Loving my brassicas

Most Sunday nights I write my blog – I sit in the dining room with the heat pump on, and ponder over the week’s happenings.

I don’t know about you, but my garden never ceases to amaze me, even in winter time our veges are happily growing and sharing their space with weeds and other self seeded plants.

We have possibly the largest broccoli I have ever seen, which has just started to flower. I went to pick it yesterday, but saw that there were several bees crawling over the yellow blooms, no doubt enjoying something tasty from within. Being a softie, I left the broccoli, which is doing a fine job of blooming. In case you didn’t know, there is nothing stopping you from eating it when it is flowering either …  tastes just as good and the splash of yellow on the plate is divine.

huge-flowering-broccoli

Yes those brassicas have come into their own; our caulis are starting to shyly unfold their greenery, the violet Sicilian cauliflowers are looking very ‘violet’,  and the sprouting broccoli is doing just that. The cabbage that survived the sheep attack, is still growing, which surprised me given it had been seriously chomped. Our kale is growing like mad and while I’m not a huge fan of it served up for dinner (I think cardboard tastes better), it goes down a treat in our morning vege juices. Did you know that it is one of the most nutritious veges that you can eat?

heirloom-cauliflower

violet-Sicilian-cauli

heirloom-cabbage

dorpa-sheep

I love cabbage!

It’s time to throw about some more of my seaweed brew (homemade of course). Brassicas are huge feeders, and the way I look at it is this, you feed your plants and they in turn will feed you! You really can’t beat growing your own vege knowing that it is fresh and nutrient dense. Love it.

One of my favourite veges to grow is garlic … an amazing little power pack of flavour and health benefits, and while those chooks of mine aren’t exactly enamoured with the flavour, they get it with cider vinegar weekly for their general health.  If you have never grown garlic then you should consider putting it on your list. It is one of the easiest veges to grow and has few if any pests. It likes a well drained soil enriched with organic matter (I use composted horse poo), needs regular watering when it’s dry, but doesn’t do well when sharing its space with weeds. Therefore, it is time to get mulching which not only provides the soil with protection from the weather, but it helps soil retain moisture, minimises weed growth, provides food for microorganisms and the worms love it. Plus you are literally ‘growing’ your soil. I’m happy!

Speaking of weeds, I spent much of the weekend, weeding. Hauling self seeded stuff from the garlic and Egyptian walking onion beds. Poppies, calendula, borage and nasturtium had all decided to grow in the allium beds…. and while they are only relatively small at present, soon they will be swamping the slow growing alliums. I hate pulling out these flowering plants as in spring they will look fantastic, but it was time to create more space and get tough!

While digging up some compost for potted plants yesterday, I spotted to my horror more wandering jew creeping along the ground heading towards our forest. And as I had nothing better to do (?) I spent a good couple of hours carefully removing this rotten weed and stowing it into a bag for disposal. This stuff will not only crawl over things in its way (plants that is) smothering them into the bargain, but if you have a pooch then keep it well away, this plant is a skin irritant. All I know is it really irritates me!

splash-orpington-chicken

So Frog Pond Farm is doing nicely … my chooks are still on strike – no eggs (shame on them.) Colin and his pals have now moved into Chook Towers, they have gone up a rung in the ‘chook world’ and are now sleeping with the other chickens. That’s not to say though, that they aren’t still at the bottom of the ‘pecking order’. Still things won’t stay that way indefinitely, he is a teenager now and will soon be crowing and no doubt get some well earned respect!

flowering-magnolia

Happy gardening

21 thoughts

  1. I’m forwarding your post to my husband working overseas. We waste so much broccoli that flowers before we get to it! (still haven’t got the hang of how much we need in the time new seedlings take to grow)
    Did you know that chooks LOVE wandering jew? We move them around where ever some pops up and they go mad over it and clean the area in a few hours. All with no ill effects.
    Thank you for the inspiration – I do enjoy reading your blog.

    • Hey Barbara … I hope you like it. I think it tastes just as good. I’m also not brilliant with my plantings – most of my brassicas are ready at the same time, hence eating those that flower. My chooks won’t touch the wander jew LOL. So pleased you like my blog.

  2. I adore kale, especially cavolo nero…with butter and balsamico, divine! No to cauliflower though, it’s funny how tastes differ. We have 3 eggs a day again after the broody hen turned into a normal hen a few days ago. I feel the same, Julie, my garden never ceases to amaze me! Just love it 🙂

  3. Well done Julie for letting the bees enjoy the broccoli flowers for just a little bit longer. Your brassicas look great and it is excellent news to know you can cook the broccoli when flowering. I give my chickens a few red chillies once per month to worm them, what does the garlic and vinegar do for them? Your plant are very healthy. Your cheeky sheep is gorgeous as are your chickens, Frog pond Farm is fantastic! Cheers Merryn @ http://www.Merrynsmenu.blogspot.com.au

    • Hi good to see you. You mightn’t like the cooked broccoli with flowers. 🙂 Chillies you say .. that’s really interesting. Do you pop them in their feed? Gosh that’s a good tip. The garlic is also meant to be a dewormer and has other wonderful health properties such as antibacterial, while the cider vinegar is good for their digestive tract and I believe boosts immunity. All I know is they don’t much like it all. 🙂 Yes our plants are nice and healthy we are very lucky. Love my cheeky fat sheep even when they raid my garden! I love Frog Pond Farm too! Thanks for dropping by.

  4. Happy gardening to you too, Julie. Thanks for the update. I have consumed very little Kale as I’m with you on not liking it for dinner. I’ll try it juiced. Thanks for the tip. Oh, by the way, we clearly have different definitions of winter. Do you ever get snow? And does your outdoor garden ever just quit for the winter? We do and ours does, thats for sure!

    • Ha ha Jim. I’m the same with Kale, it just doesn’t do it for me. But it is yummy juiced with a host of other veges. Yes we do have different definitions of winter. We don’t get snow up here too mild. But they get it in the south island in parts. No our garden thankfully feeds us all year round, we are so lucky. I’m still hauling out lettuce and beetroot, carrots and the peas have started. So enjoying your wonderful flower garden Jim!

  5. Hi Julie, very beautiful pictures of your garden again! I admire your garden work. Some years ago I tried to plant some vegetables in our garden, but wasn’t successful. Now I have roses and a pear tree which has fruits most every year. I love him.
    Colin looks fine, seems he has settled in well! 🙂

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