Cauliflower and broccoli are wonderful winter veggies packed with nutrition and beautiful landscape plants in an organic backyard veggie garden. Both cauliflower and broccoli are prolific annual cool season crops, hardy to frost and taste better after a light freeze, making them great crops to plant in the fall in Southern California.
Cauliflower has abundant health benefits in its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Broccoli is rich in phytochemicals, vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber, a nutritional powerhouse that fights cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Fresh from the garden cauliflower and broccoli can be added to pasta, rice, and soups. Roasted cauliflower and broccoli are terrific in tacos, sandwiches, enchiladas, and salads.
When you grow organic veggies in your backyard, you can choose unusual varieties, which help preserve heirloom seeds. Cauliflower comes in many colors: snowy white, orange, green, and purple. Graffiti cauliflower is a variety of deep purple cauliflower that turns mauve after cooking with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. Or gardeners can grow chartreuse Romanesco Broccoli that looks beautiful and has a delicate flavor. Both look spectacular and taste great in a raw veggie platter with a hummus dip.
Plant organic seeds in a raised bed filled with rich organic soil and cover with a floating row cover, a light weight synthetic fabric that allows sunlight and water to pass through to protect the newly planted seeds and seedlings from pecking birds and other pests and to keep the soil moist and warm. These covers can be installed over PVC pipe hoops to create insulated tunnels along garden rows to retain heat and moisture and keep out pests. Leave enough space, about 2 feet, between the plants to allow them to fully develop. To prevent the spread of soil borne diseases rotate the placement of brassica plants, like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, each season in the garden.
Growing our own organic veggies brings to the dinner table the healthiest, most delicious food on Earth without chemical poisons invading our bodies, or food processing techniques and chemicals destroying the air, water, and soil on our planet.