Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Oh dear, I wish I was more organised. Or retired. Or a stay-at-home mother. Or something - anything that means I could spend heaps more time or money in the garden :)

I had forgotten that I am meant to be doing the garden visit thing this month until Chris reminded me. So my edges aren't neat, my succession planting is shot (the chickens have gotten into the garden and scraped out two lots of new seedlings in the last month) and my plants are looking a bit scraggy (we have been away for a week again). Sigh. Still, a real garden is probably more instructive than a perfect garden (unless you employ a team of gardeners, which I don't imagine any of us do).

I suspect that pumpkin pixie might have been picking the young ones off as well - she has always loved picking things, it drives me crazy. She makes little collections of special things for the faeries. Sigh.

Many of the sweet potatoes in the driveway have shot, which is nice, but not all of them.

I will wait and then try planting new tubers if there is no action in a little while. We want to build a grape and general climbers arbor over this driveway area, which will also take the dragon fruit currently growing on the fence. I probably should have kept it in a pot until we actually build the arbor, but there you go.

Some of our plants are listing in the soggy ground. I've had to tie one banana to the fence and prop the fruit with a long piece of wood.

I finally destroyed the second no dig garden, which was meant to be the big things and anti-social things bed - but it was always too hot and dry.

I will use the compost around about the garden and I've turned the sleepers into garden edges. I'm still dithering about whether to have a lawn or not. It will have to wait for the pumpkins to go now anyway.

The pumpkins aren't setting fruit: blossom end rot is getting them, it's been too wet, which is disappointing. I'm not giving up quite yet, but it's probably too late to get good fruit even if they set now.

On the bright side my new pit-pit has shot in the nursery boxes. Excellent. Also we have lots of pawpaws. I made green pawpaw salad recently, it was divine. I think it's a favourite - my new BBQ standby. I'm glad it's pawpaw season again - which I wouldn't have thought possible at the end of last season :) Amazing how seasonal eating will do that for you.

Spot the guava too - yum. I found a ripe tree and did some gleaning.

The new garlic has all sprouted.

I planted my Food Connect garlic. They are Australian varieties which are much more suited to local conditions than those you can buy at the shops - so hopefully I might get some joy out of them.

Dinner is pretty much ratatouille. We're still getting occasional corn and waiting on a melon, but it's basically eggplants, tomatoes, capsicums, the odd broccoli, carrot and parsnip (we can only eat the outside edges of the parsnip as the centres are woody) and lots of rocket and parsley at the moment. The jerusalem artichokes are looking like they'll be ready soon though.

We got our first full-sized Beefheart Tomato today - and it was worth the wait!! Absolutely delicious. It's so full of flavour it tastes like it's been salted, and it has so much meat rather than seed slime - I LOVE it. I'm so glad I got those fruit fly exclusion bags.

I realised that our passionfruit are red ones, not yellow - I thought I had planted banana passionfruit, but the pulp was very poor and I couldn't work out why. So finally some have started to ripen properly instead of turning yellow and dropping off, and they are delicious. We have a very high drop rate though - millions of yellow ones that never get there. They also seem to be stung by something - fruit fly? The vine itself seems to be dying back now too. I fear the wet weather has made it sick (possibly because it is busy producing so many fruit at the same time). I might have to cut it back which is a pity because it covers the side fence beautifully.

We are still only eating out of the vegie garden (plus one proper broccoli and a small bag of spuds a week from Food Connect), and we're not even challenged by it, so I consider that a very good achievement. A friend gave us lots of spuds from their farm recently which is great but I was pretty disappointed when the chooks scratched out my seedlings, I can tell you. We're a month behind schedule for some dinner variety now :(
Hankering after celery and beetroot only makes them sweeter when they arrive on the table :)
Meanwhile there's always green pawpaw salad!

Eggplant, rosemary, pumpkins, cucumber, and various flowers competing for space.

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Comment by Donna on April 20, 2009 at 20:50
Fantastic as always, you always seem to have so much available! Look forward to seeing it and you on Sunday. I found a sweet potato that mustn't have broken down in my compost starting to grow so I transplanted it and noticed something pushing out of the ground - there was a whole heap of sweet potatoes from the stray! I will certainly plant them again, although I thought they were warm season plants - can they still be planted out now and do you sprout them like potatoes first?
Comment by Vanessa Collier on April 19, 2009 at 19:26
Hi Scarlett, you're garden still looks great! I wouldn't worry too much about the sweet potato tubers - I only planted one and it has covered more than a square metre of my vegie patch and would cover more if I didn't keep trimming it back to give the other vegies some sunlight! Good work for living out of the garden. After a week of holidays and some persistence with the garden lately I'm starting to get more out of it. You're garden is certainly an inspiration for many of us.
Comment by Addy on April 19, 2009 at 8:00
I love your garden! I would love to cover every inch of my backyard with veges but hubby won't let me - he's into "neat and tidy". How many successive sowings of cucumber and corn do you make? I started with seedlings in Sept, and had one harvest of corn, and the cucumbers fruited till Jan, then died out, I didn't replant them as in previous years they didn't do well in the same spot the second time. Do you rotate the crops? I try to do that, but it does mean having to wait till the bed is empty, or else pull out stuff that's still growing - goes against the grain! Would love to visit your garden, but Sundays are not convenient for us....

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