - must also remember to ask hubby to go to Bunnings and get me some stuff to bring the ph down, the opposite of dolomite, placenta brain will have to look it up before I ask lol.Went to Beenleigh markets today and have planted a yellow fig, pepino and pear guava in the side garden that was just concreted/ green mulched - scraped away the compost and dug into the dirt, it is looking pretty good actually considering it was only about a month ago - saw a couple of worms in one spot!The fruit trees are surviving (or most of them anyway - lost one jaboticaba for sure. The grumichama, one citrus and mango died but look like they might survive with new growth coming on. The bananas are all growing really well and three out of four have new baby suckers, so hoping for fruit this year. The almond is still looking great and grew heaps last year (doubled in size) and the giant avocado is also doing well as are two of the citrus trees.My bright idea of espalier isn't quite going to plan but the apple is doing heaps better than the nashi - which to be fair was nearly killed by David last year when he snapped it off with only a couple of inches above the graft. The apple is missing one set of branches but if it doesn't grow them this year I will try my hand at grafting and maybe even a different variety. The nashi only had one lateral after its mishap which I let grow tall last year and then cut it right back to about a foot above the previous cut so hopefully will get a couple of branches this time.The tamarillos both have a couple of fruit which should be ripe soon and the big (for my yard) paw paw has heaps of fruit and new flowers although the lower leaves are looking a bit manky and might even have rust on them - sprayed bugs today on it.One of my citrus has been attacked by aphids which I have hopefully finally gotten rid of these by watering with soap, but the new leaves are very small and I am thinking whether to prune them back and give it another chance. The lime and the dwarf peach both have little baby fruits so will see how they go - probably have to thin out the peach as it is totally covered.I am still trying to find a source for dwarf banana trees, it isn't as easy as I thought it would be as they have to be certified. Also on the lookout for some more self pollinating paw paw trees, they seem to be the most prolific and easiest to grow in our climate with almost a guaranteed supply (at least in Scarlett's garden).Happy gardening!
Read more…

Just the juicy bits

Searching for sweetness and light

After a warm wet night, I tiptoe through our waking garden while it’s still damp with dew, peeking here and poking there, looking for raiders of the lost dark - slugs and snails still slow and grsasshoppers just waking fromtheir winter slumber and still easily caught.

After my dawn raid, there’s brekky, still in the PJs and rubber thongs in the garden. The tree grape happily gives up handfuls of black pearly mouthfuls.

The King shahtoot White mulberries, no bigger than my little finger don’t make it inside, nor do the panama berries. There’s nothing better than standing under the tree gorging on the first meal of the day, juice flowing along the chin and dripping onto toes. I see the lizard is just waking up too. We have one left from a family of four. The kookaburras moved in last year and ate all but one. This one is my little helper. He or she sits and looks expectantly at me waiting for a feed too.

I'm happily enjoying the spectacle of a healthy citrus tree too. PLanning or the preserved lemons and the lemon cheesecake in a few months.

The world loves citrus. Citrus are the worlds most traded fruits with global production almost 100million tonnes annually. In our gardens, citrus can flourish or founder. On radio garden shows, citrus feature as perennial problems for the erstwhile grower. Proper feeding, trimming and protection are essential.

I was given a heritage mandarin tree, one of the offspring from the fuirst to arrive in Sydney 2 centuries ago. It arrived in the new colony of NSW. I’ll keep a close eye on it this summer, treating it to seaweed, manures and oil sprays.

If you'd like to be a part of a fruit trees workshop, learning more about how you can grow your own, enrol for the next ones starting Sat 16 Oct. Enrol on 3349 2962.

Read more…

Donna's Garden - 19/07/09 August Garden Visit

Finally hosted a Garden Visit, should have done it months ago - it was such a good motivator to get things ready in the garden!My husband (the 'Infrastructure Manager') concreted up the side of the house enclosing the already existing gardens and screwed second hand tin to to the fence before filling it with free green mulch sourced from a nice local tree lopper. This meant that we didn't have to dig up the grass and are hoping that the nitrogen draw down kills it, then it will be ready for planting in about three months.

Anthony Foo gave a talk on Bio Dynamics which everyone found very interesting.

My banana grove is thriving, three of the four trees have suckers so hope to get some fruit next season. Have taken Scarlette's idea and piling up green waste in the middle so hopefully this will help feed them and maybe produce some excess compost for the rest of the garden.

I have one bed that is almost ready to harvest with Kohl Rabi, Cabbage, Kale, Garlic, Bunching Onions all growing really well. I have some little seedlings that replaced the peanuts - look like more kohl rabi but can't remember what else I planted...

The garden beds out the back:* On the right has a zuchinni (ever hopeful), more garlic, baby asian salad mix, beetroot & silverbeet seedlings* On the left has four black russian tomatoes, asian salad mix ready to harvest (cut & come again includes mizuna, mibuna, tatsoi and red mustard), self seeded nasturtium going crazy and another baby zuchinni.The garden beds down the side:* Brocolli seedlings, mature capsicum & chilli (finally got a real size capsicum ripening!), baby asian salad mix* Empty bed treating with molasses for nematodes, will plant out next month ready for spring* Brussel sprouts, broccoli, squash seedlingsHave planted a four pack punnet of very small rhubarb right next to the house to see if they do better than last year but am not holding out much hope. Also in this side garden is a number of self runner strawberry plants that I am hoping will provide a harvest.Most of the fruit trees I planted have survived, although there have been a few casualties and a couple are still not out of the woods yet... One of my paw paw trees is going really well and has a number of fruit ripening at the moment and heaps of flowers while the other (think it has nematodes) is definately in ICU - have treated with bugs, molasses and given a really good feed so hopefully will make it through lol.The self pollinating almond is growing really well and more than doubled in size. The two citrus on the left hand side are doing really well and look very healthy as is the black sapote, tamarillo (have a couple of baby fruits yay) and the avocado. The two citrus on the right aren't doing so well - one was being attacked by aphids/ ants/ black stuff and I have pruned it back and given it bugs and fertiliser to help it. The other citrus had died but a small shoot from above the graft has given it another chance at life...I will do another blog soon to document my spring attempts and efforts - I find these blogs are a really good source of information for me to go back to and see what I did when...
Read more…

Container growing tips

Hi

This week I posted a new article to my blog on container growing, which I thought would be of interest to the city dwellers in this group with limited food gardening space. The article talks about the challenges and how to overcome them, resulting in reasonable levels of productivity, whilst still using organic methods. You can read the article here. Please fell free to comment either on this site or on my own site.

Happy gardening
Peter Kearney
www.cityfoodgrowers.com.au
Read more…

My fruit tree obsession

I have always been a fan of fruit trees and nearly everywhere I have ever lived I have planted at least a couple. When we moved back to Australia five years ago, we bought a house in Jacobs Well and I had about $150 to spend on fruit trees. I bought five from a local nursery - Mango, Peach, Nectarine, Mandarin and White Mulberry. During the next three years I discovered 'The Fruit Tree Man' who sells fruit trees cheaply at the Beenleigh markets and added numerous more.We left that house three years later and moved to Eagleby, as there was a lot of work to do we only planed about five trees including Tamarillo, Lemonade, Avocado and Banana with the view to adding more later. A year later our circumstances changed and we sold the house to move to Inala.It is a small 2 bedroom concrete house with about 700 sq metres, this time I went all out and have planted over 20 fruit trees - we have Avocado, Lemonade, dwarf Meyer Lemon, Lime, Orange, Nashi Pear, Apple, Mango, 2 x Paw Paw, 1 x Yellow & 1 x Red Tamarillo, 4 x Banana, Dwarf Peach, Chocolate Persimmon, 2 x Passionfruit, Brazillian Cherry, Fejoa, 3 x Jabotica (different types), Blueberry, Jostaberry, Blackberry, Almond. (I think thats all of them... so far anyway).On my wishlist there is still Custard Apple, White Sapote, a Babaco Paw Paw variety, Acerola Cherry and Chilean Guava, dwarf Wurtz Avocado, grapes, kiwifruit - and I am only halfway through a book at the moment listing varieties.People think I am obsessed and they are definitely right, but my theory is that if they are all pruned (and I have recently learned about Espaliering and the apple & nashi have a framework so I will start with them) then I will end up with A LOT of fruit. Besides, if any of them are sickly or look to grow to big then I can always remove them later and as I learn more I will know what grows well and what doesn't in my area. I just want to stay somewhere long enough to benefit from my obsession, but at least I hope that the next people to move into a house I have been can benefit .
Read more…