Green Dean’s Blog

Ain't Spring grand?! dscn6547dscn6552

With the almost perfect balance of sunny days, a little humidity and regular rain recently, you would not be blamed for thinking it's a perfect Spring for gardeners. Our edible gardens certainly think so, with an abundance of wonderful produce from the garden so far this season, amazing growth on new plants and seedlings, and some lovely diversity in garden creatures.

Our intensive greens beds are flourishing. Our green manure crops have exploded. We've been harvesting at least a heaped double handful of native raspberries daily for weeks now.

Lots of things are flowering beautifully in the gardens, both edible (the end of most brassicas - feeding the bees) and ornamentals companion planted for colour and bee food (sunflowers, marigolds, rockery and cottage garden mixes and more). We're swimming in salad greens and herbs like lettuce, silverbeet, spinach, chicory, rocket, basil, parsley, coriander, ssuk (in the chrysanthemum family, loved by Asians), mountains of mizuna and cascades of snow peas. We've been making amazing kimchi with our home grown daikon and other radishes. We're still eating our way through our last harvest of potatoes - around 5 varieties that yielded around 6 to 1. And finally we're enjoying some broad beans.

While we're saying goodbye to many of the favoured winter brassicas, we're welcoming in Spring lovelies like corn, more herbs, more lettuce varieties, rainbow chard, re-veined sorrel, amaranth, warrigal greens, more spinach, okra, pumpkins, various cucumbers, eggplants, chillies, more flowers and lots of legumes. I'm excited to be growing a variety of Korean black bean I brought back from our recent trip to Korea, as well as an old friend like Borlotti.

The chickens seem to be enjoying the change in seasons also, with more sunny spots to enjoy throughout the day, a daily flourish of spent brassica greens and regular lawn cuttings from neighbours over the fence, now that grass is growing again. In my opinion and experience, Autumn and Spring are the best growing seasons and time to enjoy the garden in Brisbane. Once the humidity and heat of Summer comes to stay, it isn't as pleasant, but it's still great to be outside in the Summer early mornings and late afternoons when the temps are cooler. Viva la Spring!

left-panelThe explosive interest in gardening in recent years, especially edible organic gardening pursuits like permaculture and urban farming, is certainly very heartening to witness ... and in my case, be an exciting part of professionally.

One of the wonderful results of this gardening renaissance is the abundance of new and old gardening groups growing across Australia, including online. For Brisbane gardening enthusiasts alike, whether edible, ornamental or a little of both, we are spoiled for choice on and off line, especially with groups like Redland Organic Growers Inc (ROGI for short), which focuses its membership and activities in and around the Redlands region of Brisbane.

With a very solid, loyal and active member base, monthly meetings, garden visits and makeovers, fundraisers, regular education and generous sharing of produce, knowledge and information in the community, ROGI is a gem among Brisbane's garden groups.

I had the pleasure of being invited to guest speak at their September monthly meeting on Wednesday 14 September at Alexandra Hills, Brisbane. I spoke on some of my business and community activities, including my urban farming and permaculture education and consulting, workshops and events, Crop Swaps, The KFC Project and more. It was a solid turnout and a very warm and welcoming audience. I really enjoyed the gathering and have decided to become a member. They are also on Facebook at ROGI.