Thursday, February 19, 2009

Green Broccoli and Albino Broccoli

We got a break from the rain today. It's still quite cool out (but not snowy cool; this is the Left Coast), and entirely sunny.
So we sat outdoors with the doggie and ate lunch on plastic lawn chairs.
We looked around the soggy yard, stripped nearly bare of its vegetable plants, and started dreaming about what we'd plant in spring.
Tomatoes, of course, but the number two big crop this year will be eggplants. One little bush did not provide enough last summer. Cranky says it's the closest you can come to growing your own pasta.
Then there will be peppers, potatoes, cucumbers. We're actually sick of summer squash, but I might try a winter squash.
The onions are already in the ground, most of them volunteers from fallen seeds. Only the red onions reseeded themselves.
And that dumb patch of brassica. It was not a good crop this year. I had to hack a few brutally due to aphid infestation. And then the evil green caterpillars arrived.
So, no, not a good crop.
But it was sunny out. I had to go take a look.
There were cute little vegetables. Green broccoli, and albino broccoli. (Not. It's exploded cauliflower.)


pea said...

what is the deal with aphids? i had some move in last year and decimate my herbs. do you have a cure? *hopeful wide eyed stare*

Judith-in-Wales said...

Planning the garden - it's almost better than eating the harvest. The siren sound of the seed catalogue, the freshly dug beds, the promise of bounty to come. And nothing has yet been eaten by bugs, killed by drought, scratched up by chickens or otherwise failed to thrive. Enjoy these moments while they last!

cookiecrumb said...

Pea: I've read that you should just shoot them off the plants with a hard spray of water. But then, they'd still be on the premises. So I don't know. I freaked and cut off all these stems, and bagged them in plastic. It worked, but my carbon footprint was heavy that week.

Judith: This is an idyllic phase. It's funny; when the harvest is robust, I rather resent it. For making me have to eat it. You enjoy, too. xx

Zoomie said...

I'm thinking of all herbs this spring, so I can keep going to the farmer's markets I missed last summer. Also, my Swiss chard is still charding - we had some last night!

LeatherneckJoe said...

Sounds like things are getting along with your garden planning. I would submit Garden Harvest Supply as a good online source for vegetable plants and certified seed.

Chilebrown said...

I have a seed for you that will grow into a squash that is related to the winter squash. The name of this plant is Cucurbita maxima. If you have the ideal growing conditions, You might have squash for a couple of winters.
My Sister gave me 6 seeds for Christmas. I hope to grow one big enough to hollow out and use as a vessel, to paddle across the bay, to the Marin Farmers Market. One seed has your name on it! Let me know?

el said...

"In spring"? Sounds like you can plant NOW if you're eating outside, kiddo!

Re: Aphids. Blasting them off with a hose DOES work: mostly they're just juice-sucking babies and they don't have the wherewithall to climb back up so blasting actually does kill them by robbing them of food.

And broccoli/cauliflower: the whole plant (excepting the root) is edible, you know...especially the leaves! I often get by in winter by just planting kohlrabi and eating its greens. But to be worm-free, sigh, you need to keep those butterflies they need to grow under netting, actually.

(Okay, and now steps off Cultivation 101 podium.)

Paula Maack said...

For aphids, I use soapy water (earth friendly, biodegradable soap, of course) in a squirt bottle. Spray it on, wipe them off, then rinse. The soap kills them, and they come off easily after that. If I don't want any soap residue to hit the soil, I will use wet towels for the entire task of sudsing, wiping and rinsing. I will do this a few times over a 2 - 3 week period, to follow up on the newly hatched aphids, and that usually takes care of it, with regular maintenance check ups.

Also, lady bugs and lacewings are supposed to work great, but I have a tiny garden that it is not enough to keep them around. Once I set them loose in my garden, they loiter briefly, then move on to greener pastures. Perhaps a more abundant garden full of aphids would keep them interested - dunno.

Your broccoli looks great!! I had not heard of albino broccoli - how cool!


~ Paula

mo said...

I've used a combo of half milk/ half water sprayed on plants to kill the aphids and other bugs. Environmentally friendly and effective!

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: That's rather streamlined, and a little bit English. Sounds gorgeous, actually. You could plant a maze or something.

Joe: I appreciate the suggestion. I will check it out.

Chilebrown: I am just so scared you are trying to fob off a pumpkin seed on me. I was thinking Delicata squash, actually. They're small, and you can eat the skin.

El: We have these tomato nazis in Marin (the Master Gardeners) who almost make you sign an oath not to plant tomatoes before May 1. Might get going on it sooner, though. Travel plans might interfere...
Thanks for the advice on aphids. You un-scared me. That's good.
The worms? I only saw a butterfly twice; almost caught it once (but it was a very flittery butterfly).
Yes, I still have a whole little farm of brassica leaves; I've never eaten them, but because of you, I will.

Paula: I'm totally psyching you on the "albino broccoli." It's cauliflower that has grown for too long. And I appreciate your aphid advice, too. I might not try soap if I don't have to. Did you read about the milk?

Mo: Tip of the day! Never heard of this before. Merci buttercups.

The Spiteful Chef said...

I think exploded cauliflower might be more attractive than regular cauliflower, which has chunks that are called "curds," which I think is not the most appetizing route the cauliflower-taxonomy-commission could have taken...

dancingmorganmouse said...

I had to sacrifice my veggie garden for a new fence. So am planning the autumn/winter crop. It’s so sad, a nekid veggie garden. Suggestions?

cookiecrumb said...

Spitey: Curds? Eek. I call them lobes. Like brain chunks. The cauliflower gets really cute when it explodes; good for a quick fry in oil. Tender.

Morgan: I'm too much of an amateur to suggest fall or winter planting. So far I've had success with broccoli, cauli and onions. I remember your nightmare with the brassicas last year, though. Netting?
I'd suggest edamame, but it needs lots of sun. Ooh, carrots? Radishes? Little baby turnips?

kudzu said...

Because I've had no helpful maintenance gardeners for months I now have very, very healthy weeds. It seems I can soon harvest enough dandelion greens before the blossoms develop to cook up a mess o' greens! There's peppergrass, too, to add to salads. Takes a bit of the sting out of not being able to afford workers, I guess.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: We've been very lucky, weed-wise. Of course the beds need to be tended, but we're lax, and the plants forgive us. Then, when the harvest's over and we pull out the plants, we ignore the dirt (and whatever grows in it) until it's time to plant again in spring.
Foraging, however. A whole other blessing!

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Farmgirl Susan said...

Your exploded cauliflower is beautiful! (The post title lured me over.) Try lots of diatomaceous earth for caterpillars and worms. We buy it in 50-pound bags and feed it to the animals as a natural wormer. Buying in bulk is much cheaper if you can find it - I see it for up to (an insane) $6 for one pound at garden related places. : )

cookiecrumb said...

Susan: Thank you! There is a lot I don't know about gardening. I'm mostly avoiding additives, but I know you can get food-grade diatomaceous earth, so I will give it a try. 50 pounds might be a little much for six plants... :)