…and cauliflower: all vitamins, no integrity
I’ve had two frustrating-as-hell efforts with these ingrate vegetables and I’m going to spill the beans (sorry to suddenly switch plants on you like that) about their consistently miserable behavior.
[This post is rated WO: Watch Out, could be disturbing to some gardeners.]
FIRST CRUMMY EXPERIENCE
Last fall I tried a “winter garden.” I started cute cauliflower and broccoli plants in late summer, EXACTLY on schedule, and planted them in a gorgeously enriched and perfectly fluffed raised bed. (Everything but a chocolate mint on the pillow.)
These plants grew some, and fell over, but never at any time was there any part of any plant to eat unless you are a sheep and eat leaves, and in this case the leaves were largely holes because the slugs or something got there first. (Elizabeth, above, would have preferred alfalfa.)
SECOND, SLIGHTLY LESS CRUMMY EXPERIENCE
“My goodness you are patient,” you will say of me now, or possibly “My God you are hopeless,” because I started more cauliflower and broccoli this spring. They were planted out, again, as big healthy plants.
Then surprise! Bits that look like the sort of cauliflower and broccoli parts that humans can eat began to appear deep in the centers of these plants, bits that might become massive edible clumps. I was so excited. I took a picture.
And I made Mr. O come out and admire the beginnings of The Great Crop. We were both happy. I had planted six cauliflowers (Mr. O loves cauliflower) and three broccoli (not so much love there).
I had also planted six new spring cabbages.
Cabbage success. And each cabbage makes about three huge coleslaw type salads, or can be mixed with lettuce for General Saladness. (I do not cook cabbage. Why would anyone cook cabbage?)
Cabbage keeps for weeks and months in the refrigerator.
In short, six cabbage = lots of eating.
And now to contrast, here is the teeny tiny cauliflower and broccoli just before I harvested it last week:
(Size is important.)
I cut it. All of it. At one time. And we had a vegetable and chicken stir-fry and used very nearly the entire harvest. So, to recap, two people got what could be graphed as 1.5 meals from nine huge plants.
And I learned that it’s hard to enjoy food that you are mad at.
Now, there is talk, in the books, about Side Shoots.
(Sounds like a competition involving hand-guns.)
Okay there are a few Side Shoots coming. (Credit them another.5 meal.)
After years of one-dinner wonders finally this spring (while, coincidentally, I was looking for the shovel) the asparagus grew… some asparagus.
We had a more than one cute asparagus bunch like this. And it comes back, year after year, more and more.
Martha-note: I like to blanch asparagus. (That doesn’t mean “to frighten” like you might think. It means to steam or boil a little then chill.) Then I take the lightly cooked (and possibly frightened) asparagus and chop it into yummy salads.
So vegetables can be educated, but not ones that thumb their stems at you then selfishly die off without so much as an apology and just go away to plant heaven to maybe be reincarnated as thistles or poison oak or something worse.
Poison oak, with a cauliflower soul.
WHEN THINKING ISN’T HELPFUL
As I sit here, pondering all of these dark issues and considering just how much I prefer growing say, hollyhocks, I see that I should have suspected how it would all end with those vegetables, most especially the broccoli.
What kind of plant would evolve a name like broccoli anyway?
It’s impossible to spell, and if I spelled it right at all here it’s because I looked it up in the online dictionary four times. Why does it need ANY double letters anyway, and why in heaven’s name is it so impossible for me to remember WHICH LETTERS to double?
And how about that “co’-li” part? Broc-co’li. What does that remind you of? (It’s really quite a bad idea for me to sit quietly and think especially when I’m mad.)
Ack! I just observed that something is growing ON the garlic! It looks like little freckles of rust…
WTF?? (That stands for “What Think Farmers?”)
I don’t suppose this has anything to do with the monsoon summer…
I need a beer.