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.
“Salsa verde, chilled and freshly made from home grown tomatillos (Physalis philadelphica), is great on a hot day. An excuse for not cooking on (another) one of those sticky subtropical summer days”.
“I planted Aloe vera so I can use its juice to soothe sunburn. It grows effortlessly in my nature strip. People also use it to relieve the itching caused by eczema. I also enjoy cooked Aloe vera as a dessert.”
Question: A Brisbane landscape supplier sold me soil for my raised vegetable beds. All my vegetables keep failing. I did a soil pH Test and the result was pH 9. Is there any hope I’ll be able to grow spring crops successfully?
Thuan’s market garden: 1,500 sq m of alluvial, sandy loam in a flood plain of the Perfume River catchment, Hue, Vietnam. Fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, flowers, poultry – and incense – in a prolifically productive, wet, inland subtropical climate.
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.
“Truly alien creatures…are all around us” Professor Christopher Reid, University of Sydney At dawn you could mistake them for vomited curry, something people find disturbing. They surface during the night, forming moist, sulphur-yellow… Continue reading
“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.”
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… Continue reading
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… Continue reading
The gift that keeps on giving: In 2013, Annette McFarlane gave me a young Elephant Yam, Amorphophallus paeoniifolius. This tropical, forest-dwelling, winter herbaceous perennial root crop is native to India, SE Asia, Papua… Continue reading
Question: “Dear Jerry, In the last year, I have had a soil problem that looks normal on the surface, but when you dig into the mulch, it is grey and looks like a fungus… Continue reading