I was born in Australia and moved to the States in 1978 at the age of 13. I do remember my grandparents had a veggie market garden when there was a a prolonged drought and the wheat crop and lack of pasture for the sheep used for wool weren’t bringing enough income. It was less than an acre according to my Mum. Even though I was a child, I remember picking small vegetables.
The garden was situated on 50 acres between the Namoi River and a billabong. The billabong is a creek fed by the river that returns to the river at some point. Pop created a rough stone road at a low point where he could get to the 50 acres. Sometimes a heavy rain made the road impossible to drive over the billabong. But the river irrigated the whole garden and so most years they had an impressive harvest.
Yates was the only major seed company that sold open-pollinated seeds that were mostly Aussie varieties but they did import some varieties from other parts of the world. But I do remember two classic Aussie varieties I’d like to share with you.‘Queensland Blue’ Heirloom Pumpkin.
Since there is no Halloween in Australia,there were no orange pumpkins just blue when I was a kid. The most famous was the ‘Queensland Blue’ named after one of Australia’s five states at that time and is available at Baker’s Creek Seeds, the behemoth heirloom seed company. Be sure to request the most beautiful and largest seed catalog in this county.
The deep orange flesh and the dark blue makes a stunning combo. (Check out the today’s color wheel to see such a display.) This is still one of the varieties that is still a popular choice after all these years yielding 10-20 pound beauties..When Aussies made a roast during my days it was always the ‘Queensland Blue’ which looked fantastic with just potatoes on the plate.
But my favorite Aussie heirloom is the ‘Crystal Apple’ cucumber which is still a big favorite yet today. I searched here in the US for many years and even tried the very bitter lemon cucumber in case they were the same thing. YUCK .I finally saw it added at Baker’s Creek two years ago. It’s also available at Seed Saver’s Exchange. I have several 2′ X 5′ planter boxes and having a friend building an eight foot trellis for the middle of some of them.where I plan to grow some of these cucumbers.Should make some pretty image for the blog.
Im my days it was the best selling favorite being grown and aI high yielder. Baker’s Seds recommends harvesting them at a smaller size of three inches high and wide than we did back home which should make them better suited for a trellis.
Part of its allure is it has a very think thin skin unlike the traditional long green choices. So the only prep is to score them with a fork around it and then enjoy the mld taste. I’ll give you updates butI i think you should consider for the ground or trellis this next year.