Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Winter Garden -- Very Healthy

Growing a winter garden is not hard. Cooler weather plants like cabbage (seen above), collards, broccoli, bok choy and sugar snap peas enjoy the winter temperatures. The key is to insure these plants establish roots between September and November. Planting them in early fall is a must (late August or September).

Cabbage is full of anti-aging properties for skin and hair, vitamins c, a, d, including calcium, iron, sulfur, and magnesium,  plus this veggie is easy to prepare in a number of ways. Steam it, saute it, boil it with bacon or other meats, and one of my favorites use it raw in slaw or a salad.

I like growing winter plants for a number of reasons, antioxidants, vitamins and especially, virtually no insects growing in the garden this time of year.

South of the Mason Dixon Line, no doubt collards are a southern favorite, along with black-eyed peas and cornbread on New Year's Day. But did you know, collards are filled with vitamins C and K, plus antiviral, antibacterial and anticancer properties?

Luckily, in southern climates collards can be harvested, as soon as enough leaves make a meal (like other greens). Unlike mustard and chard, don't cut them to the ground because once the central bud is removed the collard plants won't grow, regardless of the care.


Bok Choy is not a southern favorite winter plant to grow but like any green it's full of healthy benefits. It will re-seed itself regardless of lying fallow in the hot weather just let it bloom and seed itself. The tender leaves and stems make a great addition to any salad or veggie drink with fruit. 

Broccoli has all the health benefits of every winter garden plant we grow in our garden. But I admit broccoli is my favorite because everyone in my family loves this recipe I make on Thanksgiving and Christmas and share at our table on both holidays. Using fresh organic broccoli out of our garden makes the dish better but frozen is fine.

Whether fresh or frozen broccoli, it's a good recipe for a family get together anytime:

32 oz. broccoli (fresh or frozen)
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cans mushroom soup
1 large block sharp cheddar cheese
4 eggs
Townhouse Crackers
butter or margarine
spices to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder)

Steam or boil broccoli (adding salt) until tender, drain. In a large bowl mix, broccoli, mayo, soup, eggs, 1/3 block of shredded cheese and spices. Spray large casserole dish and place ingredients evenly. Shred more cheese and sprinkle on top. Crush one pack of crackers and sprinkle over cheese. Melt butter or margarine and spoon over crackers.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, cook 30 to 40 minutes or until crackers are browned.
Makes 20 to 25 servings, just half ingredients for smaller number guests.

Hope y'all enjoy and Merry Christmas!!

Until next time......

Happy Gardening 2013!

Posted by Wilma Smith

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