honey (7)


This is a continuous seasonal diary which I will add to as the season progresses.


The weather is improving already though still a few hot days. Enough showers now and then to keep my 5000lt tank ticking over for garden use.

It's a jungle out there.

The garden - fruit trees, ground covers, flowering plants have gone berserk with growth. I need to have a major trim back. Easter is coming and the delicious thought of four days in which I can slop around in my gardening clothes and thongs, tossing composted manure around and replenishing beds with the spoiled lucerne bought from Tim (Brisbane Rural Produce) is intoxicating. People keep asking "what are you doing this Easter" and I happily reply "poo tossing". 

Some things, like the A Choy/Canadian Wild Lettuce on the left and middle of the pic are being left to go to seed. The Nopales has reached a size where it will go over in a storm again and I will have to trim it back to the original pad.

Sweet Leaf have grown into sizable woody stemmed bushes and are taking up too much space in the vege beds. Not a lot of usable "veg" from these to justify the space they take up. Cut them right back to a stump the other day. If they grow back well and good - I will attempt to keep them more trimmed than I have to achieve edible tips. They grow well from cuttings stuffed into the ground.

The blasted, so called thornless (hah) Youngberry has re-shot with a vengeance and is growing all over the ground. A trap for unwary feet. I think I will have to use drastic measures to get rid of it permanently ie poison.

The white choko which has been sitting so politely on the wire frame around the water tank for the last two years doing very little in the way of growth, has suddenly taken off. I have tried many times to train it over the tank but it insists on growing outwards.

The plant is covered in tiny potential fruit embryo on the female flowers (pic below) but the triffid like growth threatens to wrap me in it's arms when I walk that way. I will watch it more closely while home over the Easter break to see if anything (my bees would be good) is fertilising the flowers.

It's been ages since I had some choko to eat and quite a few people are asking for some to grow on for themselves. Hard to get hold of, these white ones.

I have to keep cutting back an entrance for the native bee hives on the left.


Little embryo white chokos on the female flowers.


The Brown Turkey figs have done especially well for me this season. I've been picking one to three every day. Unheard of before. They get eaten for morning tea at work.


Picked the last of the corn the other day. Third crop I get in during the warm months. Once again, disappointing result with cobs. The ones I get are good eating but not what they should be in size and quantity. Some plants on the last rotation didn't cob up at all.

The giant Okra are second generation from seed given to me by Rob C. This lot are bigger and thicker than any Okra I've ever seen but still just as good cooked.

Sweet Potato in the basket (white/purple) are from my tidy up of the rampant plant. Yet to harvest the grow bags but hope to get that done today (25.03.16).


Sweet Potato is supposed to grow sedately in tubs with frames in my yard but it has managed to escape and get a hold here and there (as SP does!).

Gees, if the world came to a crashing halt this is the plant to grow - edible leaves and tubers and it's abundant and hardy. Anyway, the rampant growth was beginning to bug me and threatening to engulf my old blind dog when she went walking by herself, so it had to come out. There were a few hidden gems of tubers in the ground but on the whole they were just too difficult to dig out of the hard packed ground without a pick axe.

Before and after some pulling.

Yes, that's a red pawpaw in the raised bed. Self sown. Manna from heaven.



I am just loving this pretty chilli plant grown from Mark B's seeds. I don't use them all that often but love the look of them growing. Chilli plants are almost the perfect plant - perennial, respond well to a cut back, hardy, decorative and edible.
9779187290?profile=originalThe Carombola is gearing itself up to a winter crop with lots of growth and flowers. Meanwhile, it never really stops cropping. These fruit drop from the heavens daily and end up in the weed tea bucket to drown the Fruit Fly larvae.


Have I mentioned how much the bees and I love Salvias? Another perfect plant in my book. 

I cut all the Salvia plants back about a month or so back and they respond with new growth and flowers. 

Lavender salvia with red salvia behind.


Purple Salvia with Blue Banded Bee.


Pale blue salvia.


Pink salvia with blue (edible) Clitorea ternatea vine.


Pawpaws - for whatever reason they just like this yard. Below are some brag photos of different plants around the yard. I prefer to eat the fruit green as a veg. The ripe ones get taken to work at the Respite Centre for the clients to eat. Cook appreciates the fresh fruit.

Plant donated at a GV from unknown member.

9779192088?profile=originalPretty sure this plant was also donated by the same member. Aren't they plump, velvety and full of promise.


Plant from Masters (?). Yep, it has reached the roof line. Will need a ladder to harvest these. The male bought at the same time had his top chopped off - should have done the same to the female but she was a bit shorter at the time.

9779193670?profile=originalLess prolific volunteer plant. A bit too shaded these days but still produces some good fruit.


And there's another two plants out the back grown from seed from the best volunteer plant I ever had but which finally succumbed to old age and storms. But, I reckon you're getting a bit sick of looking at pawpaw plants by now ;)

On to something completely different. Greens. So important to our diet and with so many options to grow and eat.

Remember the quest for a true Tree Collard?

True Tree Collards are best grown from cutting but they were impossible to find in Australia. I finally sourced seed on eBay ($5 + free delivery from Portugal) for Portuguese Walking Stick Collards...and they proved enthusiastic growers and good eating. The plants suffered through our summer - being attacked by everything that loves greens. Some died completely, some survived. If I removed all the affected leaves they died so I eventually accepted that I should just stand back and observe. Occasionally I would spray pests off with a hose. An ongoing experiment, I want to see how hardy and long lived they are.

Eventually Daleys advertised "Tree Collards" Brassica oleracea var.acephala for sale. Plants were very expensive at around $27 each delivered, but I bought one. How could I not.

Interesting fact - our (currently absent) new member Dragonman claims credit for bringing these into Australia on behalf of Daleys.

Below is the leaf of the Daleys plant on the right and my Walking Stick Collard on the left. There is some difference despite almost identical growth habits. The Daleys plant has a pale stem and the WS a darker stem.


More mature darker stemmed Portuguese Walking Stick Collared in the foreground and the Daleys Tree Collard with a pale stem in the background. Hopefully both should grow from cutting and both eventually produce seed. The PWSC is putting up shoots much to my delight.


While we're on the subject of good greens I have developed a great fondness for Tahitian Spinach aka Celery Stemmed Taro. Great plant. Negligible Oxalic Acid and can be eaten raw (I watched someone do it at a workshop at Yandina).

It is not Cocoyam despite the common name in the link. It is also not Taro (see descriptions for all three in the link to Cocoyam).

Cocoyam is similar but different and eaten for the tuber not the leaves. Cocoyam leaves are high in Oxalic Acid and should not be eaten raw. I can vouch for that, having done it. Like digesting needles as it goes down the throat and esophagus. Didn't stop until it reached the stomach.

From an old posting by Scarlett

Taro = Colocasia esculenta; 

Cocoyam = Xanthosoma saggitifolium - Apparently the cocoyams with brown or purple stems are not suitable for eating - choose only those with green or pink stems.

Tahitian spinach = Xanthosoma brasiliense.

Wish I had a wet spot to get the Tahitian Spinach growing a bit more abundantly. 


Stem to leaf join on the Tahitian Spinach.


Stem to leaf join on the Cocoyam and Taro.


Can't do a blog without a nod to the incredible, prolific, sweet and wonderfully edible Jaboticaba (in the basket below). Small leafed. Bought from Daleys about six years back. Pretty bush that produces repeated crops during the warm season. Waiting to see if it will flower up once more for me but it seems to be having a rest. 

I give it a bag of composted horse poo and toss fresh grass clippings under it now and then and a water once a week. Don't know if it really needs any of this but, like wearing lucky undies, I can't bring myself to stop "just in case".

Gardening friend Fran in Tassie has been sent some seed and will attempt to grow them down there. She's one determined girl and will hopefully succeed.

Roger turns them into jam. I eat them chilled and make Shrub drink out of them. Added some Vermouth to the mix last night. Yum.

Dragon fruit cropped well once again. DM tells me I have the common self pollinating one. Yay for that. The others sound like a lot of mucking around for a slightly tastier fruit.

Also in the pic is my one and only pumpkin, a Persimmon and some Tamarillo fruit. The latter tree is old and the fruit smaller and not as nice flavoured as from a young tree. Either that or I am losing my taste for them.


I have been given a Red Dacca. It's grown well but I noticed this morning that the newest leaf is pale. May not mean anything but worth watching. Planted into a bag of composted horse poo which gives the plant a real boost in the beginning. NOTE: The leaf has turned green.

9779197669?profile=originalWe're always on the look out for plants that bees, both native and honey, love. I love Rocket (used to hate it, also used to hate Coriander) and this Wild Rocket has proven a hit with the bees and myself with it's prolific growth and abundant flowers. Here's one of my girls visiting.


25.03.16 I emptied out the Sweet Potato tower grow bags this morning. Talk about a lousy crop. The whole sad tale in is the SP Tower BLOG at the end under "2016". I've no longer got the purple/purple variety growing either. 


What a delightful Easter break this has been.

A nice bit of drizzly weather has made working outside very comfortable. I'm thrilled with what I have achieved in three days - beds have been replenished with cut back plant material, grass cuttings, lucerne and topped with a layer of composted horse poo; unwanted plants have been removed; the Cassava under the Custard Apple has once again been chopped back and this time I've poisoned the stumps.

I still need to move the giant pile of grass clippings out the front (thanks Brad the Mower Man) into the back yard and rob the hive but these are two things that can wait.

Now to choose some seed and get it planted. The fun part :) and my reward. Change of seasons is really the only time I do actual work in the garden apart from a bit of daily maintenance. 

I strongly recommend you DO NOT PLANT CASSAVA - not unless you plan on keeping a close eye on it and dig up everything each time to start with fresh cuttings. I did not actually plant this patch. I tossed some old cuttings to mulch under the custard apple and the blasted things took root. I cut it all back 3mths ago and to my astonishment found supposedly dead bits of leftover wood still hanging out of the CA tree but putting out green shoots!!

I hate resorting to poison but apart from some big strong person hacking them out of the ground with a pick axe this is the only remedy. The long stems are all being chopped and binned.


Beds replenished and ready for winter crop. I seem to be acquiring a bit more permanent stuff in each bed each year. Less room for veggie growing. Might have to remedy that.


I have a small patch of Jerusalem Artichoke - come up again from tubers I left in the ground last year. Good. I like plants that are hardy and resilient like this. All through summer I grew other things over the dormant tubers.



Seed saving is a full time job...and I just don't have the knack. This is the mess I have to wade through to find some seed for this new season. The dear little four tray holder on the right was what I naively started out with. Then came the big shoe box and it has since branched out into other containers. 


31.03.16 Trying again with garlic. Small purple from Joseph and the large corms from two bulbs bought from Caboolture Markets and locally grown. Planted out this morning.

Yet to decide where the potato bits are going - probably back into the compost pile like last year. NOTE: The compost pile is exactly where all the spuds ended up.



Four weeks later and Joseph's garlic is growing well. The big bulbs are still sitting there but not putting out shoots yet.


31.03.16 My little garden helper Freya - almost completely blind, often incontinent around the house and in bed with me and at the end peeing blood, but still a happy little beast enjoying her food and a game - has had her last day today. Always a hard decision to make. We will miss you little girl. 



Looking back on previous blogs for this season I always seem to plant a lot of things which either just don't come up or don't perform as expected. But...I feel I'm learning each season.

This time around I've planted some Purple Pod Peas (saved seed from crop grown from Pat Pierce's seed), Yellow Pod Peas (lord knows where they came from - anyone remember giving them to me?), Broccoli (seed saved from last seasons bought seedlings - sweet and long cropping, slow to bolt - only a dozen plants came up from this seed and I had to buy seedlings from the same supplier), lots of Rocket (from my own saved seed), various lettuce (a lot didn't come up, had to buy seedlings and more seed), garlic (see photo above - small purple ex Joseph and giant bulbs from local market), potato (at the moment just eyes from bought spuds and some seed potato from Rob C), Kentucky Wonder Bean (bought seed),  Cherokee Wax Bush Bean (did not come up), Oregon Giant Snow Pea (bought seed). I have a little space left to grow some cauliflower. Will most likely pick up some seedlings at the market this morning.

Still growing snake beans, Jack Beans, rocket, Portuguese walking stick collard greens (had some steamed with butter S&P last night and they were good!). The mini caps are still growing but need a haircut to refresh them - fruit often damaged by FF. Lots of chillis including Phil's black one now fruiting.


Bought yesterday from the Caboolture Mkts as seedlings - Collards (seem to be some short growing form, hairy leaf), sprouting cauli (seems to be the cauli version of broccolini), cauli (regular white variety), carrots (orange and purple - no variety given - continuing my experiment with growing these from bought seedlings - tried splitting them up but too difficult to seperate them - perhaps a good soak in water might have done the trick - too late, planted now).

I have some Listada di Gandia eggplant coming up from saved seed. Definitely my favourite.


Speaking of eggplant - these beautiful little purple jobs are producing an abundance of fruit and they are delicious and sweet. I have no memory of where the plant has come from but guessing a seedling from Caboolture Mkts.


Cropped this Stars and Moon water melon the other day and it is a beauty. Juicy and sweet. I feel so chuffed having successfully grown it! Had a few fruit from three or four seedlings bought from the market so altogether a good year for melon for me. 

9779205261?profile=original9779205858?profile=originalThe Jack Bean Canavalia ensiformis introduced to me by Vinay (three seed planted, two lived) is a very strong and healthy grower. Now starting to produce pretty lavender flowers and bean pods.

Tried some steamed last night - flavourless. Better chopped up into a flavoursome dish where they keep their colour and meatiness. One person suggested they might be stringy but this is absolutely not the case.



What a beautiful morning. The last two nights have been so deliciously cool I have worn a jumper to bed...but then I only sleep with one bamboo blanket over the top. No rain for some weeks and I'm suspecting that despite the morning watering of seedlings and seeds planted for Autumn/Winter crops the days may have been too hot and dry as few have come up.

Bloody roaches have decimated the Listada di Gandia eggplant seedlings that came up. I don't have any more saved seed for these. Will have to buy some.

The white choko is finally starting to produce fruit. Around the corner in the shade, not in full sun as I expected.


And I have purple/purple sweet potato back courtesy of Anne (Gibson). Thank you for going to all the trouble of posting these to me Anne, much appreciated.

This lot planted out purely in Searles potting mix.



I've had very little success with seed so far. There have been a few hot days which could have caused havoc despite the daily morning watering. Lettuce, Broccoli, Beans and Peas are the main culprits. The broccoli is saved seed from last years delightful crop grown from market bought seedlings, so not a lot of surprise there.

I soaked the bean and pea seed for a day before planting on this occasion - something I don't normally bother with. Replanted without soaking.

The Snowpea Oregon Giant I think did not come up last year either (The Lost Seed). I've replanted but this will be their last hoorah.

The Purple Pod peas saved from plants grown from Pat Pierce's seed last cool season have also not come up and there is no sign of the pea when I dig around. Lots of worm activity. I have also replanted these with the last of my saved seed.

A few seedlings from the saved broccoli seed have come up. Replanted today. I really want these to grow.

Kentucky Wonder beans (Willowbrook Cottage) have not come up and no sign of the bean when I dig around. Replanted today. Last hoorah.

If they don't come up in the next couple of weeks I will overplant with sugar snap peas and bought broccoli seedlings.

Have also planted some Cardoon seed saved from a couple of years back. Wouldn't mind trying these again and would like some fresh seed to save.


Labour Day Long Weekend. Delicious temperature and drizzling. Apart from talking to the neighbour over the fence and phoning the vet I am having a human being free day. 

I'm defrosting the freezer (still in PJ's) in between nipping outside to broadcast and plant various seed. Some of it a bit old so while I run the risk of drowning in vegetation I suspect a lot won't come up. Things like Fennel, Dill, Lunga Della Riviera Leek, Yellow Eckendorf Mangel Beetroot, Meadowsweet, Chinese Celery, Giant of Italy Parsley, Purple Climbing Beans, Berlicum 2 Carrot, Land Cress, Lettuce (Auzzie Yellow, Royal Oak Leaf, Lollo Rosso, Salad Bowl Red), Sugar Snap Sugar Ann, Listada de Gandia Eggplant, Champion Purple Swede, Phacelia, Viroflay Spinach, Catnip, Chive, Mangel Wurzel, Fengyuan Purple Eggplant (from Joseph).

I've still got a container full of packets that I have no room to plant out.

Nearly everything is looking healthy and responsive to the cooler weather and bit of rain.

Rob gave me a seedling a few weeks back for a mini Pepino type Solanaceae and it's doing really well. Developing some flowers so it will be interesting to see and eat the fruit. Must ask him for the correct name.


Caulis from bought seedlings growing well.


Some of the broccoli seedlings. Saved seed only produced a dozen plants so resorted to bought again. Naked patches are were the roach babies, tiny teeny little destruction machines, have munched some to death. Roach baits are a little helpful.


A few happy sunflower faces from broadcast bird seed.


Mini caps grow well from seed in store bought fruit.


Some of the remaining gnarly year old Walking Stick Collard greens are putting up beautiful little shoots.


I've had maybe 5 fruit from the White Choko vine. A bit disappointing so far but it may yet come into it's stride. I've allowed a couple to get to a size where they may shoot for me and be planted in other locations around the yard. Very sweet eating roasted.


Seeds are coming up everywhere. When I top dress the pots with composted horse poo it's makes a great place to grow more toms - these are Romas - and lettuce.


Eggplant are loving this weather - producing at the moment is the small sweet purple, these Black Beauties and a Listada Di Gandia.



It's a beautiful drizzly Sunday morning. Sitting here eating Eggs Benedict with local avo and smoked salmon, listening to the gentle pat of the drops falling. Lovely. I ventured out this morning and spread around a packet of All Seasons carrot seed. No room for anything more!

One of the interesting plants I picked up from the Caboolture Mkts a few weeks back is this "Collard Green". Obviously not the same as my Walking Stick Collards or the Tree Collard from Daleys. Good eating steamed though. Slightly hairy leaves.



What a beautiful relaxed weekend. Just went out to pick some greens to go with my roast pork dinner (with home grown roast eggplant and white choko) - spoiled for choice with two varieties of Collards, Beets, Asian greens - and the Kookaburras were calling enmass from a power pole nearby. Bliss. Hugo and I love it.

I have a mystery plant thriving in the veg garden and it looks like an Angled Loofah. Absolutely no idea how it got there. Must have been a seed substitute but it's growing hale and healthy on the bean/pea frame so hope it provides some veg to eat. NOTE: Ate some - yuck. Removed the plant as it would have taken up space I could use for growing edibles.



Autumn is almost over, not that it's been much of an autumn. Mornings are a bit cool but days are still warm. No rain for many weeks and un-watered parts of the garden are wilting badly. Reduced to using town water on the veg beds due to the low level in the rain water tank.

Cabbage White caterpillars are still rampantly doing damage but I have so many different greens growing that there's still plenty for me. I pick the caterpillars off by hand or squash them.

Lettuce and other greens are loving the weather. Broccoli and cauli are growing strongly and should produce well. Peas and beans are not. I have replanted both up to four times with very poor results so far. Will wait for some cooler weather to try again.

Below: One lush little corner is pretty indicative of how the general veg are growing - garlic, collards, Asian greens, carrots loving the current weather.


Attempting to grow the Walking Stick Collards from cutting and so far they are looking really good. Time to remove the two year old parent plants I think - very decimated by caterpillars.


The Jeruselum Artichoke and Water Chestnut are both dying back. Time to harvest and replant.


I visited the home of friends Ian and Christa a few weeks back. Their garden is stupendous - chocka full of interesting plants. But the highlight was meeting their two new babies, a little brother and sister pair of foxies. Cutest little beasts you ever did meet tumbling and playing all over the house and yard.


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This is a continuous summer diary which I will add to as the season progresses.


Hot and basically dry with some overcast days but enough showers to keep the rain water tank ticking over for watering.

Some plants are enjoying this weather, some aren't. The cucumbers (Lebanese) and snake beans do not like it oddly enough. After cropping a few good cucumber fruit, perhaps 10, the plants have succumbed and have been cut back. Perhaps they will regrow. More likely I will replenish the bed and start again with some new seedlings from the markets.

Land Cress growing in the middle of the bed. Surprisingly heat tolerant.

9779161059?profile=original04.01.16 Replanted 29.12.15 with these Mini White cuc found in the giant box of seed and due to expire this year.


13.02.16 Five weeks later I have some good growth with flowers. Also some pest activity with aphid and fungus. Not a good year for me with cuc.

9779162052?profile=original22.12.15 Some of the snake bean crop. The red come from Pat Pierce's seed. The speckled comes from lord knows where. A throwback perhaps.

9779162662?profile=originalAnd the green, planted from saved seed. I've seen a mouse getting around in my beds. It's tucking into the beans during the night and eating the seed out of the pod.

9779163072?profile=originalThis is the other side of the snake bean frame. Not so happy in the current conditions.

NOTE 29.12.15: This side of the frame cut back and replanted with Joseph's snake bean seed.

9779163686?profile=originalLet's get the painful stuff out of the way first :/

The bumper crop of Lychee fruit I thought I was going to be eating are dying off. Probably not enough water.

9779164274?profile=originalOn the other hand the reliable old custard apple is producing lots of little fruit.

9779164300?profile=originalDense plantings are doing best in this weather, providing shade for their own roots. Self sown Florence Fennel is going to seed among some Kale and Canadian Wild Lettuce (A Choy). The Fennel flowers are attracting lots of different insects.

The Nopales and ginger are growing in separate pots. Poor old Nopales has become root bound in it's pot and needs to be started again which is tricky as the base pad (the oldest one) has produced some impressive spines.

9779165068?profile=originalThe Burgundy Okra are growing quite slowly but producing a few useful fruit.

9779165488?profile=original22.12.15 Rob's green Okra are hitting their stride though. They are getting more sun than the red.

04.01.16 They are getting woody and unusable more quickly than usual. Hit hard by leaf eating insects.

9779166294?profile=original22.12.15 The Brown Turkey figs are thriving with potential here for some good eating. The fig beetle is trying to mate and lay it's eggs. With a flick of my fingers I practice coitus interruptis daily with these wee nuisances in the hope of slowing them down.

9779167074?profile=original29.12.15 To my surprise one of the figs was ripe. Delicious.

9779167852?profile=original22.12.15 The Bitter Melon plant, though now many months old, is still producing these useful fruit for me. I've replanted seed and will remove the old plant when it shows signs of slowing down.

9779167701?profile=original04.01.16 One of the BM fruit ripened and about to burst.

9779168880?profile=originalThe yellow fleshed pawpaws have all ripened bar a few small ones and been eaten at work by our respite members.

The oblong fruit from this self sown plant is still reaching it's potential. Hoping for some red fleshed fruit.

NOTE: Turned out to be a sweet red pawpaw!

9779169670?profile=original9779170289?profile=original22.12.15 Corn and zucchini are loving the conditions....

04.01.16 The corn (second crop) is starting to flower even though some are still very short - 25cm. These seedlings were a bit tall and possibly root bound in their little pots when I bought them. Should have chosen the smaller ones.

NOTE: While I did get quite a few reasonable edible cobs from this stunted planting I've taken extra care with the third planting done yesterday 31.01.16 - minerals sprinkled around (granite and basalt) and MycoApply sprinkled under each seedling on planting. These seedlings have come from a different supplier also.

9779171463?profile=original20.02.16 Third and last corn crop of the season - planted out as described above. Doing much better than the previous crop. Seedlings growing in a bit of shade from the Bitter Melon on the right not showing as much height.

9779171290?profile=originalAnts are loving the zucc flowers. Zucchini get both male and female flower like pumpkin (thank you Elaine) so assistance with pollination is unlikely unless the ants like long walks.

NOTE: The yellow zucchini seem more keen to produce fruit. All the green - planted in the raised beds - were duds and either died or were removed by me.

9779172468?profile=original04.01.16 Little zucc fruit. One of my favourite snacks.

9779172864?profile=original22.12.15 Carrots are doing well enough. Seed growing this season wasn't very successful. Carrot seems to like to be grown from fresh seed and some of mine was a couple of years old. Then again, may have just been the bout of hot days straight after I planted them. Some seed came up then I resorted to bought carrot seedlings for the first time ever and they are growing really well. Should have thinned them out a bit more.

NOTE: Have been cropping some carrots but they haven't done well this year. Stunted. But tasty.

9779173288?profile=originalThis self sown pumpkin vine is going places. After climbing the Elderflower it's taking control of the clothes line...which is ok for the time being as I usually use the porch line. I ate some of the excess male flowers last night in a "Thai" dish. I love Thai food but cook it abysmally.

31.01.16 Finally have a fruit forming! I was out one morning and saw a female flower closing up so I pollinated it.

9779173901?profile=original9779174280?profile=original20.02.16 - 11days later it's starting to colour up. Hopefully will mature before the plant has to be cut back.

27.02.16 The job has had to be postponed so the pumpkin, nicknamed Fred, is safe to finish growing.

9779174682?profile=original22.02.15 This Sweet Capsicum also went into the dish. I've been growing mini caps using the seed from store bought fruit and they are proving quite productive and hardy.

NOTE: Fruit Fly just love these little fruit. Blasted things.

9779175298?profile=original 04.01.16 Mini caps grown from seed of previously eaten fruit. Every time I open one I bring the seed out and plant them.

9779175084?profile=original22.12.15 The Walking Stick Collards are hanging in there. Not heat lovers but they are surviving, apart from a couple of plants I removed. You can see from the holes in the remaining leaves (I removed a lot of leaves affected by some very dedicated and hard to shift aphid) that they are popular food among the local insects. Still some for me in there.


Woke this morning to the glorious sight of dozens of dragon fruit flowers at dawn. What a beautiful thing they are.

Keeping a record of the growth of the fruit from day to day. Deadly dull stuff at the moment but hopefully will be more interesting when you can scroll through the pics at speed and see the growth.

Front porch near the flowering Lillypilly....

9779176861?profile=original...and more out the back - many hanging over the neighbours side of the fence.


End result of this lot of DF flowers. I've been taking the fruit to work for morning tea as it ripens. Very interesting to see the reactions of our elderly clients who have mostly never seen or heard of this fruit before. They have nearly all been willing to try a spoonful, likening the flavour to Kiwifruit, and two have asked for cuttings.

NOTE: For maximum sweetness Pat Pierce (Rockhampton) recommends cropping five days after colouring up. Tarter if you pick immediately as I have been doing.


The Pomegranates on the seedling grown tree have been ripening fast. Picked some yesterday, careful with the thorns. Nice and sweet and juicy but not as much pulp laden seeds (or sarcotesta) as the store bought fruit. Fun fact: Native to Iran and India technically they are a berry.

The Wonderful fruit is still very green and much larger than the seed sown plant fruit.

27.02.16 The Wonderful fruit never did turn red but the insides are top notch pomegranate.

9779178466?profile=original24.12.15 The original patch of Williamette raspberries have made a comeback thank goodness, after my failed attempt to move plants onto a nearby frame. Hardly game to touch them again. Grasshoppers are making a meal of the leaves but not affecting some decent fruit growth.

NOTE: Most of the fruit has withered in the current conditions and no doubt due to the grasshopper damage done to the leaves. Never mind, the patch survives for another day.

9779179252?profile=original28.12.15 I have one yellow zucchini plant out the front. This incredible plant gives me a sweet fruit a day which is usually munched on raw. This one doubled it's size in one day and ended up in dinner. Black Jack Zucchini planted out the back a few weeks back are developing flowers and fruit.

NOTE: The latter black zucc came to very little - producing few fruit and dying or being removed. Could be the location didn't allow enough air flow. Could just be that the yellow is a better plant to grow.

9779179697?profile=original24.12.15 The self sown brillantaisia guianensis out the front has bloomed and it's really quite eye catching. A relative of the salvias per Christa. It can stay so long as it doesn't try to take over the world and can prove it's worth as bee attracting.

9779180471?profile=original04.01.16 Michael H's little Thai Ginger plant has filled the pot in no time at all. Must start using it.

NOTE: Almost impossible to get anything out of this pot! Michael tells me he hasn't harvested any of his yet. Phil calls it a Lesser Galangal - as opposed to a Greater Galangal which is tall.

9779180682?profile=original04.01.16 My first ever Turmeric plant. Finally managed to get one growing. Pot is possibly too small but it seems happy enough at the moment, no doubt tooted through the bottom of the pot into the soil.

9779181699?profile=original04.01.16 Lagerstroemia or Crepe Myrtle. One of my favourite flowering plants. I had many different colours in a previous house but only this one here. The native bees will be all over it once they realise it is blooming.

If you have one, dead head the spent flowers as they start to form seed heads and it will re-bloom.

9779182854?profile=originalAlso blooming purple Cats Whiskers Orthosiphon aristatus. Member of the mint family and easy to propagate from cutting.

9779183287?profile=original04.01.16 Maranta, thanks to Janet's original gift, has now established itself well. Edible tubers - usually harvested when the plant starts to die back winter/spring. I might try harvesting throughout the year now that I am more familiar with it's growth habits.

9779183500?profile=original04.01.16 Dwf banana growing very well :) Thank you thank you.

9779185080?profile=original02.01.16 Callistemon flower - my little camera doesn't do it justice. Pale pink and beautiful.


Having an enforced week off due to shingles on my face. Pain free initially due to an early start on the anti virals but required to stay away from work so....thinking of it more as an unpaid holiday that I didn't realise I was going to have. (31.01.16 - apart from the scar on my chin from a bacterial infection in one rash I have no visible sign left of the shingles rash but the whole right side of my face is always itchy, especially at night, and sometimes quite numb. 26.02.16 The itchy was ruining my nights sleep - now using a Homoeopathic remedy to give some relief).

Went into the hive this morning and harvested four combs. The last one was so heavy it fell off into the hive - always a tricky situation. Honey on everything - the knife, my clothes, my gloves. Five bees managed to get inside the suit with me somehow - removed the suit three times without being stung. I really must get a full suit when I can afford one.

Anyway, here's the harvest so far minus one jar given to a friend who dropped around some Davidson Plums and beautiful big cucumber for me. Thanks Rob :) There's still more in the buckets but it takes time to dribble down to the bottom.


Soursop fruit. Relation of the custard apple but the fruit is zingy sweet/tart and a bit fibrous. Either a bat or a rat has decided this one is ripe enough to eat.


Garlic (on the left) bought from the Caboolture Mkts this morning as "locally grown". Looks suspiciously like the Chinese one on the right but still has some roots attached - something not permitted with the imported stuff. So I/we have decided it may be locally or at least Australian grown after all.


Went along to one of Tim Auld's top bar beekeeping workshops at Stockleigh today and it was really very good, thank you Tim. Lots of background information about beekeeping in general over the years and bees themselves with lots of practical hints on bee keeping.

The afternoon was spent robbing one of Tim's top bar hive, learning to make candles and fix our comb guides with wax and string. Very good value for $85pp.

9779189255?profile=original11.02.16 Bartered with Rob some of my honey for one of his home grown Aquaponics Jade Perch. 30cm long when harvested at about 1.5yrs old. Plump, meaty and with a good layer of fat. It was delicious stuffed with a lime and Davidson's Plus fruit from Rob and cooked in a steamer pan with a mix of home grown and store bought veg.

9779190054?profile=original01.02.16 Interesting new veg thanks to Vinay from work. Canavalia ensiformis or Jack Bean.

Not a lot of flavour on their own per se, they keep their colour and firmness chopped into a dish. They grow in summer, hardly any pest problems. Pretty useful in my book.

9779190667?profile=originalSix seed provided, three planted in my bed and the others given away to Elaine, Christa and Dianne.

9779190693?profile=original11.02.16 One week after planting I have three seedlings, this being the best looking. One is slightly chewed but hanging in there.

9779191083?profile=original13.02.16 I grow five or six different chillis - mainly because they're pretty, perennial and easy to grow.

I use perhaps two a month in cooking and give a lot of them away. Some of the Indian ladies at work ask for them regularly. One eats them outright with her meal of curry and rice.

Note the insect home on the leaf curled up in the middle of the pic. A Leaf Cutter bee has already had at it and now someone else has curled it up for a cozy spot to live.

9779192466?profile=original13.02.16 The trial crop of my treasured Walking Stick Collards have proven appealing to all sorts of pests and I am trying to let them sort it out for themselves as much as possible. When I remove all the leaves the stalk dies. I need natural predators to develop for what ails them (caterpillars, grasshoppers and aphid - no fungi problems).

I have high hopes that they will come into their own again in the cooler weather, providing me with a supply of tasty greens. The trial crop planted last cool season (maybe 9 or 10mths old now) is to see how long the plants will live and what sort of pest problems they will have. I have more seed to plant out if this lot prove to be spent.

9779192700?profile=original20.02.16 Collard Greens - Now this is very interesting (at least to me with my CG experiment). Out checking the garden this morning after some fabulous rain last night and found this little Collard Green growing away to the side of the bigger ones. (It's in the bottom of the pic against the garden edging).

Tried gently digging down to see it's source and it seems to come as a shoot from the bigger live plant on the left - the very left one is dead and now removed.

If they shoot by themselves this is very good news! These can be also be propagated by cutting apparently. I tried one but the weather was too hot - more of a cool weather project.

27.02.16 Found another shoot! Excellent.

9779193086?profile=originalThe pests are making a meal of all the CG plants BUT while standing there (I admit it, I was picking off Cabbage White caterpillars) I found a tiny fast moving leech-like predator on the moist leaf obviously enjoying a meal of aphid and a little parasitic wasp hunting for caterpillars. I just need to leave nature to it and she will create predators for my pests - like the ones below eating aphid.

9779194097?profile=original13.02.16 Patience needed! The Dwf Pink Shatoot mulberry is working itself up to another bumper crop of sweet, sweet fruit. So glad I didn't succeed in pulling this plant out by the roots during our earlier touchy relationship. The plant just needed some time to come into it's own. With the help of a few threats.

27.02.16 Still waiting for the green fruit to ripen. Much slower than the Black.

9779194862?profile=original07.02.16 Loving the Jaboticaba. Blog HERE. This is the best fruit tree in my book. These fruit are so sweet - delicious eaten chilled. The only "pest" I see on the fruit is a bit of Woolly Aphid which is easily wiped off.

The tree now repeat crops immediately after the last flush of fruit.

Okra has been hopeless this season. The fruit in the pic below were all woody and inedible. Composted. Rob isn't having this problem - he brought me some good fruit from his garden.

Still waiting, waiting for the pineapple to ripen. Gotta be patient with pineapple from start to finish.Two years to grow a fruit.

NOTE: The pineapple ripened to a super sweet little fruit. Well worth the wait.

9779181062?profile=original13.02.16 Both SNB hives are going great guns. Happy little darlings they are.

9779195487?profile=original13.02.16 A drama is unfolding in the garden. Gecko's have ruined two of my air con units. You can see one behind all the foliage. The electrician is coming in two weeks to replace the units so by then I will have to have all this planting cut back. The fig (White Adriatic) will mostly likely have to go, great pity. The Elderfower won't mind being cut back. But the pumpkin vine needs a bit of time to ripen this fast growing fruit. My only one!

All the Dragon fruit and the dead stump it is growing on will also have to come out. Can't expect the guys to work around a cactus.

9779196257?profile=original13.02.16 One last bowl of Elderflower cordial from flowers on the bush I have had to cut back. Leftovers of the last batch in the bottle.

9779196086?profile=original20.02.16 Nice surprise this morning to find these two gorgeous little eggplant fruit.

9779196875?profile=originalAlong with this Black Beauty (seed grown) forming.

9779197454?profile=original20.02.16 Weird shaped little watermelon on the Moon and Stars plant/s. I've had four fruit this season - best I've ever done. Nice eating too. Note the Tramp Snails out after the rain last night. I don't find they do much damage - they seem to focus mainly on decomposing plant material so in fact help.

9779198491?profile=original20.02.16 Next lot of DF ripening. Hanging off picking until Monday or Tuesday (5 days from colouring up) to increase sweetness per Pat Pierce suggestion, thanks Pat.

NOTE: Yeah, I would say the fruit were a little sweeter and a little less tart. I like them both ways.

9779199292?profile=original20.02.16 I get a lot of Blue Banded Bees in my garden. Love them. After the rain last night there seem to be a lot conducting their buzz pollination work around the garden including this female (four bands - the boys have five) repeatedly working her magic on an eggplant flower. Note the ants on the back of the flower. Would love to know their purpose in the grand scheme of things.

9779199099?profile=originalWell here we are once more at the end of another hot season. I wouldn't say it's been a dreadful hot summer, just normal with some hot periods. I've had some good rain off and on - enough to keep the tank replenished for watering.

Not a good season for cucumber or beans but that usually means I'll have a bumper crop next season.

Below some of the DF, eggplant and chilli along with a Salvia flower.

9779200483?profile=originalAnd a Bottle Gourd from Vinay. Very like Hairy or Winter Melon, but much smaller, in that it's a mild flavoured marrow type veg that takes on the flavour of a dish it's added to. Cook at work has taken the other half to use in the kitchen.

9779201069?profile=originalI did buy some red fleshed DF from the market the other weekend. I can't tell much difference between the flavour of this and the white but some of my more discerning gardening mates reckon it's superior in that it's sweeter and juicier. I honestly find them much the same apart from the colour. Cook at work used one to make a very pretty topping for some cheesecake.

9779202464?profile=originalIt has been a summer full of colour. Around the western suburbs of Brisbane where I work there has been trees constantly in bloom from the time the Jacarandas start - so beautiful.

Below a native Blue Ginger, Dichorisandra thyrsiflora. The Blue Banded's love this flower when it comes out. Growing in the shade of the Carombola...which is dropping fruit from the heavens at the moment. Barely any of it edible due to going splat and Fruit Fly.

9779202278?profile=originalWell another summer season has come to an end. We're all looking forward to Autumn and Winter, especially in the garden for what we can grow (broccoli, cauli, beans, peas, potatoes - goody goody).

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This is a continuous spring diary and I added to it as the season progressed.

Check photos for dates as I have done progressive photos for many plants.

We're a month in to Spring and it's been beautiful so far. Plenty of rain now and then to fill the tank - not much sign of the El Nino. We did get one hot day just after I planted heaps of seed and I am waiting anxiously to see if they survived and will make a show. Beginning to suspect I will have to replant all the carrots and some other things. (NOTE: I ended up buying bought carrot seedlings for the first time ever. They're growing well though I probably should have thinned them more.)

Plenty going on in the garden. I've already had to mow twice and will probably do so again today. Bummer. The down side to the warm season. But it does give me clippings for the beds.

The Elderflower are growing well (Elaine warns to keep them contained as they sucker - mine grow freely) and producing lots of heads for making Elderflower Champagne.

9779139070?profile=originalTwo heads in the bowl with juice of a lemon, splash of vinegar and about a cup of sugar. Covered and left for a day or two before sieving into some plastic bottles and put away in a dark cupboard.

9779140281?profile=originalThe batch turned out quite thick. I'm diluting it with filtered rain water to drink. Nice and fizzy.

9779141070?profile=originalThe bed in the front yard was becoming overgrown with these beautiful but basically useless (even the bees don't visit) salvia. A big mess of them have been removed to allow for something more productive - the roots went to Rozie for growing and the tops were cut back as green manure. The bed is covered in composted horse poo and planted.....

9779141268?profile=original...with Bolivian Cuc (c/- Dave via Elaine) and some silverbeet "Ruby". I don't have much luck growing silverbeet from seed. One of Elaine's walking onions shoved in there as well with the hope that it will thrive and proliferate.

9779142252?profile=originalBelow - same bed one month later.

9779142860?profile=originalAlso in the front yard the Red Tamarillo fruit is starting to colour up.

NOTE: 31.10.15 Many have gone pale red and been eaten. Nice.

9779143276?profile=originalBoth Pomegranates (seedling and Wonderful) have copious beautiful tangerine blooms. Fingers crossed for some fruit.

9779143887?profile=originalFive or so weeks later fruit is forming on the seedling Pom.....

9779144089?profile=original....and on the Wonderful.

9779145469?profile=original27.09.15 The Jaboticaba is covered in buds! Lots of fruit coming from this reliable plant.

9779146085?profile=originalSix weeks later I have sweet fruit for the eating.

9779147254?profile=originalFinal crop along with a Bitter Melon for the GV. This lot were especially sweet.

9779147668?profile=originalRipening fruit from the two pawpaw has been going to work for the clients to have with morning tea. There is only so much ripe pawpaw one person can eat but the elderly members can't seem to get enough of it.

9779148283?profile=originalThe Tropical Nectarine has flowered and is covered in little fruit. I trimmed it a little shorter this year so the fruit fly excluding net would reach the ground.

NOTE: 31.10.15 Not as much fruit as last season - others have said the same -  but it's coming along nicely.

16.11.15 Lot's of the fruit is dropping and rotting for no known reason. Weather? The few I've eaten lack sweetness. Still no FF under the net though.

9779148681?profile=original9779149269?profile=originalFinal crop of the Tropical Nectarines. Many fell and rotted and the remaining crop was disappointing this year in quantity and flavour.

9779150087?profile=originalSome of the Jaboticaba and Nectarines have gone to make "Shrub" - an easy to make cordial from fresh fruits. RECIPE

9779150861?profile=originalMy beloved little Moringa is still doing it's imitation of a dead stick but I am confident it will come good.

9779151272?profile=originalI tried many times to establish Pigeon Pea without success. This one came up by itself and has flowered and produced pods without me noticing.

9779151666?profile=originalPepino are flowering in abundance. Hopefully this will mean more fruit before the fruit fly come.

NOTE: 31.10.15 FF have ruined every fruit - all has to be binned.

9779152472?profile=originalThe Dwf Wurtz avo has bloomed once again but does not seem to attract the pollinators. I've seen one bee on it and a couple of flies.

NOTE: 31.10.15 No sign of any fruit forming. We have had discussion about multi graft plants. That's what I need!

9779153466?profile=originalIn the back yard the Dwf Macadamia is blooming really well and attracting bees. Very pretty.

9779154457?profile=originalOne of my honey bees fertising the flowers.

9779154686?profile=original19.10.15 Little nuts are forming. All silvery with potential.

9779155081?profile=original08.11.15 Fruit development three weeks later. Astounding growth.

9779155893?profile=original22.11.15 two weeks later again.

9779157084?profile=originalQuite a few nuts are falling to the ground. Hope I end up with some left.

NOTE: Now 29/11 and I noticed about a week back that every nut has fallen off. We had some very hot days but I was giving the plant water a couple of times a week.

9779157283?profile=original20.09.11 The three raised beds have all been chopped back leaving just a few perennial plants and replanted. This is before...

9779158256?profile=original...and after. Broccoli has been left to go to seed as it was such a goody. The other two brassicas didn't produce anything. I suspect they may turn out to be a couple of Portuguese Walking Stick Collards (they are - must have planted some seed there).

9779158875?profile=originalAll beds have been dosed with MycoAppply mychorrizae. The corn seedlings are very strong whether due to this or loving the composted horse poo they are planted in. Probably both.

9779159853?profile=original31.10.15 Corn is silking up. Was able to shake down some pollen this morning despite some rain the last few days.

9779159870?profile=originalOne month later, the final crop. Lots of mid sized cobs but they seem well filled.

9779160654?profile=original19.09.15 Still cropping the Roma toms. Not much good for a sandwich but I've been turning them into soup with some onion, garlic and nopales. Bit of chicken stock and seasoning and it's very nice put through the blender.

NOTE: 31.10.15 Romas finished some weeks ago. While not thrilled with the sandwich potential from these fruit they were useful and tasty enough for me to squeeze some seed back into the beds. If they do ok, great. If not, no huge loss.

9779161268?profile=original19.09.15 Some of the roma toms and broccoli - the most delicious I have every grown it just kept on coming.

31.10.15 This wonderful Broccoli is still in the process of setting seed. Very slow to bolt.

9779161875?profile=originalThe white choko is making a strong comeback. I have another growing on the back fence. Lacking a green one at the moment - bought a giant fruit from the fruit shop yesterday and planted it on a side fence.

9779162069?profile=original06.09.15 I've managed to grow a few spuds this year. More growing around the edge of the compost pile yet to be cropped.

9779162297?profile=originalThis plethora of yummy came from gardening mate Rob's yard. Mulberries, native raspberries and Davidson Plums which I have become very fond of as a refreshing fruit drink in water. No sugar added.

9779163288?profile=original12.09.15 Pepino have been providing plenty of fruit.

31.10.15 Now all ruined by FF. Not an untouched fruit to be had. All binned.

9779163495?profile=originalOne of two Mashua Tropaeolum tuberosum plants courtesy of Jan's research and buying abilities. A relative of the nasturtium it's a climber with edible tubers. All the way from sunny Tasmania so we're all hoping they like it here in Qld.

16.11.15 Neither of these plants are liking the heat. They don't look well. Hopefully they will survive summer.

29.11.15 Both plants have died back completely as has Elaine's.

9779164091?profile=original31.10.15 This plant has actually put on a substantial amount of growth. Didn't realise until I compared these two photos. It's also putting out shoots from the base. Apparently these plants can go quite rampant in their growing habits :/

29.11.15 Plants have both died back completely.

9779164657?profile=original12.09.15 Thought I would show you what my kitchen scrap bin looks like after a couple of weeks of saving bits and pieces. I do use a sprinkle or two of Bokashi in it but to be honest I did this for years with just a bucket and had no smell or problems.

I take this outside and scrape a shallow depression near some fruit tree and cover it with grass clippings. The worms take care of recycling the lot in a matter of weeks.

9779165655?profile=originalWarrigal Greens are making a comeback in the spot I thought they had died out in. I am very fond of these useful native greens (high in Oxalic Acid).

9779165273?profile=originalAnother wild edible, Samphire, has proven to be a bit of a disappointment. I would like to try these growing in the wild. I bet the flavour would be better. Pictures I have found on the net show a PLANT with more segmented leaves than these. I'm wondering if I have two different plants in there?

9779165286?profile=original23.09.15 Lebanese Cuc seed coming up. Always a thrill when seedlings show through the soil from seed planted.

9779166654?profile=original22.11.15 Getting some good crop of cucs.

9779167086?profile=originalPlanted or still growing early this season:

Potatoes; Bitter Melon, Okra x Robs big jobs and Burgundy; Hairy Melon; Corn x swt and bicolour; Peanuts; Watermelon "Stars & Moon"; Capsicum x "Sweet", "Mini" and "Cubanale" along with seed from store bought minis; Kale; Canadian Wild Lettuce/A Choi; toms x various minis; Portuguese Walking Stick Collard Greens; Chillis - various; Mashua; Bolivian Cuc; Lebanese Cuc; herbs of all sorts; Swt Potato x 3 sorts; Silverbeet x "Rhubarb" and "Ruby"; Carrot x "Amarillo", "Rainbow Mix" and "Berlicum"; Eggplant x "Black Beauty", "Bringal White" and "Listadia di Gandia"; Snake Bean unknown; Huazontle Spinach. 


Labour Day holiday - no pay but it's a glorious day to be having off. Temp is superb, birds are singing everywhere, seeds are coming up in my new season garden. The only carrot seed that have sprouted are the Rainbow Mix. None of the others have shown so I will need to replant....or not.

The corn is growing fabulously. Okra of all types is peeking above ground as are the cucs. Eggplant haven't shown.

Every time I buy some mini capsicum I take the seed out and plant it and there are dozens of these plants coming up all over the place. Love them. Watermelon have sprouted but the Hairy/Winter Melon hasn't shown.

I have squeezed in some of Pat Pierce's Red Noodle Snake Bean seeds alongside the other snake beans. Probably not the best for seed saving but I want to see how they grow.

Rob, Elaine and I have been doing some crop swapping. My pawpaw, Robs mulberries in exchange for Elaine's gorgeous rainbow chard.

9779167660?profile=originalAnd thanks to J - I now have my favourite dwarf narnie back again :)

31.10.15 Growing well and putting out new leaves.

9779168101?profile=original06.10.15 Since going back to work full time I've had trouble finding the appropriate time to go into the bee hive, check it all out and do some harvesting. Has to be a weekend day when it's not raining, not too hot, the bees are mostly away foraging, I don't have something else on. Easy to procrastinate.

Checked the hive yesterday and it looked like they might be preparing to swarm which gave me a jolt.

They were making a bee trellis outside the front of the hive. So I bit the bullet, put on the gear and went in. I removed three combs mostly full of honey. My extractor is very slow going (bucket system) and the tap just drizzles so it takes forever to fill a jar. Very few bee deaths though which is always a bonus. I use the smoker and brush as needed these days to avoid deaths.

Due to the slow nature of the buckets I only have a few jars at the moment and one has been swapped for some mulberries and manure.

9779168480?profile=originalTo my surprise the Dwf Pink Shatoot mulberry had ripened a good handful of fruit in literally one day (I had checked it yesterday and found two). Very sweet.

31.10.15 Still cropping some of these each day. Youngest daughter has developed a taste for them also and goes for the bush when visiting.


We've had a few storms in areas around Strathpine but nothing more than some gentle rain here which has benefited the seedlings no end. Everything is doing well with the usual losses to Fruit Fly and a few cut worm problems with seedlings. Nothing serious, though I now have only one Burgundy Okra plant left but it should have grown to a size which is beyond the attentions of the CW.

I've been visiting the Caboolture Mkt a lot more recently for the lovely locally grown fruit and veg and can't help picking up some seedlings at the same time.

The (self sown from buried fruit) Bitter Melon plant is producing it's first fruit. Hardy and useful.

9779169694?profile=originalMy honey bees are all over a huge amount of flowers on the old yellow Tamarillo. This plant is now getting on for five years old where normally they live for perhaps two. It just keeps getting bigger. Go figure.

9779170653?profile=original28.10.15 Dwf Ducasse banana bunch ripening. Left the bunch on the porch the first night and some rodent came took a bite or two. Apart from those given away to friends, all going through the dehydrator.

16.11.15 The second bunch was all given away at the GV a couple of days back.

9779171867?profile=originalPineapple forming - beautiful little purple flowers blooming.


I let my snails go free last night and this morning.

Left the lid up last night for them to leave but many were still hanging around in the box this morning. I have spread them around the yard and will provide basins of water as they are really very delicate and must have water to survive.

They don't like being shut up as the weather warms up, even when the box is under full shade. There were just getting too many of them in one smallish space and it felt cruel keeping them there. Over the time I have been observing and feeding them in their box home I have come to love these gentle little creatures.

Hopefully some will thrive free ranging. The ones I currently find in the "wild" are eating fallen leaves and stuff on the compost pile. Very rarely do I find one in my vege bed. My hope is that they provide another layer to the animal life in my garden, eating and digesting fallen vegetation and providing poop in return.


The snails have set up home around the garden in various protected spots with lots of rotting plant material on the ground. Seems to be their favourite nibble though I do leave out offerings of Collard Greens etc and a container of water on the dry side of the yard.


I spent a back breaking hour yesterday removing the Pepino (due to Fruit Fly ruining all the fruit) from the nature strip outside the front fence and replanting with parsley and hardy flowering plants (the garden faces the western sun). That's a bit of Aibika in the middle right that took from cutting shoved in and neglected and there's a bit of Cassava and some Rosemary as well. Pepino fruit hanging off the fence and orange flowers are Pomegranates.

29.11.15 We've had some horrendously hot days and some of these flowering seedlings have died off, but many have survived with water a couple of times a week.

9779172472?profile=original16.11.15 Michael H gave me some fruit some time back to grow these sweet little tom treats. I just keep replanting and they just keep coming up. Thank you Michael :)


Close to the end of spring and we've started having a few of those toasty hot days that the plants dislike so much and send people scurrying for the beach or air conditioned shopping centres.

My eldest daughter has just announced that she has accepted a Librarian job in Alice Springs. I checked the weather for AS and I think she will be grateful she will be working in an air conditioned building. At least I suppose it's AC'd. Hot, dry place. Little greenery around apart from the gum trees.

Came home yesterday and the (unwanted, I just threw some branches on the ground and they rooted) Cassava had fallen from the sky into the vege bed and everything around it.

It's been growing under the Custard Apple tree for some years and I've paid it no attention. While I was busy ignoring it it was busy reaching for the sky and eventually became too top heavy. Good survival plant to have around but not a lot of use to me at present.

All cut back and going to be binned this time.

9779172887?profile=originalI had really given up on the Lychee tree after many years of tiny crops and I mean tiny, like one or two fruit, but looked up at it yesterday and was stunned to see it covered in developing fruit. It's been a funny old spring for flowering plants. They have gone berserk around Brisbane making it look like a giant colourful garden. Must have suited the flowers on the Lychee too.

Yummm can't wait :D

9779174079?profile=original22.11.15 The Elderflower has grown to a good size (that's the clothesline on the left) and is producing lots of flower heads for making drink. As warned by Elaine it is trying to sucker. I keep cutting these back.

9779174480?profile=original22.11.15 Snake bean plants are growing well from saved seed. No idea of type. Some of Pat's Red Snake Beans in there as well.

9779174497?profile=originalFirst of the Okra crop.

9779175867?profile=originalOrange flowering Leonotis leonurus. So far the insects are ignoring it but it is pretty.

9779176464?profile=originalOne colour of the salvia growing around the place.

9779177074?profile=originalPineapple Sage surrounding the native bee hives. Much loved by the bees.

9779177485?profile=originalA beautiful visitor munching away on the sweet potato leaves. It's hide out given away by the giant poo.

9779178253?profile=originalFigs are liking the weather at the moment. Only a bit of insect activity on the leaves.


Spent a few productive hours this morning removing the Pepino from the front garden, chopping the male pawpaw in two (hopefully it will bunch up again and provide some western shade to the front of the house) and mulching everything with barrow loads of grass clippings which have been sitting for weeks.

Room for another plant!!

9779179469?profile=originalGraveyard where all the big stuff goes like the pawpaw and the banana plants. Let's call it Hugelkulture, it's a catchy name for a pile-o logs.


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KOMBUCHA and JUN....and possibly Kefir

Kombucha making has been popular for a long time. I call it my "old hippy" drink though I've personally been making it for just a few years. I find it really helps my dicky tum and it's a very pleasant form of hydration. The K I make is reasonably fizzy but as I dilute it down in water I add it to a bottle of aerated water using the Soda Stream. Looks like beer when I'm finished.

I tried milk Kefir but it upset my stomach - made a good cream cheese with it though. Phil makes some nice Water Kefir. James and Christine make some incredibly delicious flavoured Jun. 

I found this excellent article (below) this morning which explains the difference between black tea/sugar Kombucha and green tea/honey Jun.

There does seem to be quite a bit of flexibility in the processes for making any of these drinks when you start to look around. I've made Kombutcha with honey, white and raw sugar for instance. Quantities and volumes don't seem to be rigid and I would suggest you experiment and don't get too caught up in exactness.

There is lots of information about both Kombucha and Jun on the net. Try You Tube for some interesting videos.  Here are two of the better ones I found: VIDEO     VIDEO  Note that they both have variations in the instructions. Don't fret the small stuff.

This group KOMBUCHA KAMP also has lots of interesting information and hints.

Along the same lines - HOW TO MAKE VINEGAR. Using a Vinegar Mother.


If you want a Kombucha SCOBY or Mother I can provide you with one for free (given a week or two).

If you want to get your hands on a Jun SCOBY then you will have to look around a bit. I did find this Australian site that sells them through the post:  NOURISH ME ORGANICS.

James and Christine make some delicious drinks by flavouring their finished Jun tea HERE and HERE and HERE.


How to Make Jun Tea: Kombucha Champagne

(Follow the link for a good video.)

I was gifted my very first Jun tea culture in recent months from a friend who told me that he seemed to digest it even better than the fermented drink known as kombucha.

I was excited to learn of a ferment made with honey and green tea instead of black tea and sugar, which is what you use when making kombucha.

The reason?

In 2001, shortly after I first began brewing kombucha, a Chinese friend who came to dinner told me her mother had made a very similar drink when she was a child growing up in Guangdong Province. The difference? Her mother made the ferment with green tea and honey.

Ever since that night, I’ve been intrigued by this mysterious ferment. Now I know it was very likely Jun tea.

The History of Jun Tea

Jun is widely found today in western Tibet (the number one place on my bucket list to visit someday) although it’s actual history is shrouded in rumor and mystery.

Some Jun dealers claim that the earliest writings about Jun tea date back to 600 B.C. in Northeast China where the elixir was valued for its ability to open energy (chi) in the body and increase circulation. Unfortunately, no source for these “earliest writings” is actually given.

Jun cultures are precious and a bit hard to find to say the least. “Heirloom” Jun cultures are apparently so rare, in fact, that there have been robberies of Jun cultures reported by specialty fermentation dealers in recent years with distribution of daughter cultures of the stolen originals ending up in Hawaii in Colorado.

Jun Tea vs Kombucha

To say that I am in love with this lighter, faster brewing cousin of kombucha would be an understatement! Let’s examine some of the similarities and differences between these cousin ferments.

Jun tea uses slightly less tea and sweetener than kombucha

Where a full gallon of kombucha typically uses 4-5 teaspoons of black tea and 1-1.5 cups sugar, a gallon of Jun requires 4 teaspoons of green tea and 1 cup of honey, ideally locally sourced and raw.

This means that Jun tea would be free of any potential disaccharide residues from the white sugar and hence friendly to those on the GAPS Diet.

Steeping and brewing times are shorter for Jun tea

The (loose) green tea used to make Jun is steeped for only two minutes, whereas for kombucha, steeping time is normally 10 minutes.  Brew time is also shorter for Jun – 6 days versus 7 days minimum for kombucha.

This results in a lower caffeine final brew (if any is left at all) with lower potential fluoride content as well if lower quality and/or nonorganic tea is used for budget reasons.

Jun brews better at cooler temperatures

According to my friends at Kombucha Kamp, the ideal brewing temperature for Jun tea is between 68-77 F (20-25 C).   For kombucha, the temperature range for optimal brewing is 78-85 F (25.5-29 C).

As a result, depending on the temperature of your home, either Jun tea or kombucha may make more sense depending on the seasonal effect.

Budget Alert: Jun is more expensive to make

On the downside, brewing Jun tea is significantly more expensive than kombucha.  However, it is still far cheaper than buying bottled kombucha from the store.

While I brew kombucha for around 25 cents per quart, the cost of a quart of home brewed Jun tea is about $2.50, 10 times as much!

The difference in cost is primarily due to the higher price of quality honey as compared to the cane sugar used to make kombucha.

Jun tea is more alcoholic than kombucha

In addition to the increased cost, Jun tea is more alcoholic (around 2%), with kombucha clocking in at .5% for a typical batch.

The increased alcohol content makes Jun tea inappropriate for children. In addition, it is not advisable for consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  Kombucha, on the other hand, is a ferment I enjoyed all throughout pregnancy and lactation and allowed my children to sip in small amounts starting around age 2.

Should You Try Jun Tea?

If you have never made kombucha or other home ferments before, I suggest you start with kombucha as it is far less expensive to make and failure of a batch or two won’t cost you much.

On the other hand, if you are experienced at home ferments, give Jun tea, the champagne of kombucha, a try!

Who knows?  You might end up a Jun-kie!

Where to Find a Jun Tea Culture and Starter

Unfortunately, not that many folks brew Jun tea yet, so it is hard to find someone in your community who can share a culture and some starter with you. This situation will likely improve in the coming years, but for now, I would suggest buying an authentic Jun culture and starter from Kombucha Kamp.  My friends Hannah and Alex will take good care of you and guarantee a full potency culture that is always fresh, never dehydrated or frozen. This is where my culture hails from.

Below is a 3 minute video which overviews the Jun Tea making process along with the written recipe.  Enjoy!

How to Make Jun Tea (Kombucha Champagne)

Makes 1 gallon


1 gallon filtered spring water

1 cup honey, preferably raw and locally sourced (I use this brand if local honey is not available)

4 tsp loose, organic green tea (I use this brand)

1 Jun culture (available here)

1 cup Jun tea starter (from a previous batch or purchase it here)


Heat the water to 165 F/74 C in a large pot.  Use a frying or candy thermometer to check the water is not too hot (I use this one).

Hint: Do not boil the water like when making kombucha.

Remove the pot from the heat.

Place 4 tsp loose tea in a stainless steel tea mesh (I use this one) and hook to the side of the pot.

Let steep for 2 minutes.

Remove tea mesh and pour hot tea into fermentation vessel (I use these).

Stir in honey and let mixture come to room temperature.

Stir in starter and stir to mix.  Place Jun tea culture on top.  Cover with a clean, white tea towel or floursack cloth (like these) and secure with a large rubber band.

Place in a quiet room (the top of a bureau in a guest bedroom or the top of a file cabinet in a home office are perfect. Ideally, not the top of the refrigerator or other appliances as the EMFs will weaken the Jun culture over time).

Leave for 3-6 days.

Harvest after 3 days if you wish to bottle the Jun tea for 3 more days for additional fizziness (see this video for the how-to) or leave for 6 full days if you don’t intend to bottle.

Place Jun cultures in a glass jar or bowl with sufficient brewed Jun tea to cover and reserve in the refrigerator for your next batch.

Bottled Jun tea should be always be  very cold and opened in the sink to prevent accidental fizzing over onto the counter and floors.

Finished Jun tea should be stored in the refrigerator in clear glass only. No plastic, no enamel, no colored glass.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Sources and More Information

Jun: A Fermented Elixir
How to Make Jun Tea
Fluoride in Kombucha: Should You Be Concerned?
Have You tried Kombucha Tea?
Switchel: Nature’s Healthy Gatorade
Can Candida Sufferers Drink Kombucha?
Kombucha: What it is and How to Make it (plus video how-to’s)
Does Kombucha Prevent Grey Hair?
Batch vs Continuous Brew Kombucha


I have been given dire warnings by other K makers not to use anything but Black Tea. Check out this useful blog about using white, green and black tea and which teas you do need to avoid.



I've given away a few K Mothers so made this instruction list for the process I use:


SCOBY or MOTHER: A symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, or SCOBY a term used to refer to mixed cultures of bacteria and yeast present during production of kombucha. It is a living organism and needs care and feeding if you want it to stay healthy. K has probiotic properties and is good for you in all sorts of ways.

Check the internet – there’s a lot of different theories and lore’s about Kombucha.

Feed every 7 to 10 days. Mix can be left for an extra day or two but will eventually go vinegary and unpalatable if left too long. Do not throw out your Mother or all the mix as you will need some of the latter as starter.

You will need:

  • Glass jug – for steeping your tea and sugar
  • Black tea bags
  • Spoon for stirring in sugar
  • Sugar – white or raw
  • 1lt Unfluoridated and unchlorinated water (filtered rain water is good) - boiled
  • Funnel
  • Glass bottle - for storage (old wine bottle does well)
  • Glass jar – for brewing
  • Tight weave cloth and elastic band – to cover jar



  • In your jug – combine boiled water, 5 black tea bags and 1 cup of sugar
  • Stir the sugar until dissolved.
  • Allow to cool. I leave my tea bags in until cool – others remove after 10 mins. Up to you.


I do this every 7 to 10 days. Leave it too long and the mix becomes vinegary.

  • When ready to change mix gently remove your Kombucha Mother to a clean plate with clean hands (don’t use anti-bacterial hand wash). There is sediment at the bottom of the bottle – try not to stir it up.
  • Carefully pour your current mix through the funnel into the storage bottle. It should be quite fizzy.
  • Retain a glass full to use as starter for the next batch.
  • Dispose of the last bit of K in jar as it will be full of sediment.
  • Wash your jar.
  • Add the glass of starter to the jar.
  • Add the cooled tea and sugar brew.
  • Place your Mother back on top of the new brew.
  • Replace material and elastic on top. It is imperative that the K can breathe but you exclude insects such as Vinegar Flies which will lay eggs.
  • Keep your K in a spot where it won’t be moved or jiggered during its process, out of direct heat.

Can be drunk neat but it is a bit strong. I dilute mine with filtered rain water.

Your mother will become thick with new layers over time. Old layers can be composted or shared with friends to make their own Kombucha.

Read more…


9779084087?profile=originalThe season has started out dry. The mornings are still crisp and cool but the days are occasionally hot. The tank is down to 1000lt so I'm back to using town water to keep things alive, with a new longer hose that reaches all parts of the backyard.

"Tidy me" wants to clean up the backyard, but "messy me" is saying leave it alone! as both the honey and native bees are still enjoying the nasturtium trailing all over the place and the mass of yellow flowers on the blooming Red Mizuna, now developing into seed.

9779085053?profile=originalSo many cherry toms I picked half a bucket full the other day and tried (unsuccessfully) to turn them into jam. Now have three jars of Swt Tomato Sauce.. for icecream ?? ...doesn't sound quite right.

9779085663?profile=originalThe new front yard garden is growing well beyond my expectations. All the herbs and seeds planted (toms. tomatillo, rocket, flowers) are ultra green and healthy. Must be the decomposing grass clippings which aren't just nutritious but also act like a sponge, holding the water.

This is the bed back at the end of May...

9779086079?profile=original..and now, three and a bit months later.

9779086487?profile=originalThe three surviving rhubarb are doing well.

9779087661?profile=originalThe pepino are growing and cropping so well on this western side of the house. I've had enough to share some with neighbours and visitors - trying to create converts!

9779087877?profile=originalI've planted Pepino all along the front fence. At some point no doubt, passers-by will realise that the big globular fruit are worth nicking :/ This bed has been mulched with more donated grass clippings.

9779088868?profile=original9779090272?profile=originalThe Dwf Wurtz avocado is blooming profusely. Don't hold out much hope that this will be a year when fruit set as the plant is still only 3yrs old.

9779091070?profile=originalRemembered to check the yellow dragonfruit the other day and was pleased to find two had finally yellowed. They take much longer to ripen than the red ones and are much thornier (multi-pronged thorns fall off when ripe - right onto the ground where I can stick myself with them!).

Severely disappointed in the size of the fruit - each providing two teaspoons of fruit lol, but what fruit! The flavour was much more intense than the mild flavoured red. There are two more fruit left on the plant, both are four teaspoon fruit!

9779091467?profile=originalThe Jaboticaba continues to grow well and doesn't mind the friendly choko giving it a hug. A couple more years to wait for fruit on this one though there looks to be some tiny nobs suspicioulsy like little flower buds.

9779092082?profile=originalThe strawberry patch has been incredible this season - I can forgive it for giving me almost nothing in previous years. No real problems - the odd snail and some fruit rotting on the plant. All normal stuff.

9779093064?profile=originalMade some Cassava Cake following Joseph's recipe HERE.  Quite good. Certainly substantial.

9779093659?profile=originalSo pleased with the sweet potato tower experiment that I've set up three new bags (waiting for Bunnings to get the promised frames in).

Note the different leaf types - this is the white skinned/ purple centred. This one doesn't shoot as well from the tuber as the others. Begged some cuttings from Joseph....

9779094280?profile=originalPurple skinned/white centred....

9779094673?profile=original...and purple skinned/purple centred (original cuttings from Ann Gibson).

9779095073?profile=originalSlightly blurry pic of the Seduction rose bursting into bloom again. One hardy rose that one!

9779096658?profile=originalThe Loofah has two nicely shaped fruit on it. Enough sponges for me for a year or more.

9779097256?profile=originalCarolyn's chilli plant is showing strong regrowth after a cutback and feed. Trying, once again, to grow Ginger in the blue pot from store bought rhizome. Matthew has since given me some better root stock but still waiting for these to show their head above ground.

9779097673?profile=originalThe Dwf Pink Shatoot mulberry is showing new growth and fruit developing despite it being so dry. Fruit is ripening and delicious! Scott and Alison were visiting and we all managed a little taste.

9779098458?profile=originalThe Ruttabaga (swede) was a dismal failure. Plants were sickly from the start. Tubers were bitter. Threw the lot on the compost pile.

9779098083?profile=originalCouldn't resist buying these cheap hand made junk-owls from Albany Gdns Nursing Home stall. Bit of fun :)

9779099453?profile=originalCrumbled and bought a couple of peanut seedlings from Bunnings as I was having no success growing my own from seed. Then found one growing near the fig this morning.

9779099275?profile=originalEvan's Babaco is putting out new growth. Keeping it in a pot seems to be part of the trick of keeping this alive. Will eventually plant it out in a mounded/raised area....somewhere, lord knows.


Very excited to find dozens of APANTELE GLOMERATUS hatching out this morning from cocoons on my brassica leaves. These little predators of caterpillars were in turn being hunted by tiny spiders.

Their tiny bodies are only 0.5cm long and they were flying in clouds around their hatching spots, or just drying out their little wings after hatching.


Paul Wood delivered my new top bar beehive on Sunday :) Very beautiful and my early Christmas prezzie to me (thanks to the tax dept xx).

We placed it so the girls would hopefully create a flight path out over the raised beds but they had their own ideas, and fly out to the left of the one entrance left open (to help keep marauders at bay until they have created a strong hive).


One good storm and a bit of drizzle here and there hasn't been enough to break the dry and I'm long back to watering to keep important plants alive. Annette Mcfarlane was telling us September is generally the dryest month of the year. Didn't know that :/ but good info to have. My cucumber seedlings are still struggling along but won't be planting out any more seed until some decent rain comes and deeply waters the beds.

My hive has produced at least one Queen cell that I can see from the viewing panel. Paul wants me to report when it hatches. He was telling me last night that the hive will probably have a few of these cells throughout and the Queens will either fight it out for supremacy or the workers will decide who lives and who dies. It would be wonderful for me to catch the mating flight, but unlikely.

New FT job starting on Tuesday with Burnie Brae as the Activities Officer :) Can hopefully link some of the stuff I do through BLF and the upcoming Burpengary Community Gardens workshops with this.

I've put a smallish water feature behind the hive to provide them with water. Added two of my food plants - Kangkong and Lebanese Cress, to help them access the water without falling in. Yet to see a bee anywhere near it or the bird bath, so have no idea where they're getting their water from at present.

9779101474?profile=originalPepino fruit have been attacked by Fruit Fly....which finally got me motivated to refresh the Wild May fruit fly trap. Supposed to be done every couple of weeks apparently :/ Good grief.


Weather is still hot and crispy dry. No chance of planting any seeds or seedlings and have to find the time to water important plants now that I am back at work full time at BB.

Paul (Wood) came over yesterday for my catch-up visit - we opened the hive and seperated the bars carefully using a large knife run up between the comb and the wall of the hive and then lifting the bar straight up. It looked from the outside as if the combs were crossed between the bars, but inspection showed the combs were simply very wide or built from one side of the bar.

One sticking-out bit on one comb, near the bar, had to be removed carefully - cut right out. The other end was also bulging, but cutting this out would mean little holding the comb in place at the top, so it was just parred back. Had my first taste of my own honey :) Biased, but it was extremely delicious. Very intense flavour.

9779101879?profile=originalOne good thing - my Jaboticaba (black), which can't be more than three or four years old, is producing a few fruit. I've been told repeatedly that it won't fruit until about the 7th year. Perhaps this is when it gets into full swing with fruiting. Pity the Yellow J. died.


Finding it difficult to fit in gardening/watering time with the new job at BB. Out there watering at 5.15am or after work late in the arvo which isn't good.

Checked on the Jaboticaba the other day and was stunned to see they had grown into this in a mere two weeks. Still too firm to pick but can't be too far off being edible. 10 little fruit. My very first :)

9779103472?profile=originalA few zuchinni developing on the plants bought as seedlings from Bunnings one day. Front yard.

9779103880?profile=originalThe Nectarine is doing very well out the front, but the heat is playing havoc with the other plants. This is the end that gets the most sun - the toms are getting sunburned.

9779104096?profile=originalThe slightly cooler end (left) with the Rhubarb is faring a little better.

9779104691?profile=originalThe few Cardoon plants that struggled through the wet winter have decided to go to seed without every having been any use. Never mind, will give me fresh seed and the bees love the purple flowers.

9779105856?profile=originalOut the back. I refilled the middle bed with the compost pile at the weekend - have planted Edamame (ex Joseph) top end and Snake Beans down the bottom end. Have some corn seed planted in seedling trays (Bub helped) for the middle.

Had to replant most of the cucumber seed on Bed 3 (left) as only two of the Suyo Long took. The Prof. Mary Sheehan all died in the heat and I don't think I have more seed.

Still very dry weather despite a bit of rain about a week back. Daily watering required to keep things alive. The custard apple at the back corner of the pic has dropped all it's leaves again despite a deep watering. It always seems to come back.

9779105495?profile=originalThe Lychee doesn't seem to have set any fruit at all. Pepino are all being ruined by FF.


Only a few more weeks of "spring" left. Hot and dry on the whole though this morning is exceptionally beautiful weather and temp. Very peaceful with just the sound of birds and the odd car going past and woof from my dogs. Nice. I have a pretty little pigeon turns up each morning just after dawn looking for a free feed outside the aviary. Unfortunately the doves have also twigged and there will now be an explosion of dove babies on the scene.

I walked outside the front door with a cuppa this morning to be greeted with an intense sound of buzzing and nectar birds feeding. The Lillypilly in the front yard was in full bloom again, something it does regularly throughout the year, but this time my very own bees were making the most of the blossom. Very nice to see :)

9779106860?profile=originalOne of the girls at work.....

9779107873?profile=originalI have finally! gotten around to re-doing the pots on the front porch. Little heartbreaking to dump the non-productive plants I've been carefully nurturing for over a decade onto the compost pile but they are only plants. The strawberry pot (useless thing) is going to a neighbour...eventually. It's d'd heavy to move.

9779108687?profile=originalHanging baskets have been replanted with herbs and flowers.....

9779109899?profile=originalNew pots have been planted with Tahitian Spinach and the one remaining Babaco (from Evan)....

9779110861?profile=original...and the very pretty Purple Yam bought from my fruit market some time back and now growing well. Needs a bigger pot eventually.

9779111075?profile=originalCocoyam bought from Yandina Community Gdns for $2. Planted up with some herbs and flowers.


We have rain! Through the night and it seems to be a reasonable amount. Things should start growing again soon.

A few carrot plants are going to seed, first time ever to me.

9779111299?profile=originalOne of the three surviving Cardoon is blooming. The prettiest thing.

9779112272?profile=originalPurple potatoes from Joseph are growing strongly.

9779113277?profile=originalBoth figs, this white one in a pot and the black one in the garden, are both developing little fruit. Look HERE to see how the tiny Fig Wasp (there seems to be a few different varieties) pollinate the flowers.

9779114090?profile=originalElderflower cuttings are growing well. Being warned about suckering with these plants but I am looking forward to making cordial from the flowers. One of the cuttings is already flowering and normally I would cut this off, but it is such a hardy plant I don't think it's necessary.

9779115656?profile=originalThe Youngberry is cropping also, enough for two or three of the large berries per day. Must take a pic.


Here's the Youngberry fruit. Nothing mindblowing but quite nice - tart/sweet flavour and a juicy mouthful.


The Dwf Ducasse bunch is plumping up nicely.


Here's more of the Cardoon blooming - the pollinators, bees, beetles and ants, just love these gorgeous flowers.

9779116895?profile=originalThe native beehive is still going great guns. I've moved them a tich closer to the Pineapple Sage and added a potplant that helps hold down the lid and will provide shade during summer as it grows.

9779117688?profile=originalWe had quite an intense hail/rain/wind storm here last night around 5pm. Just before I had to go out for dinner! Small hail, not a lot of damage.


Almost at the end of Spring. After this weeks storms and bits of rain, the grass is greening (means mowing) and the fruit trees are blooming.

The Custard Apple dropped all it's leaves, promptly put out shoots and is now flowering.

9779120101?profile=originalThe Carombola is following suit....


9779120679?profile=original...and the Soursop.

9779121686?profile=original9779122257?profile=originalLittle eggplant seedlings are self sowing happily in Bed 3...

9779122875?profile=original...and the Asparagus is making a comeback.

9779123064?profile=originalI harvested my first honey yesterday. Clumsily done at 5am due to time contraints. Paul suggests more like 10am when the workers are out, which means weekends only.


Good rain last night! Couldn't have planned it better for a Sunday morning at home. Have now planted out all the plants and seedlings I've been nurturing along in pots waiting for some wet weather:

Jicama, Jeruselum Artichoke, Purple Yam, Cardoon, Ginger, Elderflower, Pigeon Pea, Salvias of various types, Warrigal Greens (Tetragonia tetragonioides or New Zealand Spinach), Five Spice (Coleus amboinicus var variegatus - described as a cooking herb with an Oregeno type flavour).

Below: Warrigal Greens

Below: Five Spice


Read more…


9779087054?profile=originalI've just noticed that every pic is labelled 2013. I've been stupid enough to pick the wrong year each time I reload the camera with fresh batteries.

Good grief, it's Autumn again!

Bit of a lack of rain and some quite hot days in the last few weeks but the garden has been productive enough, for me anyway.

I've SMS'd about 12 mower guys in the hope of getting some decent grass clippings (no rubbish/tree-bits etc) dropped off and to my delight there was a pile waiting there for me yesterday. Very valuable free resource for replenishing the garden and raised beds. If they're not completely organic, it balances out with the fact they they're free and ultimately good for the garden.

Using no chemicals in the garden I get quite a lot of wildlife visiting. The native bees are a constant pleasure - mostly the Blue Banded and Leaf Cutter but there has been a smallish (about the size of Leaf Cutter) black, very fast, bee out there recently. I followed it around but it's too quick to get a good look at. Managed to capture, if a tad fuzzy, two of the BB bees on the purple ginger this morning.

9779087654?profile=original9779088254?profile=originalVery pleased to see some seedlings have come up from the last fruit of the old pawpaw that fell over recently. Would hate to lose that "blood line".

NOTE: 05.04.14 These are growing strongly and have tripled in size. 26.04.15 These plants are now starting to produce fruit.

9779088661?profile=originalFirst time I've ever grown Rosellas and I've had good return from four or five plants. Picked a heap yesterday arvo after returning from work with the intention of making some jam. In my exhausted state (Friday night) I managed to turn the hot plate onto it's highest setting and burned the lot. Yech. Will try again soon.

NOTE: Have managed to ruin two batches of Rosella Jam. Not paying enough attention to it while it's cooking, not doing.....what??? I just don't know but it's horrible. Have ordered Grandmas Jam Making book lol. Turned the last of the pods into cordial, but even that doesn't taste very good.

26.04.15 A few weeks back I helped the good folk of Sandgate Community Garden make jam....successfully. I just hope I can remember for the next time I have my own fruit. Did not grow it this year.

9779088867?profile=originalOne of the Tamarillo in particular has been producing plenty of good fruit. Enough to enjoy a couple every day. Very nice. Such an easy small tree to grow and no fruit fly issue. Just needs it water.

NOTE: This tree has been giving me daily high quality fruit for some weeks now.

9779090076?profile=originalThe Carombola produced a huge crop. This is maybe a quarter of it. All fruit fly damaged, all damaged from hitting the ground from height. I still get quite a bit to eat each day and have made one jar of "jam" which is more like Carombola toffee and has to be levered out of it's jar, but very tasty. Nathan had the same experience making jam from the fruit I gave him oddly enough.

9779090865?profile=originalMy bee girls are very healthy and working hard, bringing back pollen and nectar for the now nearly full hive. So many of them a lot of them have to spend the night outside clustered around the entrance. Toads hang out under the hive to catch any that fall. I've killed 6 of them this week in the freezer.

9779091655?profile=originalVery excited! The first crop of Dwf Ducasse is ready to pick. Most will end up in the dehydrator.

NOTE: The whole bunch has been dehydrated and is very good eating. My sweet treat after dinner.

26.04.15 I've cropped another bunch and two more are growing.

9779092460?profile=originalCan't praise Bush Basil highly enough as a bee supporting plant. All the bees love it and it hasn't stopped blooming for months.

26.04.15 I cut this bush back a month or so ago (to get at the clump of Vetiver). So far very little signs of regeneration.

9779092300?profile=originalAnd the other plant they love is Salvia of any kind. This photo doesn't do this pretty light blue plant justice. They add so much to the garden.

9779093285?profile=originalIn the front garden this white eggplant is growing well and producing lots of tender fruit.

NOTE: Don't leave these white eggplant decoratively sitting on the plant too long as they go quite seedy.

26.04.15 Don't like these white ones for eating. Not nearly as good as the other varieties.

9779093673?profile=originalAlso in the front garden, I bought two red pawpaw seedlings recently (Bunnings or Masters?) and luckily for me, one has turned out to be female.....

NOTE 26.04.15 Turned out to be yellow. So much for labelling. But very good fruit all the same.

9779094455?profile=original...and one male. I thought in my innocence that they were bi-sexual so I've been very lucky getting both sexes.

9779094665?profile=original9779095083?profile=originalTwo remaining out of three zuchinni plants just keep growing and giving. One of favourite treats when I get home each day is to eat a baby with flower attached. Very yummy and I feel like I've had my fresh greens.

NOTE: Down to one plant as of 20.03.14 but it's still producing. These plants seem to enjoy the open space in the front yard. They dislike being put into areas with poor air flow.

9779095878?profile=originalNote how long the stem has gotten over the many weeks this plant has been growing and producing.


Three work days off after a minor op on my arm yesterday. No pain, no stitches. Just a heap of bruising.

9779097054?profile=originalMy one and only ever successful watermelon, but what a beauty. Delicious to the last bit. Stars & Moon from seedling bought from the market.

9779097467?profile=originalSome of the crop the other day. The last of the Dragonfruit, most of the remaining eggplant and daily Tamarillos. The squishy bits on some of the Dragonfruit were easily cut off, cause is debatable - could be the current dry weather or being left on the plant too long. Have a beautiful big mess of dried Dwf Ducasse banana that I'm happily indulging in daily as well. Spoilt!

Figs have just finished but the plant is developing new fruit despite the current dry spell. I try to give it water a couple of times per week.

NOTE: The fig dropped the developing fruit. Must have been too dry for it.

26.04.15 Some nice fruit from the fig. They are again developing another crop.

9779098454?profile=originalBlurry pic of some of the Rosella crop. I've managed to ruin two batches of jam. Buying Grandmas Jam Book in an effort to learn where I go wrong. I think neglect, once I have it in the pots, is a big one :/

Enough left out there for one more attempt.

NOTE: Boiled up to make cordial but even that doesn't taste very good, unlike the first batch I made. Ran out of white sugar and used palm sugar but that shouldn't make much difference.

9779098293?profile=originalLillypilly was covered in birds and bees the other day enjoying the second crop of flowers and nectar in a short period of time.


Some overnight rain the last couple of nights, just enough to wet all the seedlings put in on Sunday c/- Caboolture Markets. Broccoli, broccolini, white cauli, snow peas, climbing beans, kohlrabi, mizuna, cos lettuce, rocket, eggplant ("globe"....not much of a description but worth a go at $1).

One of the mower men I SMS'd has been kind enough to leave me two piles of grass. Very valuable asset when replenishing the beds.

Rhys delivered my snail farm a couple of weeks back. Very nicely made and very grateful for their help :)

Have set it up with some timber for holding food and water provided by Heath using well seasoned old timber from Vanessa's reno. I have my quality chook food with added molasses.....just need the snails. A bit of wet weather and hopefully they will come out to play.

See HERE for the photos and information from the visit to Glasshouse Gourmet Snails.

NOTE: The resident rat has eaten all the snails around the yard, including those in the snail box. Found the stash of empty shells under the pump cover.


I have snail, singular.

Well actually I have put four in there so far but this is the biggest. Here it is escaping away from the snail food :/ as fast as it's little pad will take it. THESE TURNED OUT TO BE TRAMP SNAILS, A PEST.

NOTE: 05.04.14 Found one snail and one large slug eating the grain mix last night. The slug was quickly relocated into the regular bed. I try to water out the farm each morning to keep it moist and the bowl full.

9779100483?profile=original9779100867?profile=originalBeautiful overcast morning after some good rain these last few days so I'm planting out the local garlic ex Elaine and the NZ Yam or Oca (Oxalis tuberosa) which has been sitting happily in the crisper section of the fridge for the last two or three months and obligingly sprouted for me.

Really like these. Roasted they taste like little packets of mashed potato.

NOTE: Wondered why no shoots so checked on them yesterday, 12.04.14, and every single tuber had rotted away with barely anything left to show they had been there.

May - found one plant still growing. Pulled it up thinking it was a weed (hey, it is an Oxalis!) and have replanted it. Seems to be doing ok if slow.

NOTE 26.04.15 - Have just done a potato growing workshop and I suspect these Oca, like spuds, DO NOT LIKE TOO MUCH WATER when growing.

9779101289?profile=originalPlanted last weekend, heaps of Snow Pea seedlings from Caboolture Mkt. Can't have too many Snow Peas :)

9779102261?profile=originalBed 3 - Snow Peas, Mizuna, Kolhrabi, silverbeet.

NOTE: 26.04.15 The Mizuna grew on forever and were not very nice eating. Don't bother again.

9779102864?profile=originalBelow - same bed 01.05.14. Kohlrabi and Mizuna well chewed by caterpillars - I found squashing them in situ put off further damage. They should all recover.

9779103070?profile=originalBed 1 below - cauli and broccoli along with some original plants - rocket and Asian Parsnip which I hope will go to seed.

9779103086?profile=originalSame bed 01.05.14. I did add Dave Blake's ?? (product name forgotten - will have to talk with Dave. See discussion):


As mentioned above, I've found one snail eating the grain mix last night. I find a new snail about every second day so will gradually build up the numbers in the farm with any luck. I call this a Slow Hobby. Nothing fast about snail farming. (26.04.15 Tramp Snail - a pest as it turns out).

To my delight I've found some quality asparagus spears growing, no doubt spurred on by the recent rain. All eaten by me on the spot. None photographed!

Off to visit Jana and Roman Spur today at their suburban New Farm home. Will have to take lots of pics.

The red pawpaw (yellow!!) are producing nice little fruit. I did attempt to pollinate the flowers but to be honest, could see no actual pollen changing hands. Nature might have taken care of the process just as well. (26.04.15 Which it does - this yellow fruiting tree has turned out to be a great producer of quality fruit).

9779104280?profile=originalHave finally grown and cropped some ginger. The freshest I have ever eaten!

9779105053?profile=originalAnd the Cocoyam is finally settling into it's big pot and showing some decent growth.

NOTE 26.04.15 This plant has never thrived nor gotten any bigger. I've been waiting for some growth so I can try eating some tubers. They need a better spot than this pot to grow in, something like a nice bog.


Thanks to Matt (returned to Singapore and offloading plants) I finally have a blooming Clitorea ternatea who's edible blue flowers are used a great deal in Asian cooking.

See HERE for ideas and uses (thanks Joseph).

9779105859?profile=originalSnail farm - I've been collecting one or two new snails a day (Tramp Snails!). They hang around water so find them in the waterchestnut pot or the bee watering pot most often. I should have maybe 15 or so in there but only ever see three or four at a time. One empty shell spoke of a maurauder, possibly a rodent. It's crossed my mind that some have been escaping and I've been recapturing the same ones over and over!


It is the sweetest Easter weather imaginable. Right temp, no rain, peaceful, birds singing, time off to do what I want, dogs pestering me to "love me love me" all day long. I'm eating maybe four substantial meals a day - when I work I eat two small and one big dinner. Drinking a bit more wine than usual. Life is good right at this moment.

The rat ate all my snails :( I found empty shells in the box and lots of empty shells under the pump cover where dogs tell me the little sod has been hanging out. Never mind. There will be more snails or I might just make a special trip to the Glasshouse Gourmet snail people and buy some mature stock. Will have to make sure I close the box each night so the rat doesn't get in for an expensive meal. (SEE THE SNAIL BLOG for the full story).

The mice are getting into the aviary. They are squeezing right through the 1cm diameter wire, something I've never seen them do before. Maybe I've selectively bred a smaller, slimmer species of mouse! Gretel is gone and she was my best mouser. Blind Freya picked one off outside the aviary last night and was justly proud of herself.

The yard is mowed and it looks tidy for a time. Had breakfast out with some of the ladies from BLF at the Paleo Cafe at Northlakes yesterday, very good food.

Off to Bellbunya tomorrow for a three day break. Took some pics of crop happening in the garden - mostly eggplant and Carombola - but the batteries refuse to co-operate and I will have to load them later.

Did get a couple of shots of the Pineapple Sage which was just covered in various types of bees this morning. The other morning it was the Bush Basil beside it getting all the attention, now empty of enterprise. You can just make out some of my Tetragonula carbonaria bees in this shot. There were dozens.


Very excited to find the Carombola producing another good crop of fruit, this time free of fruit fly damage. I was hoping to take some to Bellbunya with me today but the green one I picked the other day still shows no sign of ripening. Must leave them on the tree as long as possible - at least until they start to turn colour to pale golden by themselves, but need to catch them before they fall and ruin.

9779106877?profile=originalAlso pleased to find the Jaboticaba producing it's second crop of fruit this year. Now that's it's started producing at last hopefully I can expect fruit regularly.

NOTE: 02.05.14 all ripe and eaten.

26.04.15 Tree cropped maybe three times since this shot. Nothing out there at the moment, not even some flowers.

9779107676?profile=original03.05.14 Below - trying again with the remaining Ruttabagga seed. Will try to thin them out if get some rain on the beds this weekend.

9779108869?profile=originalBed 3 below - Snow peas are starting to bloom They have been quite slow in taking off. Always difficult to gauge the reasons.

9779109082?profile=originalBelow - The small crop of white/purple sweet potato, my favourite. From memory I loaded the planter bags with half potting mix and half mushroom compost. Not a happy combination for the sweet potatoes which looked unhealthy right through there growing period.

9779068458?profile=originalBed 2 below - planted up with lots of goodies including brassicas, toms, beans, chinese greens, yellow zuchinni (thought it was a bit late for them but worth a go), chives. Self sown eggplant are still growing and producing well.

9779109892?profile=original9779110656?profile=originalBelow - Bacterial problem (per Jerry C-W) that I get on silverbeet grown in the raised beds. Not a problem in the front garden. Must be an air circulation issue as I don't water in the afternoon.

Bacterial leaf spot and bacterial soft rot diseases, which includes the genus Erwinia.


Home sick. A good chance to catch up on a bit of writing as it's about all I can bring myself to do.

Went to the Caboolture Mkts on the way to Bribie for Mothers Day last weekend and there was a huge variety of locally grown produce on offer (below) all very cheap. Left out the Dragonfruit (was given 6 medium sized for $5) - persimmon, ginger, custard apple, avos, loofah, monstera, yam, jicama, purple taro, white/purple swt potato. There were lots of other options there, this is just what I brought home.

9779111283?profile=originalEverything is growing well apart from any bean seedlings that I plant. The b. cut worm seems to like them best. Finally got around to putting loo roll collars on the two remaining bush beans yesterday. The have decimated the Broad Beans also.

9779112860?profile=originalAll the eggplant are cropping well. Listada di Gandia.

9779113078?profile=originalYou Beaut

9779113854?profile=originalUnknown variety self sown. (Rosea?)

9779114287?profile=originalOnce again, I have high hopes of some Soursop crop this year. Tree is holding about a dozen small fruit.

9779115260?profile=originalDeer Tongue and round leafed lettuce are coming up all over the place. I just tuck seed down beside the raised beds and they grow when they're ready.

9779115480?profile=originalInside the netted bed. It definitely makes a difference when it comes to caterpillar damage. The middle area is planted with carrot seed with bird seed also coming up as green manure/shade.

9779115854?profile=originalThe one remaining Oca or NZ Yam is doing ok despite me pulling it out of the ground as a weed a couple of weeks back. If I can get this one growing hopefully I can produce more for future seasons.

9779116460?profile=original"Asian Parsnip" from donated seed looks suspiciously like a Daikon Radish to me. Never grown these before so will have to do some hunting for info. Have left this remaining plant to go to seed.

NOTE It never did go to seed - took too long making it's mind up so it was pulled up to make room for more productive plants.


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