In Production Today – March

Eggplant cultivars (clockwise, from top) 'Early Long Purple'; 'Caspar'; 'Little Finger'; 'Udumalapet'; 'Listada de Gandia'

Eggplant cultivars (clockwise, from top) ‘Early Long Purple’; ‘Caspar’; ‘Little Finger’; ‘Udumalapet’; ‘Listada de Gandia’

Conditions have been perfect for plants that can cope with hot, humid, calm, showery conditions.
On the other hand crops that dislike these conditions, like my eggplant and celery, are looking tatty, while my summer savoury and golden oregano have died. All are victims of fungal and bacterial disease.

Pineapples have produced excellent fruit. Unfortunately rats ate every fruit whilst they were still green. Normally I ripen them indoors to avoid this. Perhaps the rats have caught on.

Leeks, spring onions, sweetpotato and eschallots have grown strongly, strawberries have been producing their runners. Madagascan beans have gone crazy, they’re into their second crop. Yams, Ceylon spinach, West Indian gherkin, cocoyam, jackfruit, and pawpaws are growing vigorously.

Cassava and citrus are looking magnificent, false cardamom has recovered from the spring to summer drought. I’m expecting a good crop from citrus and rosella this year. Basil is particularly good quality – Thai and sacred basil are performing particularly well, despite grasshopper attack. I’m delighted to see mantids big enough to take on larger grasshoppers.

Goldenrod, Cosmos sulphureus, Solenostemon hybrids and Jerusalem artichoke ‘Dwarf Sunray’ are flowering well, attracting a good range of beneficial insects including native bees (pollinators) and native wasps (predators and parasites of pests).

On the up side, everything is green and full looking. All the local trees have recovered from the salt spray damage generated by cyclone Oswald. My cuttings struck rapidly, and tropical perennials that I multiplied by division have recovered quickly. This compensates for seasonal losses to disease.

Edible roots
Arrowroot, Canna edulis
Cocoyam, Xanthosoma saggitifolia
Eschallot, Allium cepa var. aggregatum
Turnip, Brassica rapa subsp. rapa ‘Gold Ball’

Edible leaves
Basil, lemon, Ocimum x citriodora
Basil, lime, Ocimum americanum ‘Lime’
Basil, sacred, Ocimum tenuiflorum
Basil, sweet Genovese, Ocimum basilicum
Basil, Thai, Ocimum americanum
Cassava, Manihot esculenta
Cassava, Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata’
Celery stem taro, aka Tahitian spinach, Alocasia esculenta
Chaplu, Piper methysticum
Chickweed, Stellaria media

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
Curry leaf bush, Helichrysum italicum
French Tarragon, Artemisia dracunculus
Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum
Goldenrod, Solidago sp.
Good King Henry, aka Lincolnshire spinach, Chenopodium bonus-henricus
Green amaranth, Amaranthus viridis
Heart leaf ice-plant, Aptenia cordifolia
Huauzontle, Chenopodium berlandieri
Japanese parsley, Cryptotaenia japonica
Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix
Kangkong, Ipomoea aquatica
Lagos spinach, Celosia cristata
Lebanese cress, Aethionema coridifolium
Lemongrass, Cymbopogon flexuosus
Lettuce, Lactuca sativa ‘Purple Royal Oakleaf’
Lovage, Levisticum officinale
Love-lies-bleeding, Amaranthus caudatus
Mint, apple, Mentha suaveolens
Mint, Moroccan, Mentha spicata ‘Nana’
Mint, native, Mentha satureoides
Multiplier leek, Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum
Mustard, Red, Brassica juncea
Okinawa spinach, Gynura bicolor
Parsley, Petroselenium crispum ‘Italian flat-leaved’
Parsley, Petroselenium crispum ‘Triple Curled’
Peperomia pellucida
Phillip Island hibiscus, Hibiscus insularis
Pumpkin, Cucurbita maxima ‘Tonda Padana’

Purslane, Portulaca oleracea
Radicchio, Cichorium intybus ‘Palla Rossa’
Radicchio, Cichorium intybus ‘Red Verona’
Radicchio, Cichorium intybus
Rosella, Hibiscus sabdariffa
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, Lepidium didymum
Thai coriander, Eryngium foetidum
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
Water hyssop, Bacopa caroliniana

Edible petals
Banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Lady Finger’
Begonia x semperflorens
French Marigold, Tagetes patula ‘Himalayan’
Goldenrod, Solidago sp.
Gourd, aka New Guinea bean, Lagenaria siceraria
Pumpkin, Cucurbita maxima ‘Tonda Padana’

Edible seed
Madagascan bean, Phaseolus lunatus

Fruit
Banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Java Blue’
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Siam Gold’
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Red Cayenne’
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Green Banana’
Eggplant, Solanum melongena ‘Caspar’
Eggplant, Solanum melongena ‘Early Purple’
Eggplant, Solanum melongena ‘Listada de Gandia’
Eggplant, Solanum melongena ‘Little Finger’
Finger lime, Citrus australasica
Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix
Lemon, Citrus limon ‘Meyer’
Lime, Citrus x latifolia
Mouse melon, Melothria scabra
Naranjilla, Solanum quitoense
West Indian Gherkin, Cucumis anguria

Medicinal / Spices

Aloe vera – leaf juice used to heal sunburn, scratches
Brahmi herb, Bacopa monnieri (blue-flowered form) – traditional cure for inflammation
Bulbine frutescens – leaf juice used to treat burns, rashes, as an infusion for sore throats
Cinnamon, Cinnamomum verum
Cardamom, False, Alpinia nutans
Cardamon, True, Eletteria cardamomum
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
Krachai, Boesenbergia rotunda
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’
Skullcap, Scutellaria lateriflora – used as green tea to aid sleep
Thyme, Thymus serpyllum – antibiotic, used as a gargle against sore throats
Turmeric, Curcuma longa – spice with anti-cancer properties

104 taxa

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Jerry Coleby-Williams
27th March 2013