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Vetiver (and sundries) in the Home Garden

Getting there...

As I prep the beds for 'Autumn' -- albeit a hot & sweaty task -- the Vetiver hedges have reached a stage where they are becoming true enclosures.

Wee packets of soil they are.

I've only recently trimmed the hedges for mulch and split some of the clumps to supply stock for a local community plant-out along the shoreline.

But it is coming together enough to start planting out more edibles.

I've added to the soil:

  • tomatoes and tomatilloes
  • okra and sweet peppers
  • chilies and spring onions
  • climbing beans and loofah
  • cucumbers and corn

I've also planted out some Jerusalem artichokes after I got a small number of corms from a green grocer. i brought them on inside the house. In the same session I a split up my Cassava hedge and planted out some more starchiness.

Yuca chips are very nice. [Yuca, pronounced YOO-ka, is the root of the Cassava plant.]

Also split up -- and dedicated a bed to -- Peruvian ground apple -- yacón -- as I've decided to grow the underground foods that my garden supports. In that light, I have expanded my sweet potato patch, and allowed the Taro to clump as it sees fit.

TC Oma killed my huge Bottle Gourd but my Serpent Gourd has had a second life and now bright red orange(ripe)gourds are hanging off my Silky Oak.


You'll note my ladders -- of course 'my ladders' -- these are of two types. Those that exist purely to support the aerial ropes above -- and those I climb plants up.

They are a whiz with tomatoes and any climber I throw at them.

I've gone back to using plastic trellising mesh on the ladders as it is much easier to work with.However, after I cut the mesh to size (5-6 squares wide) I attach it to the bamboo poles with cheap (like $2 for 4) plastic clamps.(Not something you buy at Bunnings.)

I've found that these clamps are a more sustainable and convenient option to cable ties and they last a long time in the weather.

When not in use, I simply roll up the plastic mesh and store it and the poles separately.

Despite the winds TC Oma threw at us -- none of these ladders fell down.

This system also means I can plant  climbers (or tomatoes) anywhere and insert a trellis next to them once they get going without, thereafter, causing a significant rain or shade shadow behind them.

I've found that standalone ladders can support up to four climbing bean plants as a sort of minimalist teepee.


My milk crate garden has really come into its own.  'Tis a wondrous way to grow herbs to be located in easy access to the kitchen.

Crated coriander and chives

The formula is simple:

  1. Milk crate
  2. Weed mat covering
  3. Potting mix (I use cheap potting mixes plus composted cow manure which really hold water)
  4. Inserted terracotta pot or wine cooler with a shade cloth beret.

Just fill up the terracotta containers with water every few days.

I have 16 crates in production growing coriander, chives, basil, thyme, lemon grass, mint, and other stuff.

'THE TREES' (and bushes)

..which I do not talk to:

This year I've planted out more 'trees' because my garden has depth consolidated --as in making soil rather than sand. I'm risking more fruit trees as a hope.

But the true excitement has been the Tree Spinach (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius), Agati (Sesbania grandiflora),Curry Leaf,  and Moringa...and the Native Hibiscus (if only for the flowers, but i can eat 'em too).

Doing so well.

And I planted out more Pigeon Peas as I do so much love the green form of the pod in the family menu. Even grown as an annual, I think Pigeon peas are well worth the legume space.


I have gone troppo with planting out spineless Prickly Pear(Opuntia indica), Peruvian Apple and Dragon Fruit. The 'apple' may still disappoint as to being harvestable --  but the others are, sort of , already cuisine essentials.

And we have a regular supply of paw paw! Despite the dreaded black spot.

As we speak the black spot  seems to be sleeping...

Just on the spineless prickly pear. It will grow anywhere --and  we know how much Opuntia loves Qld. But this particular creature is benign and not a Triffid.

And it is LEGAL.

Once you relax it has a lot of menu options. Over a couple of years it will make a great wind break or will (as an aside) Cassava.

The flower isn't stunning like the Peruvian Apple --which is such an aggressive plant--  but it is so much more giving and not vicious to the human flesh.


While I ponder my existence can I again put in a plug for these seed raising cell trays:

They rock!

My preferred nursery at the Caboolture markets uses a smaller cell volume version of these trays but I wanted a size I could experiment  with for Vetiver divisions.

At 40 cells each these trays are easily transported or carried about. Since all species of seedlings don't grow at the same rate, I find that  all I need do is lift one side so that the tray is on an angle and punch out the seedlings I want to plant out.

40 cells in one tray should suit the average gardener's seed raising needs across the seasons. the real bonus is that they are 87mm deep so the plant gets dirt room to consolidate before being planted out.

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Comment by Jeff Kiehne on March 17, 2019 at 19:35

"Black spot  seems to be sleeping" could that have been from the dry weather we where experiencing.

Comment by Dave Riley on March 17, 2019 at 18:48

As Spike Milligan wrote:

I talked to the trees/That's why they put me away ...

As for the cell pots: once the roots consolidate in the generous space all you need is a finger or a stick to pop them out. The root and soil come out like a sausage. Either that or use a kitchen knife down the sides.

 Re-useable trays  ++++

Comment by Christa on March 17, 2019 at 18:19

Your ground surface is looking like a healthy soil now after all the transformation.  

Why do you not talk to your tree plants, I think they would like a good discussion on politics or the news of the day.   Mine are hearing me say, you rotten ants.

Do you have any trouble getting the seedling plants out of those seed raising cells.

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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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