Grow it local. It’s all about a backbone of perennials. The world is changing and when supply lines are interrupted, a backbone of perennials in the garden makes all the difference.
The recent Queensland floods highlight the importance of local food sources. The scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows that extreme weather events will only increase in the future. Our world is changing and we need to adapt.
During the 2011 and 2022 floods our area was completely cut off from Brisbane and Ipswich. The suburbs of Mount Crosby and Karana Downs were an island with all five access roads completely inundated. We were cut off for up to a week during each flood event. People were understandably unprepared, this was unprecedented for us. Forget toilet paper, the local stores quickly ran out of food and some people became desperate for supplies, particularly fresh food.
Like most people from a small country town, having to fend for ourselves when we are isolated wasn’t that big a deal. We had a small edible garden, chickens for eggs and a pantry stocked with flour and pasta. What did shock us was the understandable response of some locals who were unaccustomed to a lack of city convenience. The word ‘desperate’ comes to mind.
As a result of the 2011 flood isolation we were determined to help ourselves and the wider community be better prepared during future events. In essence that is why our garden really took off. We got serious about finding edible plants that tasted good and would be reliable and productive out here on this hot, dry hill. This is how we stumbled onto perennial (long lived) edible plants.
Ten years later and with the perennial garden thriving, we were able to supply free fresh garden produce to the local store (when otherwise there would have been nothing but a few nashi pears on the shelves) and to the wonderful Froggy Creek Edible Exchange.
It wasn’t just Brisbane Edible Gardening suppling the community. The Froggy Creek Community Edible Exchange had donated produce out day and night. Real fresh food. Well done Vicky Mills!
During the floods, we also invited those stranded to come to our garden and ‘meet’ the plants that they could grow as part of their regular suburban garden but have on hand to eat in times of need.
This is also why we published our little Brisbane Edible Gardening Booklet. It is a simple and concise guide to what have proven to be the most reliable produce in our garden over the last 10 years. We have an abundance here, even on this ‘Mungrel of a Western facing block’ as Costa from Gardening Australia calls it lol.