Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Front bed 1: Apparently it was time to pull out the winter veggies. Well, my broccoli and cauliflower hadn’t even grown past the seedling stage. It seems that my chickens knew about it and scratched and ate them anyway. We got one good crop from the beans and that was the end of it. Nasturtiums had popped up in the lawn and were promptly relocated. The native bees just love them, as do I. Last weekend being full moon, it was a good day to fertilise. I spread my open bottom compost and some cow manure as well as some organic plus pellets. I can’t wait to plant there. The soil is positively brimming with worms and rich hummus. I am letting it rest for a week and plan to cover it with wet newspaper and mulch before planting.

Front bed 2: half of it was set up as a wicking bed and half was left as the old broken wicking bed. In the new wicking half, I planted some cucumber. They survived despite powdery mildew and produced about half a dozen small cucumbers over several weeks. I decided to prop them up on trellises to see if it helps with airflow and powdery mildew, as the milk spray did not really help. The vines are healthy at the top and still producing flowers. Cross fingers, we may yet have if a few more cucumbers whilst waiting for spring seedlings to mature enough to replace them. The Okinawa spinach presented some beautiful orange flowers, probably a sign of stress after the dry weather. At the back, the broad beans planted in April are healthy and flowering and already produced one big pod. Yay. Hopefully more to come. The plan is to dig them back as green manure once they finished.

Front bed 3: we had a nice crop of turnips and Gai Lan. I am determined to get seeds from the Gailan, as I really loved the taste of its flowers. Chickens like them too. My new hobby has been building trellises to train the tomatoes. These have been carefully pruned and the taste of the tomatoes is just divine. The seedlings were rescued from a friend’s garden. I fully intend to save seeds to grow more of these. It seems we might have a long crop as new bunches seem to appear every day.

Front bed number 4: the coffee tree got a prune and is recovering well. As with most of my fruit trees, I decided to prune some of the inner branches to leave more airflow and make it easy to manage pest and eventually harvest the crop. So far, so good. The rhubarb is still growing and the Salvia is coming back nicely. Also planted some sugar snap peas and beetroot, which are doing well.

The front citrus trees are positively blooming, though leaves are showing some deficiency. They have also had fresh compost, cow manure and organic pellets added to their soil. Despite being told that I shouldn’t grow anything with my potted citrus, I can’t bring myself to pull out that beautiful tomato plant. The citrus tree does not seem to mind.

Chickens: after Christmas we welcomed the addition of 2 young chickens, salt and Pepper. After several months of not laying, all 5 chickens started to lay every day. Despite all the chicken politics going on, especially at dusk, when going to bed, all seem to get along. That’s until Pepper got broody. Excluding her from the coop, has not been successful so far in getting her out of her broodiness. Poor thing sits miserably in front of the door for long periods of time. The other chickens after sharing the laying box for a while, decided to go and lay somewhere else. Some eggs mysteriously appeared among the banana trees. I set up a 2nd laying box but the eggs keep on appearing in random places. The plan is to get an exclusion cage for Pepper to put an end to this. 

After watching gardening Australia, I realised I needed to clean up all the banana tree waste and old stumps. This proved to be quite a big job but the area is looking so much better and I now have room to restart my open bottom compost. The end result is much cleaner and hopefully, we will get more bananas now. The relocated banana suckers are growing well and the dragon fruit cuttings even have new shoots. The small wicking planting pots survived through winter but could probably do with freshening up their soil. I harvested the potatoes grown in bags and refreshed the soil.  It is now planted with radishes and carrots. The lychee tree is showing promising signs of harvest. It is now on a regime of Seasol/white oil spray in alternate week for a few weeks.


Side beds: most strawberry plants survived and some are producing fruit. I think they need more sun. The plan on the growing to-do list is to move those boxes to the poolside where they will get more sun. the salad bar (pipes) is nearing the end but did the job throughout winter, providing plenty of salad and edible flowers for cake decoration. Not sure what I will plant there for summer as it seems to heat up really quickly. Any suggestions?


It was ‘Dress as a farmer fundraising day’ at school today, so I got to show off my bright red gumboots I got for Mother’s Day. The new school scarecrow was ready but got damaged in transport.


And last but not least, stage one of the front fence is complete, courtesy of all the beautiful men in my life. I’m so grateful for their craftsmanship. Stage II will be fixing the driveway cracks and stage III will be a long sliding gate. For the time being I am enjoying the open space and gorgeous workmanship.

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Comment by Valerie on August 29, 2018 at 19:30

Escaping chickens (mostly) and bush turkeys. 

Comment by Dave Riley on August 29, 2018 at 19:01

So much netting. That's to protect against...?

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on August 28, 2018 at 20:32

Looking good Valerie!  What?  No, the garden, not you.  What?  Awww man - no, I don't mean you don't look good.  That's not what I was saying at all.  What?  No, I'm not trying to flatter you up.  Hey, look - Pepper's out!  *Andy does a runner*

Comment by Dianne Caswell on August 28, 2018 at 17:15

Your garden is certainly looking productive. I love your gardening outfit, you look like a true Urban Farmer. What a lovely crop of Nasturtiums, have you tried making the Nasturtium Pesto or collecting to make Nasturtium Capers, I put the recipes in the recipe section a couple of years ago. I look forward to seeing your next installment.

As soon as our garden shows some growth I will Blog, you are all making me feel so jealous. Thanks so Much for sharing. 

Comment by Christa on August 28, 2018 at 16:56

Good picture of you, Farmer, love those red boots.  Those tomatoes look like they will produce fruit well for you.  We buy heirloom tomatoes and the best one's are volunteers that grow very fast.

Those names are great for your new chickens, keep up the good work, are you still making sourdough.

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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.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

Place your business add here! ($5 per month or $25 for 9 months)

Talk to Andy on 0422 022 961.  You can  Pay on this link

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