Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Back to the world of the living!


My summer hibernation is now over, the weather is so much kinder, and I am able to get about outside without frying in the horrible hot sun. The jobs to do outside are many and varied but at least I have some enthusiasm back, which enables me to get stuck in.

My cousin's wife in the UK suffers from SAD, (Seasonal Affective Disorder) - which is caused by a lack of sun in the northern hemisphere. Here we get far too much sun, and while I have always enjoyed getting out really early, and then really late on hot days to escape the worst of the heat, the summers seem to be so long now that I find it difficult to cope well with this. I also don't grow very much at all in summer, only plants like Ginger, Turmeric, Eggplants, Sweetcorn which love the sun, but even these need a good amount of water to thrive, and we haven't been getting our fair share of that either.

Speaking of water. It has never ceased to amaze me of the difference that rain makes to the way that plants respond. I have two large rainwater tanks, the water from which I use on the garden. Now this water comes down as rain, into the tanks. So there is no chlorine in it (unlike tap water) and any nitrogen, and or other nutritional elements that may have come down in the rainwater possibly bacteria, fungi, etc should still be there when it is used on my garden, (but obviously not). The difference, in just watering from the tanks and getting a good rain period is quite astounding. You will have noticed this. My fruit trees have now burst into new growth, this is particularly noticeable in the citrus. These trees have been faithfully watered all summer. They have survived well, put on a bit of new growth and developed a few fruit but a few good rain sessions has transformed them! They are jumping out of their skins! Tons of new growth, new flowering.

One of my Mulberries is forming new fruit, a Dragon Fruit is flowering again, my Pomegranates are belatedly trying to flower again, it's all happening! Babaco tree in fruit.

All is well with the world again! OK, OK, I'll try not to get too carried away, as the weather people tell us that an El Nino is a 70% chance. Comforting to learn that this recent spell of hot weather and dryness, has been enjoyed? without the influence of El Nino isn't it? I guess that not everywhere has been as dry as SE Qld, but the heat has been extreme and records have tumbled all summer long.

So it is on with the gardening again. I have been picking up horse manure and replenishing the various garden sites. I picked my first ginger of the season. Anyone growing Ginger should know that if you pick it now it will not be at all stringy, the early crop is used commercially for Crystallized Ginger. It has that pinkish hue to it. Later Ginger will gradually get more fibrous, but I spread out the harvest and only pick the last after the tops have died .


Turmeric (shown above) should be left until the tops die down to allow the rhizomes to fully form. I have replanted all my PVC tubes with carrots, after topping up the tubes with fresh potting mix.


 The BLF site has been reasonably quiet for a while. The weather means that we all spend a lot less time in the garden and therefore have little to report. So how has the rain affected you? Is your garden showing similar rejuvenation? Can you explain why rain makes such a huge difference over just water?





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Comment by Andrew Cumberland on April 12, 2019 at 21:58

I have two pomegranates that are doing nothing as well.  Both are bed planted and about 3 years old.  They are about to get the same ultimatum that I gave the fig.   

Comment by Roger Clark on April 12, 2019 at 12:10

Oops forgot the photos!

Comment by Roger Clark on April 12, 2019 at 12:04

Susan, I am very surprised that your Pomegranate has not responded to the rain by flowering. Yet maybe yours is also a "Wonderful". I have one of these and it has never been very wonderful for me, It has flowered a few times but the flowers always fall off, without developing into fruit (unlike yours, as you have once or twice? reminded me.

My hedge of Pomegranates came from an unknown variety, from a guy somewhere out your way who was selling Figs and Pomegranates through the Saturday Courier Mail. Every year I cut them back to a couple of metres height to try to bush them up into a proper hedge, but they usually respond by only growing taller every summer. These are the ones flowering now, I am going to pour the water into them to try to get some fruit, but I won't hold my breath waiting for that.

The thought occurred to me that you (and any others interested), might want to take a cutting or two and plant them out. They would be ready in approx. mid summer. You might want to take them with you up Gympie way, as you'd have plenty of space there, and once growing well they would be a very hardy plant and could deal with periods of neglect. 

I will pot up however many plants are needed from my cuttings, and keep them alive until mid summer when I can hand them over. By this time they should have developed enough roots to handle being moved and replanted, or potted up.  It might be better than having to buy plants although of course you will take the risk of getting dud plants which might never fruit. Like mine! I have had a couple of fruit from these trees but nothing to write home about. Still with your green thumbs you will probably do well with them. Let me know.

Comment by Valerie on April 9, 2019 at 21:38

Rain comes a lot more generously than what I would use to water the garden. 

Comment by Susan on April 9, 2019 at 19:10

Hi Roger, 

Good to see you've gotten some rain.  Those Babaco look good - I've often thought of trying to grow them but as I'm the only one that will even eat pawpaw in this house, it would probably be a waste of space.  I had the same thing with different stuff trying to flower now the rain has hit.  I didn't get the pomegranites though all my mulberries refruited.   

Still trying to get some decent vegies started.  My seedlings keep getting munched if unprotected but I do have the first tomato flowers on my strung up tomatoes and I think I'll have my first two broccoli soon.  Also, my cucumber is about 1 week away from being able to harvest the fruit. 

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on April 7, 2019 at 21:37

Good you are back into it mate.  

Comment by Christa on April 7, 2019 at 14:44

Thanks for showing us your garden in pics, Roger.  The Babaco looks good in that bin.  I never thought about growing turmeric in bags, I may try that one myself.

Rain is a wonderful experience, for those who await it in a dry garden.   When it falls down from the sky, it collects nitrogen and contains nitrate and ammonium in the downpour, and is immediately absorbed by the leaves and they turn lush green from this boost.

It also goes into the ground and as it falls more evenly than hosing it rinses out all the accumulated salts that are left there by hosing.

If you have lightening as well, I believe it affects the soil by some sort of magnetic pulse or reaction in the ground.  Don't know if this is true but would love to hear others point of view.

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