Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

We are on the cusp of this season's great Vetiver venture.

Almost all of the clumps in our backyards have been harvested and we are 'bringing them on' (pictured at right) as divisions which are almost ready to plant out in our new nursery location.

It has been a hard ask of our would-be clients as we are planting out rather than sharing the slips with them. We had to do it, as we kept running out of stock...

And the greedy things, want thousands of plants. Demand is high.

But after investing in new equipment we are set for a qualitative expansion in our nurserying.

Our new block is quite big -- just under half an acre -- so planting it out will take a few seasons. Fortunately the soil is pretty good for our area -- unlike what I began with at home 10 years ago -- and we have access to the aquifer below for our watering needs.

Gotta keep it neat and tidy as we are becoming ridgy-didge horticulturalists.

Unfortunately the best beds  for growing a nursery are covered in mulch and while we have that, it sure doesn't spread out on its own volition. Moving a mountain of mulch by hand is not my favourite activity.

A to B by wheelbarrow so that B is 20 cm deep is unrelenting labour.

We will have to hire a dingo mini loader I expect when the novelty of exertion wears off.

In the meantime we just took delivery of  >8,000 cells in trays (40 per tray) for planting up, bought the cutest little pump in the world and are set to rig up the hydraulics.

If last 'season' is any indication, trade can get hectic until May then dies off as the Vetiver plant growth stalls.

Next time the cooler months come around we hope to harness the Vetiver leaves as Oyster mushroom substrate.

Sort of an off-season activity.

I never thought I'd be running a nursery professionally -- albeit part time -- as we build up the client base. But there: even when you get on in years there is always another sod worth turning over.

And for me, being chronically 'ill' -- who woulda thought?

Our main achievement thus far,  is that GrowVetiver is already a  substantial contributor to regenerative agriculture here in Australia because we have broken the price burden while  maintaining  plant quality.

That's the working hypothesis anyway....and we're not greedy.

While I'm very partisan on the topic I think every kitchen garden should be growing Vetiver among the veges.


  1. enhance soil quality and microbiology
  2. to hydrate the topsoil and replenish ground water
  3. to harvest for mulch
  4. to prevent erosion
  5. to push/pull insects
  6. to companion perennials like fruit trees

I started with 3 plants and now I'm a parent to thousands.

We will be establishing a YouTube channel soon that will showcase all the DIY with Vetiver you'll need to know.

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Comment by CHERYL SLAPP on September 29, 2020 at 7:06

Congratulations on the new adventure.  After reading your blog above I think I should get some, are we going to buy from you?

Comment by Dave Riley on September 27, 2020 at 20:15

Don't worry. We are division specialists.We supply clients  in 50s, 100s, ... and even thousands. So it is all about scale.

A few plants here or there won't impact on our supply line.

The main game is for those with Vetiver growing to extend their own hedges. Do their own divisions for their own uses.

I started with three plants and the late Elaine de Saxe allowed me to dig up three of her clumps...and the rest is mathematics.

It doesn't take long for the plant to grow more tillers. One tiller soon becomes 15 ...and then 20. Our first nursery plant out will be over 1,000 slips. So multiply that and you can see that we are at takeoff.

Finally, we'll have ENOUGH stock.

When you consider that the going price is $2.50 to $4 per slip  (not our price) you get an idea of how much a long hedge will cost you if you are paying that price on scale. So like many other Vetiveristas our perspective is to encourage community take up and self-reliance.

You buy Vetiver and can expect to divide it maybe after 3 months during the growing season (hot weather + rain). In Brisbane that's October to  late April. 

Don't hesitate to separate the tillers: Vetiver loves a crowd.

Vetiver also travels well via postage if packed bare rooted. Vetiver Spain notes that some of their posted plants were lost for weeks 'in the mails' and were still viable when returned to sender.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on September 27, 2020 at 18:26

Good idea.  I'm happy to return some when I separate mine.  

Comment by Jeff Kiehne on September 27, 2020 at 10:08

The people you have already supplied is there any possibility of getting planting material back as that is what one nursery was doing asking to prune plants for propagation  and paid a small fee for the plant material.

Comment by Dave Riley on September 26, 2020 at 19:09

We'll have plenty soon enough. Patience is a virtue.

We have supplied one site I know of in Gympie area. See HERE.

One order pending around several nurseries is for 160,000 plants! Darwin, October 2021.We think we can supply 'some' of that...but it is a tall order! Our contribution will be small...

The trick with Vetiver, Susan, is to plant with rain in mind as there is less fret in the first 6 weeks if there is wetness. 

Comment by Susan on September 26, 2020 at 12:48

Wow.  I was just thinking the other day about buying some vetiver from you And now it looks like I’m too late and you’re out of stock.  Who knew you’d develop this into a nursery.  

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on September 25, 2020 at 14:30

That's wonderful news Dave.  Congrats mate.  

Comment by Christa on September 25, 2020 at 9:59

Well done with the new venture in the nursery,  It should work well and give plenty of stock for the future.

I was thinking of starting the sugar bale growing system and I might plant vetiver on the low level of the garden to trap water flow.

Comment by Barbara Tealby on September 25, 2020 at 8:55

Good to see, Dave.

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