I hope you are all enjoying some warm Spring weather, or some colourful Autumn leaves, wherever you happen to be.
We are harvesting our broccoli at the moment, and this year has been the best yet! Previously we’ve managed to get just one broccoli plant to produce a “head” of broccoli, out of about eight plants. This year, I think we have about five plants, and three good heads! Yay.
How good do these babies look?
These guys took me by surprise, as it seems like yesterday they were still pretty small:
Turns out a whole month has flown by since I took that first picture! Boy, have I been busy.
Meanwhile, in another part of the garden, our bed full of “green manure” has been producing a lot of baby broccoli (from where we let the seed fall last season). I’m amazed at how many seedlings we have coming up! They are hugely enjoyed by both the chickens, and our visiting bunny rabbit (he is going back soon though, and it will be hard to find something for him fresher than this!)
Every day I take about six plants out of that patch and it barely makes a dent. The bunny is getting two or three (depending on size) and the chickens get five or so. The lucky ducks also get a bit of Cobblers Peg in there, which is a fantastic forage food for chickens (you may know this plant as Pygmy Spears). This is a pervasive weed in our area, spreading easily via the little woody seeds that catch in clothing and fur. But whenever it comes up, our chickens mow it down, they love it.
This was the fate of two of those heads of broccoli:
See how vibrantly green the stems are, all the way down? With commercially grown broccoli, even with organic stuff (although to a lesser extent) the stems tend to be thick and white. Partly this may be because our heads are small and loose compared to a “proper” head. Whatever the reason, it means our broccoli is absolutely full of delicious flavour. That goes double for the little side shoots we get over the next few weeks, a little bit every day. Just fantastic!
I remember when Isobel was in early primary school and we visited some friends of ours for lunch one day: we were discussing gardening, as our host was thinking about starting some veggies. Isobel piped up exclaiming, “Mmm, grow broccoli, it’s YUM, YUM!”. The look on my friend’s face was priceless.