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.
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
For more clubs and community groups, go to the clubs
Blog about gardening and cooking in Brisbane
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:
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
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:
An organisation helping people in developing countries overcome hunger. Lots of information on crops and techniques for difficult conditions at their website
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).
More about soils in general here: Soils
Small Space and Container Growing
(Growing Vegetables in Containers) University of Florida
(Gardening in limited space) North Carolina State University
Pests and Diseases
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
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
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.
(an illustrated guide) Northern Territory Government, Department of Primary Industry, Fisheries and Mines (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:
including snow peas, sugar snap peas
including Green Beans, Snake beans, Winged beans and other fresh "beans"
Sweetcorn, Baby Corn
Some fruits or crops used in sweet dishes are grown like vegetables:
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 www.landshareaustralia.com.au
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)