This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


broccoli 1
broccoli 3 broccoli 2

I think I'm going to give up on fall broccoli. My spring broccoli seems to produce all year long. It seems that next year I should just double my spring planting and forget about the fall crop. That's certainly easier that way.

I find that some of my plants produce big heads in early summer, then produce side shoots for a while. But others take so long to grow that they don't make heads until late summer. After the first head is cut, they still produce shoots for quite a while.

I have three varieties this year: Green Sprouting Calabrese, Blue Wind and Marathon. I'm not sure which is which. (Labeling is not my strength.) I bought Blue Wind because its supposed to produce a nice fall crop. The Green Sprouting Calabrese is the one that gives nice small shoots for a long time. Marathon makes beautiful big spring heads in my parents garden, but I think it makes smaller heads all season for me.

I did plant some fall broccoli seeds in early August. Its still very tiny. Same as last year. Probably I'm just not giving it ideal conditions and it grows slowly.



Blogger Sandy said...

Is it just the variety that make a larger head? I've used Nutri-Bud for two years and the heads are always tiny. I wonder what creates a larger head? Just the variety?

September 16, 2009 6:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew a calabrese type the name of which I can't recall just now, and Piracicaba from Fedco. Both produced shoots all season long and were delicious, and seemed to cope better with the cabbage worms and the slugs. I think broccoli needs really fertile soil, and that is always a failing for me, I'm not good with judging how much organic fertilizer to add at planting time, and I'm even worse about side dressing. I usually foliar feed with fish emulsion, but it was too wet this summer. When I have done a better job managing fertility, I've had larger heads and side shoots.

September 16, 2009 6:44 AM

Blogger Grumpy Misanthrope said...

Huh...I planted my broccoli in May when I planted everything else. Still haven't gotten a head on any of it. But it's darn near 3 feet tall now. I keep hoping that soon...

September 16, 2009 9:00 AM

Blogger bzwax said...

I've given up on broccoli. It just never works for me. But broccoli raab and others of its type grow beautifully, faster and produces for a while. And successive plantings can be done if you need more. I'm for plants that produce food more quickly and dependably than broccoli -- at least in my garden!

September 16, 2009 9:40 AM

Blogger Mary said...

my broccoli has earned the title "champion of the garden" this season. (last year it was the kale) five plants have made delicious heads and are still producing shoots and smaller heads. i attribute it to the rainy and cool summer we've had in northern NJ.

September 16, 2009 11:07 AM

Blogger Janet Glaser said...

We are still eating the broccoli from original spring plantings...and may I add how delicious fresh broccoli from the garden is. We harvest the side shoots now too. Our summer has been rainy and cool which I think helped to keep it growing and producing so well for so long.

September 16, 2009 11:26 AM

Blogger kathy said...

Sounds like a lot of garden to garden variability with broccoli.

I suspect head size comes from a combination of factors, one of which is variety. My parents and I have never gotten big heads from the Green Sprouting Calabrese, but they always and I sometimes get big heads from Marathon.

Green Sprouting Calabrese is an heirloom, that is supposed to give big heads: "[Brought to U.S. by Italian gardeners and introduced to seed trade during 1914-1918.] Produces central head (3 to 6 in. diameter) plus many side shoots."

Marathon is a new F1 hybrid. "Widely adaptable. High dome, small bead, heavy head for high yields. Blue green color, medium tall plant. Tolerant to Foliar downy mildew. Improved uniformity and size in cold over-winter production."

Try several varieties!

September 16, 2009 11:36 AM

Blogger Thomas said...

I was afraid you would post something like broccoli doesn't look like it's doing much either. Blame on the New England weather I guess.

September 17, 2009 12:10 PM

Blogger m.scott said...

It's my first year growing broccoli, it looks like all is well so far. I can get away with growing it through the fall and winter down here. I hope it goes well.

September 17, 2009 5:51 PM

Blogger Dan said...

You know I don't think I am going to plant a fall crop of broccoli next year either. This year I started the late crop June 1st and gave them good light. They are now producing heads but they are only about 3" across. I think I would be better to just harvest side shoots from the spring crop and once they are done plant fall greens. With that said, I did plant my fall crop very close together so if I spaced them more I probably would have a larger harvest.

September 17, 2009 10:13 PM

Blogger Tina said...

I think I won’t plant broccoli next year, just too much leaves taking so much space for the tiny heads I got. Also had Romanesco-cauliflower which were yummy indeed but same as with the broccoli And I had the cabbage fly and oh so many caterpillars of the butterfly that is called cabbage white in German.

September 18, 2009 10:12 AM

Blogger Andres and Julia Stell said...

What happened to your broccoli is what happened to mine, I planted some out this February/March, and I still have a few that I never took out, that never produced, that all of a sudden now are producing some heads.

September 18, 2009 12:44 PM

Blogger kathy said...


Nice to know your fall planting date. Someday I will get it into my head to think about fall before its even summer yet. And since my broccoli are growing slower than they should, I should plant sooner - May, which is almost like a second round of spring planting. And a very busy time in the garden.

September 18, 2009 8:44 PM

Blogger Dan said...

I planted a few things June 1st, broccoli, brussels spouts and celery. It was good timing for the broccoli & celery but the brussels sprouts have done nothing really. I think they need a full three seasons to produce sprouts, tough crop to grow it seems. The rest of the fall planting I did Aug 1st in cell packs. Things like asian greens, chicory, lettuces. At that time I also direct seeded radishes, spinach, kale & mache. I am going to post photos of the fall crops in the next few days so I will give you a head ups when I do.

September 19, 2009 11:44 AM

Blogger kathy said...

I probably need to adjust my fall planting calendar. I don't think I give the fall crops enough time. I wonder if I can remember how to edit the code...

September 19, 2009 12:44 PM

Blogger Dan said...

Your calendar looks pretty much on track. I started everything a little earlier because my garden gets very shady in the fall. I was out most of the day today and the garden is not in full sun until 11am now and is back to shade around 3pm. Darn city living! :-)

A good book for fall dates is Coleman's 'Four-Season Harvest'. I borrowed it form the library a few times, I really need my own copy soon. He has charts in the back with all kinds of planting days.

September 19, 2009 9:44 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Thanks for the book recommendation.

Your garden light sounds like mine. We are loosing are sunlight rapidly. Even my community plot has reduced light now since the neighboring plot's sunchokes are 10 feet tall (west side).

September 19, 2009 9:55 PM


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