In Production Today, March 2014

Bellis autumn 2014

Bellis autumn 2014

The most widespread recorded drought in Queensland’s history has meant most of my gardening effort continues to be spent on watering and soil improvement. At least I’m able to keep fruit trees productive and perennials alive.

Beds which would normally be filled with seasonal annuals can remain dug, mulched and bare until useful rain arrives. But some things are doing fine, during this hot, humid, sunny, windy autumn…

Plants in my garden that are fairly tolerant of warm, drying conditions include Lagos spinach, Mexican tree spinach, chaplu, cassava and arrowroot. Aloe vera and dragonfruit are, of course, fine, but my dragonfruit haven’t flowered.

My macadamia, propagated from the Ormiston House tree, (the first was planted by Walter Hill, Curator, Brisbane Botanical Gardens, the second macadamia was planted by Captain Louis Hope at Ormiston House), has a few nuts. But this month’s most embarrassingly successful crops are purslane, ‘Spanish Red‘ pineapple, ‘Goldfinger‘ banana, cranberry hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella), and ‘Mekong Red‘ Chinese spinach. Lemon basil, now in flower, is attracting leafcutter bees, very effective pollinators.

Citrus are cropping well, but each time they get too dry, they drop some fruit. The fruit on my kaffir lime and mandarin ‘Ellendale‘ are being attacked by spined citrus bug, bronze orange bug (stink bug), so they need daily control with pyrethrum. Watch how I control them here.

Ants are farming mussel scale on all citrus, so I will demonstrate how to control them when Gardening Australia next films here. Argentine ants are appearing in various locations across my garden.

The long term forecast for Brisbane is for a warm, dry autumn and spring with  the possibility of an El Nino developing during spring.

I need to start planning for drought.

Edible roots
Arrowroot, Canna edulis
Cassava, Manihot esculenta
Cassava, Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata’
Cocoyam, Xanthosoma saggitifolia
Eschallot, Allium cepa var. aggregatum
Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus ‘Dwarf Sunray’

Edible leaves
Basil, sacred, Ocimum tenuiflorum
Cassava, Manihot esculenta
Cassava, Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata’
Celery stem taro, aka Tahitian spinach, Alocasia esculenta
Chicory, Cichorium intybus
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 Calalloo’
Chives, Allium schoenoprasum
Curry leaf, Murraya koenigii
Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale
Edible peperomia, Peperomia pellucida
Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum
Green Amaranth, Amaranthus viridis
Heart leaf ice-plant, Aptenia cordifolia
Japanese parsley, Cryptotaenia japonica
Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix
Kangkong, Ipomoea aquatica
Lebanese cress, Aethionema coridifolium
Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus
Lemongrass, Native, Cymbopogon flexuosus
Mexican tree spinach, Cnidoscolus aconitifolius
Mint, apple, Mentha suaveolens
Mint, native, Mentha satureoides
Mint, Moroccan, Mentha spicata
Mustard, Brassica juncea ‘Osaka Purple’
Mustard, Brassica juncea ‘Red’
Nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus
Parsley, Petroselenium crispum ‘Italian flat-leaved’
Purslane, Wild, Portulaca oleracea
Radicchio, Cichorium intybus
Rocket, Wall or wild, Eruca saliva
Cranberry hibiscus, Hibiscus acetosella
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’
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

Edible petals
Goldenrod, Solidago sp.
Pigeon pea, Caja
nus cajan
Rocket, Wall or wild, Eruca sativa

Edible seed
Chilean wine palm, Jubaea chilensis
Macadamia, Macadamia integrifolia

Fruit
Capsicum, ‘golden’, a home raised cultivar, Capsicum annuum
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Portuguese Peri Peri’
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Siam Gold’
Green banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Goldfinger’
Green banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Java Blue’
Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix
Lemon, Citrus x limon ‘Meyer’
Lime, Australian Sweet, Citrus x latifolia
Lime, Tahitian, Citrus x latifolia
Mouse melon, Melothria scabra

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

66 taxa

Jerry Coleby-Williams
20th March 2014