Sunday, February 19, 2012

Broccoli Double Vision

I've been eating lots of hefty carrots recently. This should be evident by my last blog post. Carrots contain Vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient for good vision. Despite my prodigious intake of these health-supporting wonders, I discovered that something was wrong with my eyesight this afternoon.

After lunch, I walked out into the rain to plant some radishes in my garden. I was a few feet from my potted Calabrese broccoli when I started seeing double. I could've sworn I harvested my broccoli last month, but sure enough...side shoots of broccoli had sprouted up everywhere! Double broccoli!!

Side shoots of Calabrese broccoli (left and bottom). I harvested the central head of broccoli on January 19. Notice the off-white area near the center of the picture where I cut the central head with a small knife. Exactly one month later I harvested the side shoots.
Calabrese broccoli is no one trick pony. It grows not once, but twice. Exactly one month had passed from the time of my initial harvest to today's second harvest. Here's a close-up view of some side shoots.

Secondary shoots of Calabrese broccoli growing from the side of a potted plant.

Because of my relatively care-free harvest and positive experience with broccoli this year, I am planning on growing multiple varieties next fall. In addition to Calabrese, I will be sowing seeds of Super Rapini broccoli raab and Romanesco broccoli.

Broccoli varieties for future planting at .09 Acres.

I definitely recommend home-grown broccoli for every gardener, beginner or advanced. You will be pleasantly surprised with your harvest if the plant is grown in compost-rich soil and kept moist. Here's a list of the pros and cons of growing broccoli:

PROS:
  • large central heads of sweet, tender broccoli
  • secondary harvest of side shoots 3-4 weeks after main harvest
  • unbeatable flavor compared to insipid store-bought broccoli
  • extremely tolerant of hard frosts and variable weather
  • can be grown in large pots
  • beautiful blue/green foliage

CONS:

  • young plants are prone to attack by caterpillars
  • needs steady supply of water as a seedling
  • large size when mature (appx. 36" in diameter in my garden) 
  • long time from seed to harvest 

4 comments:

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

.09Acres. Way to make my .17acre (65ftx112ft) plot look like an estate!

Jenny said...

Your broccoli looks awesome! I had pretty good results with mine two years ago but not last year. Not sure what went wrong but it just didn't produce well at all. I'll try different variety this year and hope it works.

EatHealthyLiveWell said...

Sounds like a great harvest with the broccoli! I'm not planting any this season, but your pros/cons list makes me think I should at least plant some this fall.

Prairie Cat said...

I had some bad luck with broccoli last year. I either started them too late or did not feed them enough. Trying again this spring, but spring broccoli around here is almost unheard of. We have one month of spring weather before the temps shoot up into the 80s and 90s!