Brisbane Local Food

Growing local


When I got back from Europe, I could not take the pumpkin forest anymore. It had to go. I had spread some seeds among it hoping something else got to grow in my absence. Some sweet peas did but they were so feeble, that they were not worth saving. The kids had deserted the garden when the weather was so lovely. They could barely get to the trampoline, you see. So, it had to go. Yay, what a relief. There is now room to breathe and enjoy our new firepit in time for winter. There is a plan there, eheh. Ashes for the lychees. I have high hopes after we had one lychee last season. 100% better than the last 3 years.

Front bed was cleared and about 2 kg of sweet potatoes harvested. A bit old and stringy. Probably won't bother replanting that one. potting mix refreshed a-la-Michael's and replanted with legumes.


Bed along the side fence planted with plenty of greens and flowers. Decided to let the tomatoes grow. Realized my eldest chook, Robyn, is absolutely crazy about nasturtium and decided to lay again as a thank you after a 2 year break!  Also tried on a taste on the teenager and got an interesting reaction after having warned him: mmh a bit quite a bit MOUTH IS ON FIRE...let me spit it out please. I think my chook can safely expect to be feed the rest, bar a few leaves for pesto with macadamia nuts.


Read attentively about Michael's potting mix and have decided to make succulent garden as well as rejuvenating many of my pots. Below is some of the first half of the year harvest. 3 oranges, a handful of raspberries and a massive potato harvest...or not.  Don't get me wrong. I am actually excited that something is growing. One small step at a time.

Ran out of space in the beds so I started digging the ground lol. More sweet peas because you can never have enough of these. Yum.

Slowly refereshing and replanting the wicking boxes with winter cabbage. Impressed that marigold is growing in the gravel along with some tomato plant. Not thriving but a few cherry toms showing promise. 


These are the pots at the front, waiting to be relocated to a more suitable place. Some ginger, turnip top (why oh why am I growing that?), passion fruit, Surinam spinach and trying to reshoot my cranberry hibiscus that had grown some massive tubular roots (nematode?)

Below are my seedlings in newspaper trenches. I just slide them off in a trench or break the bottom in half when ready.


And I leave you with news that I cooked a rather delicious veggie burger with sweet potatoes and black beans. Recipe below.

Cook 300g of sweet potatoes (without liquid if you can) and fry some onion. 

Add a can of black beans, paprika, liquid smoke (1tsp up to 1 tbsp. to taste), 2 tsp of salt, some buckwheat flour (~1/4 cup to make the mix a bit drier/easier to shape and cook.)

Shape paddies and panfry.

The trick is to have a mix that is not too wet so watch the sweet potato puree!  

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Comment by Dave Riley on July 2, 2019 at 16:50

For the bottom of the toilet rolls I embedded in the soil, I used scrunched up paper hand towel or toilet paper.

Comment by Valerie on July 2, 2019 at 13:51

I had to get a sheet of newspaper and count the fold aha. I take one double sheet (eg. financial time size) and fold in 4 times or until it fits my seedling box really. 

The problem with toilet rolls is for me is availability when I need them. Also, the soil would collapse when I pick them up. The roots got tangled anyway and it was too fiddly to open them up to separate properly.

With the newspaper, I have a bottomless supply thanks to friends in the right places ;) I just open up the whole thing if I need to separate. If not, (carrot for eg.) I slide the whole soil part in a prepared trench or (more fiddly) gently break the bottom bit.  

Milk containers sound good but I am trying to get away from plastic and buy milk in glass bottles. I stopped believing in sustainable recycling but that's another kettle of fish.

Comment by Valerie on July 2, 2019 at 13:50

You could sow direct in newspaper trenches in the ground but I would keep the bottom layer to one sheet so it can break when the root needs to grow through it. 

Comment by Jeff Kiehne on July 2, 2019 at 12:12

Seedlings in newspaper trenches is interesting  have been experimenting with 2 litre  milk containers  with the top cut off and use the bottom  planted Pak Choi  i think they need to be partly buried in ground so the roots can grow through the bottom and into the ground .They seem to grow well have had some grow big .The tops i put in recycle bin but they also may be able to use unscrew the caps and put in ground.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on July 1, 2019 at 22:11

Looks good Valerie.  I like the vege burger recipe too. 

Comment by Dave Riley on July 1, 2019 at 18:42

I know you have mentioned this technique before, Valerie:

but that setup looks pretty darn good.

I just planted some sweet pepper seeds directly into the garden bed -- BUT the seed was encased in a toilet roll. 

No separation was my plan. No later transplanting.

Hypothetically I could lay out seed runs like your newspaper strips directly into a shallow trench, with the confidence that, for a  time anyway, they'd be better moistened and weed free.

How many newspapers do you use in the fold?

I have  paper pot maker template thingy but when used with many seeds it can become a cumbersome process and the paper pots really do need to sit cheek to jowl otherwise they dry out.

Comment by Valerie on July 1, 2019 at 17:02

I sneaked them into the school garden :)

Comment by Jeff Kiehne on July 1, 2019 at 11:02

Have you looked at spreading some of the nasturtium seed some where in your area they seem to regrow each year  without any help.They are very peppery if chew on them.

Comment by Susan on June 30, 2019 at 22:03

Garden looks good Valerie.  I came to the similar conclusion about pumpkin a few years ago. They take over everything in the yard and in my case , often don’t deliver the goods. 

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