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Diggers Rest, Issue #016-Broccoli, Eco gardening tips, Recipe: Broccoli Chicken Bake
June 08, 2006

A free monthly resource of gardening tips, recipes and reminders to make your garden grow!

June 8, 2006 Issue #16


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In this issue:

1) Growing broccoli
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Recipe: Broccoli Chicken Bake


Broccoli is a cool season vegetable and is ready for use late autumn and winter. Broccoli will continue to produce heads so a single plant will produce over several weeks.

Broccoli seeds should be sown in early to mid summer to allow the plant to grow a good size green frame before the cool weather starts. You will not need many plants as each plant will produce continuously over time, but do consider successive plantings as you don't want it all to mature at the same time. Usually 8-10 plants are enough for the average family over a season. Allow 3-4 weeks between plantings to space the harvest over time.

Sow your broccoli seeds in punnets and prick out the less hardy plants as they sprout.

Once they are 7-10cm high (3-4 inches) they can be planted into your garden bed. The bed should be well prepared with lots of organic compost before hand.

Broccoli is a leafy green so growing it fast with regular fertilising of nitrogen rich toppings is a must. Fertilise every 2-3 weeks. Seedlings should be placed approximately 18 inches apart. Ensure the winter sun will reach your plants for at least 5 hours a day.

Broccoli does best in a climate of 10-20C but will happily tolerate colder temperatures. Watch your plants for caterpillar and aphid pests as they tend to attract them. For solutions to common pest problems see Natural Pest control

When harvesting, cut the stem of the heads on an angle so rain water cannot collect and rot the remaining stem. If you do end up with more broccoli than you can use, cut it, blanch it and freeze it for use later. It will not stay fresh in the refrigerator for more than a few days.

Eco Gardening Tips

Eco gardening tips stands for both economical and ecological.

  • Before broccoli and cabbages form heads, sprinkle the leaves with cayenne pepper powder. This will deter pests from attacking the vegetables.
  • If birds are a problem in your garden, (i.e. eating the vegetables rather than just the pests) string some fishing wire over your plants. This will deter the birds but won't harm them.
  • A reader writes: I don't have room for a compost at my place, so I freeze vegetable peelings. When I have enough, I put them in a blender with some water and pour the resulting 'soup' on the garden. It works wonders!

  • Feature Recipe: Broccoli Chicken bake

    500g of diced chicken breast
    150g of sour cream
    500g of broccoli heads chopped
    1 can condensed 'Cream of Chicken' soup
    Cayenne pepper
    100g shredded cheese

    This is a quick tasty meal you can whip together in under 45 minutes. Brown 500g of diced chicken breast in a frying pan. Chop up an equal amount of broccoli and microwave it on high for 2-3 minutes.

    In a separate bowl, mix the sour cream with a tin of condensed 'Cream of Chicken Soup' and a tablespoon of Cayenne pepper.

    Layer the materials in a casserole dish starting with the chicken, then broccoli, then soup/sour cream blend. Top the lot with some shredded tasty cheese and put in a medium oven for 20-30 minutes.

    Serve with pasta, rice or potatoes.

    Happy gardening!

    Judy Williams

    Copyright J.L. Williams 2006

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