To start off, I need to apologise for misleading you last week! The Hibiscus I bought from the native nursery in Maleny is not an Australian native after all. I contacted the nursery and they identified it as Hibiscus acetosella, the cranberry hibiscus or false roselle. The nursery has it growing in their food garden, and propagated some to sell. I had just assumed that the nursery sold only native plants! The young leaves can be picked and eaten. I have looked it up on the internet, and read that the leaves are slightly tart (high acid content) and mucilaginous and should therefore be eaten sparingly. I don’t think I will be eating too much of it somehow. With apologies out of the way, let’s take a look at the vegetable garden this week.
1. Broccoli. Seeds of an Italian heirloom variety of broccoli, ‘Di Ciccio’ , were sown before the end of March, and we have just started to harvest the heads. The lower leaves of each plant were removed as they had cabbage moth grubs on them.
2. Psyching yourself to eat salad instead of warm comfort food in winter can be difficult, but by adding a few leaves of Rocket (Eruca sativa) to the salad it adds a lovely tang. We sowed the seeds left over in a packet we had bought last year, and had a bumper crop. Winter is the best time of for us to grow salad vegetables here in Queensland.
3. As soon as it became cooler the snow peas started thriving, and we have just begun harvesting them.
4. The red stemmed Ceylon spinach, or Malabar spinach. This is not a true spinach, but the leaves resemble spinach, and can be eaten cooked or raw. The Basella rubra seedlings we purchased were planted out about a month ago, and are doing well. This Asian green loves warmer weather (I discovered this after I had purchased the plants), but despite the cool weather these plants all seem to be doing well.
5. Sweet Potatoes. After trial and error, we have found that sweet potatoes, at least in our garden, do better in pots than in our clay based soil. We have harvested a couple of pots of sweet potato and have been astounded by the size and quantity of the tubers.
6. Choko. The choko vine is coming to the end of its fruiting period. It has borne well this year, and we have a lovely crop of fruit, which has been shared amongst friends and neighbours. We even found a double fruit (fasciated fruit) on the part of the vine that had grown into a bottlebrush tree.
We are heading for the winter solstice next month, and with it some colder weather. No matter the season, take a look at The Propagator’s blog, and in the comments section, view the links to other gardens from around the world. Happy gardening!