In Production Today, September 2014

Spring is over in my garden. Winter crops are flowering – my garden is transitioning into its seed saving phase.

Petal Power: Edible Flowers

Edible flowers have a long history of being grown for making dyes for food and fabrics, or as decorations for cakes, salads and garnishes. What’s surprising is how many commonly grown flowers are edible.

In Production Today: August 2014

Here’s my subtropical food garden’s winter menu: Edible roots Arrowroot, Canna edulis Carrot, Daucus carota ‘Paris Market’ Cassava, Manihot esculenta Cassava, Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata’ Cocoyam, Xanthosoma saggitifolia Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus ‘Dwarf Sunray’ Radish, Raphanus sativus ‘Sparkler’ Edible leaves Basil, Greek, Ocimum minimum Basil, sacred, Ocimum tenuiflorum Cassava, Manihot esculenta Cabbage, Chinese, Brassica rapa var. pekinensis…

In Flower This Mid-winter’s Day At Bellis, Brisbane

For Brisbane to skip one winter is forgivable, but to skip two winters in a row seems somewhat careless. May was the hottest month on Earth since records began. June 2014 is the 352nd consecutive month of above average global temperatures.

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?

In Production Today, May 2014

May 2014 was the 351st consecutive month of above average global temperatures. Or put another way, any gardener under 30 years old will never have experienced normal growing conditions. This month’s weather has been surprisingly sunny, dry and so warm my ‘Java Blue’ and ‘Pisang Ceylan’ bananas and Sugar palm – tropical plants – are…

International Compost Awareness Week

‘Bellis’, Brisbane’s sustainable house and garden, produces 4 metric tonnes of compost a year. Using low till, ecologically sustainable gardening techniques enables this property to sequester 0.638 metric tonnes of atmospheric CO2 gas each year. Doesn’t sound much, does it?

In Production Today: April 2014

A couple of brief April showers kept the grass green, but below the surface the soil remains dry. It’s ideal weather for propagating Cranberry Hibiscus and Four Seasons Herb, cuttings are rooting within ten days. Although the value of each watering is lasting longer now the days are shorter and the nights cooler, I won’t…

Hibiscus Leaves Helped Save Australian Lives

I’ve just found a letter written years ago in response to an article I wrote about edible members of the Hibiscus family (the Malvaceae). This refers to rosella leaves (Hibiscus sabdariffa), an icon of Australian backyards, and also peasant food or famine food in Bangladesh, Thailand and Burma. Rosella leaves helped Australian prisoners survive the…

Freedom 2014

To me, freedom is access to water – clean rainwater, harvested from my roof, and recycled water generated by my sewage system which I use to grow organic food.