Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Nights are cool but the days beautiful. The garden is very productive despite my lack of time to look after it, and I get to eat my own fruit and veg daily. No time to do any watering as I leave for work around 6.30am soon after it's gotten light.

The Carambola has been exceptionally productive, giving me good fruit every day. Most fall and smash but some portion of them is edible. Throwing away many kgs of ruined fruit but also giving away a lot of good fruit.

Red Tamarillo are ripening. Yellow ripened some weeks ago. 

Lots of smallish Pepino fruit developing and I've had a few to eat - really quite delicious and a definite favourite of mine. I cut back most of the patches of plant (still to get to some) which did them good. Fruit could be a lot bigger though - lack of water? nutrition? Still sweet and juicy despite their size.

The fig out the back is trying to fruit out of season. NOTE: A short time later this plant dropped all it's leaves and developing fruit, just as it should.

It's actually going to be a good year for Soursop after no fruit at all for about three years. Tree is covered in a dozen or more good fruit, some too high to reach. NOTE: The fruit started dropping from the tree in large numbers. I have given the tree a good soak in the hope that extra water during this dry period will help it hold it's large developing crop.

Plenty of good pawpaw both red and yellow. This is Deer Tongue lettuce. Almost lost these as only one plant survived last time to give me seed. I just tuck seed down beside the beds and cover a little with mulch. The seeds come up when they're ready.

Ruttabaga, or Swede, one of my favourite root veg for winter soups and stews or baked. Apparently good made into chips or mashed also. These are from the second half of the packet of seed I bought last year which performed so dismally for me then.

NOTE: 31.07.14 Crop from the Ruttabaga. Sweet, crunchy and delicious.

Snow Peas are still going strong. Nice, but I would much rather have had Sugar Snap pods but that's what I get for using commercial seedlings instead of growing what I really want from seed. NOTE: End of July, and these plants are still producing pods though in much smaller quantities.

Heaps of lovely crunchy little yellow Zuchinni.

NOTE: Beginning of August and these plants are producing plenty of good fruit still.

Daikon Radish-like veg still hasn't gone to seed. Will try to be patient. It has now been attacked by aphid. NOTE: Beginning of August and it is finally going to seed. Pretty convinced that it is a Daikon Radish.

Eggplant are still growing new fruit. I've had enough to share around of these Listada di Gandia and the round mauve. Black have stopped.

NOTE: By the end of July I have removed all developing fruit as the plants are struggling.

Replanted Sweet potato towers x 3 are all going well. Goodness I like this idea, it has worked such a treat.

New self watering herb garden bought from Productive Gardens. So far so good. Has to be better than those hanging baskets I insisted on using for the last 13yrs which dried out so quickly.

NOTE: A couple of plants have died for some reason - the Vietnamese Mint being one of them and it should love having it's feet wet all the time, so I guess it's just a seasonal problem. Everything else is thriving. The regular mints in particular seem to like it.

Daily broccoli crop - some caterpillar damage but not much. I run the head under the hot tap when I bring heads in to kill the caterpillars.

NOTE: It's the beginning of August and I still have daily Broccoli crop to eat. Staggering the seedling planting this year was the best thing I've done. The odd caterpillar still but most is free of any pest. The days have actually warmed up to 25C though the mornings are still nippy.

The Nopales cactus have been flowering. Pretty, simple little flower which will hopefully lead to something edible in the fruit line.

NOTE: Fruit don't seem to get any bigger over time. They're still sitting there, looking just like this minus the little flower.

In the front yard, I've been using the nice rounded fruit of the red pawpaw as a veg in chicken soups. Mmmmmm. Good warming winter tucker cooked along with some home grown ginger and chilli.

Have cropped dozens of small and large (folk at work prefer them big) choko. The plant is in hiatus, waiting for the next thunder storm to start cropping heavily again.

NOTE: Beginning of August and I have cut the plant right back again.

Self sown Plantain, an edible weed, which I've grown very fond of. I use it a lot in soupy type meals but would no doubt be good in stir fry as well. Tends to keep it's shape in soups unlike other greens which disintegrate.

I've had a few strawberries to eat so far. Keep meaning to give the patch some manure.

NOTE: The patch is suffering from the current dry. I give it a drink each weekend but that doesn't seem to be enough.

And the best bit - some new raspberry canes, Chillwack from Garden Express, to go with the Williamette I bought from them some years back which have proven such a success.


New addition - Saba Nut or Malabar Chestnut, Pachira glabra bought from Heart Garden Nursery.

Relative of the Baobab tree which shows in the tiny bloated trunk. Drought, flood and disease resistant and cropping within three years even the leaves are edible (it is deciduous). I have Peggy to thank for putting me on to this little beauty. Here's a really good VIDEO from Daley's Nursery.


Cropped my one and only cauliflower a couple of days back. Not sure what happened to the other seedlings I planted but this one produced the goods. Good eating to the last bit!

Also finally got around to cropping the Water Chestnuts and it was worth the year long wait.

Some good sized corms this year as opposed to last when I probably over planted the pot, being greedy. The picture below shows the entire crop (little corms are for replanting) and the pot replanted with good quality potting mix (Searles) and some Organic Xtra and replaced in it's bucket of water.

02.08.14 A few good toms to be had. I'm not much of a tomato grower! I just leave them to their own devices and reap the rewards, if there are any.

Cropped the Purple Yam growing in the pot (lack of anywhere else to put it). The vine died back so I took that as a sign that I should see what was below the ground - ugly son of a gun and slimy when cut. Ate these bits roasted. Not bad. Definitely an acquired taste. I grew up on regular potatoes and they are my preference but of course, they don't like to grow for us here in Brisbane.

Still plenty of yellow Zucchini on the two plants. I find them a bit flavourless but they are firm and beautiful to look at, good in a stew etc.

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Comment by Lissa on June 29, 2014 at 6:38

Oopsy - plantain - I know they say to "use the young leaves" but just look at it, it's a mass of leaves that look identical. It's a young plant so I suppose you could say they are all young leaves. I just use any and the plant obliging puts out more!

I cut them up into smallish bits, mainly to add to soups and they are a very nice addition with their texture, colour and nutritional value.

Comment by Lissa on June 29, 2014 at 6:36

You won't be disappointed using the tower Rob, it's brilliant for a steady supply of greens and then a great crop of potato every 4mths. I just start again with some new mix and cuttings each time.

Here's the original BLOG. I must update it with the latest pics.

Comment by Rob Walter on June 28, 2014 at 14:21

Inspirational, Lissa! I'm going to use that sweet potato tower idea (I guess I missed it the first time you mentioned it). One of my new season's resolutions this winter is to be more assertive with sweet potatoes. My garden is rotten with the little bits of left-behind roots which spring to life randomly. Once any given vine reaches about 30cm I think "Oh well, it's there now, at least I'll have some tubers to pick at the end of summer" and then I just about need a machete to do any gardening by January.

The plantain is interesting, too. Do you just pick the young leaves, or will anything do?

Comment by Valerie on June 27, 2014 at 19:33
Looks fantastic!
Comment by Lissa on June 27, 2014 at 4:14

Thanks Jane :) The garden gives me a lot of pleasure along with the food.

Comment by Jane on June 26, 2014 at 18:18

Always love your blogs Lissa, once again your garden is so productive quite puts mine to shame, & all in such a small space - congratulations.

Comment by Lissa on June 26, 2014 at 5:15

A deep water once a week should do the trick Susan if you ever give it a go again. Glenys shared the idea with us originally.

Thanks Andy. I'll have to watch that lone pawpaw fruit on that little branch. They having habit of snapping off in rough weather. That plant is self sown by the way.

I struggled to do anything useful with the sweet potato until Glenys gave us the tower idea, now it's a permanent feature it's so productive and easy.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on June 25, 2014 at 22:48

FANTASTIC!  You always inspire Lissa.  I love that new vertical garden by the way.  That one paw paw is HUGE!  I think I'll do my sweet potato very "un-permaculture."  They're almost impossible to dig amongst other plants. 

Comment by Susan on June 25, 2014 at 17:13

Great to see your garden flourishing.  I tried your idea of sweet potato bags but I could never keep the water up to them to get any success.

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