I think I’ve mentioned before that winter gardening in the southern part of Australia tends to focus on the alliums and brassicas – well at least in Melbourne it does. That and peas and broad beans. My peas keep getting eaten (the plants not the pods or seeds unfortunately) and my broad beans are a long way from flowering. I do have broccoli and alliums but I also have leaves of many kinds and it is the leaves that are doing really well at the moment.
But as brassicas are the more glamorous part of the winter crops I thought I’d start with them. Most of the broccoli I planted this year is a variety called ‘calabrese’ which has a very small centre head but loads of side shoots which form at much the same time as the main head. I do have one ‘Green Dragon’ plant as well but I have to say I prefer the ‘Calabrese’.
While I have been harvesting from both types of broccoli I am still awaiting my other brassicas. My cauliflowers are starting to form heads, some of which look good but others, like the one below, have those little brown bits that cauliflower heads often suffer from. Ideas on the cause would be gratefully accepted.
The romanesco heads are starting to form too, but were too small to photograph. Unfortunately the only red cabbage which is vaguely starting to heart is one which keeps getting attacked by aphids.
On the allium front I have garlic, shallots and red onions growing. I got 100% germination from my garlic cloves and they all seem to be growing nicely.
As my stored garlic is showing signs of shooting I am a little concerned that I have planted too much – I planted over 100 cloves. Perhaps 6 months storage is all I can hope for, in the past I’ve usually used my crop up by now so I’m currently in new territory. I am growing more varieties this year, perhaps one of them will store for longer.
On to the leaves:
I had to harvest most of my raddichio early as it looked like it was starting to go slimy. This is my only plant left and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to eating it. I really enjoyed the others lightly cooked in olive oil with a splash of vinegar and a pinch of salt
Then there’s the sorrel which is putting on new leaves but will have to be moved soon as its where our chook shed will be going.
On the other hand my mint is doing less well, it is growing, very slowly and the leaves are pretty small. Such a shame as I love salads with both parsley and mint through them.
Not really a leaf crop but also struggling for some reason is my celery:
The stalks start out nicely but as they get a bit older instead of getting all tall, straight and crisp the leaves are dying off and the stalks are getting brown marks up them. Maybe they’ll improve as the days lengthen – they aren’t getting much sun at the moment.
The chard though is looking good, although this lot will have to go soon as its occupying my tomato bed and I want to rest it soon. Fortunately I have plants in other places around the garden.
Still on the leaf front I also have kale, lettuce, chervil, Vietnamese mint, lemon balm, thyme, oregano all at harvestable stage. Green probably sums my garden at the moment, although I do still have the occasional colourful reminder of warmer days here and there: