Monday, June 23, 2008

two types of broccoli

broccoli harvest
This year I grew two varieties of broccoli: Green Goliath and Green Sprouting Calabrese. Unfortunately, I don't know which plants are which. But I do notice that some of my plants make compact heads and some make taller sprouts with very small heads. I suppose the compact heads are Green Goliath and the taller sprouts are Green Sprouting Calabrese. I planted seeds on March 22 and am harvesting now.

Green Sprouting Calabrese is an Italian heirloom that was brought to America in the 1880s. It is supposed to have 5"-8" heads and many side shoots.

Green Goliath is a large headed, tight budded, blue-green variety bred especially for the home gardener, to give an early and extended harvest. Center heads mature over a three-week period, not all at once. Good side shoots follow after center head is harvested.

Gardeners around here have mentioned small broccoli heads. My heads are about 2-3 inches (above). I think the weather warmed up too fast for the plants to form large heads. Maybe my fall harvest will be better though the small heads taste great too.

My dad got much bigger heads from seedlings I gave him (below). A good 4 inches! He's located a bit north of me and his garden is almost a full zone cooler.

Broccoli from dad's garden
harvests from my vegetable gardens

my dad's garden



Anonymous said...

Oh, yum! I bet this tastes 100X better than store-bought!

kathy said...

Yes, it did! Even my 15 year old son said "its OK..." That's a big compliment. I may be biased though. There is something about growing your own that makes it taste better.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! The photos are gorgeous, and it's a real inspiration to me as a first-time veggie gardener in New England (central CT). Oh, and I also garden with my dog (a 4.5 year-old Border Collie named Bob) :-)

kathy said...

Thanks and hi to Bob! Skippy loves to run with border collies!

k-frank said...

Can I ask how you know which specific zone you and your father are in? I've always just seen general charts for the country.

kathy said...

Well, the zone maps are pretty general. Only 11 zones for the whole US. Actually both my dad's garden and mine map to USDA zone 6a. A National Gardening Association site lets you enter your zip code and find your zone (USDA zone finder).

USDA zones are determined by the average minimum winter temperature. Each full zone is 10 degrees lower minimum temperature and these are further divided into a and b zones, which differ by 5 degrees.

My garden got down to 0-5 degrees this past winter, which would actually be zone 7a (hardiness zone temperature details are here).

But my dad's garden is colder than mine. His yard tends to run 5-10 degrees colder in the winter. Its 50 miles north, in a rural area adjacent to an open field. In contrast, my home garden is sheltered between tall houses in a suburban area. I think microclimate can make a big difference.

My community garden is 1 mile away from my home garden but I would guess the microclimate is a half zone different. It runs a good 5 degrees colder in winter, since it is at the base of a wide open bowl shaped field with few homes or roads nearby. But its not as cold as my parents' yard. (Its also true that its hotter in the summer! The zones don;t account for that.)

So, I consider my parents garden to be more like zone 6b, my community plot is a true 6a and my home garden is more like zone 7b.

I like those electronic weather stations that measure temperature in a certain spot and record max and min. If you did this and averaged over a few years, you'd know your true zone for your microclimate.

Zones help you to know what plants you can buy for your gardens and let you compare your garden with others.

A draw back of the USDA zone system is that the average winter temperature does not take into account snow cover and summer temperatures, which also play an important role in plant growth.

And, as our broccoli comparison seems shows, a garden's microclimate changes the plants that do best in each garden. Next year I should give my dad ALL of my broccoli seedlings and schedule a visit to his house around harvest time.

Margarita said...

Hello, Kathy.

I am writing to you from Ontario Gardener Living magazine. We are writing an article about Brassicas and I am looking for a picture of 'Green Goliath'. Would you share it with us? 'Green Goliath' is on the left in your picture. The picture will be credited.

My email address is I would really appreciate if you could email me a high-res picture.

Thank you very much!

You are doing a great job, by the way. Great blog!


Anonymous said...

I've been growing Green Goliath for about 15 years. Some varieties are marketed at "Goliath," and when planted with older seed are definitely NOT the same broccoli. I'm running very low on the original seed stock of "Green Goliath" and am having difficulty finding a supplier that actually has some seed that is certified "Green Goliath." It appears that some suppliers are selling something other than "Green Goliath" under that name.