Cyclone Near Miss And Food Production, February 2015

As Cyclone Marcia gets downgraded to a Tropical Low weather system, my soil and crops have had a good soaking: 236mm in the past 48 hours. No crop losses so far – 106 different edibles available. Lucky conditions for my ‘Red Aztec’ corn and Jerusalem artichoke ‘Dwarf Sunray’, they’re just days from harvest.

Bunya: Prehistoric Plant, Ancient Australian Food Tradition

“Young Australians need to be educated about what a Bunya tree looks like, what the sound of snapping cones and breaking branches sound like, and to avoid lingering underneath them in high summer. When I was at primary school, we had a Bunya in the schoolyard. We knew what to do, how to harvest them, and no one was ever hurt.”

Why Does The Label Say My Ornamental Chilli Is Toxic?

Question: Yesterday a caller to 4BC Radio’s ‘Talking Gardening’ programme asked why the label on their ornamental chilli plant called it Capsicum annuum, and also said that it was “Unfit for Human Consumption”?

Mangelwurzel Harvest

I imagine everyone is outdoors, harvesting their mangelwurzels (Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima) today like me. A friend is thinking about brewing mangelwurzel beer, they’re supposed to make a potent drop. Alcohol is not my strong point. Would a beetroot or turnip recipe work as a substitute? Can anyone point me to a recipe?

Living And Gardening With Koalas

Question: “Hi Jerry, Great to see you at the koala rally on Wednesday. Our next plan is to try and have a meeting with the developers. We were wondering if you might be able to help us with an alternative landscape plan to present. Cheers, Sandy R”. Answer: Dear Sandy, six years ago I interviewed…

In Production Today, December 2014

Rain. Finally! At last the lawn has grown enough for me to cut it for the second time since autumn, my team of lawn mowing guinea pigs can’t eat it fast enough. The hot, humid – and recently wet – weather is bringing a fine crop of mangelwurzel, beetroot and silverbeet to a close, they just…

Extreme Fire Weather Warnings…And Gardening

The Bureau of Meteorology has just issued a Fire Weather Warning for southern Queensland, and the ABC’s Weather Reporter, Jenny Woodward, advises people to drink plenty of water. What can a gardener do?

In Production Today: November 2014

I am so glad I decided to use the heat, winds and drought of Brisbane’s spring and sprummer to my advantage: it’s ideal for producing a seed crop! As my Queen of the Night buds, 2014 is firming up to be the world’s hottest ever year on record. Brisbane’s fifth season, ‘sprummer’, has intensified into…

One Name To Rule Them All: Get With Gomphrena

If there’s one thing that unites bachelor’s buttons around the world it is their beauty, and if there’s one thing that’s unique about each different kind of bachelor’s button, it’s their scientific name. A scientific name is a universal key to information.

Organic Win: Nematodes Defeated In Wynnum

Root knot nematodes can be a curse in warm, moist garden soils. Feeding by these minuscule, transparent, work-like creatures inside the root tissue of many crops causes the roots to develop tumour-like growths which retard the flow of water and nutrients through conducting vessels, weakening crops. What to do?

Success With Pumpkin In The Subtropics

Question: When do I sow pumpkin? I read in gardening magazines pumpkin can be sown from spring to autumn in the subtropics. But advice on seed packets (and some magazines) suggest that pumpkin should only be sown from spring to summer. I have a garden at Camp Mountain 4520 where we do not get frost, please…

Paddy to Plate: Gardeners and Gourmets To Tour Vietnam, 2015

There is so much to learn about growing and preparing tropical food plants. What fascinates me is that many of the fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices growing in south east Asian food gardens also have medicinal purposes. Enter kakrol, a fruit somewhat resembling a startled pufferfish…