My first broccoli

I had a bit of a thrill today when I harvested four heads of broccoli. This is my first attempt, they are not very big, in fact you could call them ‘small but beautifully formed’. (Not sure where that saying comes from but appropriate in this case.) I’m happy anyway.

Broccoli

Broccoli

I removed the flower head from the top of each plant but was advised by Liz who is co-ordinator of the community garden that if I leave the rest of the plant it will shoot broccolini down the stem.  Brilliant.

I cooked one head of broccoli tonight with a nice handful of beans from the community garden. Couldn’t be fresher. No food miles to speak of. Just a 10 minute drive home.

I also came back from the farm with a couple of nice white chokos. (if you have been following the blog you will know that I’m trying to  foster a surge of interest in the humble choko. Please forgive me if it’s getting too boring because you havn’t heard the last of it!)

Choko, lemon and ginger jam, with fresh chokos

Choko, lemon and ginger jam, with fresh chokos

This week I’ve already made a batch of choko, lemon and ginger jam using lemons from my friends Maria and Peter’s tree. The jam has a lovely citrus bite to it. It is delicious slathered over your breakfast toast of course, but I tried something a bit different and served it up with chicken breast, a bit like you would add apple sauce to a pork chop. It gave a bit of zing to a chicken breast that can be bland on it’s own.

But the two I picked today are destined to be turned into a dessert dish with apples, sugar and cinnamon. This is what folk did years ago, they took choko which grew so prolifically on the back fence or over the dunny and used it as a filler with the apples. Once they are stewed together you can’t tell the difference. The stewed chokos have the same texture as the apple, and they take on the apple flavour. The chokos are free and if you have a big family to feed it’s a good way of filling them up.

I like to take a walk around the allotments before I leave the farm for the day and this morning I found this interesting bush growing near to my plot. I’ve no idea what it is, but it seems to have blossomed overnight. It certainly wasn’t in flower a few days ago. With all that blossom hopefully it will attract the bees.

IMG_2958

Happy gardening.

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15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maria
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 21:35:07

    That broccoli looks wonderful Jean; very impressive! I grew brussels sprouts for the first time, in 2010 and they were ‘small, but perfectly formed’ too! tasted delicious though. The choko you gave me weeks ago has finally sprouted and is ready for planting. Sadly the cuttings developed like a powdery mildew (as did some other plants in my garden) and I don’t think they will survive 😦

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 11, 2013 @ 09:29:21

      Hi Maria, Shame about the powdery mildew but you will be ok now that your choko has sprouted. You’ll have chokos coming out of your ears next season!
      Thank you for your kind words on my broccoli. I was pleased as punch. I have put off growing them previously because I was worried about little bugs hiding in the flower heads. The one I had for dinner last night I popped into a jug of salt water, just to be sure. On the success of this, maybe I too can branch out into brussels sprouts. I read somewhere that if you want tight heads you need to stamp down the soil when you plant them. Seems they like that.

      Reply

  2. digginwivdebb
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 21:36:00

    Hi Jean, I too harvested some brocolli this week and left the plants growing to encourage the side shoots to form. Great minds think alike! 🙂

    Reply

  3. The Earth Mama
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 23:24:39

    they sure are beautifully formed.

    Reply

  4. narf77
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 03:51:55

    What a beautiful shrub Jean! I have NO idea what it is though ;). White chokos? I have choko envy. My own little green Audrey 2 is going great guns sprouting away and forming leaves and trying to extract kitchen tools from a large jar of them that are situated next to the bowl she is sprouting in. We have been getting some severe frosts of late so I might plant her out in a big pot for the next month or so till the risk of her being chilled to the heart passes. It goes to show you how cold it is down here in Tassie if we are getting frosts. We rarely get them and they have been thick. On our walk yesterday the ice in the puddles was as thick as glass on windowpanes. Bezial steered WELL clear of it but Earl was fascinated by how it cracked when he stood on it. Lots of black ice and Steve almost fell over walking on the road. There were 23 crashes on our roads yesterday thanks to the black ice. Best to stay indoors near Brunhilda studying methinks! :). By the way…you really are the choko queen. You are doing more to promote this humble veggie than anyone I know :). The choko farmers should pay you! 🙂

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 11, 2013 @ 09:35:32

      Wow Fran. You are getting a cold spell! Our nights are cold, I’m still filling up the ‘hottie’, but the sun comes out during the day and we can thaw out. I had a lovely morning over at the allotment yesterday, I find it so hard to garden in the humidity of our summer but these cool days mean that I can work in the garden without passing out!
      Liz is doing an amazing job over at the farm in the community garden and I’m really enjoying working with the group of volunteers there too. It was raining yesterday as we toiled away so I had to make sure I didn’t carry the garden home with me with all the mud I’d picked up.
      Lovely gardening in the rain, takes me back to building mud pies as a kid.

      Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 11, 2013 @ 09:52:18

      Hi Fran. The Choko Queen here again! I forgot to comment on your final para. It all came about when I saw fellow gardeners ignoring a pile of chokos so I set myself the task of ‘doing something with them’. Then of course I had the passion of the converted as I researched recipes on the ‘net.
      It’s really funny now. The message has got about. As soon as I arrived at the farm yesterday Judith pointed out a new choko hanging on the vine that was just asking to be picked. Then John walked up to me and slapped a lovely big choko in my hand that I assume came from his own vine. I love it.

      Reply

  5. MrsYub
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 16:20:00

    MMmmm! I want some of that jam!! Your broccoli is impressive! My Mum had some that size, too.

    Reply

  6. Barb
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 17:34:54

    Jean, Those broccoli look ‘a bought one’! Lovely and tasty too no doubt. We have been using white chokos in curries, as they take on the flavours so well.

    Reply

  7. Linne
    Jul 12, 2013 @ 13:24:50

    Jean, I was just wondering . . . can you start chokos from seed? and the other thing, do they take over miles and miles of ground if allowed outside? I was thinking of trying to grow some for myself, but they are not native to Canada, so thought I’d ask first.
    Thanks. ~ Linne

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 12, 2013 @ 16:01:17

      Dear Linne, you need to plant a sprouting choko, you cannot separate the seed from the flesh around it so you would need to get your hands on an actual choko. Just put the choko into a bowl and leave it until it sprouts. Once sprouted to a length of 5–7cm, it is ready for planting in the ground. Chokos grow well in Australia and New Zealand, I am told they do best planted at soil temperatures between 15°C and 30°C.

      Here is a link to an interesting and easy to follow YouTube about sprouting and growing choko. You can skip the first couple of minutes of advertising.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYH4OYUzkdI

      A choko vine will spread and is best grown on a garden fence, or even over a shed or outhouse. Years ago Australian’s used to grow a choko vine over the dunny (the outside toilet). Perhaps to hide it!

      In a nutshell, you will need a choko to sprout, four or five months of warm weather and plenty of room for it to spread out. Hope this helps.

      Reply

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