Learning To Crop Gấc

Gac, Momordica cochinchinensis, is a tropical fruit related to bitter melon (M. charantia). I saw my first gac on sale in a tea plantation in Srimangal, Bangladesh. Native from SE Asia and China through Indonesia to far northern Queensland, gac is a traditional food and medicinal plant.

Sweetpotato: Combat The GM Yellow Rice Scare Campaign While Feeding The Poor

You may be aware that Gene Technology multinationals are on the media warpath claiming that communities are wrong to oppose their new GM yellow rice, an artificial plant invented with higher amounts of Vitamin A than normal rice as their contribution to help combat malnutrition of the world’s poorest people. Think again.

Between 2013 and 2019, UK Aid funding allowed the International Potato Centre and partners to deliver pro-vitamin A-rich, sweetpotato cultivars to more than 2.3 million families in five African countries and Bangladesh.

Grow Pandan And Make Pandan Paste And Juice

Pandan (Pandanus amarylliifolius) has long been a staple in tropical food gardens in South and South East Asia. Its leaves impart a unique aroma and flavour to drinks, rice, cakes and desserts. As with all garden produce, the quality of freshly picked pandan surpasses that of the dried or the frozen equivalent. Fortunately, pandan is easy to grow in a subtropical or tropical climate, they make an attractive display, it is an easy plant to  propagate and maintain in a kitchen garden.

In Production Today: From Cultivation to Creation.

“I decided to note down the 111 different things currently on the menu from my 300 square metre subtropical food garden. Ongoing drought has affected fruit production – I made just 340 jars of jams and marmalades this autumn instead of the usual 800…Whatever the weather, there will always be winners and losers in a garden, the key is growing a variety of useful, climate appropriate plants so there’s always food on the table”. 

Footpath Gardening: To Boldly Garden Where No One Has Gardened Before…

Nature strip gardening can beautify streets capes, improving the retail sale prices of real estate. Reseach has proven nature strips provide valuable social and environmental services.

Public safety is vital. Plants in nature strips should not be spiny, caustic, toxic or allowed to overgrow, or cause trip hazards, impede wheelchairs, or block lines of sight. The effect should not be overgrown, full of litter or claustrophobic, it should be park-like.

In Production Today: My Subtropical Harvest Festival, May 2015

With 100 square metres of good soil you can feed a person all year round. That’s what my ‘Dig for Victory’ grandparents taught me when I was a teenager in London. Here in sunny subtropical Brisbane you also need a minimum of 7,000 litres of stored water, ideally 10,000 litres, to sustain that production through…

In Production Today, April 2015

Here’s my subtropical food garden’s current autumn menu. Plants marked with an asterisk are volunteers, that is they are self-sown. Currently I have 38 different volunteer crops.

Living With Mosquitoes In The Subtropics

Question: “Hey Jerry, we’ve found mosquitoes to be a real problem for us on the northside this year. An electronic device has been recommended, do you have any views on it?” Barnaby via Facebook Reply: Hi Barnaby, I’ve yet to see an electronic device tell the difference between beneficial mosquitoes (our allies) and the pest species. No device…

Rarity Is Commoner Than You Think

I own a critically endangered plant. It comes from Madagascar, an island degraded by human activity and peppered with endangered species. When I discovered the news that my Gerold’s Thornless Crown of Thorns was on the brink of extinction, I had a flashback to planning the Rare & Endangered Plants Garden for the Royal Botanic…

Turmeric In The Garden And Kitchen

After gardening in the heat and humidity of a Brisbane summer’s day, I find Turmeric Tea (Curcuma longa) most refreshing, especially if chilled and served with fresh, finely chopped mint leaves or lemongrass stems. An Indonesian friend, Hakim, introduced me to Turmeric Tea in 2010, saying “Drinking turmeric daily reduces body odour, helps keep you healthy and…