In Production Today – June 2013

Lagos spinach, Celosia cristata: easily grown from seed, this produces pretty, butterfly attracting flowers and edible leaves
Lagos spinach, Celosia cristata: easily grown from seed, this produces pretty, butterfly attracting flowers and edible leaves

Winter has started fitfully, just like the previous two. Mild, drizzly, calm and cloudy conditions have encouraged moulds, but  delayed sowing peas. Spells of cold, dry, windy conditions have spurred leaf drop on summer crops, like winged yam.

These weather extremes prevented the final crop of ‘Red Aztec’ corn from ripening many cobs and damaged the foliage of (summer sown) eggplant. Madagascan beans continue to look good, but are failing to produce seed. Pawpaw are suffering from black spot fungus.

Of course, if you grow a wide range of crops, some things will succeed when others fail. Turmeric, ginger, krachai (Boesenbergia rotunda), and arrowroot coped with the exceedingly dry spring and early summer. Thanks to above average rainfall in February, March and April, they caught up and cropped late, but well. They are now dormant and have been mulched with home made compost.

Autumn sown carrot, parsley and endive are growing well, and cocoyam and self-sown chervil continue growing vigorously.

I finally got around to saving seed from Lagos spinach (Celosia spicata). An excellent seed harvest.

Regular watering of citrus during spring and early summer paid off. It has been an excellent year for their fruit. Mandarin ‘Ellendale’ produced its best crop ever, I picked them in the third week of June when fruit bats started nibbling them. Tahitian lime and ‘Meyer’ lemon have been ripening fruit since autumn and still have another four weeks of fruit to go. Apart from juicing, excess limes and lemons have given me the opportunity to pickle them in salt.

Local tamarind street trees (Tamarindus indica) have cropped, I gathered their pods to make a Mexican sweet called Dulce de Tamarindo, which have an interesting, sweet-tart-peppery tang. Delicious!

Edible roots
Aerial potato, Dioscorea batatas
Arrowroot, Canna edulis
Cassava, Manihot esculenta
Cassava, Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata’
Cocoyam, Xanthosoma saggitifolia
Eschallot, Allium cepa var. aggregatum
Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus ‘Dwarf Sunray’
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
Chaplu, Piper methysticum
Chervil, Anthriscus cerefolium
Chickweed, Stellaria media
Chinese cabbage, Brassica rapa var. pekinensis ‘Tokyo Bekana’
Chinese cabbage, Brassica rapa var. chinensis ‘Chokito’
Chinese cabbage, Brassica rapa var. chinensis ‘Red Choi’
Chinese celery, aka smallage, Apium graveolens
Chinese spinach, Amaranthus tricolor ‘Flying Colours’
Chinese spinach, Amaranthus tricolor ‘Mekong Red’
Chives, Allium schoenoprasum
Curry leaf, Murraya koenigii
Curry leaf bush, Helichrysum italicum
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
Lebanese cress, Aethionema coridifolium
Leek, Multiplier, Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum
Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus
Lemongrass, Native, Cymbopogon flexuosus
Lettuce, Lactuca sativa ‘First Fleet’
Lettuce, Lactuca sativa ‘Purple Royal Oakleaf’
Lovage, Levisticum officinale
Love-lies-bleeding, Amaranthus caudatus
Mexican tree spinach, Cnidoscolus aconitifolius
Mint, native, Mentha satureoides
Mustard, Red, Brassica juncea
Okinawa spinach, Gynura bicolor
Parsley, Petroselenium crispum ‘Italian flat-leaved’
Peperomia pellucida
Phillip Island hibiscus, Hibiscus insularis
Radicchio, Cichorium intybus ‘Palla Rossa’
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
Turmeric, Curcuma longa
Variegated four seasons herb, Plectranthus amboinicus ‘Variegatus’
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
Water hyssop, Bacopa caroliniana

Edible petals
Begonia x semperflorens
French Marigold, Tagetes patula ‘Himalayan’
Gourd, aka New Guinea bean, Lagenaria siceraria
Pigeon pea, Cajanus cajan

Edible seed/ pods
Chilean wine palm, Jubaea chilensis
Pigeon pea (split pea), Cajanus cajan
Winged bean, Psophocarpus tetragonolobus

Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Portuguese Peri Peri’
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, Australian, Citrus x latifolia
Lime, Tahitian, Citrus x latifolia
Mouse melon, Melothria scabra
Pepino, Solanum muricatum

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
Cardamom, False, 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
Krachai (root), 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’
Turmeric, Curcuma longa – spice with anti-cancer properties
96 taxa

Jerry Coleby-Williams

29th June 2013


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Dominique says:

    Dear Jerry,
    I am trying to source where to obtain the celosia spicata/Lagos spinach for my Dad who is an avid gardener. Please could you help us source where to obtain these in Australia. Many thanks

    1. Hi Dominique,
      Either come to my Open Day in May – see details in Open Gardens Australia’s website or read this:

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