Broccoli is the star performer in my winter garden this year. Six ‘Premium Crop’ transplants went in October 15 and another six one month later. I made the mistake of planting a dozen at the same time another year. The broccoli plants are intensively planted, 15 inches apart in compost-rich, loose soil in the two foot high raised bed.
The first heads came in early January and they were predictably large with our generous winter rains interspersed with cool, sunny days. The rains continued and the broccoli plants developed side shoots, but side shoots like I had never seen.
Many of them that I’ve harvested for the last month are three and four inches across–really like small heads of broccoli. I inspect the plants at least every other day and cut the side shoots to use in the kitchen or give away. The stems are so very tender.
Here’s my riff on “Broccoli and Friends” from the original Moosewood Cookbook. I saute chopped broccoli and garden celery in olive oil, add in fresh thyme, pile onto toasted sourdough bread. Grated Parmesan at the end for a lunch worth the effort.
The six celery plants, now standing tall in front of the snow peas, also seemed to benefit from the 15 inches of rain we’ve received in Point Loma since October 1. My celery stalks are an inch wide and very crisp with good flavor. With only five inches of rain and supplemental water other years they were shorter and narrower.
The Tuscan kale planted behind the broccoli now rises above it. Most of it goes to my daughter-in-law, Sarah who is especially fond of it. This week I added thin slivers (chiffonade-style) to fried rice and made a kale salad.
Here’s one of the lettuce bouquets handed off to neighbors and friends. The lettuce, planted in early October is starting to bolt with the warmer weather so I’m harvesting it before it is only suitable for the compost bin.
The magenta alstromerias also relished the winter rains. The clump has expanded and the flowers rise on long stems. They’re cheery viewed from our dining room.
To see what other garden bloggers are harvesting head over to Harvest Monday, hosted by Our Happy Acres.