If you have been diligent with planting a winter garden, which you would have started from the end of January/February you would be in the fortunate position of being able to harvest your winter crops, for example your cauliflower and other brassicas, which are your cruciferous vegetables. In the Highveld between 50 and 100 days from planting, cauliflower should be available to you, which is the vegetable that takes the longest.
One does not usually think of cauliflower as colourful, because in the past we were only able to get white cauliflower in South Africa, but now from our wonderful Franchi Sementi seed selection and the Victory Ticket organically grown heirloom seedlings, available at all GardenShop stores, you can now get colourful cauliflowers, tasty tatsoi, catchy kale, tallest turnips and more.
Take a look at the wonderful varieties planted in the Organic Food Garden at GardenShop Bryanston, you may see the compact Romanesco Precoce, lime green spiral cauliflower, which is delicious eaten raw or cooked, with a buttery flavour, or the Di Sicilia Violetto, purple and sometimes a dark cerise pink cauliflower, that grew so big in our garden at home that we harvested it a piece at a time. Then there is the Macerata, which is an exciting green colour and finally the Marzatico, which is cream. The beautiful rosettes of tatsoi look like a floral arrangement, the turnips are humungous, the kale darkly delicious, and the different coloured radish look bionic!
The leaves of all brassica plants can be eaten, so take advantage of another food source. Because some of the outer leaves are often leathery, use them chopped up in your soups and stews.
Brassicas which are cruciferous vegetables have wonderful health properties, two of the main components are Sulfurophane and Dithiolthiones which contribute to the body’s antioxidant defences. They also assist in detoxification and contribute to the healthy immune system at a cellular level.
Your companion plants for your brassicas are borage, peas and broad beans, Swiss chard, beetroot, calendula, leek, and an excellent companion herb is thyme.
Want to learn more about companion planting and crop rotation? Watch out for future events coming up at the Bryanston Organic Food Garden here Linda Galvad of Sought After Seedlings will teach you more.