In Production Today – June 2012

There’s just 112 different types of edible available right now, less than in late winter, since many crops sown are still juvenile. Winter in Brisbane is perfect for mushroom growing on the cheap. In cool conditions, mushroom fly (Lycoriella sp.) ceases egg laying, so its maggots don’t riddle mushrooms with holes.

Small, Sweet Cucumbers – Almost Without Effort

I enjoy trialling new crops, and this season one of the most outstanding plants at ‘Bellis’ has been the West Indian gherkin, Cucumis anguria. This trial had a shaky start, with only one seed germinating from the packet I bought from Eden seeds. I gave it well composted, freely draining soil in a raised bed…

So You Want To Create A Community Garden?

A gardening friend is getting ready to breathe life into a neglected communal food garden, so I’ve sent him these notes I prepared for Gardening Australia. In 2007 – 2008, there was a spike in oil prices. Since the bulk of food is produced using petrol-dependant technology (oil-based fertilisers and pesticides, petrol powered irrigation, harvesting,…

In Production Today – December 2011

I think I have found an alternative to parsnip for the subtropics. Yesterday I had fun cooking my first Hamburg parsley roots (Petroselenium crispum var. tuberosum). I haven’t grown this herb/ vegetable since I was fifteen and gardening in London. Hamburg parsley is a cool climate crop that, historically, was displaced in favour of the…

Where Can I Get A Greengage Fruit Tree, And How Do I Grow Them?

Question I recently visited France and was lucky enough to eat a Greengage, it tasted amazing. I already grow one and I think it is a ‘Doree’ cultivar. Can you suggest where I might buy the cultivar ‘Reine Claude de Bavay’, also known in Australia as ‘old greengage’? It was a wonderful fruit, I ate…

New Native Bee Visits ‘Bellis’

I first observed this small native bee working my coriander flowers last week. Clearly it is different from the nine other bees found at ‘Bellis’, helping to pollinate crops.

Gardens Of Remembrance

Flora Mortis: Chittagong Commonwealth War Grave A selection of photographs taken when I was guided around by my friend Tanbir, in Bangladesh, July 2011.

When A Gardener Considers Moving To Queensland

Sandy, a ‘Bellis’ blog reader, is buying a 5 acre property in the Samford Valley, north west of Brisbane… “I must say I was impressed by your patience in establishing the drainage and improving the soil. I may be organic, but I’m also impatient and that’s been my downfall in the little suburban garden we’ve…

After The Floods

If you need fresh food in a few days, start growing sprouts. You don’t need a garden or any gardening skill to succeed, just view this beginner’s guide first: http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s1857237.htm When the time comes to re-start growing food at home on freshwater flood-affected ground, pay some attention to your soil first. View flood recovery at:…

A Gardening Cycle Is Complete

The most important thing about our garden receiving 594mm of rain this month, (the 50 year December average is 123.2mm), is that I have now lived here and successfully grown food through both extreme, prolonged drought and prolonged, saturating rain, a period covering seven years. December brought no flooding in this property. Some stormwater escaped…

More Yam Please: Growing Alternatives To Potato

Yams are warm climate, winter herbaceous, perennial vines. The swollen, starch-rich tuber is their food store, and this is what most people grow them for – they use them as a potato alternative, baked, boiled, mashed or as chips.