In Production Today – September

First attempt at tapping palm sugar (Arenga pinnata)
First attempt at tapping palm sugar (Arenga pinnata)

Goodbye spring! September’s spring withered halfway through the month as the hot, windy, desiccating conditions of Brisbane’s fifth season arrived: crematoria. Timely watering is, again, critical until useful rain arrives…

Following the warmest ever winter, I now have three bunches of green bananas almost ready for cooking, but on the down side, my yam harvest is growing, which means they are becoming unsuitable for eating – they must be planted for my winter 2014 harvest.

Watercress germinated poorly in the unseasonal warmth and my cocoyams, which had grown beautifully over autumn and winter, are now dormant, waiting for rain.

Warrigal greens, Italian flat-leaved parsley and lettuce have been wonderful, I’ve had my best ever crop. Radishes, ‘Old Women Meet & Gossip’ (Ethiopian cabbage), huauzontle (Chenopodium berlandieri) and coriander have been excellent, but the warmth has made them bolt.

Fortunately the same warm conditions have boosted the germination of my first corn crops  and Joseph’s Coat ‘Flaming Fountains‘, my favourite form of Chinese spinach, are growing strongly.

My ten year old sugar palm (Arenga pinnata) has finally flowered, so I’m attempting to harvest the sap to make palm sugar.

The carrot ‘Lunar White‘ were all volunteers, the first I’ve ever had, and they made a tasty juice.

The chaplu (Piper sarmentosum) have been pruned to the ground to regenerate them. Everything has been weeded twice and all bare soil mulched with chopped sugarcane to cool the soil and reduce evaporation and weed germination.

Edible roots
Arrowroot, Canna edulis
Carrot ‘Paris Market’
Carrot, ‘Lunar White’
Cassava, Manihot esculenta
Cassava, Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata’
Cocoyam, Xanthosoma saggitifolia
Eschallot, Allium cepa var. aggregatum
Radish, Palestinian, Raphanus sativus
Yam, Winged, Dioscorea alata

Edible leaves
Basil, sacred, Ocimum tenuiflorum
Cabbage, Ethiopian, Brassica carinata ‘Old Women Meet & Gossip’
Cassava, Manihot esculenta
Cassava, Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata’

Celery stem taro, aka Tahitian spinach, Alocasia esculenta
Chervil, Anthriscus cerefolium
Chickweed, Stellaria media
Chinese cabbage, Brassica rapa var. pekinensis ‘Tokyo Bekana’
Chinese celery, aka smallage, Apium graveolens
Chives, Allium schoenoprasum
Curry leaf, Murraya koenigii
Curry leaf bush, Helichrysum italicum
Endive, Cichorium endiva ‘Green Bowl’
Flowering turnip (or rapini), Brassica rapa var. rapa ‘Cima di Rapa Quarantina’
Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum
Good King Henry, aka Lincolnshire spinach, Chenopodium bonus-henricus
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
Leek, Multiplier, Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum
Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus
Lemongrass, Native, Cymbopogon flexuosus
Lettuce, Lactuca sativa ‘First Fleet’
Lettuce, Lactuca sativa ‘Purple Royal Oakleaf’
Lettuce, Lactuca sativa mixed
Lovage, Levisticum officinale
Love-lies-bleeding, Amaranthus caudatus
Mint, apple, Mentha suaveolens
Mint, native, Mentha satureoides
Mint, Moroccan, Mentha spicata
Mizuna, Red, Brassica juncea var. japonica
Mustard, Red, Brassica juncea
Mustard, Brassica juncea ‘Giant Red’
Nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus
Nettle, annual, Urtica urens
Parsley, Petroselenium crispum ‘Italian flat-leaved’
Phillip Island hibiscus, Hibiscus insularis
Radicchio, Cichorium intybus
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’
Variegated four seasons herb, Plectranthus amboinicus ‘Bayside Beauty’
Vietnamese mint, Persicaria odorata
Watercress, Nasturtium officinale ‘Aqua Large-Leaf’
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
Flowering turnip (or rapini), Brassica rapa var. rapa ‘Cima di Rapa Quarantina’
Garden pea, Pisum sativum ‘Honeysweet’
Nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus
Pansy, viola tricolor ‘Johnny Jump Up’
Pigeon pea, Cajanus cajan
Goldenrod, Solidago sp.

Edible pods
Pigeon pea, Cajanus cajan
Garden pea, Pisum sativum ‘Honeysweet’

Edible seed
Chilean wine palm, Jubaea chilensis
Pigeon pea, Cajanus cajan

Green banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Dwarf Ducasse’
Green banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Java Blue’
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Portuguese Peri Peri’
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Siam Gold’
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Red Cayenne’
Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix
Lemon, Citrus limon ‘Meyer’
Lime, Tahitian, Citrus x latifolia
Mulberry, Morus alba ‘White Shahtoot’
Pepino, Solanum muricatum
Strawberry, ‘Red Gauntlet’

Edible sap
Sugar palm, Arenga pinnata

Edible fungi
White button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus

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 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
90 taxa

Jerry Coleby-Williams

30th September 2013


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Maggie Good says:

    Thanks for this useful and encouraging post Jerry. The lists of foods is particularly helpful. I really appreciate your generosity in sharing your expertise and experience. I hope you had success harvesting your sugar palm.

  2. Helen Holmes says:

    In the last three months the Townsville area has had 4.8mm of rain instead of the average 47.4 – on top of a hellishly dry ‘wet’ season (1/6th of our normal February rain and half the expected rain for the full season) means that I have been watering the fruit trees since April and everything is now on bore water with just a little rainwater that I’m saving in case the bore fails. I am building wicking beds which might make the difference between having spring/early summer vegies and not. And of course the farmers out west are really struggling. Still at least two and a half months before we’re likely to get any decent rain, if anything. Pretty depressing to look around and see everything so dry so early in the year.

    Make the most of your gardens while you can everyone! This is what climate change is all about! I bet TA isn’t a gardener!

  3. nurseysarah says:

    I love that I have found your blog! Even though down in Melbourne we have a different climate, I really enjoy following your garden 😀

  4. Tomás Dietz says:

    Thanks Jerry. I envy you for your garden. You must have a huge property to grow all these plants!

    I’m hoping to grow banana down here in Sydney, especially cooking bananas, but I don’t know how to get virus free plants (the online provider in Qld is no longer allowed to send to NSW). I’m also super keen to grow the Karat Banana (famous yellow fleshed one from Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia) – do you know where I can source this one?


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