Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Seven cabbages

Cabbages seem to be the flavour of the week. I have picked a few more today. Last night we had them fried with our other vegetables and the lamb shanks from Menzel's. I already had a couple of extras, but decided to pick a few more today before they all go to seed. I'll try saving some of the seeds. I don't know what they'll produce, as brassicas are inclined to cross pollinate, it seems. Flowering vegetables seem to attract "pest removers" so I'll see what happens here. I learned this from the carrot flowers that attract ladybirds to eat the aphids. I can't wait to see what the cabbage flowers attract.
I will store several in the fridge, they keep quite well there, but perhaps next year I need to make sauerkraut.
Anyway, I did pick this particular cabbage today...
... but notice how the leaves start to turn inside out when it is ready to flower. Once the leaves do this, you have to pick the cabbage straight away.
If you pick them right at this stage, they seem to be the absolute sweetest.
Within a day or two though, they take off like this (below)... it's about 18 inches tall here.... this is actually a different plant, but it was like the one above early yesterday. (The red stalks belong to a nearby "silver" beet.)
After that comes the flower... this one still has only buds here, but I'm keeping an eye on it, and I can't wait to see what the open flowers are like. (Small things amuse small minds!)

I am picking broccoli sprouts now too... lots of them... and some are going into the freezer for the summer. I am still concerned about the possibility of another summer like the last one. ... too hot to get much at all, and as I'll be away until into November, it might be hard to get a lot of food this summer. Sprouting broccoli....
Many of them are this colour....
I have been reading about some of the varieties of vegetables that I grow. I found a reference to purple broccoli, in particular. "Purple sprouting broccoli was ititially cultivated by the Romans." I can only imagine how they prepared it. I need a Roman recipe book.

These broad beans are the ones right down the back yard. These were planted quite late (compared with the ones that I'm picking now) and have been flowering for a little while. it's shadier down there, so I wasn't expecting beans yet.
...and then I saw THIS! A baby bean!
I was talking to someone on the telephone this morning about climate change issues and when I mentioned that I am already eating broad beans from the garden (no glasshouse) the comment was that this is six weeks early! (I'd been thinking a month!) This season is quite bizarre already. Trees that haven't formed buds yet (their leaves have only just fallen) and vegetables producing at the "wrong" time... not to mention that the potatoes are doing so well because they were barely frost bitten during the winter. Climate change will certainly make life difficult for animals and plants that are dependent upon each other within an ecosystem. Some are adaptable, but many are not.
And this patch of beans is where I threw the last of the seeds when I'd planted enough... I should have quite a crop eventually!

While I was weeding and thinning onions today, I found these...
I am so pleased to find these. They aren't edible, but they are so important to the garden and mycelia will save the world.... like this.

Around the yard.... this is the front of the house from the jungle that is the front yard....

Back inside with my collection for the day. Seven cabbages (some are pretty small... I have grown a small variety as we are not a huge crowd here these days) and enough broccoli for another three or four bunches for the freezer, if nothing else...
I haven't checked the chickens yet, but no doubt thay have been out laying eggs as well. I'll collect those when I take them the outside leaves from the produce... it seems never ending.

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