Saturday, April 30, 2011

Chili and Big Brother Broccoli

These chili plants are at least 15 months old and have survived through one winter season without any tender loving care. It is fruiting many chilies now and we can started freezing some. We are harvesting chili alternate days. These chili plant like the mild weather we are having now here in Adelaide. At my parents house, chili is always available at home because my father (Orang negeri) have to have some spicy food on the table. My mother have been controlling my father meal portion by not cooking spicy dish. Poor papa, no fun at the table and less appetite. 

I wanted to make spicy green mango salad tonight and there were no chili in the kitchen, with the help of the front door light I can see some red ones. This is a very quick dish to prepare 2 green mango thinly slice, mashed shrimp paste (belacan), pounded roasted peanut and chili (depend on you hotness tolerance), a bit of salt, squeeze one or two lime/lemon for juice and mix well. Join in Wendy's Garden to Table Challenge.

Who took good care and made sure that these chili plants survive the winter? This good buddy became a wind break, shelther chili from the cold and strong wind. It blanketed and warm these chili plants through winter. Brocolli was like a brother to chili as it grows taller than chili, it help shelther the fragile chili against the cold wind. It is difficult to see chili plants on the left and right side of the photo as the angle taken is not good. Some self-sowed blooming zinnias growing happily in between broccoli plants in winter, did it help attract predators? Did white English Daisy bloom help to confuse butterfly to lay eggs on the leaves?
Hmmm...how did this relationship began in this 1 X 1 permetre square patch? Perhaps you can spotted some self-sowed zinnia in last fall here in the picture. Red onion interplanted in the middle with 4 broccoli plants, help to reduce pest attack. Can't see the chili plant because it is supposed to be growing at the left and right sides of these 4 broccoli plants. At this stage, broccoli closely resemble Chinese Broccoli (kailan) and taste similar too because the cook harvested broccoli instead of kailan without the gardener noticing the mistake until a few days later.
Cauliflower and broccoli growing together with calendulas (Pot Marigold) which is an edible flower and make a nice border. Broccoli plants were taller than Rayyan who were 11 months old at that time.
What to do when you have excess seedlings of Chinese Broccoli? Inter-plant Chinese Broccoli with garlic to mask scent and reduce pest attack. Yes, it is very hard to produce a perfect-looking kailan. Chinese Broccoli grow fast which in 2 months it will be ready to be harvested and with it shallow and small root it won't bother the slow-growing garlic. Save space in the garden too.
When growing many variety of vegetable in a patch, I see many kind of relationship form in our garden. Broccoli giving shelther naturally to our chilis and calendula brighten the patch with special network in the soil. I am planning to grow purple sprouting broccoli side by side capsicum plants this fall and scoop some self-sowed coriander seedlings to transplant it around broccoli for safe measure. Hopefully when these corinder bolt it will help to nurse back the capsicum plant if it needs help.
Another 2 days it will be the end of "Companion Planting Week" in my blog. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and advice on companion planting. Hope more will share and give some ideas with Companion Planting.
What is "Companion Week" and Seed Give-Away visit this post for more information.

16 comments:

Mark Willis said...

Mmmmm; broccoli and chili - two of my favourite veg!

~Holly~ said...

I like your idea of kai lan and garlic. I planted some onions along the edge of my brassica bed. I hope they don't fight each other. =0)

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Hmmm...you're giving me ideas for lunch today. Will go to the grocery shop and get me some kailan...to be stirfried with garlic! How's that? yummmm.... My Mama says once she's done unpacking our stuff, she'll start gardening again. purrrr....meow!

kitchen flavours said...

Your chili plant is growing well and healthy, the chili definitely makes a mouth watering mango salad! Your poor papa, I would faint if there's no chili for a week! I have never been successful in growing chili, still trying though. Some of the broccoli seeds which I sowed, only two germinated and one is dying. The remaining one is not doing well too. The celery seeds have germinated, about 80%, which I am very happy. The small seedlings seems to be doing OK but they are slow. You mentioned that celery needs a very deep container. I thought that the stems are grown upwards, does this mean that the roots are long and require more space to flourish? I thought of using the square polyfoam container with the inner height of 8", will this be deep enough? Appreciate your advice, sifu! Thank you, have a lovely weekend!

fer said...

Another great combination! I have chives and spring onion around my tomatoes to help is similar way. But I dont have anything to protect th chillies them from the strong wind. I hope the planters around help in that

chopinandmysaucepan said...

I love the kick of spice in my food too even for some western dishes that may tolerate fresh red chillies. They look really fresh in your garden!

Mrs Bok - The Bok Flock said...

YUM! Love broccoli and chilli in a salad together with crumbled fetta and caramelised onion. I have planted my broccoli with garlic this year as well but that hasn't saved me from the dreaded white butterfly! Argh!

Mom of M&Ms said...

How beautiful.. DO you ever dry the peppers? My friends do that.. we freeze ours.. I am so anxious for my garden to really start to grow!

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Mark~ I can't seem to understand these chilies of ours, it prefer to fruit in fall/winter rather than summer!

Holly~ Hopefully onion and your brassica will get along well together.

Cat-from Sydney~ What is the first thing you wish to plant when you start gardening again?Wah kailan and garlic sedapnya, it will be another month before our kailan will be good size to harvest.

Joyce~ I tried before planting celery in that depth still not enough for celery if you want them to grow tall and lush. Celery has so many roots because they contain 99% water. If they don't have enough water when growing the stem will be hard and stringy. I am guessing but at least 50cm deep.

Fer~Maybe the brick can help reflect some heat for you chilies. Some of the herbs might help.

chopinandmysaucepan~Chili definitely can be an addiction and we try to put some in any dish that can tolerate too.

Mrs Bok~Me too, nothing deters the determine white butterfly.

Mom of M&Ms~ I tried drying peppers in cool season but it does take a long time. I am freezing them at the moment until we have enough supply before we start drying them.

Kat said...

My kailaan is full of holes- lol, I'm gonna enjoy eating them anyway. I will go out there today and pop some garlic in to see if that helps.

Caitlyn Nicholas said...

Your garden looks so wonderful :)

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Kat~ Delicious organic kailan like your even with holes will taste much better than the shops. It is difficult to stop the cabbage butterfly than snail and slug in my garden now.

Caitlyn~Thank you.

wendy said...

How serendipitous to have all those plants together. I happen to have my gai lan next to the garlic. Hopefully they will be happy companions. The mango salad sounds intriguing - I bet it would be very tasty - maybe just a touch sweet? I would like to try that this summer.

Malar said...

The chillies look spicy!
I have a lot to learn from you! Thanks for the information!

Hughbert said...

That English Daisy is interesting. I have read in the book One Magic Square (written by an Adelaide Hills woman) that you can put strings around your broccoli with white plastic dots on them, about the size of a cabbage butterfly. Apparently they perceive it to be other butterflies and they go elsewhere. Maybe the English Daisy flower, being about the right size, has the same effect? I'll be giving it a try.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Wendy~I hope you have many nice leafy kailan to harvest and stir-fry with garlic. I could not find a really green mango so it was a bit sweet.

Malar~The small chili variety are usually hot don't they. But I do miss cili padi.

Hughbert~I am trying again to see whether English Daisy will help reduce the number of caterpillars again this fall or not. I did read the book last year. I might borrow it again from the library.