Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Actually 05/06/11

This is the exciting time in the garden I'm learning, for growing the maximum amount of produce with the least amount of problems.

Minimal vermin around at the moment - rats have either hibernated or are dead from the rat poison in the ceiling (11/06 have found two dead rat bodies due to poison). They've been stealing seed from the seedling trays and nibbling the tops from emerging seedlings!

Slugs, cutworm and snails are being kept in check with beer traps laid out when seedlings are planted.

Time to crop the Yacon I'm told so here is my first plant pulled up on the left of the pic (above). It has been suggested we can crop this one with bandicooting but I was curious to see just how much tuber one plant has and pulled up one entire plant.

Below 05/06/11 - Yacon tubers cleaned up with the hose. All the small bits I have replanted. At this rate I will be overrun with Yacon this time next year! I took a few bites and they taste more like a carrot to me than anything else. Not really all that sweet like I had been lead to believe from research, but pleasant. Rather bland. Crisp clear crunchy flesh without much fibre.

Below 05/06/11 - Second Yacon plant cropped - better quality tubers than the first and yet it was growing just a couple of metres away.

Below 05/06/11 - Winter corn crop - F1 seedlings from the markets.

I plan on growing corn all year round and this has been the worst crop, with poorly pollinated kernals. Could be due to rain washing away the pollens or me missing the exact day for shaking.

Tasty though and well worth the effort as I love corn.

Below 05/06/11 - Corn made nakie.

Below actually 05/06/11 Bed 1 - bush beans, carrot heirloom mix, Roma toms, florence fennel, cauli, broccoli, lettuce.

Tomatillo at front right and Cape Gooseberry front left. Corn has just been harvested leaving the stalks as support for the toms.Below actually 05/06/11 Bed 2 - climbing peas, climbing and bush beans, carrots, celery, silverbeet, florence fennel, Amish Paste toms, self sown lettuce, beetroot.

Comfrey, Pit Pit and silverbeet in the ground at front.

Have not had success with the climbing peas germinating in either this bed or out the front yard on the fence. Did not soak and perhaps this is the problem.....rats could be an issue in the front yard.

Below actually 05/06/11 Bed 3 - Bed has just been replenished. Broccoli and cauli of various kinds including purple varities, florence fennel, Bali (?could be Golden Bantam) corn ex seed from Jacqui. Germination rate with these was good, about 70%, in seed trays with a pre-soak.

11/06/11 Saturday

Very cold overcast weather the last few days, but it hasn't slowed down the beds :D

Now working Saturday so feel like I'm missing out on my usual garden time. Most mornings I have to leave so early it's still dark and I don't get to check the garden. Get home after dark also. Dogs aren't getting any run-around time either. Missing out on a beaut Yandina workshop today with Isabel Shipard :(

The direct sown cauli in Bed 3 are coming up just fine. I'll have to prick some out and space them out a little more - should do this this long weekend as may lose my window of opportunity while they are small.

Makes me wonder why the heck we're directed to plant them in seed trays first and then put them through the trauma of transplanting.

Below 13/06/11 - Todays raspberries. I've been getting two or three per day, but this is a good haul. They are delicious :)

Rubus idaeus ex Garden Express
"Willamette" is a heavy cropping plant that produces plenty of sweet berries.

Main fruiting season in summer. Remove old canes in winter, plant 30cm apart. Prefers a full sun to part shade and likes weekly watering in summer - and yet here are mine fruiting in winter! Go figure.

07/07/11 Lots of chilly mornings - no vermin in the yard at all! :) Love this time of year for growing things. Below is pictorial record of what is happening in the garden at the moment.

Below 06/07/11 General view of the backyard.

Below 06/07/11 Another view of the backyard. Tiny self sown pawpaw near the front (front) keeps getting stepped on, but it is perservering! Much of the Yacon has been harvested - very nice too - versatile but doesn't keep for more than a few weeks in the cupboard happily.

Below 06/07/11 - corn ex Jacqui seed. Not too sure if it is "Golden bantam" or "Bali". Time will tell. Have around 70 plants here and in the general beds so hoping for a good crop to freeze.

Below 06/07/11 Bed 2 - after a watering - bush beans (Sex without Strings) and climbing beans, carrots, self sown lettuce.

Below 06/07/11 Luffa/Loofah sponges growing well. Ate a smaller one in a soup and it was a bit zuchinni like.

Below 06/07/11 Dwarf Bananas just sitting there not doing anything much through the cooler months. Can't wait to eat them!!

Below 06/07/11 Tamarillo producing it's second crop. Have about five more plants dotted around the yard now - four grown from seed from this plant. Really like these for eating and the fruit skin is so thick they are not easy prey for fruit fly.

Below 06/07/11 Mini Cauli - rather tall and lanky - wondering how they will manage to hold their little fruit? These turn out to be broccoli - see pic below.

Below 06/07/11 Celery, Florence Fennel and climbing peas all grown from seed this year :)

Boy, are the celery slow growing! At this rate it will take forever to get some stalks. Buckled and bought some more mature seedling from the market the other day for Chinese Celery.

Below 06/07/11 Bed 3 - Romanesco Broccoli and cauli of various kinds. Larger seedlings were tray grown and planted out - others were direct sown later. Will direct sow all in future I think.

Lettuce are self sown which was a lovely surprise :)

Below 06/07/11 Comfrey has finally found a spot it likes - moist and rich.

Below 06/07/11 Bed 1 - Roma toms, carrot (colour medley), Hollow Crown Parsnip, brocolli and mini cauli.

Below 06/07/11 Bed 1 (same bed) from the other end.

Below 12/07/11 Tiny little broccoli crop - tasty though :)

Below 10/07/11 First of the beans to make it to the kitchen (Sex Without Strings), purple and orange carrots. Hard to tell from the size of the top what sort of root is actually below - the purple lived up to expectations but the orange was wierdly stunted.

Below 07/07/11 Hollow Crown Parsnips are also hard to gauge size of going by the top. These are nice roasted or mashed with salt and butter though.

Below 18/07/11 Native bees from City Chicks (Ingrid) ex Nambour Show. Yet to see them in action myself but daughter who has been home during the day says they are visiting my flowers! They won't come out until the hive warms up.

Below 18/07/11 Spuds dying off - thought they were supposed to flower before they did this. Will have to empty out the bags and see what I have.

Below 18/07/11 Bed 2 back of beans and peas. Doing well this year. These seeds came from James - no idea what variety but they're very nice.

Below 18/07/11 Bed 1 - carrots, broccoli, roma toms, celery, parsnip.

Below 18/07/11 Bed 3 - corn, broccoli, cauli.

Below 07/08/11 Broccoli are starting to repeat crop. Very nice steamed - leaves and all.

Below 07/08/11 Well worth letting some of the lettuce go to seed. These have come up all over the place providing delicious free lettuce.

Below 07/08/11 Bed 1 - coming up to the end of winter and the beds are still doing really well. Plenty of carrots, parsnip, beans, peas for one person (my daughter isn't big on anything except the peas). Wish we could grow like this all year around!

Below 07/08/11 Bed 2 - peas are just starting to crop. Dwarf beans are almost finished and climbing beans are petering out also, but still producing quite a bit.

Below 07/08/11 Still to get any crop out of this bed. The corn have been growing slowly but steadily all winter. The cauli (?) are growing well - will probably end up with a lot of crop all in one go! Self sown lettuce growing between.

Below 24/07/11 Not having the best of success growing spuds. This is second generation from bought seed stock. Tops all died off but this was all that was in the bag (minus a few I ate roasted the night before).

27/08/11 Winter is drawing to an end and it's been a fairly chilly one but very productive in the garden. I'm now looking forward each year to the cold weather! We're finishing on a wet note again with light rains which are welcome after a couple of very dry months and me virtually emptying my 5000lt tank watering. Just beautiful sitting here on a Saturday morning listening to the light rain falling outside.

Work with Apex involves long hours in the office each week (around 50) and long hours stuck in traffic getting to and from work (around 17) and while I haven't had much time to focus on the garden I've managed to give the beds a water twice a week, necessary due to the long dry. Still waiting to hear a yay or nay from TAFE six weeks after the interview! Now they tell me it will be another week before they can give me an answer.

Many things are cropping and again, I'm learning which are worth a repeat planting next year. The mini cauli while delicious steamed take up as much room as a regular cauli but only produce one small head.

Whereas the Violet Cauli ex Jane St seed have produced a giant head.

The Sugar Snap climbing peas from Diggers are soooo delicious, none made it to the kitchen but provided my breakfast while I was watering. They also need something more like 6 or 7 feet tall to grow on! They have fallen over and are virtually smothering the celery I have nutured from seed this year (my goodness, is that a slow process!). Maybe try growing them against the fence next year.

Some Kiphler seed spuds from the Nambour Show are doing well.

On the 14th August the BLF group and Michael from Caboolture Seed Savers came over to show everyone how to prune my Carambola. Many distractions before we got to the Carambola, but this is the end result - thanks to Michael who did virtually all the work with helpers removing the branches below. One of these branches twisted as it was coming down and hit me in the face. Five stitches were required to fix the damage but I was just so grateful it had missed my eye!

All the branches have now been stripped of leaves into the compost pile and the branches are mostly gone via the bin.

The three larger pawpaw trees aren't doing so well for some reason. The long dry? Tried to give them water at least once a week. Never mind, if they are meant to live they will come back. Only one was bought - the red bi-sexual from Daleys and it's doing reasonably well.

My little native bees are a pleasure to watch at work at the weekends when the sun comes out. Might have to move them somewhere warmer next winter so they get more warm hours to work.

They just love the nasturtium and anything with small flowers that has gone to seed......

....such as, Broccoli above and Rocket below.....

The Dwarf Ducasse from Blue Sky Backyard Bananas is doing well.....

....and my other banana plant's fruit is coming along nicely.....
The Dwarf Macca is still there, growing slowly but looking happy enough. Would want to, the price I paid for the rotten thing. It had better be productive one day. Waiting on a firm quote from a concreter to get the circular area in front of this prettied up with Crete Print.

Pot with Water Chestnut (ex Michelle) in it. Fingers crossed it grows something as it's a nasty looking cesspool at the moment with it's manure and potting mix in water.

The "mystery" corn ex Jane St is growing well still. We still don't know if it's Bali or Golden Bantam. Some of the stems do seem to be multiple which, apparently, could indicate Bali.

Speaking of mystery, might shy away from eBay seed in future. What the heck is this?

The multi coloured carrot seed grew strange chunky (but tasty) veg - mostly white with a few purple and virtually no orange carrots  - stick to Diggers seed in future! or other reputable brands.

Below - Leaves of the mystery veg.

Babaco (BaBARco) growing well. NOTE: These both keeled over dead some months later for no particular reason.

Broccoli are well worth growing - the plants kept consistently and quickly cropping small heads which were perfect for me for dinner and really extra yummy.

Below shows the beds - no doubt in coming weeks, as the heat sets back in, this will all disappear until next winter. Pity.

31/08/11 Last day of winter and here's todays crop.

Violet Cauli, roma toms, broccoli, Tamarillos, yellow and purple carrots, sugar snap peas and giant red radish.
The cauli grew from this big below, to the size above in 4 days. NOTE: Pick them earlier - they start to overbloom within a very short time, one or two days.
What I've learned this season:

Sugar Snap Pea - you can't have too many plants growing - EVERYONE eats them and they are prolific.

Tamarillos are a beautiful small tree which repeat crops. Fruit gets sweeter left in the bowl for weeks even to the point that they start to wrinkle.

Broccoli grows well and repeat crops for ages.

Don't buy eBay seeds! Not as reliable in the end product as more reputable seeds.

Do not water in the afternoon - mornings only - makes a big difference with the fungal problems.

Celery takes forever to grow to maturity from seed. Buy seedlings if you really want to be using it!

Potatoes just don't grow well - but keep trying until you find one that does! Kifler doing well at the moment. NOTE: Disappointing in the end.

Yakon keeps well in the cupboard for weeks and keeps getting sweeter. Bit too sweet really.





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Comment by Florence on June 15, 2011 at 10:36
I agree with your comments about sowing direct... I have sown some seeds in seed trays before my garden beds were ready to plant, and found the transplanted seedlings grow very very slowly compare to the directly sown stuff >__<"
Comment by Lissa on June 10, 2011 at 18:58

Thanks Addy.

Did you want any Yacon for growing and eating while I think of it?

Diggers carrot heirloom mix The picture right at the top of the page, second in, beside "Brisbane Local Food" are from last years lot.

Was one of great aims in life to actually grow a carrot without a fork in it for a change lol. Was a real thrill to succeed. These seeds are very reliable and quick growing.

Comment by Addy on June 10, 2011 at 17:56
Lissa, your garden is so productive, a real inspiration! I've never had any success with carrots - you said "colour medley" is that the seed variety?
Comment by Lissa on June 5, 2011 at 16:01

I have no idea Elaine - this is my first time growing them. I'm just planting tubers straight back into the ground as I reckon they'll come up again when they're ready. Seems like a crop that it's hard to get rid of once you have them :)

Was looking at one video the other day and they young man was reaping a good crop from a spot that he thought was completely cleared the year before.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on June 5, 2011 at 15:45
Great, thank you! Do the tubers keep for months? There's a lot of point to growing the plant if the tubers can keep like Potatoes or Garlic and become a staple in the months ahead. Who knows for sure how long these tubers do keep?
Comment by Lissa on June 5, 2011 at 15:20

I have Yacon to spare Elaine, some of it with your name on it.  I pulled up a second plant to give some to Nathan and now have way more than I can eat and there's 6 more plants.

Mine weren't fertilised or watered well - just growing in the usual ground. The two I bought from Daleys for more $ than I paid Linda for 6 tubers did get a bit more water when they looked limp. The others were just growing along the fence line.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on June 5, 2011 at 10:32

I wonder how the commercial growers get such regimented rows of perfect kernels! Maybe like the greenhouse Tomato growers, they use (for want of a better description) a plant dildo to buzz pollinate. Corn are wind pollinated but some kind of shaking onto the silks really does seem necessary and from my mixed results, picking the perfect time (whatever that may be) has a lot to do with successful pollination.


Crops are looking promising :-) I am seriously envious of the Yakon. It mightn't be the tastiest tuber in existence but yours at least are big enough to eat. Mine were barely so more fert is probably the answer and maybe keeping them well-watered too.

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