Have you ever wondered how all the trees, plants and flowers got here?
If you have, interesting fact, these people were called ‘plant-hunters’, collecting plants from all around the world. The 17th century saw these adventurous ‘plant-hunters’ exploring the world and bringing home an array of exotic plants. The life expectancy of these men and woman wasn’t long, but their passion for collecting specimens lives on today in you.
One of the most famous is Scottish Botanist, David Douglas, who the Douglas Fir is named after. Douglas travelled from England to North America and Hawaii, dying at the age of 35.
The Queensland Herbarium at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Cootha, Toowong, is the centre for science and information on Queensland’s plants, animals, and ecosystems. Established in 1859 it houses over 870,000 plant specimens. The collection contains historically important specimens, including some collected by Sir Joseph Banks, the botanist who accompanied Captain James Cook in 1770.
When taking part of a plant into your local nursery for identification, try to include a ‘fresh’ good size part of the plant with leaves, flowers, or fruit. A photo of the plant is helpful, along with the location and how it is growing e.g., a tree or a shrub. Even an expert can have trouble identifying a plant, so as much information as possible provided will help narrow down the type of plant.
From 3500BC to 2000BC, to the present-day, vegetables have been grown. Staple favourites are leeks, lettuce, cabbage, peas, celery, and onions. The Romans enjoyed broccoli, kale, and cauliflower. The great thing about growing vegetables is that you don’t need a garden. If you are limited for room, you can grow a large range of vegetables in pots.
Addressing Bribie Island’s sandy soil is simple, just add organic matter like cow manure, compost, and mushroom compost. A green manure crop like mustard seed grown however don’t allow to flower, dig in, helping to build up fertile topsoil. Sandy soil is acidic and stops the growth of your vegetables, therefore, it is very important to add lime or dolomite. Now you are ready to grow your brassicas, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower which are big feeders, so a liquid fertilizer like ‘5 in 1’ every 2 weeks is necessary. When the heads start to appear use a liquid potash every 2 weeks. Never let these vegetables go short of water.
Vegetables like Wombok or Chinese Cabbage are usually ready in about 8-10 weeks. When the heart begins to appear tie the leaves together.
Cauliflowers like their seedling roots firmed down which will produce a firm head, which is called a curd and like the Chinese Cabbage, fold the leaves over it to protect it from the sun. If they are ready to be picked all at once, do so, otherwise they will bolt. You can blanch your excess and freeze.
Broccoli, like the above, need a firm soil. When planting out seedlings, water really well and continue to keep moist. When ready to pick, cut off the head before it flowers and then put some slow-release fertilizer like ‘5 in 1’ around the plant. You will then get side shoots appearing on the stem, pick them when they are about 15cms long.
When regrowing these winter vegetables for next season, plant in a different area of the garden. This prevents disease like ‘club foot’ where the roots swell and rot and the plants will fail to grow properly. That’s why using Lime to sweeten the soil is most important.
Had a night out with friends, suffering a bit of a hangover? All these vegetables are high in Vitamin C, and help you fight off colds. So, cheers, have a cabbage water on me.
P.S. I’m enjoying my Vitamin C with orange juice and Tequila, celebrating World Tequila Day – the July 24th.