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.

Living With Mosquitoes In The Subtropics

Question: “Hey Jerry, we’ve found mosquitoes to be a real problem for us on the northside this year. An electronic device has been recommended, do you have any views on it?” Barnaby via Facebook Reply: Hi Barnaby, I’ve yet to see an electronic device tell the difference between beneficial mosquitoes (our allies) and the pest species. No device…

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.”

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?

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…

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…

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…

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.