Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

It's Saturday evening and we're waiting for the next big storm to hit. All our mulch piled up in little mounds around our back door after the last two big storms. I wonder if I will have to rake it all back again tomorrow.

I've been quiet in cyberspace recently - it's amazing how much time organising a six year old's birthday party can consume in an already crowded life.

I've gone right through the garden and been fairly ruthless, making way for the new summer plantings.

I've taken out some silverbeet that wasn't thriving, made some good celery soups, pulled anything that looked like it was trying to flower (especially spring onions, leeks, parsley, dill and chicory) and rationalised the brussel sprouts (even though they are still reliably producing millions of very small sprouts). We therefore, for once, have a bit of space in the garden and I've started to plant new things: good fun.

I've planted the following seedlings:

* capsicum (where the celery/ silverbeet/ parsley/ tomato/ carrot guild was)
* a second crop of corn (where the brassicas and dill were, also some where the celery was)
* eggplant (am going to try these on the soil berm where the artichokes were, but have also put some in the back of the silverbeet/ beetroot/ turnip/ broad beans area)
* zucchini (where the brassicas and dill and rocket were). I'm interplanting this with the corn.
* beetroot (where the onions and brussel sprouts were)
* broccoli (where the parsley and celery was, adjacent to where the tomatoes were)
* tomatoes (with the beetroot and carrots, where the brassicas and onions were)
* climbing beans (where the tomatoes were)

Basically, I'm following Solanaceae (tomato family) with legumes (beans and peas), brassicas (cabbage family including broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, pak choy, tatsoi and wombok) and onions with an adapted three sisters guild (corn, cucurbits - i.e pumpkins, melon, zucchini or cucumber - and beans), and the chenopods (silverbeet and beetroot) with Solanaceae (eg capsicum and eggplant). I'll have to come back and plant some more climbing beans amongst my corn.

I've also literally thrown the following seeds at the garden in the hope that they'll take (they usually do). It's probably a wasteful way to do it, but it's very efficient time-wise and I think the plants are happier for it because their roots never get disturbed and that it saves trouble because the seeds generally germinate only if they like the spot OK in terms of shade and water. Seeds are:
* pak choy etc where the tomatoes were
* marigolds (where the tomatoes were and will be). Marigold roots trap nematodes that can hurt tomato roots.
* carrot (with the tomatoes & beetroot mostly - I have a lot of carrot spots, I throw carrot seeds around about every 3 weeks on average I guess)
* spring onions and leeks (where the tomatoes were, with the chinese greens and broccoli)
* climbing and bush beans (where the brassicas were - especially the cauliflowers and broccoli which are heavy feeders)
* cosmos & california poppy - just for looks and because they are drought proof and self seeding, although maybe drought is not going to be an issue this summer!

I haven't seen any Asparagus Pea seeds. I must have another hunt. I would also like some Chia again - I grew that in Melbourne and it tastes lovely in summer drinks (it's a sage bush but it's more like mint in taste and texture).

Our cucumbers are producing, the corn is flowering and the yacon and jerusalem artichokes have shot well. Oddly, we have flowering sweet peas (they are very late)! We're finally getting lots of beans (hooray!) since I stopped being slack and planted the seeds in little handfuls of potting mix and threw some dolomite around.

The corn that I put in a few weeks ago is now flowering and I'm very pleased with it because some of the stalks have up to five potential ears on them. Last year I used a variety that only had one ear per plant :( I can't remember what it was. I should save some seeds and stop being greedy. It's difficult because you need lots of plants to ensure healthy diversity. Maybe this year - I have quite a few corn plants in this time.

The pumpkins are having a rough time as the chooks keep scratching them about. If I don't see some taking off soon I'll buy some seeds. So far I'm relying on volunteers from the worm castings and compost that I've spread. I'm very pleased to have found worms in the vegie garden the other day. This means that the worm farm trays I dumped must have survived. Excellent.

Today I picked another cauliflower (they're still coming!).This one was from seeds I chucked around: it does work. I was wrong about the parsnips - I thought they'd all shoot in the warm weather but we have another crop coming through, also from seed. We have bananas 'coming out of our ears' and they are the best bananas in the world - creamy and exactly like a barney banana icecream in taste. I always thought that was an artificial banana flavour, but perhaps commercial bananas are just sadly lacking. We're still getting lots of eggs (thankyou girls), which enabled me to do a lot of baking for the party. The pawpaws appear to be sulking - tired out after a long squawk? - having produced almost one a day for months.

I hope the storms have not hurt your homes and gardens and everyone is getting through OK.

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Comment by Scarlett on November 28, 2008 at 13:40
yes, 2pm. meet at the cafe and Donna wants everyone to confirm we're still coming because she's bringing potted plants on the train
Comment by Florence on November 27, 2008 at 13:52
I had heps of those red ladybirds chewing my eggplants and potatoes when I had them in.. I think they were the main culprit responsible for killing my potatoes and eggplants >__<

I am not harvesting anything from the garden at the moment  My squash are flowering all female flowers and no male, so I can only watch the budding squash drops off ….

I’ve got some butternut pumpkin seeds, not sure of the variety though…, also saved some snake bean seeds from some snake beans given to us last season… so not sure if they are viable… note for self to bring them along to the meeting ^^”, it’s this Sunday right?
Comment by Scarlett on November 25, 2008 at 10:21
I had some snake bean seeds from Northey St but I've put them somewhere "special" and they haven't turned up yet! Will try to hunt them down for the seed savers meeting.
Comment by Donna on November 24, 2008 at 20:16
Wow, sounds great Scarlett, I will do a new blog post soon to update what's happening in my garden. I am very surprised to find my potato plants are STILL growing and haven't flowered yet. The 'naughty' red ladybirds are eating them, and I am still hilling - only half the seed potatoes came up but I guess for a beginner with crappy soil that isn't too bad.

Time is still not on my side either and I must find time to get a bordeaux mix going for all my fruit trees as they all have something wrong - although the bananas really enjoyed the rain I think and all have new shoots.

Don't buy pumpkin seeds, I have a few varieties and am happy to share this weekend. I also potted a number of bunching onions that are more than ready to repot to share with members. I am on the hunt for a snake bean or an asparagus bean so maybe we can share a packet from somewhere...

I won't keep going but will definitely do a blog post of my own very soon to share what is happening in my garden...

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