What I love the most about blogging is the connections you make with other like-minded people from all around the world. It's a rare treat (and a bit of kismet I reckon) when you meet someone from the same shire, especially when they offer to send you some exotic seeds to plant in your garden in exchange for a possible mention on your blog, if you happen to grow something from them.
Well....how could I resist such an offer. especially from someone who was also affected by the 2011 floods which ravaged Bundaberg as well as Gympie. I'm sure many of you would have seen the news coverage...so the fact that Leigh Nankervis and his wife survived extensive damage to their business, flood-proofed and became more resilient, makes them kindred spirits of mine. I especially love the fact that they have found a niche in the competitive business of providing seeds...they specialise in rare and exotic varieties, and I am so excited to share with you the seeds that I have chosen for my budding food forest (it was a tough choice and I already have my Spring order planned):
I have tried many times to get Waterlillies growing in my dam. I love driving past properties that have a beautiful display of lillies, and I have transplanted a couple unsuccessfully, but I have never tried to grow them from seed. I emailed Leigh and he provided detailed instructions on what I need to do, so I cannot wait to get started with these...kind of fits in with my whole permaculture design too. I can just see the frogs jumping from pad to pad :)
Fair Dinkum Seeds says this is a Very handy plant, easy to grow (but slow to start). It produces delicious juicy shoots and tubers that go great in a stirfy when fried up with a little garlic and sesame. Edible flowers, but very bitter due to high natural content of the alkaloids nuciferine and aporphine. Blue lotus flowers are commonly used to make various herbal concoctions including blue lotus tea, wine and even martinis apparently.
If you have been following my blog then you would know that I have started an edible food forest. It will take years to grow my exotic fruit trees and I have been looking for understorey plants to offer protection for my young trees and to add nutrients to the soil...this is one of those plants.
I had never heard of this, but when I read what Fair Dinkum Seeds had to say about it, then I knew I had to have it.
This was a tough choice but I was looking for edible shrubs and the Fair Dinkum Seeds blurb on this one sold me, despite the fact that this plant did come up on the environmental pest list for my council area. I will just have to make sure it does not take over....and I have already planted the seeds in my hot house.
I loved the write up about these unusual fruit and the fact I had not heard of them before was a bonus for me...something new to try. I heard the guys talking about these at the meeting the other night and they called them African Cucumbers. Can't wait to get them growing here.
After I chose this seed, I saw them growing at the Yandina Community Garden so I knew it was a perfect permaculture companion...and I bought a seedling which I planted last weekend. Apparently it is related to the eggplant and tomato. It has thin edible skin like an apple except sweeter and with soft juicy fruit like a melon. Another unusual fruit for my collection.
Squash grows really well here and I have been looking for these seeds for a long time, because I loved this squash as a kid. It grows on a small vine and with heaps of fruit. Normally 5-10 per plant. But, if you want even more though, Leigh says the trick is to bury the stem under a handful of soil every couple meters. This provides a larger root mass, and in turn even more fruit! The fruit themselves are about as big as a small football, yellow skinned with a flesh texture just like Spaghetti.
What a magnificent garden I will have by the end of the year...my very own exotic food forest. Fair Dinkum Seeds is a great business to help with my goal. Their seeds are well priced and there is no delivery fee which is a huge bonus. You can also email Leigh with any queries you may have about what will work in your area. They also have some great information on their Facebook page.
Can't wait to keep you updated on how my seedlings go! Do you have unusual and exotic plants in your garden?