Monday, August 23, 2010

Brassicas and Composting

I pulled out all my cauliflowers a couple of weeks ago.  My inability to judge when to eat vegies meant that I missed the short period in which the flowers are tight and good to eat, and so a lot of them went to seed.  They were riddled with aphids.  Due to the aphid problem (which couldn't be fixed with white oil, derris dust, or any other organic housemade mixture found on the internet), I'm not sure if I'll grow them again the near future.  For me, aphids are just too hard to rid of on cauliflowers. 

Anyhoo, I had these massive cauliflower plants with their quite sculptural heads, and I was about to stuff them into my already very full compost heap when I remembered that I'd read somewhere that cauliflowers (and other brassicas) shouldn't be disposed of in compost heaps.  This is apparently for the same reason why you should wait 3 years before planting brassicas (cauliflowers, broccoli, cabbage etc) in the same garden bead - they carry brassica-specific diseases in the soil.   So I guiltily squished the mature plants into my garbage bins, aphids (+white oil) and all.  Does anyone know if this 'no brassica in the compost' rule is true?

On the topic of flowering plants, I've left quite a few of my vegies to go to seed, and as a result I have a stunning flowering display in one of my vegie patches.  The rocket flowers are particularly lovely: tiny brown and white flowers on tall stems.  The bok choi has tiny yellow flowers, which are lovely against the light green leaves, and like the rocket, the plants are now huge.  I suspect that I'm going to have to get a bigger compost heap...

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