In Production Today: June 2014

Today a cool change has arrived, a reminder that June weather is supposed to be about winter, not the continuation of autumn as it has been. Will there be another winter?

My garden in 'winter'
My garden in ‘winter’

Last night, before the change arrived, it was a good 10C above average, enough to entice cane toads to hunt in my garden, while up in the Sunshine Coast hinterland peaches are flowering. My ‘Pisang Ceylan’ and ‘Java Blue’ bananas are swelling and the ‘Ladyfinger’ bananas are almost full sized.

Balmy conditions have allowed banana aphid to breed, I’ve sprayed my bananas and cocoyams (which can be badly affected) for the fourth time since March. Mushrooms have been sprouting, but without the winter cold fungus gnats are still breeding, their maggots are spoiling some of the harvest.

I sold a batch of cocoyam plants to South Bank for their Epicurious Garden, and donated cuttings of my variegated Cassava and sweetpotato ‘Marguerite’.

Since the 21st June is the shortest day, and the coldest winter weather normally follows, I’ve sown some snow peas. Heritage peas need lengthening days to perform well. Only time can tell if the humidity will diminish and conditions will be sufficiently cool enough to get a decent crop.

Winter 2013 was too warm and humid for peas, they suffered badly from mildew and the return was hardly worth the effort of sowing. So far this year my garden has received less than half the 50 year average rainfall, and an El Nino drought is pretty much guaranteed. I’m identifying plants to cull in spring to save water.

Edible roots

Arrowroot, Canna edulis
Cassava, Manihot esculenta
Cassava, Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata’
Cocoyam, Xanthosoma saggitifolia
Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus ‘Dwarf Sunray’

Edible leaves

Basil, sacred, Ocimum tenuiflorum
Cassava, Manihot esculenta
Cabbage, Chinese, Brassica rapa var. pekinensis ‘Tokyo Bekana’
Cabbage, Ethiopian, Brassica carinata ‘Old Women Meet and Gossip’
Cassava, Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata’
Celery stem taro, aka Tahitian spinach, Alocasia esculenta
Cha-plu, Piper sarmentosum
Chickweed, Stellaria media
Chicory, Cichorium intybus
Chicory, Cichorium intybus ‘Red Dandelion’
Chinese celery, aka smallage, Apium graveolens
Chinese spinach, Amaranthus tricolor
Chinese spinach, Amaranthus tricolor ‘Flying Colours’
Chinese spinach, Amaranthus tricolor ‘Mekong Red’
Chives, Allium schoenoprasum
Coriander, Coriandrum sativum
Cranberry Hibiscus, Hibiscus acetosella
Curry bush, Helichrysum italicum
Curry leaf, Murraya koenigii
Dai Gai Choi, Brassica juncea var. foliosa ‘Wynnum Imperial’
Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale
Eschallot, Allium cepa var. aggregatum
Fennel, Florence, Foeniculum vulgare Azoricum Group ‘Zefa-Fino’
Garlic, wet neck, Allium sativum
Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum
Green Amaranth, Amaranthus viridis
Huauzontle, Chenopodium berlandieri
Japanese parsley, Cryptotaenia japonica
Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix
Lagos spinach, Celosia spicata
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 ‘Royal Purple Oakleaf’
Mangelwurzel, Beta vulgaris Crassa Group
Mexican Tarragon, Tagetes lucida
Mexican tree spinach, Cnidoscolus aconitifolius
Miner’s lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata (syn. Montia perfoliata)
Mint, Nan & Grandad’s variety, Mentha sp.
Mint, native, Mentha satureoides
Mint, Moroccan, Mentha spicata
Mountain spinach, Atriplex hortensis ‘Atropururea’
Mustard, Brassica juncea ‘Osaka Purple’
Mustard, Brassica juncea ‘Red’
Nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus
Old man saltbush, Atriplex nummularia
Pandan, Pandanus amaryllifolius
Parsley, Petroselenium crispum ‘Italian flat-leaved’
Purslane, Wild, Portulaca oleracea
Radicchio, Cichorium intybus
Rocket, Wall or wild, Eruca saliva
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, Coronopus didymus
Turnip, Flowering, Brassica rapa var. rapa ‘Cima di Rapa Quarantina’
Variegated four seasons herb, Plectranthus amboinicus ‘Variegatus’
Variegated four seasons herb, Plectranthus amboinicus ‘Bayside Beauty’
Vietnamese mint, Persicaria odorata (just hanging in!)
Warrigal greens, Tetragonia tetragonioides
Welsh onion, aka spring onion, scallion, Allium fistulosum
Welsh onion, perennial, aka perennial spring onion, scallion, Allium fistulosum
Zucchini, Cucumis pepo ‘Lebanese’

Mushroom, white button, Agaricus bisporus

Edible petals
Banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Java Blue’
Banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Ladyfinger’
Banana, Musa x sapientum ‘Pisang Ceylan’
Bedding Begonia, Begonia semperflorens
Cranberry Hibiscus, Hibiscus acetosella (excellent for tea)
Fig-marigold, Aptenia cordifolia
Goldenrod, Solidago sp.
Stinking Roger, Tagetes minuta
Pigeon pea, Cajanus cajan
Rocket, Wall or wild, Eruca sativa

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


Banana (green), Musa x sapientum ‘Ladyfinger’
Capsicum, ‘golden’, a home raised cultivar, Capsicum annuum
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Portuguese Peri Peri’
Chilli, Capsicum annuum ‘Siam Gold’
Kaffir lime, Citrus hystrix
Lemon, Citrus x limon ‘Meyer’
Lime, sweet, Citrus x latifolia ‘Australian Sweet Lime’
Lime, Tahitian, Citrus x latifolia
Mandarin, Citrus x reticulata ‘Ellendale’
Pawpaw, Carica papaya ‘Southern Red’
Pepino, Solanum muricatum

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
Brahmi herb, Bacopa monnieri – supposed to aid memory
Cinnamon, Cinnamomum verum
Cardamom, Eletteria cardamomum
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 (young seedlings)
Turmeric, Curcuma longa – spice with anti-cancer properties

92 taxa

Jerry Coleby-Williams

15th June 2014


3 Comments Add yours

  1. naturesfae says:

    Hi Jerry!
    Great list! It has been raining constantly in Cairns… Cold and wet is not something we often get here. It has been great for germinating all our cool weather seeds – we may even get some peas this year if the cool stays around. If I felt really adventurous I might even buy some daffodil bulbs that they sell in the shops here…. 😀 Have you ever tried growing flowing bulbs as an annual?

    1. When I managed the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, I had no option but to grow daffodil and tulip as annuals. In fact, it took a lot of preparation to get a decent tulip display, and then the flowers were quickly bleached by the intense sunshine. It was an interesting exercise, but I didn’t get much satisfaction from wasting expensive perennials.

  2. Dave Blake says:

    Hello Jerry,
    Here on Bribie, I managed to get in an early sowing (end of March) of telephone peas, which are now 6′ tall and flowering. Also got some late Qld Blue pumpkins in, which are now scooting along the ground, albeit a bit slowish with the onset of this cold snap.

    A handy little item I picked up at the op-shop was a home brew heater (cost $3.00), a square ceramic bottom heat thingo, which I have hooked up to provide bottom heat to my out of season veggie seed planted in 4 cell punnets.

    We do not get a frost here, being 100 yards from the sea, so I can get in early and have vines ready to produce when the days lengthen and the weather warms. I have watermelon seed on the go at the moment.

    Keep up the good work


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