Good Gardening: Flowering Veggies and Spring Garlic

Apr 6, 2015

Spring garlic.
Credit John Fischer

As spring rears its lovely head, you may find some of your holdover plants doing the same thing.  Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Kale and other cruciferous vegetables are producing seed heads right now.
  Broccoli,  Cauliflower, and Romanesco, are bred to produce a huge flower bud- that you eat.  But the flower buds on collard greens, cabbage, bok choy, Arugula,  and the like are nutritious, tasty, and available.

Credit John Fischer

Harvesting early is the best way to get tender shoots for steaming or stir fry.  If they're connected to the plant with stringy fibers, it's time to make a pureed soup.
  Many people will discard broccoli if it has yellow flowers on it.  Don't be one of those people.  The broccoli, and the other faux broccoli flower shoots I've been harvesting are perfectly suitable for cooking, and can provide a little color to your vegetables too.
  While you're snipping off the flower buds, look down the stem of the plant for new tender leaves.  The fresh spring growth can make a great addition to a stew, or that pot of flower bud greens you're cooking up.

Credit John Fischer

Another fine thing to add to any dish needing garlic (and what dish doesn't) is Spring Garlic.
  Go into the garden and dig up one or two of the small plants.  But instead of using just the bulb, chop up the whole plant.  The flavor will be milder, but you can make up for quality with quantity.  If you missed harvesting a bulb last year, you have a clump of garlic growing.  Those plants will not produce good garlic bulbs- they are too close together.  But they are a perfect source of Spring Garlic, and a reminder to be more thorough next at harvest time this year.
  I'm John Fischer with KLCC's Good Gardening.