All posts by Lissa

I grow as much fruit and veg as I can in my small suburban yard. Gradually taking over all areas including the front verge. I keep bees, both honey and native and was learning to farm snails - found I couldn't kill my little friends and let them loose. I don't profess to be expert at anything. Gardening is a long learning process with many ways of achieving the end you want. I don't follow any one form of gardening but take the bits I like from the various forms around. Natural gardening would best express what I do. I follow nature. KISS is my motto.

2016 SPRING – SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER

Verge gardens have been given the ok finally by the Brisbane City Council – a great deal of the credit must go to Jerry Coleby-Williams for years of effort to achieve this.

Problem is I live in the Moreton Shire, where verge gardens are still frowned on. Never mind. I still have a verge garden and it gives me and passersby pleasure. It’s coming along nicely with flowering plants and herbs and starting to look quite pretty. Faces west so tends to flag a bit in the summer heat.

Readers of my other blogs may remember my attempt at Heliculture or Snail Farming. Which actually turned out very successfully….but I just couldn’t bring myself to throw my dear little snails into boiling water. So around Autumn I let them all go free.

Apart from one lone snail I’ve not seen sign that any survived through winter though they do hibernate in the cool weather. They are really quite delicate and don’t fare well in Brisbane’s heat without lots of TLC in the form of food, shade, protection from drowning in heavy rain (oddly enough) and bowls of fresh water for soaking in and drinking.

I was quite thrilled, while taking photos of flowers out the front this Spring, to discover these two had found each other and were making snail love 🙂 Hermaphrodites they aren’t of one particular sex.

My new Black Mulberry is producing a handful of fat sweet fruit every couple of days after only a year in the ground. I just love mulberries. Must be one of the most “giving” of fruit trees.

And thanks to Susanne I have Silk Worms as a project for my grandson, though he is yet to see them.

03.10.16 Clayton came around with his Mum and found the caterpillars quite fascinating.

The Dwarf Pink Shatoot mulberries are also promising a bumper crop. Very sweet and delicious.

I had a bit more success this year growing potatoes in the totally decomposed compost pile using store bought chitted spuds (white and purple – exact types unknown).

Now that the plants have flowered and died off I have gone hunting and I’m a little disappointed. All good quality spuds but smaller than I hoped. This is a portion of the total crop. Some still in the ground, some already harvested and eaten. That’s a Canistel seed in the basket with them, not a cockroach as a workmate suggested!

Spring is the time for seed saving from winter cropping plants like this purple bean. Keeping seed in the fridge is best. I don’t have the room for this and keep my collection of seed as cool as I can in a big box in the laundry.

Canadian Wild Lettuce or A Choy seems to be coming into it’s own a bit later than the regular lettuce. This plant was acquired as a lettuce substitute for summertime. Leaves are a bit more toothsome than regular lettuce.

Lots of plants are blooming including the Cranberry Hibiscus. Friend James has turned the hips into a delicious version of Rosella jam.

I know it’s not classically pretty but I really enjoy the spikes of flowers on the Plantain – a useful edible weed that comes up around the garden by itself these days. Source of psyllium but a bit difficult to harvest any useful amount…like Amaranth, I eat the leaves.

I’ve struggled in the past to keep Watercress alive in a pond but look how well a few small cuttings have done in this simple little wicking pot made from a rubbish bin. Whether they survive through summer heat is another matter.

03.10.16 Cut the plant right back. It looked all screwed up and sickly – happened very quickly.

Some of the Portuguese Walking Stick Collards Couve galega are now over two years old. They came into their own again during the cooler months, providing me with beautiful fresh greens, but are now beginning to be afflicted by aphid and caterpillar once again.

03.10.16 My son gave me a hand to pull out some of the plants as I want to make the garden look nice for potential buyers. The Daleys plant was also pulled out as it looked awful compared with my other Collards.

The Daleys version of the Walking Stick Collard is doing well also but so not worth the large amount of $ paid for it. Never mind, it was an interesting exercise to do a comparison.

03.10.16 Pulled out. Not looking attractive.

Having no luck growing large capsicum I’ve grown very fond of the mini capsicums I buy from the shops (fruit below are my own home grown). Seed is immediately planted out while fresh and more often than not comes up.

I seem to have Swede or Rutabaga growing – don’t remember planting any seed but sometimes I just go out there and broadcast seed around that needs using up. Very fond of Swede roasted or in stews.

03.10.16 Eaten 🙂

Some of the long pawpaw on the self sown plant are finally ripening. They have taken much longer than the classic round yellow ones. I seem to remember the fruit being redder last time around. Friends assure me these are still “red” pawpaw. Very nice eating though not quite as sweet as the yellow in the front yard.

17.09.16

Lordy I feel productive today! And I haven’t even broken a sweat.

My mower guy, Josh, has turned up to make the yard look neat and tidy without me getting stressed over the mower and while I was talking with him out the front, two truckloads of Samoan tree loppers were driving by, must have seen the look of yearning (for trees lopped) in my eyes. They stopped and we came to an agreement to cut back the ailing (dead branches) Tibouchinas on the front verge.

The big guy in charge, Silila, really wanted to get stuck into the now overgrown Lillypilly at the porch gate but I just couldn’t afford to have both done. Pleased to have the T’s cut back though. The boys just did a basic chain saw job without finesse but it’s good enough.

Evidence that my old dog Hugo still has it in him. He disappeared for longer than usual on one of his night time toilet breaks last night and I found this next morning. Good dog.

The backyard is a mass of flowering plants, including these Mustard Greens, lettuce, broccoli, nasturtium. My SN Bees and honeybees are having a field day along with lots of other insects creating new seed for next year.

24.09.16

What a truly beautiful day it is. Sunny and warm without the heat of summer. I am dedicating this weekend to garden pottering and resting after a particularly grueling week at work.

The Jaboticaba is an absolute mass of flowers and for the first time I have seen my bees working away at pollinating. In the last month the plant has already produced two small crops of fruit as an enticement to this major effort. In a matter of weeks I will have a huge crop of fruit to eat and share.

You can just see one of the honeybees working away at a flower, centre – under the branch.

Rob had some fake butterflies in his garden for deterring pests (they think the plant is already “taken”) and I liked them so much I went looking on eBay for some. The solar were quite expensive so I settled for these incredibly cheap jobs @ 10 for $1.67 delivered to Australia! They are well made with quality butterflies, little springs and a fine metal stick – great for sticking into the flesh of tall plants or the soil.

The Dwarf Wurtz is once again flowering up. I also hope it’s this year I will actually get some fruit.

The Dwf Macadamia is also blooming again. It produced plenty of small nuts last year but they all fell off on the first hot day.

26.09.16

What a dreadful morning. I have made the heart breaking decision to euthanase my darling Hugo as his health had deteriorated so much despite medications. Will miss you so much Honey Bear.

I was thinking about how much we love our pets. They are really so much more than just pets they are loyal loving uncritical companions.

I have owned (sometimes jointly) around 12 cats and 6 dogs over the years and like kids, we’re not supposed to have a favourite, but Hugo was definitely my favourite. He was funny, had a sense of humour, bossy, loving, didn’t expect much more than his daily run up and down the front fence after any dogs silly enough to walk by with their owners, and of course food on time. He was a stickler for food on time.

I was never supposed to have Hugo. My youngest daughter was working at Puppy Kingdom 14yrs back. We already had two young dogs (Miniature Pinschers Gretel and Freya was on order from the breeder) and our council frown on more than two dogs in a household. I admired the pack of Schipperke pups when they came in (they look like black kittens) but knew they weren’t for me. Then one of the tiny pups got very sick. Erin was concerned as it wasn’t getting the care he needed to survive so she got permission to bring him home. I carried that pup around in my coat pocket (it was winter) to keep him warm and just plain fell in love. He was mine and I wouldn’t part with him. The pet shop owner sold him to me at half price. What a bargain.

For the first time in my life I am petless. Well, apart from four old Cockatiels which I will have to find a home for and some silkworms in a box. It’s a sorry state to be in. Being petless is also the cue to sell the house jointly owned with my daughter.

So this is the end…or it will be soon, if the house sells quickly. Fifteen years in one spot. Almost the longest I spent living in any one house (my husband used to like to move every two years, which isn’t good for a gardener).

It’s not to everyone’s taste with the majority of the yard dedicated to growing food, but hopefully someone with a passion for gardening will come along and love it. With all the mature fruit trees that I waited years to start cropping. The raised beds full of beautiful soil that I created myself from scratch. The unusual plants it has taken me years to collect. Perhaps with the honey bees and maybe the native bees though I suspect I will have to sell them separately. Not everyone wants to keep bees. How the hell do we move a large top bar honey bee hive?? With great care I guess.

04.10.16 Today brought home Hugo’s ashes. My dog in a box 😦

I was going to sprinkle him around his “sisters” graves but I find I want him with me at my house in the future. He will stay in his box until then.

09.10.16

Lainie, Cameron and their daughter Halle have been kind enough to offer a good home to my four old Cockatiels – Odette who must be about 17/18, William about 13, Primrose about 15/16, and Baby Bob about 10.

No pets left apart from a box of silkworms. Very quiet here now.

The native bees have gone to Bob Luttrells, mainly due to the experimental honey supers he had on them and his interest in the DNA of my “not quite” Carbonarias (see hive split blog). I will buy a hive of this same strain of bee back when I have a garden to put them in. Basically my own bees back which is nice.

Many of my pots have gone to good homes – some with friends, and some with my lovely neighbours. Many of the remaining pots will go to the Keperra Community Garden.

A huge thank you to Phil for coming out yesterday and helping me do some of the hard physical jobs (and then he went looking for more!). I just needed that motivation. The yard is looking very tidy and ready for new plantings and new owners.

While shoveling the compost pile (that was on the right in the pic) into the beds as top dressing for planting, I found a whole basket full of potatoes in there. Very nice too. Had some roasted with dinner last night.

As for being petless, nature doesn’t want that to happen to me and a little tortoise shell cat has moved in under my house. She is a funny little thing – comes close to rub herself against me but hisses while she’s doing it. I will try to catch her and take her to the RSPCA. If not, the new owners will find they own a cat along with the house.

Well, the house sold within some five days of being on the market. I got the price I wanted so I am happy enough.

The lady who bought it, Linda, is a keen gardener which makes it all feel a bit better. I hope she gets as much enjoyment out of the lovely little house and garden as I did.

I’m off to look after a friends house and garden for some months while she is overseas. From there I can sort out what is next.

THE END…….. for the time being anyway.

2016 WINTER – JUNE TO AUGUST

2016 WINTER – JUNE TO AUGUST

 

04.06.16

No rain for two months and the entire garden is drooping. Last night we finally had some good rain and I thoroughly enjoyed the sound of it on the roof and plants through the open front door while I slept.

Very nice indeed 🙂 This should pick up the garden.

The weather has remained too warm through Autumn – all the cabbage white caterpillars are still doing damage to my growing crop of broccoli and cauli and cane toads are still mooching around the yard at night.

I have decided the latter are probably helping me out by eating some of those crop demolishing roaches which now permeate all of my veg beds and the compost pile. The roaches do their thing as well – breaking down plant material, but when they get stuck into my newly planted seedlings and fell them like little trees I am not happy!

6am and still dark out. I will try to get some photos when it gets light.

The sight of rain dancing into the bird bath after months of dry got me very excited.

I have replanted beans and peas from seed and seedling three or four times but the conditions just didn’t suit them. Finally have some purple bean action going on.

For the first time ever I seem to be having some strawberry success and it’s due to the little wicking pot I made them from a cheap rubbish bin from Bunnings. I did have to buy a soldering iron to poke the hole through the plastic. As per Elaine’s long running experiments with wicking beds this is filled with nothing but soil and works just fine.

I am thrilled and fascinated by this self sown red pawpaw. Most likely grew from the composted horse poo I have been using. The fruit are red, sweet and delicious – waiting on this lot to start ripening – they do seem to take longer than the yellow.

Bit blurry and still dark outside, I was sneaking up on this little honey eater with a large umbrella in one hand and the flashing camera in the other. First time I’ve seen birds making use of the purple salvia which I had given up as just decorative. I’ve also seen the Blue Banded Bees visiting the flowers so I have a good reason to keep it growing now.

27.06.16

I usually take my photos just before the sun rises, but these mornings that’s not until I’m about ready to leave for work about 6.30am. So a serious lack of photos at the moment.

Finally some chill in the air the last few days and it’s been drizzling off and on as well – the rain water tank is full. Hopefully this will slow the destruction of the caterpillars still out there working on my precious cauli and broccoli plants.

Lots of gorgeous fresh lettuce to eat in a variety of leaf shape and colour. Greens galore – asian, collard, spinach. Some chew marks on these but still plenty for me.

03.07.16

Finally got some photos this weekend. It’s cold. Sitting here rugged up in many layers of clothing and uggs. Hands are freezing and have to go for periodic warming up between my now chilled thighs.

Some of the lettuce of many varieties dotted all around the beds wherever there was a gap. They prefer full sun. They just keep on giving. Some seedling grown, some seed grown.

Cauli action at last! Can’t wait.

When you buy seedlings from others you sometimes get surprises. Not sure what this is yet…but it’s edible!

Rob gave me a tiny seedling for a Mini Pepino Solanum caripense recently. The plant has grown substantially and I notice yesterday was affected by some kind of virus causing the leaves to curl. Was cutting back the affected parts of the plant and found these little fruit, about marble size. Not ripe – I bit into one. NOTE: I eventually cut this plant right back but if it’s anything like it’s Pepino relative it will bounce back.

I planted a couple of Lovage seedlings – don’t think I’ve grown this useful herb before. Like an intensely flavoured celery. Grows easily unlike celery. Useful in salads, soups and casseroles.

This season I tried three different Asian green seedlings. The really short one (Bok Choy?) grew quickly and died off quickly – good for stir fries. The mid sized one is still growing but I’m not finding a lot of use for it. But this tall one continues to grow well after many weeks and has proven to be very useful as a repeat cropper and steamed green. You can see it’s very popular with the caterpillars also, but plenty for me.

Kohlrabi on the left. Garlic growing under all this – hope it survives.

I do like Sorrel…in a salad or on a sandwich. A good, slightly bitter, herb. The plain green one (French?) does well for me but this red veined variety is a little pickier about how and when it grows well.

50 THINGS TO DO WITH FRESH SORREL

03.07.16

Bit of a surprise – I checked the Jaboticaba today and lo and behold it is producing it’s next lot of flowers already. Not sure if it is confused by the weather or if this is normal. Check theJABOTICABA BLOG HERE for cropping times of this tree so far.

09.07.16

I’m having some success with store bought chitted potatoes growing for me this season. Those little pale coloured jobs, not sure of the variety but probably Sebago.

I’ve planted them out some weeks back in the broken down compost pile and this morning mounded them with composted horse poo and topped with lucerne. The latter is apparently to prevent any greening of my spuds.

According to the blurb I have read I’m thinking these are indeterminate or repeat cropping, due to the height they have reached in growth. Determinates stay low….apparently. New to all this in relation to spuds. Have only known the term in relation to toms before. (Thanks here to Cres for bringing the subject up.)

See this VIDEO which explains the difference between the determinate and indeterminate types in detail.

31.07.16

Last day of July and despite some really warm days in the late 20’s this is a nippy one. One month of “winter” to go. I’m taking two weeks off mid August and hope to get some much needed tidying up done around the yard…along with some relaxing.

What’s happening – well, the pawpaws have cropped well all through winter but the fruit of this particular tree out the front (all the good croppers face west btw) is now out of reach. Great pity. But I just have no way of personally reaching them.

Meanwhile, these two trees are still well within reach with my little three step ladder. All excellent sweet fruit.

One of two giant sprouting chokos (gone to good home in Dayboro with Lynn) on the right (the second now planted) compared to one I didn’t eat that is also sprouting. Found during a tidy up.

Broccoli is a bit disappointing this season though still plenty for me alone. NOTE: Since come good!! Lots of brocolli.

Small but quality caulis growing well enough now the caterpillars have stopped.

The Jaboticaba is both fruiting and flowering at the same time! Such a prolific plant. My favourite.

A few hardy honey bees venture out on this cold morning but the others hang around the entrance waiting for more sunlight to warm things up.

Lifted the lid for an inspection of the hive yesterday and there was a young rat sitting there looking back at me with soft little eyes. Ohhhh. Got the old dog and showed him the rat, but the rat being young and agile and the dog being old and stiff, the rat got away.

The SNB’s have also been very active once the days warm up. They seem to enjoy being snuggled into the white choko and purple salvia plants.

There’s plenty of flowers going on – Salvia, this Seduction Rose, nasturtium etc.

Volunteer lettuce are everywhere along with the nasturtium and a pumpkin.

Earlier photo of some of the carrots from seedlings bought from the Caboolture Mkt. Bought as “purple or orange” they’re obviously of a stumpy variety.

Rocket is another plant I adore eating. Seed sprinkled around the tops of pots proves rewarding.

The sweet potato are growing well this time around using just Searles potting mix and moving the grow bags to new location to thwart the potato weevil. This is the purple/purple from cuttings provided again by Anne Gibson, thank you Anne, after my first lot went west by accident.

Note the leaf shape – sharply tri-pointed, and purple colour of the stems.

And a purple/white nicked out of one of the other bags. Perfect. Leaves for this plant are heart shaped.

07.08.16

Yay, I have two weeks holiday. Love my work but it’s so nice to have a break from the long days and all the driving. Not feeling the best. I have an incipient sore throat and back pain in my upper and lower back from a couple of different episodes. Massage today. Move the pile of mulch tomorrow….if I can.

Went to the market yesterday and despite the fact that my beds are still chocka with winter plants cropping I went ahead and bought dozens of new seedlings.

Bought: mixed lettuces (the original ones are still viable but going to seed – the volunteers are coming up all over the backyard), broccoli and cauli (trying for some last minute crop before the heat sets in), leeks (the young lady thought I said I wanted leeks and I didn’t dissuade her), that tall asian green (forgot to remember the name again), silverbeet (what can I say, ever the optimist when it comes to silverbeet and it’s rellies).

I pulled out some spent cauli and old greens that weren’t looking so hot and found room for all the new seedlings somehow. Probably too much shade from the existing brassica leaves but, I can hope.

While sorting out space for the new seedlings I found some crop hidden around the place. Another Kohlrabi was roasted with dinner along with some broccoli and cauli with some home grown carrots.

Very excited to have some success with spuds this season. Was watering this morning and found one of the spud plants dying so decided to see what was at the end of the vine (on the left in the pic). Very nice surprise.

29.08.16

Well, here we are the end of another cool weather growing season in Brisbane and it’s been a very productive one in my garden. Lots of quality veg for the kitchen and some success with potato growing. Fruiting trees are kicking into action with the promise of good things to eat in the not too distant future.

It may also be my last cool weather season here with my garden as the house will no doubt go on the market before too long as my old dog is on his last legs (has cost me a small fortune at the vets but he still enjoys life despite his breathing difficulties at night) so I’m glad it has been a bumper one.

I didn’t think the broccoli would amount to anything this season, which has been unseasonably warm, but it all came good in the end.

My front verge is coming into it’s own. Very hard to establish plants in this west facing garden in summer. I’ve planted some dwarf callistemons, daisies, lavender, pineapple sage, rosemary, parsley, nasturtiums and marigolds. Looking pretty.

I finally have some new (white and green) choko vines establised after the Madagascar Bean vine smothered the last one about a year back. Choko is another plant difficult to establish in the heat.

I’ve tried growing edible chrysanthemums (or Shungiku) from seed many times without success, but found these seedlings at the Caboolture Markets last weekend. Everyone tells me how nice they are to eat in salads and Japanese cooking. An annual that self seeds apparently.

Many of us around Brisbane struggle to grow large types of Capsicum. I have been buying the mini Caps from the shops and planting out the fresh seed immediately into the beds with some success. As I cut them up I replant the seed again. Fresh is best. Leaving them to sit on a plate for a day or two doesn’t provide the same results of new seedlings.

Volunteer lettuce has come up everywhere this year, including in the Ginger pot.

The Dwarf Pink Shatoot Mulberry took some time to come into it’s own but promises a bumper crop this season.

Lettuce of many type going to seed for next winter.

And the usual  winter profusion of flowers including Nasturtium, Salvia and Amaranths.

Have to include this pic of my daughter Clare in her Library at Alice Springs with the delightful Costa who was visiting.

Old Chook Travelling

I find life seems to be made up of chapters.

Childhood, my first chapter, was spent on Bribie Island – a rather idyllic and laid back upbringing with the only rule from my parents being that we were home by dark. I went around with bare feet or rubber thongs until I went to High School in Caboolture at around 12yrs when I had to wear real shoes.

By 18 I found island life constricting and left for New Zealand on a trip paid for by the Miss Australia Quest for which I had won a fund raising prize of a free trip as an entrant. I had a reckless intention not to return to Bribie and sold up everything I owned of value before I left, including my old car ($100) and some electric hair curlers. I had never ridden on public transport let alone a plane. I had never lived anywhere but with my immediate family. It was all pretty scary but I felt the need to expand my boundaries.

At 19 I married a 30yr old English emigrant to NZ. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Three kids and close to 30yrs later I found I had a kind of freedom back – with two daughters, one sin-in-law, four cats and three dogs in a small house half owned by myself and another family member.

15yrs later, after turning the yard of the small house into an organic haven of fruit trees and vegetable beds with honey and native bee hives, I find myself alone with one old dog on his last legs and four old Cockatiels. The agreement with the co-owner was to sell the house once the last of the old dogs, Hugo, had passed on (I couldn’t afford to buy them out – having had a run of unemployment and now in an enjoyable but low paid job).

Initially I was very resistant to give up my home (my husband used to move us every 2yrs so 15yrs in one spot felt blissfully like forever with my established garden) but eventually I had come to a place of acceptance and looked forward to the next chapter.

At the moment Hugo is being treated for pneumonia, at great expense I might add, but is quite happy. He turns 14 this December. A good age for a small dog but the end looms.

Once the house is sold I will come out with a moderate amount of money after paying off my bit of mortgage but not enough to buy another house or even a unit.

At 61 I don’t want another mortgage…considering I could even get one. So, faced with the choice of moving into some nasty cheap rental with no ground for growing anything (and I must garden), no rainwater tank for drinking or watering, no space for a pet I eventually came to a bit of a radical conclusion for a home lover like me. I realised that for the very first time in my entire life I would have complete freedom. No kids, no pets, no husband. I would travel.

How would I travel?

I could use my bit of capital and buy a campervan. Looked into that – very expensive to buy anything remotely comfortable and I would not have anything to drive around in apart from that vehicle. I would have to pay for camping spots. And I would have no capital left to handle emergencies etc.

I started checking out house sitting and realised that this could be a way of travelling with little expense. I could hang on to my economical diesel car and travel up the Queensland coast by increments. On my bucket list is a visit to the Cape Tribulation Exotic Fruit Farm and this was one way of (eventually) getting there.

So, the immediate plan is to sell up everything – no point in storing easily replaced furniture at great expense. I will buy a laptop computer and blog my way up the coast – hunting out community and private gardens and organic farmers markets as I go. Hopefully. And staying in other peoples homes, looking after their gardens and animals.

This style of life can’t go on forever I realise. I am a homebody and will need a place of my own at some point – but in the meantime I will be checking out new places, meeting new people and looking for my perfect spot to live. My Mum at Bribie may also need my assistance as Carer at some point.

It will sort itself out in the end.

I have a plan 🙂

 

 

 

2016 AUTUMN – MARCH TO MAY

 

14.03.16

The weather is improving already though still a few hot days. Enough showers now and then to keep my 5000lt tank ticking over for garden use.

It’s a jungle out there.

The garden – fruit trees, ground covers, flowering plants have gone berserk with growth. I need to have a major trim back. Easter is coming and the delicious thought of four days in which I can slop around in my gardening clothes and thongs, tossing composted manure around and replenishing beds with the spoiled lucerne bought from Tim (Brisbane Rural Produce) is intoxicating. People keep asking “what are you doing this Easter” and I happily reply “poo tossing”.

Some things, like the A Choy/Canadian Wild Lettuce on the left and middle of the pic are being left to go to seed. The Nopales has reached a size where it will go over in a storm again and I will have to trim it back to the original pad.

Sweet Leaf have grown into sizable woody stemmed bushes and are taking up too much space in the vege beds. Not a lot of usable “veg” from these to justify the space they take up. Cut them right back to a stump the other day. If they grow back well and good – I will attempt to keep them more trimmed than I have to achieve edible tips. They grow well from cuttings stuffed into the ground.

The blasted, so called thornless (hah) Youngberry has re-shot with a vengeance and is growing all over the ground. A trap for unwary feet. I think I will have to use drastic measures to get rid of it permanently ie poison.

The white choko which has been sitting so politely on the wire frame around the water tank for the last two years doing very little in the way of growth, has suddenly taken off. I have tried many times to train it over the tank but it insists on growing outwards.

The plant is covered in tiny potential fruit embryo on the female flowers (pic below) but the triffid like growth threatens to wrap me in it’s arms when I walk that way. I will watch it more closely while home over the Easter break to see if anything (my bees would be good) is fertilising the flowers.

It’s been ages since I had some choko to eat and quite a few people are asking for some to grow on for themselves. Hard to get hold of, these white ones.

I have to keep cutting back an entrance for the native bee hives on the left.

Little embryo white chokos on the female flowers.

The Brown Turkey figs have done especially well for me this season. I’ve been picking one to three every day. Unheard of before. They get eaten for morning tea at work.

Picked the last of the corn the other day. Third crop I get in during the warm months. Once again, disappointing result with cobs. The ones I get are good eating but not what they should be in size and quantity. Some plants on the last rotation didn’t cob up at all.

The giant Okra are second generation from seed given to me by Rob C. This lot are bigger and thicker than any Okra I’ve ever seen but still just as good cooked.

Sweet Potato in the basket (white/purple) are from my tidy up of the rampant plant. Yet to harvest the grow bags but hope to get that done today (25.03.16).

Sweet Potato is supposed to grow sedately in tubs with frames in my yard but it has managed to escape and get a hold here and there (as SP does!).

Gees, if the world came to a crashing halt this is the plant to grow – edible leaves and tubers and it’s abundant and hardy. Anyway, the rampant growth was beginning to bug me and threatening to engulf my old blind dog when she went walking by herself, so it had to come out. There were a few hidden gems of tubers in the ground but on the whole they were just too difficult to dig out of the hard packed ground without a pick axe.

Before and after some pulling.

Yes, that’s a red pawpaw in the raised bed. Self sown. Manna from heaven.

I am just loving this pretty chilli plant grown from Mark B’s seeds. I don’t use them all that often but love the look of them growing. Chilli plants are almost the perfect plant – perennial, respond well to a cut back, hardy, decorative and edible.
The Carombola is gearing itself up to a winter crop with lots of growth and flowers. Meanwhile, it never really stops cropping. These fruit drop from the heavens daily and end up in the weed tea bucket to drown the Fruit Fly larvae.

Have I mentioned how much the bees and I love Salvias? Another perfect plant in my book.

I cut all the Salvia plants back about a month or so back and they respond with new growth and flowers.

Lavender salvia with red salvia behind.

Purple Salvia with Blue Banded Bee.

Pale blue salvia.

Pink salvia with blue (edible) Clitorea ternatea vine.

Pawpaws – for whatever reason they just like this yard. Below are some brag photos of different plants around the yard. I prefer to eat the fruit green as a veg. The ripe ones get taken to work at the Respite Centre for the clients to eat. Cook appreciates the fresh fruit.

Plant donated at a GV from unknown member.

Pretty sure this plant was also donated by the same member. Aren’t they plump, velvety and full of promise.

Plant from Masters (?). Yep, it has reached the roof line. Will need a ladder to harvest these. The male bought at the same time had his top chopped off – should have done the same to the female but she was a bit shorter at the time.

Less prolific volunteer plant. A bit too shaded these days but still produces some good fruit.

And there’s another two plants out the back grown from seed from the best volunteer plant I ever had but which finally succumbed to old age and storms. But, I reckon you’re getting a bit sick of looking at pawpaw plants by now 😉

On to something completely different. Greens. So important to our diet and with so many options to grow and eat.

Remember the quest for a true Tree Collard?

True Tree Collards are best grown from cutting but they were impossible to find in Australia. I finally sourced seed on eBay ($5 + free delivery from Portugal) for Portuguese Walking Stick Collards…and they proved enthusiastic growers and good eating. The plants suffered through our summer – being attacked by everything that loves greens. Some died completely, some survived. If I removed all the affected leaves they died so I eventually accepted that I should just stand back and observe. Occasionally I would spray pests off with a hose. An ongoing experiment, I want to see how hardy and long lived they are.

Eventually Daleys advertised “Tree Collards” Brassica oleracea var.acephala for sale. Plants were very expensive at around $27 each delivered, but I bought one. How could I not.

Interesting fact – our (currently absent) new member Dragonman claims credit for bringing these into Australia on behalf of Daleys.

Below is the leaf of the Daleys plant on the right and my Walking Stick Collard on the left. There is some difference despite almost identical growth habits. The Daleys plant has a pale stem and the WS a darker stem.

More mature darker stemmed Portuguese Walking Stick Collared in the foreground and the Daleys Tree Collard with a pale stem in the background. Hopefully both should grow from cutting and both eventually produce seed. The PWSC is putting up shoots much to my delight.

While we’re on the subject of good greens I have developed a great fondness for Tahitian Spinach aka Celery Stemmed Taro. Great plant. Negligible Oxalic Acid and can be eaten raw (I watched someone do it at a workshop at Yandina).

It is not Cocoyam despite the common name in the link. It is also not Taro (see descriptions for all three in the link to Cocoyam).

Cocoyam is similar but different and eaten for the tuber not the leaves. Cocoyam leaves are high in Oxalic Acid and should not be eaten raw. I can vouch for that, having done it. Like digesting needles as it goes down the throat and esophagus. Didn’t stop until it reached the stomach.

From an old posting by Scarlett

Taro = Colocasia esculenta; 

Cocoyam = Xanthosoma saggitifolium – Apparently the cocoyams with brown or purple stems are not suitable for eating – choose only those with green or pink stems.

Tahitian spinach = Xanthosoma brasiliense.

Wish I had a wet spot to get the Tahitian Spinach growing a bit more abundantly.

Stem to leaf join on the Tahitian Spinach.

Stem to leaf join on the Cocoyam and Taro.

Can’t do a blog without a nod to the incredible, prolific, sweet and wonderfully edibleJaboticaba (in the basket below). Small leafed. Bought from Daleys about six years back. Pretty bush that produces repeated crops during the warm season. Waiting to see if it will flower up once more for me but it seems to be having a rest.

I give it a bag of composted horse poo and toss fresh grass clippings under it now and then and a water once a week. Don’t know if it really needs any of this but, like wearing lucky undies, I can’t bring myself to stop “just in case”.

Gardening friend Fran in Tassie has been sent some seed and will attempt to grow them down there. She’s one determined girl and will hopefully succeed.

Roger turns them into jam. I eat them chilled and make Shrub drink out of them. Added some Vermouth to the mix last night. Yum.

Dragon fruit cropped well once again. DM tells me I have the common self pollinating one. Yay for that. The others sound like a lot of mucking around for a slightly tastier fruit.

Also in the pic is my one and only pumpkin, a Persimmon and some Tamarillo fruit. The latter tree is old and the fruit smaller and not as nice flavoured as from a young tree. Either that or I am losing my taste for them.

I have been given a Red Dacca. It’s grown well but I noticed this morning that the newest leaf is pale. May not mean anything but worth watching. Planted into a bag of composted horse poo which gives the plant a real boost in the beginning. NOTE: The leaf has turned green.

We’re always on the look out for plants that bees, both native and honey, love. I love Rocket (used to hate it, also used to hate Coriander) and this Wild Rocket has proven a hit with the bees and myself with it’s prolific growth and abundant flowers. Here’s one of my girls visiting.

25.03.16 I emptied out the Sweet Potato tower grow bags this morning. Talk about a lousy crop. The whole sad tale in is the SP Tower BLOG at the end under “2016”. I’ve no longer got the purple/purple variety growing either.

28.03.16

What a delightful Easter break this has been.

A nice bit of drizzly weather has made working outside very comfortable. I’m thrilled with what I have achieved in three days – beds have been replenished with cut back plant material, grass cuttings, lucerne and topped with a layer of composted horse poo; unwanted plants have been removed; the Cassava under the Custard Apple has once again been chopped back and this time I’ve poisoned the stumps.

I still need to move the giant pile of grass clippings out the front (thanks Brad the Mower Man) into the back yard and rob the hive but these are two things that can wait.

Now to choose some seed and get it planted. The fun part 🙂 and my reward. Change of seasons is really the only time I do actual work in the garden apart from a bit of daily maintenance.

I strongly recommend you DO NOT PLANT CASSAVA – not unless you plan on keeping a close eye on it and dig up everything each time to start with fresh cuttings. I did not actually plant this patch. I tossed some old cuttings to mulch under the custard apple and the blasted things took root. I cut it all back 3mths ago and to my astonishment found supposedly dead bits of leftover wood still hanging out of the CA tree but putting out green shoots!!

I hate resorting to poison but apart from some big strong person hacking them out of the ground with a pick axe this is the only remedy. The long stems are all being chopped and binned.

Beds replenished and ready for winter crop. I seem to be acquiring a bit more permanent stuff in each bed each year. Less room for veggie growing. Might have to remedy that.

I have a small patch of Jerusalem Artichoke – come up again from tubers I left in the ground last year. Good. I like plants that are hardy and resilient like this. All through summer I grew other things over the dormant tubers.

Seed saving is a full time job…and I just don’t have the knack. This is the mess I have to wade through to find some seed for this new season. The dear little four tray holder on the right was what I naively started out with. Then came the big shoe box and it has since branched out into other containers.

31.03.16 Trying again with garlic. Small purple from Joseph and the large corms from two bulbs bought from Caboolture Markets and locally grown. Planted out this morning.

Yet to decide where the potato bits are going – probably back into the compost pile like last year.NOTE: The compost pile is exactly where all the spuds ended up.

30.04.16

Four weeks later and Joseph’s garlic is growing well. The big bulbs are still sitting there but not putting out shoots yet.

31.03.16 My little garden helper Freya – almost completely blind, often incontinent around the house and in bed with me and at the end peeing blood, but still a happy little beast enjoying her food and a game – has had her last day today. Always a hard decision to make. We will miss you little girl.

03.04.16

Looking back on previous blogs for this season I always seem to plant a lot of things which either just don’t come up or don’t perform as expected. But…I feel I’m learning each season.

This time around I’ve planted some Purple Pod Peas (saved seed from crop grown from Pat Pierce’s seed), Yellow Pod Peas (lord knows where they came from – anyone remember giving them to me?), Broccoli (seed saved from last seasons bought seedlings – sweet and long cropping, slow to bolt – only a dozen plants came up from this seed and I had to buy seedlings from the same supplier), lots of Rocket (from my own saved seed), various lettuce (a lot didn’t come up, had to buy seedlings and more seed), garlic (see photo above – small purple ex Joseph and giant bulbs from local market), potato (at the moment just eyes from bought spuds and some seed potato from Rob C), Kentucky Wonder Bean (bought seed),  Cherokee Wax Bush Bean (did not come up),Oregon Giant Snow Pea (bought seed). I have a little space left to grow some cauliflower. Will most likely pick up some seedlings at the market this morning.

Still growing snake beans, Jack Beans, rocket, Portuguese walking stick collard greens (had some steamed with butter S&P last night and they were good!). The mini caps are still growing but need a haircut to refresh them – fruit often damaged by FF. Lots of chillis including Phil’s black one now fruiting.

04.04.16

Bought yesterday from the Caboolture Mkts as seedlings – Collards (seem to be some short growing form, hairy leaf), sprouting cauli (seems to be the cauli version of broccolini), cauli(regular white variety), carrots (orange and purple – no variety given – continuing my experiment with growing these from bought seedlings – tried splitting them up but too difficult to seperate them – perhaps a good soak in water might have done the trick – too late, planted now).

I have some Listada di Gandia eggplant coming up from saved seed. Definitely my favourite.

10.04.16

Speaking of eggplant – these beautiful little purple jobs are producing an abundance of fruit and they are delicious and sweet. I have no memory of where the plant has come from but guessing a seedling from Caboolture Mkts.

Cropped this Stars and Moon water melon the other day and it is a beauty. Juicy and sweet. I feel so chuffed having successfully grown it! Had a few fruit from three or four seedlings bought from the market so altogether a good year for melon for me.

The Jack Bean Canavalia ensiformis introduced to me by Vinay (three seed planted, two lived) is a very strong and healthy grower. Now starting to produce pretty lavender flowers and bean pods.

Tried some steamed last night – flavourless. Better chopped up into a flavoursome dish where they keep their colour and meatiness. One person suggested they might be stringy but this is absolutely not the case.

16.04.16

What a beautiful morning. The last two nights have been so deliciously cool I have worn a jumper to bed…but then I only sleep with one bamboo blanket over the top. No rain for some weeks and I’m suspecting that despite the morning watering of seedlings and seeds planted for Autumn/Winter crops the days may have been too hot and dry as few have come up.

Bloody roaches have decimated the Listada di Gandia eggplant seedlings that came up. I don’t have any more saved seed for these. Will have to buy some.

The white choko is finally starting to produce fruit. Around the corner in the shade, not in full sun as I expected.

And I have purple/purple sweet potato back courtesy of Anne (Gibson). Thank you for going to all the trouble of posting these to me Anne, much appreciated.

This lot planted out purely in Searles potting mix.

17.04.16

I’ve had very little success with seed so far. There have been a few hot days which could have caused havoc despite the daily morning watering. Lettuce, Broccoli, Beans and Peas are the main culprits. The broccoli is saved seed from last years delightful crop grown from market bought seedlings, so not a lot of surprise there.

I soaked the bean and pea seed for a day before planting on this occasion – something I don’t normally bother with. Replanted without soaking.

The Snowpea Oregon Giant I think did not come up last year either (The Lost Seed). I’ve replanted but this will be their last hoorah.

The Purple Pod peas saved from plants grown from Pat Pierce’s seed last cool season have also not come up and there is no sign of the pea when I dig around. Lots of worm activity. I have also replanted these with the last of my saved seed.

A few seedlings from the saved broccoli seed have come up. Replanted today. I really want these to grow.

Kentucky Wonder beans (Willowbrook Cottage) have not come up and no sign of the bean when I dig around. Replanted today. Last hoorah.

If they don’t come up in the next couple of weeks I will overplant with sugar snap peas and bought broccoli seedlings.

Have also planted some Cardoon seed saved from a couple of years back. Wouldn’t mind trying these again and would like some fresh seed to save.

30.04.16

Labour Day Long Weekend. Delicious temperature and drizzling. Apart from talking to the neighbour over the fence and phoning the vet I am having a human being free day.

I’m defrosting the freezer (still in PJ’s) in between nipping outside to broadcast and plant various seed. Some of it a bit old so while I run the risk of drowning in vegetation I suspect a lot won’t come up. Things like Fennel, Dill, Lunga Della Riviera Leek, Yellow Eckendorf Mangel Beetroot, Meadowsweet, Chinese Celery, Giant of Italy Parsley, Purple Climbing Beans, Berlicum 2 Carrot, Land Cress, Lettuce (Auzzie Yellow, Royal Oak Leaf, Lollo Rosso, Salad Bowl Red), Sugar Snap Sugar Ann, Listada de Gandia Eggplant, Champion Purple Swede, Phacelia, Viroflay Spinach, Catnip, Chive, Mangel Wurzel, Fengyuan Purple Eggplant (from Joseph).

I’ve still got a container full of packets that I have no room to plant out.

Nearly everything is looking healthy and responsive to the cooler weather and bit of rain.

Rob gave me a seedling a few weeks back for a mini Pepino type Solanaceae and it’s doing really well. Developing some flowers so it will be interesting to see and eat the fruit. Must ask him for the correct name.

Caulis from bought seedlings growing well.

Some of the broccoli seedlings. Saved seed only produced a dozen plants so resorted to bought again. Naked patches are were the roach babies, tiny teeny little destruction machines, have munched some to death. Roach baits are a little helpful.

A few happy sunflower faces from broadcast bird seed.

Mini caps grow well from seed in store bought fruit.

Some of the remaining gnarly year old Walking Stick Collard greens are putting up beautiful little shoots.

I’ve had maybe 5 fruit from the White Choko vine. A bit disappointing so far but it may yet come into it’s stride. I’ve allowed a couple to get to a size where they may shoot for me and be planted in other locations around the yard. Very sweet eating roasted.

Seeds are coming up everywhere. When I top dress the pots with composted horse poo it’s makes a great place to grow more toms – these are Romas – and lettuce.

Eggplant are loving this weather – producing at the moment is the small sweet purple, these Black Beauties and a Listada Di Gandia.

01.05.16

It’s a beautiful drizzly Sunday morning. Sitting here eating Eggs Benedict with local avo and smoked salmon, listening to the gentle pat of the drops falling. Lovely. I ventured out this morning and spread around a packet of All Seasons carrot seed. No room for anything more!

One of the interesting plants I picked up from the Caboolture Mkts a few weeks back is this “Collard Green”. Obviously not the same as my Walking Stick Collards or the Tree Collard from Daleys. Good eating steamed though. Slightly hairy leaves.

15.05.16

What a beautiful relaxed weekend. Just went out to pick some greens to go with my roast pork dinner (with home grown roast eggplant and white choko) – spoiled for choice with two varieties of Collards, Beets, Asian greens – and the Kookaburras were calling enmass from a power pole nearby. Bliss. Hugo and I love it.

I have a mystery plant thriving in the veg garden and it looks like an Angled Loofah. Absolutely no idea how it got there. Must have been a seed substitute but it’s growing hale and healthy on the bean/pea frame so hope it provides some veg to eat. NOTE: Ate some – yuck. Removed the plant as it would have taken up space I could use for growing edibles.

28.05.16

Autumn is almost over, not that it’s been much of an autumn. Mornings are a bit cool but days are still warm. No rain for many weeks and un-watered parts of the garden are wilting badly. Reduced to using town water on the veg beds due to the low level in the rain water tank.

Cabbage White caterpillars are still rampantly doing damage but I have so many different greens growing that there’s still plenty for me. I pick the caterpillars off by hand or squash them.

Lettuce and other greens are loving the weather. Broccoli and cauli are growing strongly and should produce well. Peas and beans are not. I have replanted both up to four times with very poor results so far. Will wait for some cooler weather to try again.

Below: One lush little corner is pretty indicative of how the general veg are growing – garlic, collards, Asian greens, carrots loving the current weather.

Attempting to grow the Walking Stick Collards from cutting and so far they are looking really good. Time to remove the two year old parent plants I think – very decimated by caterpillars.

The Jeruselum Artichoke and Water Chestnut are both dying back. Time to harvest and replant.

I visited the home of friends Ian and Christa a few weeks back. Their garden is stupendous – chocka full of interesting plants. But the highlight was meeting their two new babies, a little brother and sister pair of foxies. Cutest little beasts you ever did meet tumbling and playing all over the house and yard.

2015/16 SUMMER – DECEMBER TO FEBRUARY

This is a continuous summer diary which has been added to as the season progressed.

22.12.15

Hot and basically dry with some overcast days but enough showers to keep the rain water tank ticking over for watering.

Some plants are enjoying this weather, some aren’t. The cucumbers (Lebanese) and snake beans do not like it oddly enough. After cropping a few good cucumber fruit, perhaps 10, the plants have succumbed and have been cut back. Perhaps they will regrow. More likely I will replenish the bed and start again with some new seedlings from the markets.

Land Cress growing in the middle of the bed. Surprisingly heat tolerant.

04.01.16 Replanted 29.12.15 with these Mini White cuc found in the giant box of seed and due to expire this year.

13.02.16 Five weeks later I have some good growth with flowers. Also some pest activity with aphid and fungus. Not a good year for me with cuc.

22.12.15 Some of the snake bean crop. The red come from Pat Pierce’s seed. The speckled comes from lord knows where. A throwback perhaps.

And the green, planted from saved seed. I’ve seen a mouse getting around in my beds. It’s tucking into the beans during the night and eating the seed out of the pod.

This is the other side of the snake bean frame. Not so happy in the current conditions.

NOTE 29.12.15: This side of the frame cut back and replanted with Joseph’s snake bean seed.

Let’s get the painful stuff out of the way first :/

The bumper crop of Lychee fruit I thought I was going to be eating are dying off. Probably not enough water.

On the other hand the reliable old custard apple is producing lots of little fruit.

Dense plantings are doing best in this weather, providing shade for their own roots. Self sown Florence Fennel is going to seed among some Kale and Canadian Wild Lettuce (A Choy). The Fennel flowers are attracting lots of different insects.

The Nopales and ginger are growing in separate pots. Poor old Nopales has become root bound in it’s pot and needs to be started again which is tricky as the base pad (the oldest one) has produced some impressive spines.

The Burgundy Okra are growing quite slowly but producing a few useful fruit.

22.12.15 Rob’s green Okra are hitting their stride though. They are getting more sun than the red.

04.01.16 They are getting woody and unusable more quickly than usual. Hit hard by leaf eating insects.

22.12.15 The Brown Turkey figs are thriving with potential here for some good eating. The fig beetle is trying to mate and lay it’s eggs. With a flick of my fingers I practice coitus interruptis daily with these wee nuisances in the hope of slowing them down.

29.12.15 To my surprise one of the figs was ripe. Delicious.

22.12.15 The Bitter Melon plant, though now many months old, is still producing these useful fruit for me. I’ve replanted seed and will remove the old plant when it shows signs of slowing down.

04.01.16 One of the BM fruit ripened and about to burst. Not edible at this stage it’s good for seed.

The yellow fleshed pawpaws have all ripened bar a few small ones and been eaten at work by our respite members.

The oblong fruit from this self sown plant is still reaching it’s potential. Hoping for some red fleshed fruit.

NOTE: Turned out to be a sweet red pawpaw!

22.12.15 Corn and zucchini are loving the conditions….

04.01.16 The corn (second crop) is starting to flower even though some are still very short – 25cm. These seedlings were a bit tall and possibly root bound in their little pots when I bought them. Should have chosen the smaller ones.

NOTE: While I did get quite a few reasonable edible cobs from this stunted planting I’ve taken extra care with the third planting done yesterday 31.01.16 – minerals sprinkled around (granite and basalt) and MycoApply sprinkled under each seedling on planting. These seedlings have come from a different supplier also.

20.02.16 Third and last corn crop of the season – planted out as described above. Doing much better than the previous crop. Seedlings growing in a bit of shade from the Bitter Melon on the right not showing as much height.

Ants are loving the zucc flowers. Zucchini get both male and female flower like pumpkin (thank you Elaine) so assistance with pollination is unlikely unless the ants like long walks.

NOTE: The yellow zucchini seem more keen to produce fruit. All the green – planted in the raised beds – were duds and either died or were removed by me.

04.01.16 Little zucc fruit. One of my favourite snacks.

22.12.15 Carrots are doing well enough. Seed growing this season wasn’t very successful. Carrot seems to like to be grown from fresh seed and some of mine was a couple of years old. Then again, may have just been the bout of hot days straight after I planted them. Some seed came up then I resorted to bought carrot seedlings for the first time ever and they are growing really well. Should have thinned them out a bit more.

NOTE: Have been cropping some carrots but they haven’t done well this year. Stunted. But tasty. Will try again in winter.

This self sown pumpkin vine is going places. After climbing the Elderflower it’s taking control of the clothes line…which is ok for the time being as I usually use the porch line. I ate some of the excess male flowers last night in a “Thai” dish. I love Thai food but cook it abysmally.

31.01.16 Finally have a fruit forming! I was out one morning and saw a female flower closing up so I pollinated it.

20.02.16 – 11days later the fruit is starting to colour up. Hopefully will mature before the plant has to be cut back for the electrician.

27.02.16 The job has had to be postponed so the pumpkin, nicknamed Fred, is safe to finish growing.

22.02.15 This Sweet Capsicum also went into the dish. I’ve been growing mini caps using the seed from store bought fruit and they are proving quite productive and hardy.

NOTE: Fruit Fly just love these little fruit. Blasted things.

04.01.16 Mini caps grown from seed of previously eaten fruit. Every time I open one I bring the seed out and plant them.

2

2.12.15 The Walking Stick Collards are hanging in there. Not heat lovers but they are surviving, apart from a couple of plants I removed. You can see from the holes in the remaining leaves (I removed a lot of leaves affected by some very dedicated and hard to shift aphid) that they are popular food among the local insects. Still some for me in there.

29.12.15

Woke this morning to the glorious sight of dozens of dragon fruit flowers at dawn. What a beautiful thing they are.

Keeping a record of the growth of the fruit from day to day. Deadly dull stuff at the moment but hopefully will be more interesting when you can scroll through the pics at speed and see the growth.

Front porch near the flowering Lillypilly….

…and more out the back – many hanging over the neighbours side of the fence.

31.01.16

End result of this lot of DF flowers. I’ve been taking the fruit to work for morning tea as it ripens. Very interesting to see the reactions of our elderly clients who have mostly never seen or heard of this fruit before. They have nearly all been willing to try a spoonful, likening the flavour to Kiwifruit, and two have asked for cuttings.

NOTE: For maximum sweetness Pat Pierce (Rockhampton) recommends cropping five days after colouring up. Tarter if you pick immediately as I have been doing.

28.12.16

The Pomegranates on the seedling grown tree have been ripening fast. Picked some yesterday, careful with the thorns. Nice and sweet and juicy but not as much pulp laden seeds (or sarcotesta) as the store bought fruit. Fun fact: Native to Iran and India technically they are a berry.

The Wonderful fruit is still very green and much larger than the seed sown plant fruit.

27.02.16 The Wonderful fruit never did turn red but the insides are top notch pomegranate.

24.12.15 The original patch of Williamette raspberries have made a comeback thank goodness, after my failed attempt to move plants onto a nearby frame. Hardly game to touch them again. Grasshoppers are making a meal of the leaves but not affecting some decent fruit growth.

NOTE: Most of the fruit has withered in the current conditions and no doubt due to the grasshopper damage done to the leaves. Never mind, the patch survives for another day.

28.12.15 I have one yellow zucchini plant out the front. This incredible plant gives me a sweet fruit a day which is usually munched on raw. This one doubled it’s size in one day and ended up in dinner. Black Jack Zucchini planted out the back a few weeks back are developing flowers and fruit.

NOTE: The latter black zucc came to very little – producing few fruit and dying or being removed. Could be the location didn’t allow enough air flow. Could just be that the yellow is a better plant to grow.

24.12.15 The self sown brillantaisia guianensis out the front has bloomed and it’s really quite eye catching. A relative of the salvias per Christa. It can stay so long as it doesn’t try to take over the world and can prove it’s worth as bee attracting.

04.01.16 Michael H’s little Thai Ginger plant has filled the pot in no time at all. Must start using it.

NOTE: Almost impossible to get anything out of this pot! Michael tells me he hasn’t harvested any of his yet. Phil calls it a Lesser Galangal – as opposed to a Greater Galangal which is tall.

04.01.16 My first ever Turmeric plant. Finally managed to get one growing. Pot is possibly too small but it seems happy enough at the moment, no doubt tooted through the bottom of the pot into the soil.

04.01.16 Lagerstroemia or Crepe Myrtle. One of my favourite flowering plants. I had many different colours in a previous house but only this one here. The native bees will be all over it once they realise it is blooming.

If you have one, dead head the spent flowers as they start to form seed heads and it will re-bloom.

Also blooming purple Cats Whiskers Orthosiphon aristatus. Member of the mint family and easy to propagate from cutting.

04.01.16 Maranta, thanks to Janet’s original gift, has now established itself well. Edible tubers – usually harvested when the plant starts to die back winter/spring. I might try harvesting throughout the year now that I am more familiar with it’s growth habits.

04.01.16 Dwf banana growing very well 🙂 Thank you thank you.

02.01.16 Callistemon flower – my little camera doesn’t do it justice. Pale pink and beautiful.

07.01.16

Having an enforced week off due to shingles on my face. Pain free initially due to an early start on the anti virals but required to stay away from work so….thinking of it more as an unpaid holiday that I didn’t realise I was going to have. (31.01.16 – apart from the scar on my chin from a bacterial infection in one rash I have no visible sign left of the shingles rash but the whole right side of my face is always itchy, especially at night, and sometimes quite numb. 26.02.16 The itchy was ruining my nights sleep – now using a Homoeopathic remedy to give some relief).

Went into the hive this morning and harvested four combs. The last one was so heavy it fell off into the hive – always a tricky situation. Honey on everything – the knife, my clothes, my gloves. Five bees managed to get inside the suit with me somehow – removed the suit three times without being stung. I really must get a full suit when I can afford one.

Anyway, here’s the harvest so far minus one jar given to a friend who dropped around some Davidson Plums and beautiful big cucumber for me. Thanks Rob 🙂 There’s still more in the buckets but it takes time to dribble down to the bottom.

09.01.16

Soursop fruit. Relation of the custard apple but the fruit is zingy sweet/tart and a bit fibrous. Either a bat or a rat has decided this one is ripe enough to eat.

31.01.16

Garlic (on the left) bought from the Caboolture Mkts this morning as “locally grown”. Looks suspiciously like the Chinese one on the right but still has some roots attached – something not permitted with the imported stuff. So I/we have decided it may be locally or at least Australian grown after all.

30.01.16

Went along to one of Tim Auld’s top bar beekeeping workshops at Stockleigh today and it was really very good, thank you Tim. Lots of background information about beekeeping in general over the years and bees themselves with lots of practical hints on bee keeping.

The afternoon was spent robbing one of Tim’s top bar hive, learning to make candles and fix our comb guides with wax and string. Very good value for $85pp.

11.02.16 Bartered with Rob some of my honey for one of his home grown Aquaponics Jade Perch. 30cm long when harvested at about 1.5yrs old. Plump, meaty and with a good layer of fat. It was delicious stuffed with a lime and Davidson’s Plus fruit from Rob and cooked in a steamer pan with a mix of home grown and store bought veg.

01.02.16 Interesting new veg thanks to Vinay from work. Canavalia ensiformis or Jack Bean.

Not a lot of flavour on their own per se, they keep their colour and firmness chopped into a dish. They grow in summer, hardly any pest problems. Pretty useful in my book.

Six seed provided, three planted in my bed and the others given away to Elaine, Christa and Dianne.

11.02.16 One week after planting I have three seedlings, this being the best looking. One is slightly chewed but hanging in there.

13.02.16 I grow five or six different chillis – mainly because they’re pretty, perennial and easy to grow.

I use perhaps two a month in cooking and give a lot of them away. Some of the Indian ladies at work ask for them regularly. One eats them outright with her meal of curry and rice.

Note the insect home on the leaf curled up in the middle of the pic. A Leaf Cutter bee has already had at it and now someone else has curled it up for a cozy spot to live.

13.02.16 The trial crop of my treasured Walking Stick Collards have proven appealing to all sorts of pests and I am trying to let them sort it out for themselves as much as possible. When I remove all the leaves the stalk dies. I need natural predators to develop for what ails them (caterpillars, grasshoppers and aphid – no fungi problems).

I have high hopes that they will come into their own again in the cooler weather, providing me with a supply of tasty greens. The trial crop planted last cool season (maybe 9 or 10mths old now) is to see how long the plants will live and what sort of pest problems they will have. I have more seed to plant out if this lot prove to be spent.

20.02.16 Collard Greens – Now this is very interesting (at least to me with my CG experiment). Out checking the garden this morning after some fabulous rain last night and found this little Collard Green growing away to the side of the bigger ones. (It’s in the bottom of the pic against the garden edging).

Tried gently digging down to see it’s source and it seems to come as a shoot from the bigger live plant on the left – the very left one is dead and now removed.

If they shoot by themselves this is very good news! These can be also be propagated by cutting apparently. I tried one but the weather was too hot – more of a cool weather project.

27.02.16 Found another shoot! Excellent.

The pests are making a meal of all the CG plants BUT while standing there (I admit it, I was picking off Cabbage White caterpillars) I found a tiny fast moving leech-like predator on the moist leaf obviously enjoying a meal of aphid and a little parasitic wasp hunting for caterpillars. I just need to leave nature to it and she will create predators for my pests – like the ones below eating aphid.

13.02.16 Patience needed! The Dwf Pink Shatoot mulberry is working itself up to another bumper crop of sweet, sweet fruit. So glad I didn’t succeed in pulling this plant out by the roots during our earlier touchy relationship. The plant just needed some time to come into it’s own. With the help of a few threats.

27.02.16 Still waiting for the green fruit to ripen. Much slower than the Black.

07.02.16 Loving the Jaboticaba. Blog HERE. This is the best fruit tree in my book. These fruit are so sweet – delicious eaten chilled. The only “pest” I see on the fruit is a bit of Woolly Aphid which is easily wiped off.

The tree now repeat crops immediately after the last flush of fruit.

Okra has been hopeless this season. The fruit in the pic below were all woody and inedible. Composted. Rob isn’t having this problem – he brought me some good fruit from his garden.

Still waiting, waiting for the pineapple to ripen. Gotta be patient with pineapple from start to finish.Two years to grow a fruit.

NOTE: The pineapple ripened to a super sweet little fruit. Well worth the wait.

13.02.16 Both SNB hives are going great guns. Happy little darlings they are.

13.02.16 A drama is unfolding in the garden. Gecko’s have ruined two of my air con units. You can see one behind all the foliage. The electrician is coming in two weeks to replace the units so by then I will have to have all this planting cut back. The fig (White Adriatic) will mostly likely have to go, great pity. The Elderfower won’t mind being cut back. But the pumpkin vine needs a bit of time to ripen this fast growing fruit. My only one!

All the Dragon fruit and the dead stump it is growing on will also have to come out. Can’t expect the guys to work around a cactus.

13.02.16 One last bowl of Elderflower cordial from flowers on the bush I have had to cut back. Leftovers of the last batch in the bottle.

20.02.16 Nice surprise this morning to find these two gorgeous little eggplant fruit.

Along with this Black Beauty (seed grown) forming.

20.02.16 Weird shaped little watermelon on the Moon and Stars plant/s. I’ve had four fruit this season – best I’ve ever done. Nice eating too. Note the Tramp Snails out after the rain last night. I don’t find they do much damage – they seem to focus mainly on decomposing plant material so in fact help.

20.02.16 Next lot of DF ripening. Hanging off picking until Monday or Tuesday (5 days from colouring up) to increase sweetness per Pat Pierce suggestion, thanks Pat.

NOTE: Yeah, I would say the fruit were a little sweeter and a little less tart. I like them both ways.

20.02.16 I get a lot of Blue Banded Bees in my garden. Love them. After the rain last night there seem to be a lot conducting their buzz pollination work around the garden including this female (four bands – the boys have five) repeatedly working her magic on an eggplant flower. Note the ants on the back of the flower. Would love to know their purpose in the grand scheme of things.

Well here we are once more at the end of another hot season. I wouldn’t say it’s been a dreadful hot summer, just normal with some hot periods. I’ve had some good rain off and on – enough to keep the tank replenished for watering.

Not a good season for cucumber or beans but that usually means I’ll have a bumper crop next season.

Below some of the DF, eggplant and chilli along with a Salvia flower.

And a Bottle Gourd from Vinay. Very like Hairy or Winter Melon, but much smaller, in that it’s a mild flavoured marrow type veg that takes on the flavour of a dish it’s added to. Cook at work has taken the other half to use in the kitchen.

I did buy some red fleshed DF from the market the other weekend. I can’t tell much difference between the flavour of this and the white but some of my more discerning gardening mates reckon it’s superior in that it’s sweeter and juicier. I honestly find them much the same apart from the colour. Cook at work used one to make a very pretty topping for some cheesecake.

It has been a summer full of colour. Around the western suburbs of Brisbane where I work there has been trees constantly in bloom from the time the Jacarandas start – so beautiful.

Below a native Blue Ginger, Dichorisandra thyrsiflora. The Blue Banded’s love this flower when it comes out. Growing in the shade of the Carombola…which is dropping fruit from the heavens at the moment. Barely any of it edible due to going splat and Fruit Fly.

Well another summer season has come to an end. We’re all looking forward to Autumn and Winter, especially in the garden for what we can grow (broccoli, cauli, beans, peas, potatoes – goody goody).

2015 SPRING – SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER

This is a continuous spring diary and I will add to it as the season progresses. Check photos for dates as I have done progressive photos for many plants.

We’re a month in to Spring and it’s been beautiful so far. Plenty of rain now and then to fill the tank – not much sign of the El Nino. We did get one hot day just after I planted heaps of seed and I am waiting anxiously to see if they survived and will make a show. Beginning to suspect I will have to replant all the carrots and some other things. (NOTE: I ended up buying bought carrot seedlings for the first time ever. They’re growing well though I probably should have thinned them more.)

Plenty going on in the garden. I’ve already had to mow twice and will probably do so again today. Bummer. The down side to the warm season. But it does give me clippings for the beds.

The Elderflower are growing well (Elaine warns to keep them contained as they sucker – mine grow freely) and producing lots of heads for making Elderflower Champagne.

Two heads in the bowl with juice of a lemon, splash of vinegar and about a cup of sugar. Covered and left for a day or two before sieving into some plastic bottles and put away in a dark cupboard.

The batch turned out quite thick. I’m diluting it with filtered rain water to drink. Nice and fizzy.

The bed in the front yard was becoming overgrown with these beautiful but basically useless (even the bees don’t visit) salvia. A big mess of them have been removed to allow for something more productive – the roots went to Rozie for growing and the tops were cut back as green manure. The bed is covered in composted horse poo and planted…..

…with Bolivian Cuc (c/- Dave via Elaine) and some silverbeet “Ruby”. I don’t have much luck growing silverbeet from seed. One of Elaine’s walking onions shoved in there as well with the hope that it will thrive and proliferate.

Below – same bed one month later.

Also in the front yard the Red Tamarillo fruit is starting to colour up.

NOTE: 31.10.15 Many have gone pale red and been eaten. Nice.

Both Pomegranates (seedling and Wonderful) have copious beautiful tangerine blooms. Fingers crossed for some fruit.

Five or so weeks later fruit is forming on the seedling Pom…..

….and on the Wonderful.

27.09.15 The Jaboticaba is covered in buds! Lots of fruit coming from this reliable plant.

Six weeks later I have sweet fruit for the eating.

Final crop along with a Bitter Melon for the GV. This lot were especially sweet.

Ripening fruit from the two pawpaw has been going to work for the clients to have with morning tea. There is only so much ripe pawpaw one person can eat but the elderly members can’t seem to get enough of it.

The Tropical Nectarine has flowered and is covered in little fruit. I trimmed it a little shorter this year so the fruit fly excluding net would reach the ground.

NOTE: 31.10.15 Not as much fruit as last season – others have said the same –  but it’s coming along nicely.

16.11.15 Lot’s of the fruit is dropping and rotting for no known reason. Weather? The few I’ve eaten lack sweetness. Still no FF under the net though.

Final crop of the Tropical Nectarines. Many fell and rotted and the remaining crop was disappointing this year in quantity and flavour.

Some of the Jaboticaba and Nectarines have gone to make “Shrub” – an easy to make cordial from fresh fruits. RECIPE

My beloved little Moringa is still doing it’s imitation of a dead stick but I am confident it will come good.

I tried many times to establish Pigeon Pea without success. This one came up by itself and has flowered and produced pods without me noticing.

Pepino are flowering in abundance. Hopefully this will mean more fruit before the fruit fly come.

NOTE: 31.10.15 FF have ruined every fruit – all has to be binned.

The Dwf Wurtz avo has bloomed once again but does not seem to attract the pollinators. I’ve seen one bee on it and a couple of flies.

NOTE: 31.10.15 No sign of any fruit forming. We have had discussion about multi graft plants. That’s what I need!

In the back yard the Dwf Macadamia is blooming really well and attracting bees. Very pretty.

One of my honey bees fertising the flowers.

19.10.15 Little nuts are forming. All silvery with potential.

08.11.15 Fruit development three weeks later. Astounding growth.

22.11.15 two weeks later again.

Quite a few nuts are falling to the ground. Hope I end up with some left.

NOTE: Now 29/11 and I noticed about a week back that every nut has fallen off. We had some very hot days but I was giving the plant water a couple of times a week.

20.09.11 The three raised beds have all been chopped back leaving just a few perennial plants and replanted. This is before…

…and after. Broccoli has been left to go to seed as it was such a goody. The other two brassicas didn’t produce anything. I suspect they may turn out to be a couple of Portuguese Walking Stick Collards (they are – must have planted some seed there).

All beds have been dosed with MycoAppply mychorrizae. The corn seedlings are very strong whether due to this or loving the composted horse poo they are planted in. Probably both.

31.10.15 Corn is silking up. Was able to shake down some pollen this morning despite some rain the last few days.

One month later, the final crop. Lots of mid sized cobs but they seem well filled.

19.09.15 Still cropping the Roma toms. Not much good for a sandwich but I’ve been turning them into soup with some onion, garlic and nopales. Bit of chicken stock and seasoning and it’s very nice put through the blender.

NOTE: 31.10.15 Romas finished some weeks ago. While not thrilled with the sandwich potential from these fruit they were useful and tasty enough for me to squeeze some seed back into the beds. If they do ok, great. If not, no huge loss.

19.09.15 Some of the roma toms and broccoli – the most delicious I have every grown it just kept on coming.

31.10.15 This wonderful Broccoli is still in the process of setting seed. Very slow to bolt.

The white choko is making a strong comeback. I have another growing on the back fence. Lacking a green one at the moment – bought a giant fruit from the fruit shop yesterday and planted it on a side fence.

06.09.15 I’ve managed to grow a few spuds this year. More growing around the edge of the compost pile yet to be cropped.

This plethora of yummy came from gardening mate Rob’s yard. Mulberries, native raspberries and Davidson Plums which I have become very fond of as a refreshing fruit drink in water. No sugar added.

12.09.15 Pepino have been providing plenty of fruit.

31.10.15 Now all ruined by FF. Not an untouched fruit to be had. All binned.

One of two Mashua Tropaeolum tuberosum plants courtesy of Jan’s research and buying abilities. A relative of the nasturtium it’s a climber with edible tubers. All the way from sunny Tasmania so we’re all hoping they like it here in Qld.

16.11.15 Neither of these plants are liking the heat. They don’t look well. Hopefully they will survive summer.

29.11.15 Both plants have died back completely as has Elaine’s.

31.10.15 This plant has actually put on a substantial amount of growth. Didn’t realise until I compared these two photos. It’s also putting out shoots from the base. Apparently these plants can go quite rampant in their growing habits :/

29.11.15 Plants have both died back completely.

12.09.15 Thought I would show you what my kitchen scrap bin looks like after a couple of weeks of saving bits and pieces. I do use a sprinkle or two of Bokashi in it but to be honest I did this for years with just a bucket and had no smell or problems.

I take this outside and scrape a shallow depression near some fruit tree and cover it with grass clippings. The worms take care of recycling the lot in a matter of weeks.

Warrigal Greens are making a comeback in the spot I thought they had died out in. I am very fond of these useful native greens (high in Oxalic Acid).

Another wild edible, Samphire, has proven to be a bit of a disappointment. I would like to try these growing in the wild. I bet the flavour would be better. Pictures I have found on the net show a PLANT with more segmented leaves than these. I’m wondering if I have two different plants in there?

23.09.15 Lebanese Cuc seed coming up. Always a thrill when seedlings show through the soil from seed planted.

22.11.15 Getting some good crop of cucs.

Planted or still growing early this season:

Potatoes; Bitter Melon, Okra x Robs big jobs and Burgundy; Hairy Melon; Corn x swt and bicolour; Peanuts; Watermelon “Stars & Moon”; Capsicum x “Sweet”, “Mini” and “Cubanale” along with seed from store bought minis; Kale; Canadian Wild Lettuce/A Choi; toms x various minis; Portuguese Walking Stick Collard Greens; Chillis – various; Mashua; Bolivian Cuc; Lebanese Cuc; herbs of all sorts; Swt Potato x 3 sorts; Silverbeet x “Rhubarb” and “Ruby”; Carrot x “Amarillo”, “Rainbow Mix” and “Berlicum”; Eggplant x “Black Beauty”, “Bringal White” and “Listadia di Gandia”; Snake Bean unknown; Huazontle Spinach.

05.10.15

Labour Day holiday – no pay but it’s a glorious day to be having off. Temp is superb, birds are singing everywhere, seeds are coming up in my new season garden. The only carrot seed that have sprouted are the Rainbow Mix. None of the others have shown so I will need to replant….or not.

The corn is growing fabulously. Okra of all types is peeking above ground as are the cucs. Eggplant haven’t shown.

Every time I buy some mini capsicum I take the seed out and plant it and there are dozens of these plants coming up all over the place. Love them. Watermelon have sprouted but the Hairy/Winter Melon hasn’t shown.

I have squeezed in some of Pat Pierce’s Red Noodle Snake Bean seeds alongside the other snake beans. Probably not the best for seed saving but I want to see how they grow.

Rob, Elaine and I have been doing some crop swapping. My pawpaw, Robs mulberries in exchange for Elaine’s gorgeous rainbow chard.

And thanks to J – I now have my favourite dwarf narnie back again 🙂

31.10.15 Growing well and putting out new leaves.

06.10.15 Since going back to work full time I’ve had trouble finding the appropriate time to go into the bee hive, check it all out and do some harvesting. Has to be a weekend day when it’s not raining, not too hot, the bees are mostly away foraging, I don’t have something else on. Easy to procrastinate.

Checked the hive yesterday and it looked like they might be preparing to swarm which gave me a jolt.

They were making a bee trellis outside the front of the hive. So I bit the bullet, put on the gear and went in. I removed three combs mostly full of honey. My extractor is very slow going (bucket system) and the tap just drizzles so it takes forever to fill a jar. Very few bee deaths though which is always a bonus. I use the smoker and brush as needed these days to avoid deaths.

Due to the slow nature of the buckets I only have a few jars at the moment and one has been swapped for some mulberries and manure.

To my surprise the Dwf Pink Shatoot mulberry had ripened a good handful of fruit in literally one day (I had checked it yesterday and found two). Very sweet.

31.10.15 Still cropping some of these each day. Youngest daughter has developed a taste for them also and goes for the bush when visiting.

31.10.15

We’ve had a few storms in areas around Strathpine but nothing more than some gentle rain here which has benefited the seedlings no end. Everything is doing well with the usual losses to Fruit Fly and a few cut worm problems with seedlings. Nothing serious, though I now have only one Burgundy Okra plant left but it should have grown to a size which is beyond the attentions of the CW.

I’ve been visiting the Caboolture Mkt a lot more recently for the lovely locally grown fruit and veg and can’t help picking up some seedlings at the same time.

The (self sown from buried fruit) Bitter Melon plant is producing it’s first fruit. Hardy and useful.

My honey bees are all over a huge amount of flowers on the old yellow Tamarillo. This plant is now getting on for five years old where normally they live for perhaps two. It just keeps getting bigger. Go figure.

28.10.15 Dwf Ducasse banana bunch ripening. Left the bunch on the porch the first night and some rodent came took a bite or two. Apart from those given away to friends, all going through the dehydrator.

16.11.15 The second bunch was all given away at the GV a couple of days back.

Pineapple forming – beautiful little purple flowers blooming.

01.11.15

I let my snails go free last night and this morning.

Left the lid up last night for them to leave but many were still hanging around in the box this morning. I have spread them around the yard and will provide basins of water as they are really very delicate and must have water to survive.

They don’t like being shut up as the weather warms up, even when the box is under full shade. There were just getting too many of them in one smallish space and it felt cruel keeping them there. Over the time I have been observing and feeding them in their box home I have come to love these gentle little creatures.

Hopefully some will thrive free ranging. The ones I currently find in the “wild” are eating fallen leaves and stuff on the compost pile. Very rarely do I find one in my vege bed. My hope is that they provide another layer to the animal life in my garden, eating and digesting fallen vegetation and providing poop in return.

09.11.15

The snails have set up home around the garden in various protected spots with lots of rotting plant material on the ground. Seems to be their favourite nibble though I do leave out offerings of Collard Greens etc and a container of water on the dry side of the yard.

16.11.15

I spent a back breaking hour yesterday removing the Pepino (due to Fruit Fly ruining all the fruit) from the nature strip outside the front fence and replanting with parsley and hardy flowering plants (the garden faces the western sun). That’s a bit of Aibika in the middle right that took from cutting shoved in and neglected and there’s a bit of Cassava and some Rosemary as well. Pepino fruit hanging off the fence and orange flowers are Pomegranates.

29.11.15 We’ve had some horrendously hot days and some of these flowering seedlings have died off, but many have survived with water a couple of times a week.

16.11.15 Michael H gave me some fruit some time back to grow these sweet little tom treats. I just keep replanting and they just keep coming up. Thank you Michael 🙂

21.11.15

Close to the end of spring and we’ve started having a few of those toasty hot days that the plants dislike so much and send people scurrying for the beach or air conditioned shopping centres.

My eldest daughter has just announced that she has accepted a Librarian job in Alice Springs. I checked the weather for AS and I think she will be grateful she will be working in an air conditioned building. At least I suppose it’s AC’d. Hot, dry place. Little greenery around apart from the gum trees.

Came home yesterday and the (unwanted, I just threw some branches on the ground and they rooted) Cassava had fallen from the sky into the vege bed and everything around it.

It’s been growing under the Custard Apple tree for some years and I’ve paid it no attention. While I was busy ignoring it it was busy reaching for the sky and eventually became too top heavy. Good survival plant to have around but not a lot of use to me at present.

All cut back and going to be binned this time.

I had really given up on the Lychee tree after many years of tiny crops and I mean tiny, like one or two fruit, but looked up at it yesterday and was stunned to see it covered in developing fruit. It’s been a funny old spring for flowering plants. They have gone berserk around Brisbane making it look like a giant colourful garden. Must have suited the flowers on the Lychee too.

Yummm can’t wait 😀

22.11.15 The Elderflower has grown to a good size (that’s the clothesline on the left) and is producing lots of flower heads for making drink. As warned by Elaine it is trying to sucker. I keep cutting these back.

22.11.15 Snake bean plants are growing well from saved seed. No idea of type. Some of Pat’s Red Snake Beans in there as well.

First of the Okra crop.

Orange flowering Leonotis leonurus. So far the insects are ignoring it but it is pretty.

One colour of the salvia growing around the place.

Pineapple Sage surrounding the native bee hives. Much loved by the bees.

A beautiful visitor munching away on the sweet potato leaves. It’s hide out given away by the giant poo.

Figs are liking the weather at the moment. Only a bit of insect activity on the leaves.

29.11.15

Spent a few productive hours this morning removing the Pepino from the front garden, chopping the male pawpaw in two (hopefully it will bunch up again and provide some western shade to the front of the house) and mulching everything with barrow loads of grass clippings which have been sitting for weeks.

Room for another plant!!

Graveyard where all the big stuff goes like the pawpaw and the banana plants. Let’s call it Hugelkulture, it’s a catchy name for a pile-o logs.

STINGLESS NATIVE HIVE SPLIT & EXPERIMENTAL HONEY SUPERS

Sunday 23.08.15

Bob Lutrell (Bob the Beeman) has had some experimental honey supers on my SNB (stingless native bee) hive for some time – over a year. Bob makes the honey supers on his 3D printer based on a great deal of research and trial and error on his part.

Initial checks indicated that the supers were very welcome by my bees and they were filling them with honey. Fate stepped in at this point and Bob had some heath issues requiring surgery so the supers sat quietly waiting for the moment when he could come back and open the hive.

The moons aligned on the 23rd and we were able to get Bob to my place to do the hive split, check the honey supers and try out Bob’s new invention of a centrifugal honey collector to go with the new supers.

Andy came along as official video-er and a photographer turned up from Quest papers to take photos for an article. Andy will scan the article and post on Brisbane Local Food when the time comes. The video will also become available on this site once it has been edited and passed inspection with Bob.

This was a very exciting workshop due to the experimental nature of the equipment used and all the time and effort put into the design by Bob, coming to fruition. Thank you to all those who turned up yesterday to learn from and enjoy the experience. It was a great morning!

Of great interest to Bob and myself is that he has suspicions that my bees are in fact a hybrid variety . Some of you may remember these bees invaded my own Tetragonula carbonaria hive some time back and killed all the resident bees before setting up home in my box happily since. I had thought they were the same variety. The only way to tell for sure is DNA testing which I have hopes will be organised some time soon.

Big thank you to Andy for his skills with the camera and video. Photos below are a mix of Andy’s and mine.

An example of Bob’s hive showing the new honey super produced on his 3D printer:

Bob's new hive with honey super

Bob working at splitting my hive. Experimental honey supers are the layers on top with tape around them.

100_6792 100_6793

Hive split – the hive structure is not what is expected from Tetragonula carbonaria which leads Bob to think my bees may be hybrid. The comb should look like a spiral if my bees are T carbonaria LIKE THIS. It’s possible I have a hybrid with T hockingsi the comb of which looks LIKE THIS.

23.08.15 my hive split - not your average T carbonaria design
23.08.15 my hive split – not your average T carbonaria design
23.08.15 hive split
23.08.15 hive split

Here’s story you might find interesting about wars between the two species ARTICLE.

Pretty much what happened with my own hive in 2013. I had a good photo record of the whole war but suspect the pics are stuck on my old computer. Here’s one picture I was able to find:

2011 bee war
2011 Takeover of my hive by outside invaders – they took a few days to kill all my bees and throw them out the front door of the hive. I thought at the time they were the same species, Tetragonula carbonaia, but they turn out to be some kind of hybrid. Perhaps between Tc and T hockingsi.

Honey super from my hive:

honey super from my hive

Puncturing tool made to match the super from perspex and nails. Bob’s aim is to injure as few bees in the process of harvesting and splitting as possible.

honey pot puncher perspex and nails

Bob’s centrifuge design. Spins by hand.

centrifuge

Bob is inserting the honey super into the centrifugal collector before giving it a good spin by hand a few times. He extracted 100ml more from the machine on his return home. At $200kg we don’t want to waste any!

Bob Lutrell placing honey super into centrifuge

Some of the honey collected. There was a bit more in another jar. All up about 400mls collected on the day according to Bob.

SNB honey we ended up with a full jar

Everyone enjoyed the morning including Bob who was very pleased with the outcome.

Hopefully everyone went home with some new knowledge or at least a desire to own and learn more about our native stingless bees. Such sweet little beasts to have helping in the garden and no trouble at all to look after.

Bob is working on building some hives for sale. Contact him on his website Bob the Beeman if interested (Qld site).

I endeavored to gauge interest in another visit to Bob’s property out Samford way where he has 100’s of hives many in different designs. Let me know if you are interested in attending and I will try to pin Bob down for a date.

2015 WINTER – JUNE TO AUGUST

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.  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 🙂 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.  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 etc  – 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 I 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
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 😀 Time for ham and egg brekkie with a hot chocolate. Love winter.

10.07.15

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.

20.07.15

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 🙂

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.

21.07.15

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 – 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.

 

SWEET POTATO TOWERS

Brisbane Qld

Back in 2013 a gardening friend posted a pic in our online group of a Sweet Potato Tower she was growing in a pot. I found it an intriguing idea as many of us were getting frustrated trying to grow SP in regular beds – they take up a lot of growing space and finding the tubers is always hit and miss.

I did a small experiment by growing one crop of SP in one of my raised beds full of rich soil – 4m x80cmx1.5m wide. Quite a lot of area to produce tubers. This is the end result – not bad, not good either for so much space used:

10.08.2013 crop from an entire bed 4m x 80cm x
Entire SP crop from an 8mx1.5mx80cm bed. Not bad, but I found I could do just as well in a grow bag with a tower without taking up so much bed space and providing a good supply of edible leaves.

Then I tried the tower idea:

21.01.2013
21.01.2013 I planted up some purple/white cuttings and added a tower. Pretty sure I just used a bag of Searles potting mix. I try slightly different growing mediums each time – mushroom compost didn’t work so well. Current crops are planted into well composted horse poo.
a month later in Feb
18.02.18 About a month later. Lots of good leaves to use in cooking.
again in May 2013
05.04.2013 really good growth.
and in July 2013
28.07.2013 Turn around for a crop can be as little as 4mths. I usually wait until the plant has flowered. Time to crop this lot.
238.07.15 Lissa cutting back the plant material
Me cutting back the plant material from the top of the pot, helped by Hugo my Schipperke.
28.07.2013 vegetation removed
28.07.2013 What’s left doesn’t look to have much potential.
28.07.2013 Andrew emptying the bag
28.07.2013 Pretty darn heavy, so I enlisted my big strong son Andrew to tip it out.
28.07.2013 crop from one bag
28.07.2013 The end result. Not bad at all for a bag that size and certainly better value than the crop from an entire 4m bed.
28.07.2013 crop washed
28.07.2013 All washed, so pretty. I always leave the dirt on the tubers for storage these days. Scrubbing the tubers creates an environment for bacteria to get if they aren’t used straight after cleaning.
28.07.2013 propagating material
28.07.2013 I like to use the fresh plant material immediately as new growing material. You can keep it in a bucket of water/weed tea for up to a week if you don’t have time to replant immediately. The fresher the better in my book.
28.07.2013 cutting into planting material
28.07.2013 Trimmed into individual cuttings. Each piece a potential new plant.
28.07.2013 soaking new cuttings in weed tea
28.07.2013 Cuttings soaked in weed tea. Plain water would do fine.
28.07.2013 new cuttings
28.07.2013 Some of the cuttings planted up. I tend to replant directly into the bag these days.
03.05.2014 purple.white replanted
03.05.2014 I grow three varieties of SP these days and each has very individual leaves – this is the white/purple.
03.05.2014 one of the bags replanted
03.05.2014 And the purple/white. I also grow purple/purple.
26.04.2014 white.purple crop not so prolific but good eating
26.04.2014 A crop of white/purple from one of the bags. Not as prolific as some of the other varieties but definitely my favourite – firm, sweet and delicious.

2010 HOW IT ALL BEGAN

Brisbane Qld 2009

Back in late 2009 I must have read something, found something to inspire me to finally start trying to grow food in earnest. Perhaps I met the guy at the markets who eventually made my raised beds (new idea to the market then). I don’t remember. All I know is that I suddenly realised I had to turn my backyard into veg beds rather than the croquet lawn I had planned for this area.

We were coming out of a nasty long period of real drought. You can see how dry the ground was – that’s Freya and Gretel (now passed)  both Miniature Pinschers. They used the garden edging like a train track. The drought had all but ruined gardening for me and others have told me the same. We finally started getting a bit of rain and hope returned.

Here is a LINK to the original Blog which contains a lot more waffling on. I was very excited by the whole project!

12.12.2009 new raised beds, Freya and Gretel
Dec 2009 The raised beds were made by Bruce at KISS Products. Now 2015 they still look as good as the day they were delivered. I just love them. Freya and Gretel walking the track of the edging supervised the whole operation.

This is the gist blog I wrote at the time in 2010:

Ok, so I’ve put in the elevated garden beds – 3x 4Mx1Mx60cm. The idea of these being that they will be easier to garden as I get older and find it harder to bend over, the soil inside will end up deep and rich and the dogs can’t get in! I’m very happy with the beds I bought from KISS Products and will put in a matching rainwater tank as soon as $ allows.

The beds were delivered around the beginning of December 09. I asked quite a few people how I should orientate them and ended up facing the long side north/south. I have been attempting to fill them since (it’s now April).

Thought about buying a huge pile-o dirt and shoveling endlessly, and once upon a time I could have shoveled all day no trouble, but no longer an option due to aging body and lack of space to keep the pile-o dirt (my car would have had to sit out in the open – not good in our area where people come around at night and smash windows).

So, I cadged my mower guy into bringing me bags of grass all summer, bought horse poo, buckets of ground rock (granite and basalt) for minerals, chook poo from the neighbour, lucerne bales ($!), straw bales (even more $!). Down at the very bottom is the rough stuff out of the giant sugarcane mulch bales I bought from a charity run.

I reached the top of the beds numerous times but of course, the composting process ensured the levels went down quickly. In the end (this month, April) I ran out of planting patience, bought some bags of garden soil (easy for me to bring home in the car and cart into the back yard) and planted seed and seedlings.

All my vege seed has come from Diggers (2015 NOTE – no longer a member, I can buy good seed locally without the membership fee) – some of the seedlings came from Bunnings (won’t do that again as not very good quality. 2015 NOTE They have since improved and I often buy from Bunnings but prefer my local farmers market at Caboolture ) and some from a nice young man at the Caboolture markets ($2 a punnet and very healthy).

I’ve been a gardener for decades, won awards for best new garden and best native garden, but I know virtually nothing about vege gardening apart from a few spasmodic attempts at this and that throughout the years which weren’t very successful. I have read a fair bit, asked a lot of questions and attended a permaculture training session at Northey Street City Farm. The more questions I asked about what I should plant when, the more confusing it all got (I found it best to plant according to your local climate, not the instructions on the packet). The more gardening forums/sites I joined the more I realised how much I still have to learn and how conflicting others opinions can be.

I do live in SE Qld and it’s still warm plus the beds are generating heat from down below as they compost. So I decided to just go ahead and plant whatever took my fancy! Nothing to lose but a few seed if it didn’t work. This has remained my ethos. Give it a go! What’s to lose.

Seed planted is:

  • Carrot “All Seasons” – the only seeds not from Diggers
  • Sweet Corn Sweet White F1″ – two plantings the first direct into the soil, the second into Jiffy pots first
  • Rock melons of the world mix – includes Yellow Canary, Bananga and Ananas – into jiffy pots first
  • Pea “Sugar Snap” climbing
  • Silver beet “Five Colour” mix
  • Arugula “Apollo”
  • Tomatoes “5 Colour Heirloom” mix – includes (Red) Snack, Black Russian, Little Sugar Yellow, Green Sausage, (Orange) Tigerella
  • Capsicum – Sweet Mini mix – bite sized yellow, red and chocolate
  • Pumpkin “Delicata Mini Sweet” – a non running type with green and yellow striped skin
  • Seedlings planted:
  • cauliflower
  • strawberry
  • Brussel sprouts
  • cucumber – Lebanese
  • zucchini – yellow and green
  • rocket
  • lettuce mixed
  • celery
  • parsley
  • sweet fennel

Photos might be slightly out of synchronized order, partly due to my stupidity in not adding the right date to the camera.

new beds planted
April -The original planting. Such hope rested with these little plants!
05.2010 zucchini
Original blog says this is May not March. Think these were my first ever Zucchini. I was disappointed that the flavour didn’t match the beauty.
31.03.2010 silverbeet, toms, sugar snap peas
My old blog tells me this is actually May not March. I used to do well with Silverbeet. Never quite had the same success since.
03.05.2010 new beds
03.05.2010 All three beds planted up. The wait begins.
05.2010
Some success with the salady things. I still used to plant things in neat rows back then lol. I’m very random now apart from corn.
31.03.2010
12.06.2010 I tried for a couple of years to grow corn all year round. Thought it would be warm enough here in Brisbane. The winter crops were always disappointing so now I aim for up to three crops during the hot months and freeze the crop. I also plant the seedlings much more densely these days which may be helping with pollination of the cobs.

12.06.2010 various

26.06.2010 silverbeet
26.06.2010 I remember being so proud of this patch of Silverbeet. So perfect and colourful. Good eating.
26.06.2010 sugarsnap
26.06.2010 Sugar Snap peas. Heaven. My preferred way of eating them is straight off the plant, all crunchy and sweet. My kids and grandson sometimes turn up to indulge – we must look like a herd of cows standing around hunting for pods and munching.
04.07.2010 crop
04.07.2010 Carrots with their funny little kink due to the uncomposted material at that level no doubt, but still good to eat. Radish – always astounded at how fast they grow into crop from seed.
25.07.2010 Dwf Macca from Kendalls
25.07.2010 I decided I needed a nut tree and after much deliberation and research hunted down a couple of places that sold Dwf Macadamia. Daleys (my preferred fruit tree retailer) were honest and told me I would have to wait patiently. Kendalls on the other hand promised one immediately then took 7wks to send this tiny plant for a total cost of $53 delivered :/ Suckered. Never bought from them again though to be fair the tree is growing well and now in 2015 starting to produce little fruit which unfortunately all dropped. Maybe next year.
25.07.2010 brassicas, celery, fennel, mustard greens
25.07.15 How many views of the same bed can I take! lol Obviously thrilled with the crop which includes Mustard Greens, Celery, Cauliflower and Sweet Fennel and strawberries.
25.07.2010 tom
25.07.10 Initially excited by the willingness of this tom plant it eventually tried to take over the backyard and I found I couldn’t use all that many cherry toms anyway. It was composted back into the bed.
27.07.2010 Arugula
27.07.2010 Arugula or Rocket – can’t believe I didn’t like it at the time! One of my fav sandwich and salad items these days.

25.07.2010 beds, Lychee background 25.07.201001/05/10

I check the beds each morning at dawn and give them a water. Amazing how they manage to mostly dry out during the day. The dew at night makes them look moist again in the morning. If I wasn’t home on holidays and checking them during the heat of the day I would think they were remaining moist from the morning water.

There’s little fruit growing on the zuchinni already, little green and yellow ones, and I notice for the first time that they have both male and female flowers. They seem to bloom on alternate days though which is a little confusing. How does the male fertilise the female like this?

There’s some damage to the leaves – grey spots and dead spots. I’ve made up a spray which is a combination of all the recipes I’ve been given – has molasses, bi-carb, garlic, chilli, detergent and oil. Left out the milk bit as I reckon that would go off. Used up half the bottle this morning spraying the leaves of everything (things are chewing on the corn also). Will have to get a bigger bottle. The Samford (garden) group is coming over tomorrow so I’ve left the affected leaves on so they can have a look.

2015 NOTE I have long ago given up trying these home made “remedies” for what ails the plant. If it has caterpillars on it, I squash them and leave them in situ – puts off the moth/butterfly laying more eggs. If it has mold on it I remove the leaves or consider the plant past it’s used by date or simply in the wrong spot, and remove it. Everything gets cut up and composted back into the beds.

I planted some chilli seeds yesterday and also have some tiny ones coming up in a pot. Never thought I would find chilli this useful :S

2015 NOTE Rats love chilli fruit! I now have about 5 varieties growing and use maybe one a week…but I like the look of them and others appreciate the fruit.

These are the fruit trees I have growing at the moment also:

  • Jaboticaba – newly planted (2015 getting good crops two or three times a year. Love this plant. Nothing affects it.)
  • Avocado – Wurtz- newly planted (2015 still not cropping but it gets flowers and it has survived some nasty weather.)
  • Carombola (2015 Fruit Fly decimate the huge quantities of fruit during the warm months, but the winter crop is good.)
  • Soursop (2015 this tree stopped cropping for years, now slowly coming back.)
  • Blueberry (2015 sheesh what a waste of time – trying again with four new plants in pots.)
  • Fig – Brown Turkey (2015 plant sets lots of fruit but most never reach edible stage. The few that do are gorgeous.)
  • Mulberry – Red Shatoot – recently planted (2015 Threatened this plant with destruction a few times to the point where I tried to wrench it out of the ground. Now delivers a spatter of good quality fruit.)
  • Tamarillo – recently planted (2015 Short lived perennial most live for two or three years – I have one old girl still producing after four years. Easy to grow from seed.)
  • Custard Apple (2015 produces well each year. There are better varieties on the market these days though.)
  • Lychee (2015 When it was small this tree would give me a couple of kgs of good fruit. Nothing for years. Needs to be removed.)
  • Wampi (2015 I like the fruit. So do the bats. I only get the low hanging fruit due to this but it makes a good shade tree for my work area.)
  • Persimmon (2015 Poor plant. Totally shaded out by the Lychee and the Wampi. No fruit to speak of. Needs to be removed.)
  • Gooseberry (2015 Perhaps I mean the Ceylon Hill Gooseberry bush – first berries EVER the other day. Not worth wasting the space on it. Chinese Gooseberries on the other hand come up by themselves every year and produce good fruit.)
  • Pawpaw (2015 My favourite veg! These grow so well here for me. I have learned to use the fruit green – grated in any salad it’s sweet, chopped up and roasted or added to stews it tastes like a good turnip.)
  • grapes – species unknown (2015 Useless. Finally had some fruit recently and something unknown eats every one of the sour fruit.)
  • passionfruit (2015 I am now allergic to passionfruit. Yes, and mango and citrus. Bummer. These still crop and I give the fruit away.)
  • Raspberry – Bi-centennial – recently planted (2015 Ended up with Williamette plants and they were good! A friend built me a frame for them to grow on and I tried to move them unsuccessfully. Luckily some have come up in the old spot but now what do I do!)

I also have asparagus growing in the regular beds. Too new to have any crop as yet. The sweet potato are prolific in their growth but I have never yet found a usable one (2015 NOTE for a long time now I grow SP successfully in bags with a tower.) . They used to grow huge at my last property (acreage) and popped out of the ground, so easy to find. Not here.

The avo is in the front yard, away from the dogs lol. They just love avo’s and would steal any that fell to the ground. They also love strawberries – hopefully with these (mostly) now in the elevated beds I’ll get some for myself! (2015 NOTE I have never really succeeded with strawberries but then I put little effort into them too – all that thinning and replanting, no time for it.) They also consider corn cobs a great treat – as good as a bone. They hoard the left over cob for ages chewing on them – has to be good for their teeth.

This was also the year I first tried growing potatoes (see original blog) and the commencement of the breaking of my heart with continued failures. Read the Potato growing blog. Now I know what to do 🙂 and have hope of success finally.

I also started making Weed Tea that year. I still keep a big tub of water sitting there and fallen fruit and weeds get thrown in. I had a solar percolator there for a while thanks to Elaine but it eventually died and has just been replaced. I give the tea a good blast with high pressure hose every few days to aerate it. Good for seedlings and just generally throwing into the beds.

I also started growing Yakon. Which is a whole other story 🙂

12.08.2010 snow peas, bush beans, zucchini
Beans, yellow zucchini and sugar snap peas.