Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

2011 SPRING September to November


Spring is here and the natives are blooming, bringing parrots and other birds as an addition to the other pleasures of the garden.

Nasty westerly winds yesterday, truly awful - I'm sure I'm windburned! But this morning it seems to be gone thank goodness.

My native bees seemed awfully quiet, even when the sun was on the box - I haven't been home much to check if they are out and about - so I snipped the packing tape and checked inside the box. Sure enough there are heaps of little people mulling around inside thinking of coming outside but not actually doing it. Perhaps they realised the westerly was blowing even though they are protected in the backyard by the bulk of the house.

Yesterday I bought a 4 stroke mower (regular unleaded) and electric whipper snipper as there is so little grass left in my yard...surely! I can fit mowing into my tight schedule lol. Good exercise. The guys at the shop told me they would "fill the tank" for me at the shop, but it ran out in about 15mins, so only half the backyard mowed until I can get down the servo to fill my can. The whipper snippers terrify me. Will try to get up the courage to use the thing today as it is a necessary evil. Must remember to put the dogs in the house first so I don't do them any damage with the thing!

Heard rodents in the ceiling early this morning. Will have to rebait. The mice are out in force stealing the cockatiels seed - as fast as I block up holes with expanding foam the little monsters find another way in. Have bought a third can and will try again. Gretel just loves going in there hunting around bedtime and has killed quite a few...which she likes to bring inside to her igloo as trophies :( The other dogs hunt around the outside and indicate that there has been activity, but so far haven't caught any that I know of.

No real bug problem in the garden as yet, just a few green caterpillars every now and then on the broccoli and cauli but they don't do much damage.

Still lots happening in the vege garden at the moment. Waiting on the Romanesco broccoli to crop - no sign of veg there yet. Sugar Snap peas are still giving me veg each day. Mini Cauli and broccoli are going to seed - will have to do something about capturing these for future use. Wondering if my little bees will have cross pollinated these??

Carrots are still growing - the multi coloured ones are mainly white (boring but creamy to eat) with just a few purple amongst them. No orange ones from this eBay purchased seed - don't buy there again, stick to Diggers etc. Another variety is still growing to useful size.

Beans are finished and working on giving me some seed for next year. Not sure if I have taken some of the seed too early, so I've left some to do their thing on the vines.

Below: Corn (ex Jane St) is putting out pretty pink silk and pollen. Some of these grew to a good size, some is still short and stumpy looking. Mixed bag by the looks. Note: This turned out to be an unproductive crop and not very tasty.

Below: Marigolds ex Donna are blooming so I should be able to perpetuate these from seed. Corn in the regular beds not doing nearly as well as the elevated beds. NZ Flax in the background along with Dragon Fruit climbing the fence. I've planted some snake bean seed to grow up this trellis.

Below: There are a couple of healthy self sown tom plants still to crop. Odd, as last year they cropped all through winter.


Below: Silverbeet has been wonderful. No bugs....yet! Toms still to crop. Rocket going to seed in the background.

Below: Sugar Snap Peas still doing their thing, these have been wonderful croppers and so delicious. A veg that everyone eats. Not sure when I should be taking the pods for seed. Have left a few to get big and fat and starting to look a bit dry before pulling them and opening to allow the seed to dry out. Should check my book for instructions of course, but that would be too easy!

Below: New grape ex Daleys, Chamboucin (check spelling). The other two have been in for years and are complete duds. Time to be ruthless and remove them.

Below - 23/09/11 Bed 3 still looking productive with corn (ex jane St), toms (?), romanesco broccoli and mini cauli all producing.

Below - 23/09/11 bees of all sorts are just loving the nasturtium.

Below - Bed 2 after the beans and peas have been removed. Will give the celery half a chance now it's not smothered by the prolific sugar snap peas - missing them already :(

Below - 22/0911 Coloured carrots and a parsnip. The yellow carrot and parsnip cooked and mashed together made the most beautiful golden mash.

Below - 23/09/11 Poor little bisexual pawpaw isn't looking too good.

Below - 23/09/11 Broccoli flowers and seeds plus still producing some crop.

Below 12/10/11 - about to redo the elevated beds, which means pulling up the last of crop growing in them at the moment. This is the last of the multi coloured carrots and parsnips. Quite a lot more than I thought was in there.

Below 12/10/11 - the three mature pawpaws have all been aflicted by some bubbly yellow leaves. DPI don't seem to know what it is either. The plants appear to be recovering by themselves with some new leaf growth.

Below 12/100/11 Bed 3 - the corn (seed ex Jane St) was a huge disappointment, barely any return. The Romanescu broccoli and mini cauli in this bed were also both a waste of time with limited return of crop for the time waiting and the size of the plants. The bed has been filled with the contents of the compost pile, mostly leaves from the Carambola which are quite dry. They need some grass clippings mixed with them.

Have added some rock minerals, Organic Xtra and dolomite. Waiting on the organic cow manure to be delivered.

Below 16/10/11 Re filling the beds - layers starting with rough organic matter, finer organic matter (grass in this bed), thin layers of minerals (granite, basalt, dolomite), Organic Xtra, organic cow poo (Searles) and topped off with a thin layer of organic garden soil (Brunnings) for putting the seedlings into.

Below 16/10/11 The dogs swear there are mice in the bed, hidden in the layers of compost. Good exercise for them plus a lot of fun and they turned over some of the organic matter for me in the process.

Below 15/10/11 Turning out to be a season of storms. We've had a few early morning thunder storms and this hail storm yesterday arvo. Sudden start and over in two minutes. No damage.

Below 28/10/11 replenishing Bed 1 -  corn, toms x 3 tiny varieties, capsicum x 3 varieties, silverbeet, rocket, lettuce, rockmelon.

Below 28/10/11 replenishing Bed 3 - cucumbers x 3 varieties, lettuce x 3, mini mild chilli, chinese veg, radish "Sparkler". Frame came from Bunnings for about $15.

Below 27/10/11 Listad de Gandia problems with the fruit splitting. NOTE: Have come to the conclusion that this is most likely due to a lack of water! Stopped watering these for quite some time as I thought they were well enough established and deep rooted enough to find their own water.

Below 27/10/11 Inside the eggplant - pure white with no seeds. Yucky.

Below 10/11/11 First flowers on the Lebanese cucs.

Below 10/11/11 Backyard beds. Bush (right centre) is the Listada di Gandia eggplant, getting quite big and now being given more water to see if this will stop the newly developing fruit splitting.

Below 10/11/11 Lettuce seedlings under the corn for shade.

Below 10/11/11 Bed 1 doing well - corn, lettuce, mini toms, capsicum, broccoli self seeded, silverbeet, rockmelon, rocket.

Below 10/11/11 Bed 2 Still chugging along with winter crop of celery and carrots. Beans are self sown and cropping! Have also planted Jennifers black seeded beans on the left side of the trellis.

Below 10/11/11 Beautiful little ginger (?) plant come up where I didn't expect it. Christopher's Daylilies (?) were all I thought were planted there.

12/11/11 No rain for ages now and my rainwater tank level is down to the tap, so saving for drinking alone. Having to use town water for daily watering of the seedlings which are all doing well.

One of the Black eggplants has copious amounts of fruit on it - over 24 - but half are round and brown and half are tear shaped and black the way they are supposed to be. Scarlett thinks it has some form of baterial rot and recommends I remove the brown fruit. I'll give them a bit more time and see what happens.

I've bought a Sunbeam dehydrator for $100 from Harvey Normans at Carseldine. Noisey little beast.

Some of the veg that I tried to dry. The mushrooms worked well but the toms came out still moist after 10hours of noisey drying.

27.11.11 We've had reasonably good rain the last few days, on and off. The tank is half full again. Sure wish I had two of these or a bigger one. Makes me want to move and start over! The brown grass turned green almost overnight. The seedlings have all said thank you and made a growth spurt in spite of me watering them each morning to keep them alive.

Below 27.11.11 I've moved the beehive out of the full sun and into what should be shade most of the day, as the temperatures are getting very hot.

Below 27.11.11 Pollen day for the corn! Perfect weather to shake down the pollen onto the silk. "Sweet corn" on the left (short) and "Gold & Pearl" on the right (tall) both F1. Should be a good crop.

Below 27.11.11 General view of the backyard from the shade of the Lychee. My goodness it's hot this morning with the sweat running off me after working for an hour or so.

27.11.11 Tamarillo near the tank producing fruit. This one is taller than the original one out the back - grown from seed perhaps. The seedlings I have growing out the front yard are also doing very well. Eventually I will have a bumper crop of fruit :D

Below 27.11.11 The loofah is growing again and producing little fruit. Liked Vanessa's idea of surrounding the tank with chicken wire for support for climbing plants.

Below 27.11.11 Aerial Potato Dioscorea bulbifera - from bulblets given to me at the last garden visit. Apparently these can grow quite rampant so will have to watch them. Growing up the paperbark.

Below 27.11.11 Yakon is making a comeback all around the garden. Wonderful plant to own.

Below 27.11.11 Dancing Ladies. Lovely.

Below 27.11.11 Cucumbers - Lebanese and Chinese Snake - growing rampant over the frame.

Below 27.11.11 Spent some time this morning encouraging the runners to climb the string and rods.

Below 27.11.11 Pumpkin still thriving in spite of my efforts to pull it out and put it on top of the compost pile.

Below 27.11.11 Ants in one of the pumpkin flowers - lets hope the pollinate for me!

Below 27.11.11 Dwarf Ducasse doing just fine in spite of the long period of dry. I did give it water about twice a week.

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Comment by Lissa on September 13, 2011 at 4:56

lol - I love them too! Greatest thing out.

I would probably have gone for something not so deep with knowledge I have now. Cheaper and I could sit to garden but would still give a good depth of compost in the beds.

The depth was meant to keep the dogs out too - it doesn't - mind you they are getter older and can't jump as much.

Comment by Lissa on September 11, 2011 at 18:05

So far I've always eaten all my corn Elaine. Might try and save some this time but then again, not really sure what it is I'm growing! I still have a whole cob of dried seed to use ex Jane Street. There are so many varieties to try.

Bait will only go in the ceiling Donna, not to worry, I would never put my dogs at risk as they are like my children only better behaved.

I've tried growing other marigolds but the seed you gave me (big paper bag) are the only ones that have come up and now hoping for repeat. Do they grow through summer also?


Comment by Donna on September 11, 2011 at 16:34

Looks great Lissa, as always!  Aren't you worried about the dogs eating the mice if you use bait?  I have a problem at the moment but a kitten adopted us recently and I am concerned that she might be at risk if I use baits... and I really don't want to use the traps with the boys... David especially is very tender hearted and hates me even to feed bugs to the chooks!


The peas you have saved should be fine, and the marigolds are extra easy to save... I didn't pull out a few plants and now have them self seeding all over the place!

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 11, 2011 at 11:36
You can certainly say that "Spring is bustin' out all over" at your place! :-) I wonder if the mini-Cauli is a heritage variety? Saving the seed could give you some surprises. Since there's a wide variation in size (and colour of tassel?) the Corn looks to have been cross-pollinated so here's your chance to select for ones you like best.

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