Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

It's been the wettest May on record apparently, or something like that.

Heaps of seeds have germinated, which is a good thing because the grasshoppers are really giving my seedlings a hard time.

The dill is finally up.

The celery is going well - I feel confident it will make it to full size now - once the seedlings start to fill out like this I stop crossing my fingers so hard.

On the other hand, look at this! My broccoli was filling out nicely, the stems starting to thicken up, and now they're fruiting before they got nice and thick and the result is piddly little main broccoli heads! Worst crop I've had so far. Could be the temperatures or water (I neglected these seedlings when they were pretty small and the weather was still hot) but I suspect a soil deficiency. Any ideas? Could have been the pH and calcium deficiency, which I only corrected a few weeks ago - maybe I just set them back too far until then.

Look at the grasshopper damage on the bok choy. At least they leave the onion family alone. Leeks, spring onion, and garlic interplants are all doing well. They also ignore the rocket. My chooks usually do too, but I threw a plant that was flowering to them today anyway (as usual) and I noticed our chinese silky decided to eat it. Very pleasing. One of the pekin bantams has just started to lay again. Everyone has new feathers and can fly once more (I'll have to clip their wing feathers again) but I don't think the other two are laying yet. It's hard to tell, but I think our silky is responsible for the electric yellow egg yolks, so she at least isn't laying again yet.

Today's harvest was LOTS of delicious tomatoes - Tommy Toe and Beefheart, basil tips to go with them, lots of parsley (am culling, too many plants in the garden), our first hand of bananas to go properly yellow (we're about to be flooded, the big bunch I've hung by the back door are all on the turn), a stupid little sweet potato I grubbed up by mistake, eggs, green peppers, pawpaws (I've been giving them away, eating them for breakfast every morning), and silly little broccoli.

I've got a new volunteer pawpaw tree. Last year's big pawpaw tree is not producing this year (fine by me). I will chop the main stem and let the side shoots go for next year. The banana pawpaw cirlce is astonishingly productive for something you never have to water or fertilise. Plus no green waste disposal problems! I love that thing. What a design. Genius.

I have a real soft spot for volunteer vegies. Here's a lettuce. It's faring better than the ones the chickens have attacked twice now (at least they're not scratching when they decide to be bad in the garden now - they just go straight for the lettuce).

The sweet potatoes in the driveway are doing really well. It's great that it's a self tip - pruning system - whenever we walk or drive up there the side shoots get chopped off, so we should end up with more potatoes as a result I guess.

I've had my rhubarb seedlings in the fridge for a week and took them out today. They still look fine. I'll plant them out and see if they go crazy now that they've had a good chilling.

General vegie garden shots:

It's really great to see so many people on this site now all talking to each other about local food and gardening stuff. I'm really loving that people are finding it useful and getting into it. Modern communication is amazing.

Hey I'm at GreenFest this Sunday in the talk tent in the 'GreenZone' at 12pm. I'll be talking about the application of Permaculture design principles in cities and I'll plug Brisbane Local Food.

cheers all


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Comment by Scarlett on June 13, 2009 at 22:03
probably spring or summer for autumn and winter harvest. not sure if they'd sprout at the moment given all this cold - but you could try, and plant more later on as well - once they're in you can replant from cuttings..
Comment by Donna on June 6, 2009 at 17:48
Scarlett do you know when the best time to plant bought tubers is? Basically trying to find out if it is too late now, my last crop was planted in spring/ summer from memory - and it was an accident, I didn't realise they would grow until I saw the great bounty!
Comment by Scarlett on June 5, 2009 at 22:04
yes, apparently
Comment by Florence on June 5, 2009 at 16:00
The banana paw paw circle sounds good, banana's one of my favourite fruits and paw paw's my mum's. Maybe I should find a space to do one :)

Does prunning the sweet potato vine produce more tubers?
Comment by Scarlett on June 4, 2009 at 22:36
yes, it could be the seedlings - they were 'mini' broccoli of some sort as I recall (bunnings seedlings I'm afraid)- so maybe any deficiency in my growing has been magnified. I do have some broccoli seedlings from heirloom seeds I saved germinating now though. these guys were a semi-sacrificial quasi summer crop. never a total goer probably. i might have to get the dipel out for the cabbage moth - it's going crazy. and/or pull out the brussels sprout that i've had in since last winter - a nice haven for them. my friend linda says her cabbage moth has gone crazy since she left her brussel sprouts in over summer as well.
Comment by Donna on June 4, 2009 at 7:59
Looking great as always! With the brocolli are you using the same seeds - this is what happened to me last
year, they also went to flower really quickly and wilted soon after picking - I thought it might be OP seed, or also suspected over fertilising as the leaves and plants were HUGE.

I have random lettuce seedlings in the grass where one that went to seed in the bed, also a few nasturtiums in the grass from the same thing. Not sure how, but I also have a tatsoi in the middle of nowhere in the grass??
Comment by Vanessa Collier on June 3, 2009 at 19:33
Nice work! I have rogue lettuces at the moment too. Unfortunately no chickens to eat them as yet. I think my pak choi looks about the same as your's - I've had problems with katydids and caterpillars which I manually picked off once but have come back on one plant now.

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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

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