In Production Today – December

Front: my own cultivar of  Capsicum, cf red Capsicum 'Californian Wonder'

Front: my own cultivar of Capsicum, cf red Capsicum ‘Californian Wonder’

It’s hot and humid and, despite hail, my crop of ‘Manning Pride’ corn is ready to pick. It’s amazing how robust this heritage corn can be considering the force of the hailstorm. The plants are standing 3.25m high, each carrying up to three cobs, 30cm long. It’s highly productive. Gardeners can thank the Bega Valley Seed Savers’ Network for conserving this traditional NSW-bred non-hybrid corn cultivar, protecting it from extinction.

Ladybirds, praying mantis and wasps are active in my Brisbane garden, helping control my pests and diseases. For the past month I’ve culled between 6 – 12 cane toads every evening. I do this to protect my beneficial animals, including rocket frogs, from these destructive pests. This morning, I saw the first Black Hairy Flower wasps (Scolia soror). Curl grubs are once more on the menu – these beneficial wasps paralyse curl grubs, lay an egg on each one before burying them. In my garden they create egg chambers underneath fruit trees that have been mulched with chopped sugarcane.

I have had an embarrassment of Warrigal greens, they’ve grown so prolifically over the leeks, I had to cut them back. It continues to be a great season for Florence fennel ‘Zefa-Fino’, and Italian flat-leaved parsley is lush. I’m getting regular pickings of chilli, pepino and strawberry.

Thanks to the stormy weather from mid to late November, which delivered 149mm rain, my lawn has completed knitting over the bare patches caused by my last Open Day in May. In fact, while my food garden was being battered by hail on 16th November, Wynnum and Manly were visited by a dramatic water spout. Fortunately, no one was hurt. A Facebook friend sent me their camera phone picture of it whirling past.

I managed to acquire some divisions of the perennial Walking Onion (aka tree, or Egyptian onion, Allium x proliferum) from the The Naughty Goat Farm late last month, and these are now establishing in one of the self-watering pots I made for ABC TV’s ‘Gardening Australia’ Show.

I’ve had my best crop yet of my own cultivar of perennial Capsicum*. I raised them between 2011-13. They are a bright yellow fruited cultivar, the second generation seedlings derived from seed saved from my best plant produced by crossing chilli ‘Thai Gold’ with capsicum ‘Californian Wonder’. The fruit are averaging 30g each, around 12cm long and 8cm in circumference. They’re nowhere near as large as commercial Capsicum, but they are pretty, just as delicious. I’m not sure what to call this cultivar…

Edible roots
Arrowroot, Canna edulis
Cassava, Manihot esculenta
Cassava, Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata’
Cocoyam, Xanthosoma saggitifolia
Eschallot, Allium cepa var. aggregatum
Turnip, Brassica rapa ‘Gold Ball’
Yam, Winged, Dioscorea alata

Edible leaves
Basil, sacred, Ocimum tenuiflorum
Cassava, Manihot esculenta
Cassava, Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata’
Celery stem taro, aka Tahitian spinach, Alocasia esculenta
Chinese celery, aka smallage, Apium graveolens
Chinese spinach, aka Joseph’s Coat, Amaranthus tricolor ‘Flaming Fountains’
Chives, Allium schoenoprasum
Curry leaf, Murraya koenigii
Curry leaf bush, Helichrysum italicum
Dill, Anethum graveolens
Endive, Cichorium endiva ‘Green Bowl’
Florence fennel, Foeniculum vulgare Azoricum Group ‘Zefa-Fino’
Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum
Good King Henry, aka Lincolnshire spinach, Chenopodium bonus-henricus
Green Amaranth, Amaranthus viridis
Heart leaf ice-plant, Aptenia cordifolia
Japanese parsley, Cryptotaenia japonica
Kale, Brassica oleracea Acephala group ‘Two Peters’
Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix
Kangkong, Ipomoea aquatica
Lebanese cress, Aethionema coridifolium
Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus
Lemongrass, Native, Cymbopogon flexuosusLovage, Levisticum officinale
Love-lies-bleeding, Amaranthus caudatus
Mint, apple, Mentha suaveolens
Mint, native, Mentha satureoides
Mint, Moroccan, Mentha spicata
Nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus
Parsley, Petroselenium crispum ‘Italian flat-leaved’
Purslane, Wild, Portulaca oleracea
Purslane, Golden, Portulaca oleracea var. sativa
Radicchio, Cichorium intybus
Rocket, Wall or wild, Eruca sativa
Society garlic, Tulbaghia violacea ‘Variegata’
Society garlic, Tulbaghia violacea ‘Fairy Stars’
Stinking Roger, Tagetes minuta
Sweetpotato, Ipomoea batatas ‘Ace of Spades’
Sweetpotato, Ipomoea batatas ‘Marguerite’
Swinecress, Coronopus didymus
Variegated four seasons herb, Plectranthus amboinicus ‘Variegatus’
Variegated four seasons herb, Plectranthus amboinicus ‘Bayside Beauty’
Vietnamese mint, Persicaria odorata
Welsh onion, aka spring onion, scallion, Allium fistulosum
Perennial Welsh onion, aka perennial spring onion, scallion, Allium fistulosum
Warrigal greens, Tetragonia tetragonioides

Edible petals
Begonia x semperflorens
False cardamom, Alpinia nutans
Goldenrod, Solidago sp
Nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus
Pansy, viola tricolor ‘Johnny Jump Up’
Pigeon pea, Cajanus cajan
Rocket, Wall or wild, Eruca sativa

Edible pods
Pigeon pea, Cajanus cajan

Edible seed
Chilean wine palm, Jubaea chilensis
Madagascar bean, Phaseolus lunatus
Pigeon pea, Cajanus cajan

Fruit
* Capsicum, ‘golden’, a home raised cultivar, Capsicum annuum
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Portuguese Peri Peri’
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Siam Gold’
Davidson’s plum, Davidsonia pruriens var. pruriens
Green banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Dwarf Ducasse’
Green banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Goldfinger’
Green banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Java Blue’
Green banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Ladyfinger’
Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix
Lemon, Citrus x limon ‘Meyer’
Lime, Australian Sweet, Citrus x latifolia
Lime, Tahitian, Citrus x latifolia
Mouse melon, Melothria scabra
Naranjilla, Solanum quitoense
Pepino, Solanum muricatum
Strawberry, Fragaria x ananassa ‘Red Gauntlet’
Tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum ‘Sweetbite’

Edible sap
Sugar palm, Arenga pinnata

Medicinal / Spices
Aloe vera – leaf juice used to heal sunburn, scratches, and for shampoo
Bulbine frutescens – leaf juice used to treat burns, rashes, as an infusion for sore throats
Cinnamon, Cinnamomum verum
Cardamom, False, Alpinia nutans
Galangal, Alpinia galangal – spice used like ginger with similar properties
Ginger, Zingiber officinalis  – spice that helps decongestion of catarrh, aids digestion, blood flow
Greater celandine, Chelidonium majus – stem juice kills warts on hands
Krachai (root), Boesenbergia rotunda
Rosemary, dwarf, Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Benenden Blue’
Rosemary, fastigiate, Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Miss Jessopp’
Skullcap, Scutellaria lateriflora
Turmeric, Curcuma longa – spice with anti-cancer properties

72 taxa

Jerry Coleby-Williams

11th December 2013