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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Trav's Right, Wild about the Walcherins
Posted: Apr-07-2004 at 8:41am
Five years ago, while Trav and Deb were running this site, he put up an article with the above title. I have been working with these ‘Dutch developed’ over wintered cauliflowers for almost as long as Steve Solomon/Territorial Seed recommended them 20+ years ago and I completely agree with Travis.
As always happens, in the last 12 months I have learned something NEW (about this vegetable; other new learning happens each day). With a very dry 2002 fall and 2003 spring (& inadequate irrigation), I had two plants that did not head up last spring. Because that cole family bed was to go ‘fallow’ through the summer/fall/winter of 2003/04, I left the plants to see what would happen.
As I thought I remembered reading somewhere (but can’t find this year), these two plants have rewarded me with “year late” heads ready for harvest this spring. One is my second early harvest variety of which I will be eating an 8” head this weekend. The other is a late May variety which is still growing which has given me 6 lb., 15” heads some years in the past.
Read Trav’s article and promise yourself to sow this July/Aug and try these for next Spring’s harvest,
Wild about the Walcherins
Posted: Apr-07-2004 at 7:52pm
You know, if I could only point out one thing about Walcherin cauliflowers, it's how easy they are to grow relative to other types. Seriously, if you love cauliflower but have had trouble growing it - try these! They are wonderful plants.
Posted: Apr-07-2004 at 7:58pm
trav wrote: if you love cauliflower
Ah, but there's the rub in my household. I love it but I can't cook it for myself because everyone hates the smell. You should hear the ribbing I get when I eat broccoli but at least they don't object when I cook it!
Posted: Apr-10-2004 at 4:49pm
Don't I remember the same story about sweet potatoes? Steam the 'florettes' only until they are softened but can still 'scoup dip', then serve them with butter, browned butter sauce, etc.
"Scoup Dip" above means that I take them off the heat knife poke and less tenderness than most would use on new potatoes.
My basic rule is, "No cabbage family vegetable smells unless we overcook it!"
PS -- As I have said before, the Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash gives tremendous advice on growing, buying, storing, cooking, and eating more vegetables than most of us know exist. Find yourself copies of her two books for yourself and consider doing as I have, get copies for your kids too. Your grandchildren will never know Lisa's family 'smell' prejudice. (Yes, I remember my grandmother's cabbage.)
Posted: Apr-10-2004 at 7:32pm
Yes, Gary, you remember right. I'm a lonely veggie lover in this household. Well, it's not quite that bad but some of my favorite foods are foods only I will eat. I cook lots of them when I have the house to myself and eat to my heart's content without hearing any complaining. It's heaven! LOL
Ugh, overcooked cabbage - hate the stuff - reminds me of my 6th grade year when we lived in England and I went to boarding school. The English murder their veggies, I swear, they do. And they made us clean our plates. It's amazing that didn't turn me off veggies completely.
I'll have to look for that cookbook. Thanks for the tip!
Posted: Apr-19-2004 at 11:43am
I liked the westside gardener site very much. Your garden pictures are beautiful Travis. I am thinking about adding a "real" garden this next year. I haven't had one for a long time. I still grow peas and this and that every year, but nothing seriously. I bookmarked your site for future use. Love the Trionfo string beans! And the complete fertilizer idea.
Posted: Apr-19-2004 at 10:52pm
Sydnie, thank you very much for the compliment!
Right now, though, you might not be able to see my "beautiful garden" because the grass back there is in severe need of cutting! My mower broke about two weeks ago, about five minutes after I started it - it's been repaired now but I am WAY behind on the lawn... But the grass around the garden is taller than the lettuce in the garden .
(Not to mention that I don't particularly enjoy cutting the grass in the first place)
Posted: Apr-20-2004 at 2:46am
I don't mind lawnmowing if it's not have to do it type of thing. LOL. My husband worked overtime just before easter and I had to mow, had company coming- and boy were we behind. Mowed for 10 hours (on the rider-no kidding) and got about 2/3 of it done. Good enough! Sometimes ours is taller than my flowers. It's not the fun part, but we just can't seem to make the yard any smaller. LOL.
Posted: May-11-2004 at 5:32pm
I harvested the last 2002 cauliflower yesterday. I was from the 2nd latest variety so it did not get to the end or the month or as large as I have had in the past.
It did give me 4.5lb head which was 10" across at the base and 7.5" tall and 3+lbs of flowers to cook (not counting the stalks for soup). And, of course, with a plant that large a plant, I did not have to worry about root maggots, cabbage worms, aphids, etc. for the 21 months it has been my garden.
Remember from above, I believe that if I had responded enough last year to the dry spring, I would have harvested this head 12 months ago.
Posted: May-12-2004 at 8:51am
wow.....I'm learning so much from this site, my head is spinning! Before I came to rainyside, I never even thought of gardening in the winter months. I always just reserved that time for my "indoor activities", and completely dismissed my empty, covered garden spot until spring.
Although I had the occaisional green onions here and there that I could make use of, I just never really grasped the concept.
But now........look out! Having gazed at the TSC and West Coast seed catalogs, I just cant wait to try some of these winter varieties. I think Ill try some broccoli, leeks, a few scallions/onions, and now, thanks to trav's awesome article on the Walcherins, some cauliflower too!
Im not experienced at all on using cloches or coverings at all, so do I need them for these types of winter crops? I do have a smaller vege bed that I can allocate to just winter veges if I need to.
And lisa, I can relate to your housefull of non vege eaters! Whats with these people, anyways? LOL! Im stuck with green beans, corn , potatoes and carrots year round.....yuk! Not that I dont like these veges too, but I get burnt out quickly, and crave the others so much! Once in a while I can get away with a nice pot of Cream of broccoli soup, if I make it fresh..(like theres any other way to make it..LOL)
I think eventually, Im going to pull rank around here and just cook my beloved veges anyways, and if they wont eat them, more for me!
Great article, trav!
Posted: May-12-2004 at 12:16pm
Territorial puts out a Winter Catalog around June 1st so keep an eye out for it.
I think that Trav's article on winter gardening stresses that the main risk to crops in the maritime PNW is rain and not cold.
He discussed cloches with visqueen while I use Grotherm from the TSC catalog. Most years that is enough to carry lettuce and spinach through the winter. Sprouts, kales, collards, and the winter cabbages will take most everything the winter hands out around.
I just use some #9 guage wire frame hoops for the Grotherm. I like its self-ventilating and watering due to the 1/2" holes. If you ever get to Black Lake Organic, they still have a photo on their wall by the grotherm of one of my beds from some years ago.
Posted: May-13-2004 at 1:45pm
The winter veggie I love to grow is Leek. It has a mild flavored onion taste, and is great in anything you would use onion in. We particularly like Leek and Potato Soup. If there is any left in early spring when it begins to grow again, I pull them out and slice them in the Cusinart and freeze, I have left a couple to grow the second year, and they make a great seed head that looks like Allium, that can be used as a dried decoration, and then harvest the seeds in February for another crop of leek.
Posted: May-15-2004 at 7:44pm
Bad news, trav......after doing my homework on the Walcherin seed, TSC no longer carries that blend, and has no plans of ever carrying it again! I was soooooooooooo dissappointed after I called them and inquired about the Armado Spring Plus blend that you recommended in your article. I guess, they wont be having any Walcherin varieties any longer.
However, there is a rainbow here I think....West Coast Seed carries a Walcherin called Aalsmeer, and I may try that instead. They also have a neat Purple overwintering Cauli called "Purple Cape".
Why do you think they discontinued it, trav? Sometimes ppl just need to leave well enough alone!
Posted: May-15-2004 at 8:11pm
I've been a bit concerned about Territorial for a couple years, coinciding with their attempts to expand into a larger market. Not concerned in the sense that the quality of their seeds is dropping - but I've noticed the number of PNW-specific varieties has been dropping over time.
Guess we have to start looking for another source! Man I hope I've got enough seed to cover this year...
Posted: May-16-2004 at 12:31am
West Coast Seed, Stokes, Jonnys...to name a few. maybe we'll have better luck there.
Posted: May-16-2004 at 6:25am
Maystar and Galleon which are still listed in the TSC catalog were part of their blend. These two give you 250 and 270 day varieties. Arbon is listed about 160 I think and it is reliable here also.
Thompson and Morgan also have two Wali's. In their US catalog and in the UK they are called "Spring Cauliflowers" but Walcherin is in each name.
Purple Cape is a great choice along with the sprouting broccoli. T&M gives us more harvest date choices in purple sprouting varieties than TSC.
I have never researched the EU seed companies for these because of the above choices but we may have to. For example, "The Vegetable Garden" written in 1885 by Vilmorin-Andrieux is followed on by the still existing Vilmorin Seed Co. This is the 1885 classic vegetable varieties book that you see referred to in TSC lettuce and other places.
With Google now tranlating languages for us, it shouldn't be very hard to chase down some other choices.