In Production Today – December

Carrot, Daucus carota 'Lunar White'
Carrot, Daucus carota ‘Lunar White’

Withering heat, windy, sunny weather continue to delay sowing and planting summer crops.

The 4th December was, so far, the hottest day of the year: 39C with hot, dry, westerly evening gales.

Last month there were 83 taxa (different types of plant) on the menu. Thanks to the longest, driest period since moving to Brisbane in 2003, keeping diversity in production steady (at 84 taxa) is a significant achievement.

Watering is time consuming. I can keep what is growing satisfied, but I can’t expand without useful rain. Fruit trees and cuttings ready for planting get priority.

The chervil and flat-leaved Italian parsley have gone to seed. The turnip ‘Gold Ball’ are all finished, but proved to be the most durable turnip for keeping in the ground.

While some vegetables are in very small quantities, things are quickly changing since summer annuals are sprouting as volunteers in vacant beds. One bed that had been enriched with home made compost is thick with volunteer West Indian gherkin, four kinds of Chinese spinach, love-lies-bleeding, huauzontle, red mustard, and wild purslane.

The golden purslane, originally acquired as seed from Phoenix Seeds, Tasmania, have been growing fast as volunteers. Along with the Warrigal greens, also volunteers, they produced a bumper crop of juicy leaves. I put the purslane to good use before leafminer discovered them.

The carrots continue to crop, the ‘Lunar White’ produced the largest carrot I’ve ever grown: 503g. One single 3.5m long row was sown on 1.7.12. This cultivar started flowering immediately they reached maturity on 26.11.12. The yield is 2.33kg premium root per metre of row. ‘Lunar White’ has a strong flavour, a good size and thin skin. They’re neither sweet nor bland and the only difficulty with harvesting is that the roots are so deep the ends break off and remain in the ground.

Edible seed
Corn, Zea mays

Edible roots
Arrowroot, Canna edulis
Cocoyam, Xanthosoma saggitifolia
Turnip, Brassica rapa subsp. rapa ‘Gold Ball’
Carrot, Daucus carota ‘Paris Market’
Carrot, Daucus carota ‘Lunar White’

Edible leaves

Cassava, Manihot esculenta
Cassava, Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata’
Celery stem taro, aka Tahitian spinach, Alocasia esculenta
Chaplu, Piper methysticum
Chinese cabbage, Brassica rapa var. pekinensis ‘Tokyo Bekana’
Chinese celery, aka smallage, Apium graveolens
Chinese spinach, Amaranthus tricolor
Chinese spinach, Amaranthus tricolor ‘Flying Colours’
Chinese spinach, Amaranthus tricolor ‘Mekong Red’
Chinese spinach, Amaranthus tricolor ‘Red Callaloo’
Chives, Allium schoenoprasum
Curry leaf, Murraya koenigii
Dill, Anethum graveolens
French Tarragon, Artemisia dracunculus
Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum
Goldenrod, Solidago sp.
Good King Henry, aka Lincolnshire spinach, Chenopodium bonus-henricus
Green amaranth, Amaranthus viridis
Golden sweetpotato, Ipomoea batatas ‘Marguerite’
Heart leaf ice-plant, Aptenia cordifolia
Huauzontle, Chenopodium berlandieri
Japanese parsley, Cryptotaenia japonica
Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix
Kale, Tuscan, Brassica oleracea Acephala Group ‘Laciniato’
Kale, variegated, Brassica oleracea Acephala Group
Kohl rabi, Brassica acephala Gongyloides group ‘White Vienna’
Lebanese cress, Aethionema coridifolium
Lemongrass, Cymbopogon flexuosus
Lettuce, Lactuca sativa ‘Royal Oakleaf’
Lovage, Levisticum officinale
Love-lies-bleeding, Amaranthus caudatus
Moroccan mint, Mentha spicata ‘Nana’
Multiplier spring onion (aka multiplier scallion) Allium fistulosum
Multiplier leek, Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum
Native mint, Mentha satureioides
Parsley, Petroselenium crispum ‘Triple Curled’
Phillip Island hibiscus, Hibiscus insularis
Purple fennel, Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’
Radicchio, Cichorium intybus ‘Palla Rossa’
Radicchio, Cichorium intybus ‘Red Verona’
Radicchio, Cichorium intybus
Sacred basil, Ocimum tenuiflorum
Sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum
Silverbeet, Beta vulgaris Cicla Group ‘Rainbow Mixed’
Society garlic, Tulbaghia violacea ‘Variegata’
Society garlic, Tulbaghia violacea ‘Fairy Stars’
Stinking Roger, Tagetes minuta
Sweetpotato, Ipomoea batatas ‘Marguerite’
Turmeric, Curcuma longa
Variegated four seasons herb, Plectranthus amboinicus ‘Variegatus’
Vietnamese mint, Persicaria odorata
Welsh onion, aka spring onion, scallion, Allium fistulosum
White peppermint, Mentha x piperita ‘Officinalis’
Wall or wild rocket, Diplotaxis tenuifolia
Warrigal greens, Tetragonia tetragonioides

Edible petals
Goldenrod, Solidago sp.
Green banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Dwarf Ducasse’
Green banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Java Blue’
Heartsease, Viola tricolor ‘Johnny Jump Up’
Begonia x semperflorens


Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Siam Gold’
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Red Cayenne’
Naranjilla, Solanum quitoense
Pepino, Solanum muricatum
Pumpkin, Cucurbita moschata ‘Jap’
Tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum ‘Sweet Bite’
West Indian Gherkin, Cucumis anguria
Winter melon, Benincasa hispida

Medicinal / Spices

Aloe vera – leaf juice used to heal sunburn, scratches
Bulbine frutescens – leaf juice used to treat burns, rashes, as an infusion for sore throats
Cinnamon, Cinnamomum verum
False cardamom, Alpinia nutans
Galangal, Alpinia galangal – spice used like ginger with similar properties
Ginger, Zingiber official – spice that helps decongestion of catarrh, aids digestion, blood flow
Greater celandine, Chelidonium majus – stem juice kills warts on hands
Phillip Island hibiscus, Hibiscus insularis – used as a tea to soothe sore throats
Rosemary, dwarf, Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Benenden Blue’
Rosemary, fastigiate, Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Miss Jessopp’
Summer savoury, Satureja hortensis – herb used like sage
Thyme, Thymus serpyllum – antibiotic, used as a gargle against sore throats
Turmeric, Curcuma longa – spice with anti-cancer properties

84 taxa

Jerry Coleby-Williams
17th December 2012


2 Comments Add yours

  1. John Denny says:

    Hi Jerry,

    I have recently moved to Manly West and are very keen to grow herbs and vegetables. I have created 4 raised garden beds and would some some information on crop rotation and companion planting. I was wondering if you can suggest a good book that is easy to follow or would it be possible for you to provide some advice?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi John,

      Setting up a garden and crop rotation are covered in the Organic Gardener’s magazine-book ‘Getting Started’.

      Annette McFarlane wrote a good book on basic vegetable growing, also sold at ABC shops.

      I’m not someone who practises companion planting. It’s mostly bunkum, and all the books covering this topic merely recycle unfounded, unscientific rubbish – fairy stories.

      My blog regularly lists what is growing in my garden – look for blogs ‘in production today’ – you’ll see what can be grown in our neighbourhood. Last winter I had around 170 different crops, not too limiting 🙂



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