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Getting ready for Summer

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by TonyWigan, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. TonyWigan

    TonyWigan Active Member

    Jun 3, 2012
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    Hi Guys, A small question with I suspect no small answer. I set up some space and the beginnings of beds for a food garden last summer but with the rain didn't go any further.
    What should I be doing now to be ready to make use of the garden this year? What are the best foods to put in for Brisbane?
  2. MarkU

    MarkU Active Member Premium Member

    Jun 2, 2012
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    g-day Tony, mate for me this is a real "how long is a piece of string" question. there are so many variables and so many different things that can come to mind. i have no idea of what is good for brisbane but i do know that when setting up for me I followed a few basic steps
    • grow what I like and will use - I listed what i would like to grow the list included what was in dads garden when i was a kid, what i am sick of paying for at the shops and what i would like to have a go at.
    • i researched growing requirements compared that list and I short listed some things space, soil, climate etci love cooking so had a real focus on herbs and chillies so that they were on hand whenever i needed themgive it a go, the best research in the world is having a go and seing what actually works
    i also had a break through moment when i asked the guy at the garden shop the simple question of "what grows good around here this time of year?" (i was surrounded by 100s of types of tomato plant and I really had no idea ) - he replied with - the tommy's are nearly done how about you try something else and i ended up with a great crop of kale and beans, I most likely whould have wasted my money on tomatoes at the time (i had certainly wasted it in the past)Mark
  3. One basic: first and always keep plants growing on the garden bed. Weird though it may sound, having plants growing, even weeds, encourages and nourishes the soil micro-organisms and earth worms. These tireless workers are the basis on which soil fertility is built. And in conventional horticulture and agriculture, are the least understood and least considered yet are the most powerful helpers you are going to have and virtually free to maintain, too!

    Except when growing a crop or adding to the soil (compost or aged manure or mushroom compost for example) keep a cover crop growing. A cover crop need only be as simple as some spare seeds you have around or a couple of kilos of mixed bird seed from the supermarket. There are many recipes for cover crops for this season or that season and perhaps they produce better results. But nothing beats what you have on hand or can get quickly and cheaply. For best results use at least a kilo of mixed seeds per square metre. Do your maintenance fertilising first; pre-soak your seeds for 24 hours pouring off the discoloured water. Thickly broadcast the seeds on the bed then cover with potting mix. Keep damp and be surprised how quickly the young plants emerge. Keep them growing until they start to bud up prior to flowering then chop them off with shears (or scissors) and drop them on top of the soil to rot down. Follow with an edible crop if it's the right season or with another cover crop.

    Some mixtures I have used are Wheat (bought in bulk and organic); Buckwheat (bought from Green Harvest, Qld-grown organic); Mung Beans from the local bulk foods shop; Alfalfa (aka Lucerne, sprouting seeds); mixed bird seed with a lot of Sunflower.

    Doing It
    is more important than what you grow (imho), keeping the soil with active roots is more important even than mulching however important that is - and it is, but compare the soil under just mulch to the soil from under a cover crop.
  4. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

    May 27, 2012
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    Bellmere, QLD
    Tony,Brisbane being a subtropical climate generally has hot humid summers. Many vegetables suffer in the humidity and don't grow well at all through summer. Some vegetables thrive through hot humid summers (like sweet potato).

    I'm not expert, but I also live near Brisbane (Bellmere/Caboolture) same climate as you, and I get the most out of my patch through winter/spring not summer.

    Here's what I've got going at the moment (winter) - tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, Chineese cabbage, silver-beet, spinich, onions (all types), potatoes, lettuce (hearting variety), peas (both snap and telegraph), beetroot, and carrots.

    Sow these types as seed or plant seedlings (10 for a $ at Caboolture markets) at this time of year and you'll get some good crops. Don't leave it too late though, as some crops take up to 3 months to reach maturity and you want them to reach maturity before summer.

    Hope this helps :)

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