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…

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…

In Production Today: October 2014

Brisbane’s warm, dry, breezy inter-season, sprummer, (the period between spring and summer) is intensifying, hastening the production of seed from winter crops. The seed of Ethiopian cabbage (Brassica carinata), Chinese cabbage ‘Tokyo Bekana‘, mizuna, flowering turnip (aka rapini, Brassica rapa var rapa ‘Cima di Rapa Quarantina’) and mustard ‘Osaka Purple’ have already been harvested.

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…

Cocoyam Recipes – Winter Open Day At Bellis, 2014

If you attended this winter open day, congratulations, you were part of gardening history. A record breaking number of guests visited Brisbane’s thrifty sustainable house and garden. And what a jolly, generous, patient and enthusiastic bunch you proved to be. The very best Queensland has to offer. Best of all, there were more young gardeners…

Open Day At Bellis, August 2014

FULL DETAILS SEE: http://www.opengarden.org.au Leave Brisbane’s suburbs behind as you visit 813 square metres of rural Wynnum. Check out my award-winning, thrifty sustainable garden: blue bananas, stingless bees, home grown bath sponges, and turf mostly mowed by guinea pigs. See how a decade of organic gardening has converted uncompromising acid sulphate soil into a wonderful,…

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?

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…

Concerning Australia’s Batty Forests And Convict Lettuce

I’d like to start my Australia Day speech by acknowledging the Bundjalung people, Beaudesert’s original landscape gardeners. I’d also like to thank Woolworth’s who have been supporting Australia Day for thirteen years. I am lucky. I seem to have made a career out of doing what I love. I am a freelance curator, broadcaster and gardener. I…

In Production Today – December

It’s hot and humid and, despite hail, my crop of ‘Manning Pride’ corn is ready to pick. It’s amazing how robust this heritage corn can be considering the force of the hailstorm. The plants are standing 3.25m high, each carrying up to three cobs, 30cm long. It’s highly productive. Gardeners can thank the Bega Valley…