Do Landscape Suppliers Ever Sell Genuine Soil?

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 the Market Gardener

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.

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.

How Can ‘Dog’s Vomit’ Have A ‘Hive’ Mind? Enter The Kingdom Of The Slime Moulds

“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 pools and then tiny stalagmites emerge from them, forming miniature landscapes. As the sizzling Brisbane sun rises their colour quickly fades to…

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.”

Turmeric In The Garden And Kitchen

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is indispensable in the kitchen and easily  grown in a frost free climate. The tasty leaves and rhizomes and edible flowers are useful for flavouring and colouring food. In some countries, turmeric is used to help manage post traumatic stress disorder. After gardening in the heat and humidity of a Brisbane summer’s day, I find turmeric tea, a Javanese speciality, very refreshing. Some years ago, an Indonesian friend said “Drinking turmeric daily reduces body odour, helps keep you healthy and may prevent cancer”. Another favourite use I have for turmeric is making sfouf, aka turmeric cake, a delicious Middle Eastern 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…

Elephant Foot Yam: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Elephant foot yam In 2013, I started growing Elephant Yam, Amorphophallus paeoniifolius. This tropical, forest-dwelling, winter herbaceous perennial root crop is native to India, SE Asia, New Guinea and Australia. It is recorded as one of the earliest crops cultivated by indigenous Australians. Not content with being a curiously ornamental flower and a splendid houseplant, this…

Why Do Fresh Woodchip And Potting Mix Turn Mouldy And Repel Water?

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 has taken over. The soil smells mouldy, (maybe anaerobic?) and when I water, the water just runs off, not in. This problem…

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…

Surprisingly Nutritious Vegetable Damper Recipe

This damper recipe includes green pawpaw (Carica papaya) and Warrigal greens (Tetragonia tetragonioides), which are currently abundant in my garden. Both are self-sown crops. Served either as damper or used as a pizza base, this simple dish is surprisingly nutritious, especially if you use wholemeal flour. Please observe the kitchen chemistry notes.