Tag Archives: cauliflower

Gardening is Difficult with a Sprained Ankle

About a month ago, I sprained my ankle, so I have not been doing much in the way of gardening lately, and may not be for a while, yet. It could be a tiny stress fracture, but is probably a severe sprain, so until I find out, and likely for a while after that, I will be hobbling around in a walking boot. Rest assured, I have big plans for both the yard and the herb/veggie garden for when I am released. At least I can admire the things that are blooming. Below are photos of a few of the flowers I have blooming now. All of them can take full sun.

Arugula mlm c@

Baby arugula in better days.

My arugula has bolted (gone to seed) and, therefore, has developed a pretty hot flavor, at least to my taste buds. My beautiful cauliflower also bolted before I could cut it. The chili peppers are a beautiful red, but I can’t get to them to pick them. The collards look great, but I can’t pick them. If anyone near here wants any or all of them, call me, leave a comment below, or e-mail me at the address on the “Contact Me” page of this site. They are free to a good home.

Gerbera Daisy - brt pink - mlm c

Bright pink gerbera daisies

Yellow - mlm c

Yellow gerbera daisies

Reblooming Iris - mlm c

Reblooming bearded iris — blooms twice per year. This is the only iris I brought with me from Alabama because I was told they wouldn’t grow here.

Meanwhile, in addition to enjoying my flowers through the windows and from the patio and front walk, I have begun a genealogy project that I have planned for years. I was amazed at what I found, but much documentation is still needed. I’ll see you in the garden soon. For now, I’m back to doing genealogical research. Wish me luck.

Hibiscus - Pink Double - mlm

Pink double hibiscus

Vinca - Hot Pink2 - mlm c @

Hot pink vinca — never stopped blooming all winter

 

 

My Cauliflower is Turning Pink

My cauliflower plants have grown from tiny seedlings to large plants with almost mature heads of delicious edible flowers. I’ve been watching and waiting for one to be ready to come into my kitchen. So imagine my surprise when I went to my tiny garden yesterday and found this:

Cauliflower Turning Pink - mlm c

The photo above was taken late in the afternoon using a flash, so the leaf colors may look a bit strange. The photo below, of a much younger plant, was taken in full sun, showing off the beautiful true green color. Notice thatI had to hold the leaves back in order to see the head. As the plants grow larger, the lowest leaves wither and fall away, while the uppermost ones open to expose the flower but, at this early stage, the leaves are tightly closed around the baby flower head.
Baby Caulliflower - mlm c

After finding that purplish-pink tint on my cauliflower, I did a bit of research, and learned that it is caused by the heads being exposed to the sun when the leaves begin to open. I learned that the upper leaves should be tied closed over the heads to shield them from the sun. It seemed to me that the leaves would slip out of any string or cord I could use, so I gathered the leaves around the heads, folded the largest ones over the tips of the others, and secured them with clothes pins. In the photo below, you can see a few of them with clothes pins clipped at the top. I think I may go ahead and clip off those lower leaves. They will make great compost. Here you can see a few brown leaves that I have clipped off and just dropped on the ground. That is really good for nourishing the garden soil, but it doesn’t make for pretty photos. Guess I’d better rake them away next time, huh?

Cauliflower with Clothes Pins - mlm c

I may go ahead and cut a couple of these guys, because I have snow pea seedlings that need to begin climbing the obelisk at the center of the garden.

Do you like cauliflower?  We have three favorite ways to eat it:

  1. Raw, dipped in light ranch dressing
  2. Steamed with just a bit of butter, salt, and pepper.
  3. Creamed, just as you would make creamed (mashed) potatoes. Some people call this South Beach potatoes.

I have learned that the pink tint may cause the cauliflower to have a bitter taste. I found nothing to indicate that it causes the vegetable to be harmful. Next time, I will know to keep the heads shielded from the sun.

UPDATE:  As it turned out, I injured my ankle, 2 days after publishing this blog post, so I did very little gardening for several months.  At the time, the cauliflower heads seemed small to me, so I was content to ignore them for a couple of weeks while nursing that ankle. When I was able to check on them, they had bolted; i.e., gone to seed. So I composted them. I guess I’ll have to try again later.

Planting Fall Veggies and Greens

Arugula mlm c@

Baby arugula adds a nutty flavor to salads. More mature arugula has a peppery taste.

It’s time to plant your autumn garden with cool-season veggies and greens. I’ve been busy lately with some other projects that delayed my getting started (you’ll hear about them soon enough) so I still have to finish my fall planting. The first thing I did was to add two bags of cow manure to my very small garden plot, and stir it into the existing soil.

Romaine Lettuce - mlm c@

Romaine Lettuce

Some of my favorite greens to plant in the fall are lettuces such as Romaine, Butter Crunch, and Red Sails, and other salad greens like arugula and mesclun mix, as well as collards.

Some of my favorite veggies to plant in the fall are cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and collards. My dad always sowed his flower beds with the seed of turnip greens. Those tender young greens made a beautiful sweep of green color in front of his azaleas, and provided food for several winter months.

I would love to tuck a lettuce plant or a pretty cauliflower here and there among my flowers, but cannot because our community has gray (reclaimed) water in our sprinkler system. I’ll write more about gray water in an upcoming post, but suffice it to say, you do not want to use it on fruits and veggies that will be eaten raw.

Collards for New Year’s Day

Collards - mlm c@

Collard Seedlings

These are some of my collard seedlings, still in the cell packs. I like to start veggies from seed, but as mentioned above, I am a bit late this year. So, I made a trip to the garden center, and bought some already started. We have to have collards and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, and these collards should be ready just in time. Collards, like turnip greens, always taste better after they have experienced a light frost. Even though I hate cold weather, I’m hoping for a very light frost, during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts - mlm c@Here’s one of my Brussels sprouts plants. Those outer leaves are not so pretty, but I’m not concerned with them. They will soon drop off.

Below is a closer look at the center of this plant.

 

 

Brussels Sprouts - zoomed - mlm c@

This is a closer view of the center of a Brussels sprouts plant. I can’t wait for the stalk with the “tiny cabbages” to burst upward.

Cauliflower

We love to eat raw cauliflower dipped in light ranch dressing. It is also delicious steamed or microwaved with just a bit of butter, salt, & pepper. If you mash it, it’s a lot like mashed potatoes, but much healthier. Some folks call it South Beach potatoes.

Cauliflower - mlm c@

The earliest, outermost leaves of cauliflower are not so pretty, either, especially the one at the top of this photo. They, too, will soon drop off.

 

Cauliflower Center - mlm c@

These two leaves that appear cupped toward each other are the beginnings of the cauliflower head that will soon form. They, and a few more new leaves, will be cupped around the tender, creamy white head, which is the edible flower of this plant.

Think you have no space for a small garden? If you’re stuck with a small yard, as I am, but you would like to grow a few veggies, or maybe just have a salad garden, there is hope.  You can grow veggies and leafy lettuce in pots, or you can tuck a few plants in among your flowers — that is, if you have potable (drinking quality) water in your sprinkler system.

Your Gardening Zone is Important to What Can Be Grown in Your Area

Veggie Collage - mlm c@Depending on where you live, it may be past time to start fall veggies. Here in central Florida, they could have been started from seed as early as a month ago, but much earlier would have been pushing it a bit. After all, our daytime highs are still in the mid-to-high 80s, but that’s about to change. Nighttime temps are already in the 60s, and very soon, we will have daytime temps in the 70s and low 80s, followed by days in the 60s.

Even gardeners in Zone 7 (Birmingham, AL, Charlotte, NC, and points in between) can begin in August. Not here. I had lettuce, bell peppers, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts in the ground in late September, and will have mesclun mix, onions, collards — and my “winter” tomatoes in the ground  by mid-October. Opps! That’s now. Okay. They’ll be in the ground within the week.  Now I have to get busy planting. See you in the garden!