22.06.15 backyard
22.06.15 backyard – peak growing period for veg is winter in Brisbane. Time for the brassicas of all kinds, lettuces, toms, carrots, beans, peas, potatoes and a few “exotica” just for the fun of it – Bitter Melon, Mangels, Strawberry Spinach, Arrowhead, Collard Greens.

05.07.15 Mid winter and it’s nippy and overcast – we’ve had some gentle rain on and off and the ground is nicely moist. I am rugged up in fleecy trakkies, sheep skin uggs, skivvie, fleecy jumper and hooded padded coat – I look like a good Bogan should.Β  I have to sit on my hands to warm them but the front door is open as usual. I have inherited my English born Grandmas love of fresh air around me. The dogs cope (!hah so spoiled) by snuggling under blankets on the couch. They woke me around 3am this morning but of course they have gone back to bed while I am sitting here typing. Never mind, it’s Sunday and I can have a siesta after visiting a friends garden this morning with our gardening group Brisbane Local Food. The cane toads have only just stopped their warm weather activities and the snails in the farm are still active every night unlike last winter where the newly purchased adults did very little. I have 100’s of new babies πŸ™‚ and I’m finding free ranging, wild born snails around the yard almost nightly to add to the snail farm. They are such gentle little creatures – they ignore the beds full of delicious brassicas and lettuces and go for the compost pile. I am so fond of them it will be hard to bring myself to boil them for food when the time comes. Being nocturnal I can only watch them in action at night by torchlight when they come down to feed – you can actually hear the big ones munching. They love to travel in pairs – no doubt this helps in the wild to have a mate close to hand when it comes to breeding. Little ones often ride on the backs of the big ones – so funny to watch, like little pilots on the backs of big ships.

05.07.15 piggy back snails
05.07.15 Piggy back snails – they all do it. You can see some of the 100’s of new babies secured to the sides of the farm.

I love planting radishes as they create a crop so quickly within about 6wks.Β  I’ve ended up with a few different varieties this year to try out but you can’t beat the classic Champion. These were made into soup.

31.05.15 radish crop for radish soup
31.05.15 radish crop for radish soup
31.05.15 creamy radish soup
31.05.15 creamy radish soup

Simple recipe HERE.

The Soursop has been slowly ripening a crop. Also known as Graviola they are a fad at the moment for weight loss and cancer cure. I’ve had a few people contacting me wanting a bag of leaves for making tea. Blasted fruit just sits looking the same for months and then suddenly drops to the ground goes splat. This is one I managed to get before that happened. Related to Custard Apple they are quite nice, not sour but not sweet, a bit fibrous. They go well with icecream.

14.06.15 Soursop icecream
14.06.15 Soursop icecream – soften, mix, refreeze.
11.06.15 Soursop fruit
11.06.15 Soursop fruit (sitting on the edge of the snail farm).

A friend (Rob) gave me some Davidson’s Plum fruit to try. He’s very keen on them and grows a few different varieties. Not actually a plum it’s a native fruit – quite tart like a lemon. Very good for making drinks and jam etcΒ  – another friend turned his into liqueur. Mine was turned into cordial and it was absolutely delicious with just a quarter cup of sugar added to each jug IΒ managed to make three jugs out of one fruit.

davidson plumdavidson plum 2

29.05.15 Davidson Plum drink
29.05.15 Davidson Plum drink – isn’t it the most glorious colour. Lemony flavour with just a bit of sugar added to each jug.

That same friend also gave me a Monstera Deliciosa fruit and a plant cutting. My Gran always had these growing and we loved them as kids. They ripen a bit per day – the edible bit becomes accessible when the scales come off easily. Eaten unripe they are full of prickly bits (potassium oxalate). Well worth the effort as the fruit is delicious as the name indicates.

22.05.15 Monstera eaten
22.05.15 Monstera deliciosa fruit ripening in a glass.

From one plant bought at the local markets I have had quite a good crop of Jerusalem Artichoke. Nothing to do with either Jerusalem or artichokes they are related to sunflowers and are grown for their edible tubers. They contain the carb inulin – good for diabetics but make sure you eat your tubers fresh or they cause a great deal of abdominal discomfit. Roast, stew – use as you please.

05.06.15 Jeruselum Artichoke crop
05.06.15 Jeruselum Artichoke crop

The pollinators and I like flowers around the garden. I grow a lot of Salvias as all the pollinators seem to find them valuable and they come in a variety of colours and forms. Below are Clitorea ternatea, a double variety from an Asian friend. The flowers are used to colour food. A gentle little creeper, the flower colour is just so vibrant.

14.06.15 Clitora ternatea double
14.06.15 Clitora ternatea double

This winter I’ve made sure I have lots of Pepino growing where ever there is a space. This gentle creeper produces a lovely little fruit that tastes very much like a juicy rockmelon but is so much easier and prolific to grow. They will fruit all year long but come into their own in winter when the dreaded Fruit Fly are dormant. Plants appreciate a bit of water and composted manure and grow very easily from cutting. They like a bit of support or will happily ramble like these below.

22.06.15 Pepino
22.06.15 Pepino
Fruit of the Pepino. They can grow as big as a hand but I find the small ones have more flavour. Eat the entire fruit! No waste.

The white choko has taken off after sitting and sulking for over a year. Not as hardy a plant as the green version I like the fruit a little better than the green. Could be all in my head of course as I haven’t done an actual comparison! All parts of the choko plant are edible so it’s a great plant to have in the garden. Eat the fruit young and sweet – raw or cooked any which way. Quite a treat. Do not! leave them to get this big for eating. Yech bland. This lot are to share around for growing.

27.06.15 white choko
27.06.15 white choko for growing.
27.06.15 white choko reached the eaves
27.06.15 Here’s the white choko vine reaching for the roof. I’m hoping it gets up there and covers it. I would love to live in one of those houses with a dirt roof where I can grow my food.

Pawpaw proliferate here. They like this yard for some reason. I eat most of them green as salad or roasted or stewed as a veg.

22.06.15 pawpaw front yard
22.06.15 pawpaw front yard

I like to encourage predators and insects into the garden and made these insect hotels some time back. Insects will only use each tube once and then move on but you can see where some mud dauber wasps and leaf cutter bees have created nests for their eggs. Even the straws were used and have hatched – see the little holes. Top right hole has a dead insect that didn’t quite make it out 😦

21.06.15 nesting in the insect hotel - dead insect top right.
21.06.15 nesting in the insect hotel – dead insect top right.

Jeff and I have been talking about Tree Collards. This plant is grown in America and is on my “I want it!!” list. A member of the Brassica family it’s a perennial and is best propagated from cutting – they grow in a wide variety of climates and are apparently very good to eat. All I can get in Australia is Collard Greens seed which while proving to be a useful green and good eating (for both me and the snails who love the stuff), just isn’t the perennial plant that I have my heart set on.

27.06.15 Collard Greens
27.06.15 Collard Greens

The beds are lush with winter growth. Peas have started cropping, silverbeet, collard greens, rocket, beans are growing, lettuce, toms are developing fruit, mustard greens volunteer all over. All I have to do this time of the year is a little tidying here and there. It’s so enriching on so many levels.

05.07.15 lush with winter growth
05.07.15 lush with winter growth

Volunteer lettuce from some plant I originally grew years back come up in the lawn. How good is that!

05.07.15 lettuce in the lawn
05.07.15 lettuce in the lawn

Ok, now my hands are really cold and my feet are wet in their Uggs from all the dew on the grass. I feel quite alive πŸ˜€ Time for ham and egg brekkie with a hot chocolate. Love winter.


What a deliciously nippy morning, my favourite time. A foray into the garden produced two surprises – the Samphire or salicornia seed is sprouting in it’s mock marsh and there were a lovely clump of Carambola fruit to be pulled out of the tree before they fell and went splat.

10.07.15 Samphire salicornia
10.07.15 Samphire salicornia – edible succulent that would normally grow in salty marshland. The water has a small amount of salt added.
10.07.15 this mornings crop of Carambola
10.07.15 This mornings crop of Carambola or Star Fruit.


Hasn’t rained for weeks but I haven’t had to water either (just the pot plants) as the plants root systems now reach down deeply enough to keep themselves hydrated. Nothing much to do apart from cut what I want and do a bit of tidy up now and then.

The yard is quite messy with patches of long grass but there are so many self seeding edible plants out there at this time of the year it will just have to stay messy. The lettuce come up everywhere – in pots, in the lawn. There’s Pepino, Red Mustard, Chick Weed and nasturtium growing abundantly. I don’t want to mow it down.

Self sown goodies come up all over the place in winter. Here some red Mustard, lettuce and A Choy.
Nasturtium grow abundantly in winter with lots of colour variations. Everything on them can be eaten including flowers, leaves in sandwich or salad, seeds can be pickled and eaten as capers and of course the bees love them for nectar.

Broccoli is starting to crop and it’s the best I’ve ever eaten. No caterpillar damage either.

First of the brocolli for this winter. Delicious πŸ™‚

I was hunting around over the weekend for somewhere to plant the finally! chitting potatoes (keep them in the pantry with your onions NOT outside in a warm bright spot) and realised the only spot left was the compost pile. Under the surface it is rich and loose. Fingers crossed but I think they should do well there.

Dutch Creams waiting on chits before planting.

The Caboolture Markets are always full of surprises when it comes to home grown produce from our local area. These are Canistel fruit (Pouteria campechiana). My own tree is still yet to produce so it was good to try these out. Not blown away, but not bad. Sweetish and nutty flavour.

Canistel fruit from the local markets.


There has been a quest to find non-bolting versions of lettuce to grow here in our hot wet summer. Two very useful plants have come my way –

A Choy (Lactuca sativa) c/- Janet and her Mum. Here’s some info gardening friend Jeff has provided –Β HERE and HERE.

Canadian Wild Lettuce (Lactuca canadensis) c/- Yandina Community Garden.

A hunt on the net turns up various versions and photos of these plants, which do look very similar to each other growing in my garden.

Here’s the A Choy (on 4th March) which grew, produced seed and died before winter:

04.03.15 A Choy coming into flower before seeding and dying. Little plants are now coming up around the yard.

And here’s the Canadian Wild Lettuce coming into it’s own now in July:

20.07.15 Canadian Wild Lettuce. Supposedly gets quite tall so will be interesting to watch it’s progress.


17 thoughts on “2015 WINTER – JUNE TO AUGUST”

  1. Your winter is apparently our spring. By the way did you mean to make me have a heart attack saying that it was August? Surely not! ;). Frigid cold down here. We have pepinos limping along despite the -3C temperatures and the regular frosts that we have been getting. Never known a year for frost down here on the river like we have had this year. Makes for dangerous conditions. We have had a few people skidding on the bridge near us as they refuse to pay attention to the conditions and slow down (numpties). Loving your glorious garden. I have plans for Sanctuary this year. I have had 3 years now of manic growth, incredible amounts of greenery and pretty much no harvest because I can’t find anything in the tangle and the native animals (this year the rats ate all of my tubers 😦 ) nick everything worth eating. We got a single tomato this year and a tiny handful of tom thumbs although the harvest would have been huge if the rats hadn’t eaten every fruit. Might be time to contemplate how to rid Sanctuary of it’s resident ratty invaders methinks! As usual I am going to save your wonderful post and use it for reference and encouragement when I get depressed about Sanctuary. Thank you SO much for sharing your garden progress, it really does make my day πŸ™‚


  2. Ah, they’re seasonal blogs hence the August which has not!! yet arrived :). I used to keep the blogs solely on our gardening website and update them until the season ended but a friend, with much more internet nous than me, suggested I move them off in case Ning came to a nasty end one day and all my blog-babies disappeared. They’re just blogs. No biggie really.

    In seeing your response in my emails I blithely followed a link to one of your 2012 blogs “Why Hippies are Thin”. Sooo entertaining. Sooooo long lol. I became overwhelmed with it all and just picked here and there but I especially liked the bit about getting diarrhea if they eat something unwashed, unscrubbed or not doused in Dettol. When people visit my garden I stuff food in their mouths right off the plant – some go along with it (a friends wife’s eyes light up now when I tell her something is edible and we both tuck in) and some get a look of quel horrer! on their faces. “Aren’t you going to wash it first?”. “What are we washing off?” I say. Have a handful of my soil it’s good for you.

    Silly numpties. What’s a numptie? Is it like a nimnol?

    Big problem you have with the rats. Can you borrow someones ratters ie small rat chasing dogs? People used to hire their dogs out for this purpose once upon a time. Maybe someone still does it. I went googling trying to find someone who has ratters and ended up on a Schipperke site. My boy dog Hugo is a Schipperke (little skipper or barge dog) and looks just like the one on this site but Hugo has a tail. All my dogs have their tails. He’s also 14yrs old 😦

    Making your day makes my day πŸ™‚


  3. Thanks for another really fascinating post.
    You certainly grow some interesting plants.
    You have inspired me to try a Pepino.
    I like the snail farm and insect tubes too.


    1. Thanks Jeff πŸ™‚
      Around here we kind’ve take the plants I grow for granted amongst our gardening group. Can you get hold of some Pepino? Fran is growing it in Tasmania so it has a broad range of growing area.


      1. I should be able to buy some seed somewhere.
        I read your informative linked post, thanks for that.
        Also Wikipedia says it is not a common commercial fruit because
        ” it is quite sensitive to handling and does not travel well.”
        Which attracts me when they say that about any fruit because that hardly matters for backyard growing, and poor taste is probably not the reason it not commonly sold commercially.


      2. We’ve only ever grown it from cutting. None of my fruit get seed but I have read there are seeds out there to be had. Interested to see how you go getting hold of some. If that turns out to be a dead end I’m pretty sure we could send some cuttings through the post (box, plastic bag, spagnum moss type set up). It would survive a few days in the post if posted on a Monday – the plant is hardy even if the fruit is easily bruised. Let me know. Perhaps check quarantinedomestic.gov.au to make sure we are allowed to post from Qld to where ever you live (sorry, memory of a gold fish – have forgotten).
        The fruit is delish πŸ™‚


      3. Thanks for that kind offer.
        I guess I would need to wait for spring before trying anything, though not sure when is the best time for cuttings.
        By the way, did you ever manage to get some tree collard cuttings ?
        I think you were asking about them on a forum I read.
        Its just I saw a youtube video on them recently and they look like good plants.

        I live down in Sydney.


      4. That’s a nice video Jeff. Probably the Daleys Forum that you were reading.

        I’m growing Collard Greens – seed pretty easily obtained here and there – but can’t find perennial Tree Collards in Australia. Best grown from cutting from everything I read so they stay true. Moot as they just aren’t available here in Oz. Keep your ears pricked πŸ™‚

        I have some Collard Greens that I planted during summer and they are still doing well so have hope for at least a biennial plant. Time will tell if they last longer or grow tall.

        My Pepino comes into it’s own in winter here. Best growing time, but the Sydney winter might be a little colder than ours. Up to you. I am willing to send you some cuttings now if you would like to get them in. Nothing to lose but the cost of a bit of packaging and postage for you.


  4. Thanks Lissa,
    That would be great to get some cuttings at some stage,
    but I don’t want to put you to too much trouble.
    I would also want to pay for the plant as well as the postage.
    I haven’t had much success with woody cuttings in the past, but I believe Pepino branches tend to root and layer when they touch the ground, so may be easier.
    I do have some hormone powder too.
    I also keep rereading you alternative veg list
    I was thinking of maybe buying a few of those sometime.


  5. Many of my plants came to me via the generosity of others as cuttings and seeds and that’s how they get shared on. Your duty would be to share on down your way πŸ™‚

    You can pay for the postage and packaging, won’t fight you over that lol. If we want people to grow their own we need to get these plants out there.

    Pepino will root in the air when it rains a lot. It is the easiest thing to grow from cutting. What interests you from the tropical veg blog? Late winter would be good for cuttings. Woody cuttings are easy enough if you follow some simple rules – keep them fresh and moist, keep a couple of nodes below the ground when planting, generally don’t make them too thick or thin. Aibika would be the exception – it grows well from a thick cutting. I have some in a container of water rooting up now. Would this be one you want?


  6. Thanks for your generosity, much appreciated.
    I would very much like to try Aibika.
    Just wondering how you like Okinawa Spinach ?
    Maybe that is easy to grow from cuttings.


  7. The Okinawa is ok. Just ate a leaf and it’s quite nice. The Surinam has proven to be more prolific in it’s growth and therefore I use it a bit more in cooking. Both should survive a few days in the post.
    Don’t be so hesitant – they’re just plants πŸ˜‰ If they die, they die. If they live then yay.


  8. You’re right, it would be great to try several and see which works.
    But I don’t want to create a lot of work for you.
    Do you ever get Oca (Oxalis tuberosa) tubers ?
    That seems like a really useful interesting plant with edible leaves too.
    Though the climate requirements seem a bit tricky.
    Maybe I could get these at a big fruit market, but haven’t seen them yet.


    1. The Oca are on my bucket list. The one time I found some and planted them they died – which has been others experience around here also. The climate here in Brisbane just doesn’t quite suit them. But – I will keep trying!

      Yelwek Farms in Tasmania sell them through the post if you’re interested. http://yelwekfarmoca.com/our-oca/when-to-plant/

      I have had a lot of free time on my hands through lack of paid employment though hopefully that will change after next week. One can always find the time to sort out some plants for a gardening friend πŸ™‚


      1. OK I will give Oca a miss for the time being – a bit tricky climate wise.
        Probably just the plant cuttings we mentioned.
        I think some of the full on tropical plants wouldn’t thrive down here.
        Canna seems like a great one though, but the tuber would be too hard to get out.
        I do have a canna but unsure whether if it is the good edulis arrowroot species.
        Anyway its probably best parcelwise to just get 3 or 4 cuttings at this stage.


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