Edible Exotics: You have gathered that we are rather involved in the cultivation of Australian plants. We also grow a few exotics. One of our many mottos is: “If a plant is edible and exotic then we will try to grow it”. Fortunately at our high altitude fruit fly is not a problem so we are able to grow stone fruits without having to resort to poisonous sprays. A few years ago a peach seed germinated in some compost. As the tree was not in the way we left it to develop. The peaches produced by this tree are the tastiest we have ever eaten. These peaches ripen at the end of the season when other stone fruit have finished. The moral of this story: if you have a seedling fruit tree appear in the garden, be patient until maturity because you may be in for a pleasant culinary surprise. We are propagating cuttings from this tree and they will be planted in other places in the garden.
A couple of years we were given a Banana Passionfruit (Passiflora mollissima) vine. We planted the vine on the north side of our shed and in two years has covered an area of at least four square metres. Banana Passionfruit has large mauve clematis-like flowers. The flowers appear for many months of the year and are followed by yellow oval fruits. They have the appearance of small bananas without the bend. The fruits have soft skins and are full of pulp. The pulp is more acidic than normal Passionfruit but may be sweetened by the addition of a small amount of sugar.
We also grow Black Passionfruit (Passiflora species), which has proved to be a satisfactory producer. Nelly Kelly is the grafted variety that we grow. In summer 2000 our Nelly Kelly produced about 100 fruits.
A few years ago we grew Tommy Toe Tomatoes. This variety produces clusters of bite-sized fruits. Since that first year, one or two feral Tommy Toes appear in our garden beds annually. We encourage these invaders by watering at regular intervals. They develop into sprawling plants occupying an area of at least three-square metres and become covered with hundreds of clusters of tasty tomatoes. They produce tomatoes for most of the warmer months and one year a sheltered plant was providing tomatoes up to June.
We also grow other vegetables in more a more formal setting; namely in two vegetable beds. Broad beans, pumpkins, squashes, cabbages and beetroot all figure on our menu at various times of the year.
There is something deeply satisfying about harvesting your own organic produce.