Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld



You'll find plenty written about "growing your own" on the internet, in books and in magazines, but they're mostly based in temperate or cool climates, and may also have a different set of soils, pests, available products etc. There can be problems, however, applying this information to growing veggies in Qld.

This webpage is especially for vegetable gardeners in Qld, particularly those in the SE Qld and coastal regions. It will guide you to more information from Qld and other tropical and subtropical climates, plus some key reference material from authoritative sources about popular vegetables. There'll also be news and other issues of interest to home veggie growers.


Managing contamination in urban gardens

In a study of contaminant risk of urban-grown food, gardens were tested in seven cities across the USA. Lead was the most common contaminant but arsenic, zinc and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were also found at some sites. They were scarcely present, however, in food harvested from these gardens. There was elevated lead in root crops, but not sufficient to cause adverse effects at expected consumption levels. Proper washing of leaf and fruit crops will reduce contaminated dust. The gardeners themselves should take precautions against direct contact with the soil. Appropriate gardening practices (see source Study: With proper care, contaminated urban soils are safe for gardening) can also help to reduce the risks. (June 2015))

Veggies in urban soils - how dangerous?

A study measuring uptake of various pollutants suggests the risk of growing vegetables in contaminated urban soils may not be as high as previously thought. Root crops remain a slight concern but were considered a minor risk at normal levels of consumption. Good horticultural practices and thorough washing of produce is also helpful in reducing risk. Read more: Gardening in a polluted paradise (May, 2015)

Older news at bottom of page.

Talks, workshops and classes

With increasing interest in edible gardening, so is the number of organisations offering workshops on the subject. If you live in Qld, check out the Queensland Gardening Pages Events Diary. Besides separately listed events, many of the larger garden shows and expos also host talks and demos. Check their schedules for more information.


Places to buy vegetable seeds & plants or related products & services

Regular garden centres will usually carry some vegetable seeds and/or seedlings. If you want a broader selection, especially old-fashioned (heirloom), unusual or tropical vegetables, you may need to locate a specialist supplier.

The following may include online suppliers. For the most up-to-date information on plants in stock, opening hours, prices etc, be sure to visit the seller's website or contact the business directly.


Ph: (07) 5593 5133

illustration Birdies Ezy Veggie Beds are prefabricated raised garden beds. In a range of sizes & colours, they look good without the hazards of treated timber.

"Ezy" to install and "ezy" to use, they feature a safety rubber edge. Ideal for schools as well as the home garden. Optional detachable bench makes gardening even "ezy"er.

Compost bays and outdoor cat litter beds (great for cat runs) with same quality construction as the veggie beds, plus expanding range of other garden aids (e.g. tree root barrier, mineral fertiliser, plant dam) also available.

Delivery throughout SE Qld. Interstate postage/freight available for most items. Visit the WEBSITE to find out more.

INTERESTED IN ADVERTISING HERE? If you sell vegetable seeds or plants to residents of Qld, or gardening accessories of particular interest to home vege growers in this state (e.g. specialised growing systems, plant supports or protective covers), find out more about advertising on this site here: Information for advertisers. May include online and mail order suppliers.

If you're looking for places to buy perennial species, heritage varieties or other unusual vegetables, nurseries advertising as fruit or herb nurseries often carry vegetable plants and/or seeds as well. If you live in Queensland, check the following:
Queensland Gardening Pages - Fruit
Queensland Gardening Pages - Herbs

More Information

Some of the big problems most Queenslanders to face when trying to grow fruit and vegetables:
» Extreme heat and sunlight intensity throughout warmer months
» Lack of well-defined seasons and lack of intense chilling in winter
» Drought and watering restrictions. Reliance by some on bore water.
» Naturally poor soils in most areas, removal or mistreatment of topsoil in developments

Those these reasons, vegetable growing information available in many publications, especially from the northern hemisphere, aren't always directly applicable here. (Don't forget to account for the seasons occuring in different months, too.)

There are two main approaches for Qld vegetable gardeners working towards a productive garden:
» Cultural techniques (e.g. winter cultivation instead of traditional summer planting, provision of shade etc)
» Selection of suitable varieties. This includes learning to grow and use species originating from tropical regions, which may be better adapted to our conditions than many traditional European vegetables.

Online Information

The links below have been provided with these needs of Queensland vegetable growers in mind, concentrating on information from warmer climates, plus the crops better adapted for or conditions.

Some other Qld-based websites about growing vegetables
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries Queensland. Check the Qld DPI website for up-to-date news about important pest and diseases outbreaks etc in Queensland as well as a variety of information about vegetable crops.
Northey Street City Farm Windsor, Brisbane
Veggie Village Community Garden at Peregian Beach
For more clubs and community groups, go to the clubs page
Brisbane Local Food Forum and blogs
Gustoso Blog about gardening and cooking in Brisbane
My Veggie Garden Blog from Toowoomba

When to plant
While local conditions and cultural techniques will always mean that it's not possible to dictate hard-and-fast rules about when to plant particular crops, many beginners will feel that a guide will be helpful. Seed packets, local publications and broadcasts, district garden clubs etc are sources of information, although you might have trouble finding a comprehensive guide specific to your area.
The following websites have planting guides:
Brisbane Organic Growers Inc. website, which has a month-to-month guide to planting and garden tasks
Gardenate A website that offers lists of what to plant each month for various climatic zones
The following vegetable sowing calenders from the Northern Territory Government may be useful to residents of Qld in comparable climatic areas:

Effects of weather and climate
How to cut water use in the vegetable garden Extension Service Garden Hints, Oregon State University
For more about water stress in general, go to Garden Watering Issues Although watering is an obvious problem for Qld vegge growers, but there are many other ways that climatic conditions can effect production:
Heat Stress on Vegetables Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Some veggies like the heat Mississippi State University
Time To Plant Heat-tolerant Veggies LSU AgCenter, Louisiana
Vegetable Gardening in Moapa and Virgin Valleys (Some insights into growing vegetables in hot dry conditions.) University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (PDF)
Home Vegetable Production in Southern Nevada (Includes some advice for growing in strong sun.) University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (PDF)
Why Garden Plants Fail To Produce Arid-Southwestern Gardening Information, University of Arizona
With Hot Weather Comes Garden Woes Arid-Southwestern Gardening Information, University of Arizona
Give garden vegetables the water they need, when they need it Extension Service Garden Hints, Oregon State University
How to discourage your veggies from bolting Extension Service Garden Hints, Oregon State University
Vegetables - Shade Tolerance Walter Reeves. Georgia
Some vegetables that will accept a little shade National Vegetable Society, U.K.
Production of spring vegetables under shade Reproduction of a 1961 article, Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society (PDF)
The effect of shade on the bio-climate and production of vegetable crops Reproduction of a 1965 article, Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society (PDF)
Soil temperature condition for vegetable seed germination Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
Latin and Caribbean Cultures Contribute Vegetables For Summer Hendry County Extension Service, Univ Florida
ECHO An organisation helping people in developing countries overcome hunger. Lots of information on crops and techniques for difficult conditions at their website
More about the effects on gardens in general here: Weather and Climate

Soil Issues
Lead Contamination in the Garden Ohio State University
The Myth of Protected Preservatives (PDF) Discusses the issue of whether chemicals in pressure-treated timber can affect soil or plants. Washington State University
Organic Alternatives to Treated Lumber Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, USA
Gardening and Landscaping with Wood Addresses some of the problems using timber in the landscape. Ohio State University. (Note that timbers species and treatments may be different in Australia).
Treated Wood for Raised Garden Beds University of Tennessee (PDF)
More about soils in general here: Soils

Small Space and Container Growing
More on raised garden beds here: Garden Edging & Raided Beds
Vegetable Gardening in Containers University of Florida
Intensive Gardening Methods Virginia Cooperative Extension
Intensive Organic Gardening Ohio State University
Grow Vegetable Vines in Small Spaces Developing Countries Farm Radio Network
Container Vegetable Gardening Clemson University, South Carolina
Vegetables - Growing in Containers Walter Reeves. Georgia
Container Vegetable Gardening North Carolina State University
Growing Vegetables in Containers Cornell University Cooperative Extension (PDF)
Container vegetable gardens good for small spaces Extension Service Garden Hints, Oregon State University
Minigardening (Growing Vegetables in Containers) University of Florida
Vegetable Gardening in Containers Virginia Cooperative Extension
Container Gardening in the Desert A blog about growing vegetables in containers in Las Vegas, Nevada
Mini vegetables - crops of the future? National Vegetable Society, UK
The Out-of-the-Ordinary Vegetables: Miniature Vegetables Cornell University Cooperative Extension (PDF)
Mini-Gardening North Carolina State University
Interest in patio gardens spreads Mostly about growing vegetables. Mississippi State University
Methods to grow vegetables and flowers in small spaces Extension Service Garden Hints, Oregon State University
Mini-Gardening (Gardening in limited space) North Carolina State University
Vegetable garden: Intensive gardening methods Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
Intensive Gardening Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
Healthy Harvests from Small Spaces University of Maryland Extension (PDF)
Microgreens University of Illinois Extension
Microgreens: A New Specialty Crop University of Florida
Indoor microgardens can stop winter blues Mississippi State University
More about container gardening in general here: Container gardening

Pests and Diseases
Rotating crops in garden may help fight disease Extension Service Garden Hints, Oregon State University
Damping-off disease may prove fatal to veggie seedlings Extension Service Garden Hints, Oregon State University
Minimizing Vegetable Diseases Cornell University Cooperative Extension (PDF)
Managing Insect Pests in the Home Vegetable Garden Cornell University Cooperative Extension (PDF)
More about pest and disease control in the garden generally: Pests and Diseases. See also pages for specific crops furhter down this page

Companion Planting and Allelopathy
These links have been moved to the Pests and Diseases page

Pollination, Other flowering and fruiting problems
Go to: Flowering and fruiting

Seeds, Varieties, Genetics
See also information about pollination on the Flowering and fruiting page and general germination and seed raising issues on the Seeds page
How long do garden seeds last? Extension Service Garden Hints, Oregon State University
Vegetable garden: Seed for the garden Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
How are hybrid and open-pollinated vegetables different? Extension Service Garden Hints, Oregon State University
Hybrid? Open-pollinated? Clonal?...What's the difference? Extension Service Garden Hints, Oregon State University
Growing Vegetable Transplants University of Maryland

Grafted vegetables
Some types of vegetables may be grafted for disease resistance or other benefits. In some cases, a perennial rootstock might give a longer life to species usually grown as annuals. This could be appealing those growing in small gardens or containers, althought the plants will undoubtedly be more expensive to purchase in this form.
Grafting of Vegetables to Improve Greenhouse Production Food & Fertilizer Technology Center for the Asian and Pacific region
Grafting eggfruit to control bacterial wilt Dept Primary Industries & Fisheries, Qld
Tomato Grafting (an illustrated guide) Northern Territory Government, Department of Primary Industry, Fisheries and Mines (PDF)
Grafting Tomatoes for Bacterial Wilt Control Northern Territory Government, Department of Primary Industry, Fisheries and Mines (PDF)
Grafting Tomatoes Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
Grafting Snake Beans to Control Fusarium Wilt Department of Primary Industry, Fisheries and Mines, Northern Territory (PDF)

Use of herbs, fruit and vegetables in an decorative way is covered further on the Cottage Gardens page

If you're interested in growing your own vegetables to save money, you might also be interested in the Budget Gardening page or Growing your own food in a financial crisis

Types of Vegetables

The following groups are covered on The Self Sufficiency Pages:
Peas including snow peas, sugar snap peas
Beans including Green Beans, Snake beans, Winged beans and other fresh "beans"
Spinach and spinach substitutes
Corn Sweetcorn, Baby Corn
Unusual Tropical Vegetables including Basella, Jicama, Abelmoschus, Moringa, Kang Kong and others

Assorted others:
Growing Jerusalem Artichokes North Carolina State University
Commercial Celery Production in Eastern NC North Carolina State University
Cichorium intybus Ecocrop database, Food and Agriculture Organization Organization
Portulaca oleracea Ecocrop database, Food and Agriculture Organization
Purslane - Portulaca oleracea L. University of Florida
Purslane: A ubiquitous garden weed with nutritional potential Reproduction of a 1987 article, Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society (PDF)
Common Purslane, Portulaca oleracea University of Wisconsin-Extension Master Gardener Program

Some fruits or crops used in sweet dishes are grown like vegetables:
Growing rhubarb Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries
Growing rhubarb in Western Australia Western Australian Agriculture Authority
Rhubarb Jefferson Farm & Gardens, Thomas Jefferson Agricultural Institute, Missouri (PDF)

Older News

Origins of Corn

The grass teosinte looks so different from corn that many have doubted the theory that it is the grain's ancestor. However, researchers growing teosinte under temperatures and carbon dioxide levels similar to those 10,000 years ago have observed more corn-like growth patterns. These characteristics were probably those expressed in the past and selected for by early farmers. Source: Greenhouse "Time Machine" Sheds Light on Corn Domestication (January 2014)

British GYOers expand their repertoire in 2011
Sales figures in the UK indicate that interest in "grow your own" (GYO) remained strong in 2011. While tomatoes continue to be the most popular crop, increases in other lines suggest existing gardeners are further developing their interest. Results for the garden and nursery industry overall were up in 2011. Source: Positive year end for the garden market and good prospects for grow your own (February 2012)

Hidden menace could lurk in veggies
Research has demonstrated that it is possible for Salmonella and E. coli to develop inside plant tissues grown from contaminated seeds. If they were to occur in vegetables in this manner, they could not be removed with simple washing. Source: E. coli, Salmonella may lurk in unwashable places in produce (August 2011)

Post-flood veggie gardens
If you were flooded and you grow edibles, take a look at the factsheet provided by the Brisbane City Council: Flood Fact Sheet - Advice for food safety and vegetable gardens (PDF).

Landshare to launch in Australia
"Landshare" is a way to match people who have land but no time or ability to garden with people who want to grow fruit and vegetables but don't have the space. Modelled after the successful Landshare UK, Landshare Australia is scheduled to launch nationally in February 2011. Meanwhile, if you're interested in participating, you can register at

Redlands community garden trial
Redland City Council are encouraging residents to vist the trial community garden and bushcare nursery at 30 Mooloomba Road and provide feedback on whether it should become permanent and what improvemenst should be made. The facility will be open until 31st October (7am until 5pm daily) and submissions will be accepted until 15th November 2010. More information from the Council here: Have your say about NSI Community Garden trial (PDF) (May 2010)

UK maintains interest in gardening, GYO strong
Although bad weather meant a slow start to 2010, The Horticultural Trades Association in the United Kingdom are hopeful that retail sales will pick up, with consumers indicating healthy interest in spending more time in the garden. It's expected that the "Grow Your Own" (GYO) categories will continue to dominate spending. Source: HTA GIM Market Update - All things GYO drive garden market (May 2010)

Recession influences garden trends in UK Research commissioned by the Horticultural Trades Association in the United Kingdom indicates the recession has taught consumers to value their time and money more, and brought about a distaste for "waste or excess of any kind". The HTA anticipate that this will manifest not only as a continuation of interest in "grow your own", but an interest in recycled products, wildlife, biodiversity and gardens generally. Source: Green it Yourself trend drives garden market (February 2010)

Grow Local SEQ
Queensland Conservation wants to encourage the production and consumption of locally grown food. Their "Grow Local SEQ" campaign will help raise awareness about the environmental, economic and quality implications of reduced food transportation and storage. Objectives of the campaign include increasing the number of community gardens and farmers markets in the region, and providing support for backyard gardeners, community gardeners and farmers. For more information visit Welcome to Grow Local at the Queensland Conservation website.

Sunshine Coast residents keen to grow their own
Three workshops on fruit and vegetable growing being held in Sunshine Coast libraries in November were booked out even before the they were advertisised. The Sunshine Coast Council plans to run more next year and suggest residents contact their local library to reserve a place. More information here: Public hungry for backyard veggies (November 2009).

Children help drive UK garden retail
The Horticultural Trades Association report "grow your own" is still going strong in the UK, with school gardens and children who take their new interest home contributing substantially to garden centre sales. Retail garden centre and nursery sales were up 10.2% for the March-May quarter, (the retail sector overall showed an increase of 2.4% for the same period). Source: Grow Your Own continues to drive sales as garden retail 10% up (June 2009)

Brisbane City Council encourages growing your own
There's no doubt that the backyard veggie craze is hitting Australia. Check out the following from Brisbane City Council, which includes gardening tips from the Lord Mayor himself: Start growing your own food to make Brisbane more sustainable (April 2008)

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