Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First broccoli of the season

One of the vegetables that I enjoy the most in my garden is fresh broccoli. Once the initial head has been picked, only florets will grow for the remainder of the season. That's OK because there is so much to eat out of the garden during the summer that all those little florets get blanched and frozen for winter soups. Broccoli has one disadvantage being the cabbage butterfly larva that can destroy any cabbage family plants in days if left unattended. As soon as I see those cute little cabbage butterflies fluttering around, I take the organic powder out and give all my plants a dusting. The only cabbage member that the larvae don't seem to like at all are the purple cabbage...I never powder them...for some reason the bugs don't like them. I usually soak the broccoli heads in salt water, weighed down by a plate to submerge them to drown any larvae hiding inside the head. Up here, starting cabbages from seed outdoors is a bit pointless as our growing season is so short. The easiest way is to purchase the bedding plants at the greenhouse and set them out in the garden. Otherwise the cabbage heads are too small. The cabbage family is tolerant of cool temperatures so one can set them out really early in the season. If the cabbages don't get enough water, it will show up as dry heads...meaning the cabbage isn't very juicy. Napa cabbage grows very well up here if you buy the bedding plants. This year, my greenhouse did not carry them. Napa cabbage is used in egg rolls and just makes them tastier in my opinion. There's always next year!

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