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”. 

Tomatillo Salsa Verde Recipe

“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”.

‘Putting sustainable food production into context’; Jerry Coleby-Williams, Patron, National Toxics Network Inc.

We ignore the following key aspects of sustainable food production at our peril:
* A culture of forgetting – we forget our horticultural history;
* Declining crop diversity, both in the range of species grown and in the genetic diversity within each crop;
* The oversimplification and impoverishment of systems of food production;
* A reluctance to apply the precautionary principle where using the least toxic solution in crop protection comes first;

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…

23rd Bee Species Found At Bellis Identified

When I started my garden at Bellis in 2003, it consisted of Queensland Blue couch, fences and a house. Starting a garden completely from scratch is a rare opportunity for many gardeners. This was my first chance. I wanted to record the transformational effect of gardening sustainably. One way to record progress was a species…

Queensland Cucumber Mosaic Virus Alert

Cucumber mosaic virus is a threat to food security. Last year this highly destructive disease was identified on a farm near Bundaberg, and now it has been found on a Charters Towers watermelon farm. As a student at Kew Gardens, this was a case study, and we were drilled about implementing ‘on site’ quarantine procedures to…

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.

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?

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…

Elephant Foot Yam: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Elephant foot yam 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, 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…