Teeny Tiny Broccoli
Posted: May-07-2004 at 9:29pm
OK...well.....I've gone & done it.....before I read "the book", I purchased broccoli jump starts from a local nursery. No variety on the tag, but were only a buck for a 6pack.
I hardened 'em off for a week or so, then transplanted them. A little COF..and BAM! They took off like a shot. Problem is, seems strange to me....at 8" max of plant height, they are producing floweretts......small ones in the center. I thstrrought maybe they would get bigger, but they just went on to fatten to maturity and needed picking at only 1 1/2" across, or eat flowers, of course. This is weird....I grow broccoli every year, and have never seen the plants produce while theyre still so small. And, the side shoots sre developing. Less that 1/2" across...and loose.
Whats the deal here? Is it just the variety or is it the bad plants I was warned about from steves book?
Do I need to scrap 'em and just direct seed?
Any help here, y'all?bolb
Posted: May-07-2004 at 11:48pm
They almost certainly got stressed somewhere along the line - not by you, but when they were being grown at the nursery. Broccoli and cauliflower will respond to stress by bolting at a very young age.
This is really, really common with plants purchased at garden centers and a lot of nurseries. And it's compounded by the fact that a lot of people see these tiny plants already forming heads - and think it's a good thing! Aarghh...
I think you shouldn't buy broccoli or cauliflower transplants unless you know (and trust the skill of) the grower.
Maybe Gary knows people who grow and sell transplants, and can offer some additional insights - or perhaps will be less cynical about it than I am!
Posted: May-10-2004 at 7:19am
Yeah....I figured as much, trav. Steves book preaches alot about not being tempted to buy those "pretty plants", and I would have never have bought them if they already had floweretts...they didnt. But, as you said, they were probably already stressed when I got them.
Oh well...according to the book, its not to late to direct seed, so..Im on it! Tnx!
Posted: May-10-2004 at 8:28pm
Heck, I've had luck direct seeding as late as July 1 (for "regular" broccoli). Overwintered stuff can go in even later.
I'm glad you see the fault is at the seller's end and not at the gardeners! A lot of people run into problems like this and figure it must be something they've done wrong, and give up on growing broccoli (or cauliflower, or whatever).
Posted: May-11-2004 at 10:43am
Trav's right on the stress. Aren't you in Shelton? Again, Ron Cummings of Olympic Mt. Nursery sells great transplants at the Oly & Shelton Farmers' Markets. Tomatoes are his big sellers right now but he also has new cole plants for sale.
Thursday-Sunday in Oly and Sat in Shelton.
Posted: May-12-2004 at 8:59am
Yes.I plan on making a trip to the farmers market in Oly soon! I have heard wonderful things about it. I will look Ron up and mention your name!!
You know, its funny. At first, I did think that perhaps I had done something wrond when the broccoli started coming on so soon and so small like it was...LOL. I have bought and grown these "pretty plants" every year, and had absolutely no clue what I was doing. LOL!
I have this list here of all the things Im doing differently this year, and next. With each passing day, and each learning experience, the list changes and rearranges. Until now, I have always been happy with the size of my vege beds, but now.....it seems like I just have wayyyyyyyyy to much lawn and not enough garden! Now, when I look at the beautiful, lush green lawn that we work diligently at manicuring each year, I see more beds....LOL....my hubbys going to kill me! LOL!
Posted: May-20-2004 at 7:39am
Abandon ship! Well, at least the puny broccoli ship, anyways...lol. I pulled up the old broccoli, and replaced it with some plants that Im a little more confident about. They are TSC seed, "Packman" variety, grown by our own local alternative high school hortocultural club. These are troubled kids, struggling to finish school, but thier fearless leader is well educated in hortoculture, and assures and guarantees all the plants.
He uses about 90% TSC seeds for veges as well as flowers and herbs. I go to thier annual sale on weekends several times throughout the season.
The kids that run it are really great! Helpfull and knowledgeable. It does my heart good to buy thier plants and support thier cause. All proceeds go directly to the program, and replentishing for the following year. This year, they have added 3 more greenhouses! WTG kids!
As for that lawn....well, the deed is done. The site is marked out now for 2 more beds....raised this time.....4'x14', 18' deep. Oh well, less lawn, more veggies! Wooooohooooooooo!!!
Posted: May-20-2004 at 1:47pm
Packman is the broccoli variety that Ron grows for this time of year. You should have good luck with them.
When you get to be my age, you'll also greatly appreciate that 18" height. Lots easier on old backs and knees.
Posted: May-20-2004 at 2:37pm
I am wondering if maybe it was broccoli rabe? I tried broccoli rabe on my big sisters recomendation and kept waiting for the head to form--while I was waiting, it went past prime in a hurry, I still think it is lots of effort and not much real production. I also have raised Packman broccoli from seed, and while others are gloating over their large heads(pun intended) I am waiting to have great broccoli in the fall and am not disappointed. Umpqua (TSC)is a great fall broccoli.