5 colourful vegetables to plant in autumn
If you love a plate full of colour, why not try planting some of the more bright winter vegetables?
Words: Nadene Hall
1. ‘Orange Bouquet’ cauliflower
This gorgeous cauliflower was a mutant plant discovered in Canada, and as a bonus, it is 25 times higher in Vitamin A than the white cauliflower we’re all used to. It tastes fairly similar to its white relative, but does tend to go sweeter when roasted. The whole thing (leaves, stalks, flower, stem) is edible.
2. Purple sprouting broccoli
This is a ‘cut and come again’ broccoli that likes the colder days of winter, and will keep on producing new heads for weeks at a time if you harvest it repeatedly. Always take the central flower first so you get multiple side shoots, and check every day or two so it doesn’t go to seed. Grows in small heads vs one large head like green broccoli so harvest while still small for best flavour.
This member of the cabbage family is famed for its gorgeous looks and richer flavour than ‘normal’ cabbage, plus it tends to be more hardy. Tastes great whether raw or cooked.
4. Basil red opal
If you’re keen on basil, why not try growing it inside. If you have a warm sunny spot in your home, this very pretty basil does well in a pot – don’t over-feed or over-water for best flavour – so long as it’s in a spot with good air flow. Some experts recommend bringing them inside at night time as the temperatures cool but leaving them outside in the sun during the day, letting them acclimatise to inside conditions before bringing them inside for good after about two weeks.
5 Witloof chicory/Belgium endive
This takes a little bit of effort, but the result is a blanched head of chicory that tastes slightly bitter and nutty. The plant grows over summer, then is lifted, roots and all. The leaves are cut back to 3-5cm, then the plant can be placed in a container and completely covered with sand or sawdust to a depth of about 15cm. As the chicon grows, you will need to keep adding more sand/sawdust.
Alternatively, plant it in a pot, then cover the pot with another pot (block off the watering hole so no light can get through) and keep moist (but not wet) in a warm place like a garage. Another option is to leave the plant in situ and tie string around the outer leaves so the insides stay white. However you do it, the idea is to keep out light so the leaves blanch. The result should be tender white chichons in 2-3 months.
WHAT TO SOW IN MARCH
SUBTROPICAL AND TROPICAL
Climbing and dwarf beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, capsicum, carrots, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbages, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, lettuce, marrows, mustard, onions, potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, rhubarb seed, salsify, silverbeet, spring onions, swedes, tomatoes, turnips, zucchini.
Beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chicory, Chinese cabbages, endive, herbs, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard, onions, parsnip, peas (climbing and dwarf), radishes, salsify, silverbeet, spinach, spring onions, swedes, turnips.
cabbages, chinese cabbages, herbs, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard, radishes, shallots, spinach, spring onions, turnips.
RECIPE: CHICORY WRAPPED IN PROSCIUTTO
– 6 heads of white chicory
– 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
– Juice of 2 lemons
– olive oil for cooking
– 125ml white wine
– 18 slices of prosciutto (cut a little thicker than normal if possible)
– 500ml cream
– 150g strong cheddar or parmesan cheese (grated)
– 1 Tbsp caster sugar
– 18 large chopped sage leaves
– Sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 230°C. Place the chicory in a roasting tray with the garlic, lemon juice and white wine. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter with sugar. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until the chicory is tender. Cool the chicory and gently squeeze out the watery juices. Discard the liquid and the garlic, and wrap the chicory in the ham. Return the wrapped chicory to an oven-proof dish. Scatter on the chopped sage leaves and pour over the cream. Scatter the cheese on top and season well. Place the tin back in the hot oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until the top has browned and the cream is bubbling. Serve with a fresh green salad and crusty bread.