Posts Tagged ‘broccoli’

Trying Brussels Sprouts

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I’m going to try 4 brussels sprouts plants this year for the first time.  I have had great luck with cabbage, and bad luck with broccoli.  These seem to be somewhere in between the two, but leaning more towards cabbage.  Wish me luck.

Harvested some broccoli – 2010

We had one broccoli ready to eat tonight.  I have never grown broccoli anywhere approaching the size of what you get in a bunch at the store.  My best was probably 6 or 8 times smaller than that.  This one was a single stem 2 to 3 inches wide at the top.  Slightly more than a mouthful.

It was one of the best things I have tasted all year, and 5 of us shared it–raw and unwashed–delicious! :)

Great Green Garden Gab

Baby Broccoli Bed

Optimistic Onions

Cheerful Cabbage

Proud Purple Primero

Strawberries Stretching Sunward

Barraged with Baby Broccoli!

Cherry Changing

Cardinal in the Creek

Cluttered Corner

Lovely Layout

First week of April Garden Overview – 2010

My average last frost date of the year is April 14th. That means there is still a 50/50 chance that I could get another frost on that date. A week later is my 10% chance date.

This year has been different. We haven’t had a frost for about two weeks now, since late March. The coldest night in next week’s forecast is Thursday morning, which is now slated to dip down to 36 degrees. Everything I have out in the garden can take a little touch of frost.

I have out broccoli, lettuce, strawberries, onions, sugar snap peas and carrots.

Every other plant will wait in the little greenhouse until after April 14th and any forecast of frost…just a little insurance.

Hardening off the broccoli

Blurry camera phone picture:

Here are 63 broccoli young’ins, inside the plastic greenhouse shelf thing that R. gave me for Christmas in late 2008. Unfortunately the cloth used in the zipper has badly deteriorated after only six months outside last summer, so this will probably be the last year I can use this as a greenhouse. I spent an hour or so last night potting up another 36 seedlings.

The whole unit is resting in the shade of my back porch awning while the plants get used to the daily temperature swings outdoors for a little while. When I do finally move them to the sun I need to make sure they don’t get TOO hot by checking on them at noon every day. A bright sunny day could have temperatures inside the plastic building up to 100+, followed by nightly lows in the high 20s (F). The plants probably wouldn’t appreciate such extremes.

Tonight’s low is forecast to be 24 degrees, so I’ll put a few gallon jugs of warm/hot water in there with the plants and zip them up tight.  I might even give them a blanket for the night.

Potting up broccoli seedlings

As the broccoli grew true leaves and was a few inches tall, they needed more root space. Each one will get transplanted once into a 4 inch pot. They take up a lot more room after I transplant them…imagine that.

Transplanted Broccoli Seedlings in 4 Inch Cups

These can get planted outside in as little as 2 or 3 weeks here in Illinois.  Within 2 weeks I will definitely get them hardening off in a little greenhouse.

Thompson Broccoli seedlings

Here are half of my broccoli seedlings.  I am growing Thompson seeds this year.  I must admit that I feel a bit nervous planting all one variety, but that’s what I did.  We’ll see if I will learn this lesson the hard way.  Monoculture?  I’m so bad.

The 72 plants I started will be planted pretty close together.  Not quite one per square foot, but about 14 inches square for each one.  I harvest one head from each broccoli, and then pull them out to put green beans in the same space on about June 15.

Each of these will be potted up once into a 4 inch pot , hardened off to grow outdoors a bit (I don’t have enough room or light inside…I save my space for my tomatoes) and then of course planted out in the garden!

Kid’s Garden Planner

I am adding two new 4 ft x 8 ft garden beds this year, so I decided to let my kids each plant one.  I’ll also let our wonderful friend and neighbor, M., plant one of my existing 4×8′s.  These children are 8, 6 and 6 years old, so I made them up a planning guide that you see above (and in color below).

I helped them cut out the plant rectangles that are sized to cover 1, 2 or 4 square feet in the bed, and then let them arrange them any way they pleased.  So far, two of the three are finished:

Kids' 4 x 8 foot garden plans

Feel free to take this idea and run with it, but make your own.  Absolutely all of the pictures in mine were “lifted” gently from Google searches, so I have no permission to use them.

Bye bye Broccoli

Brassica Beds (and a couple other cold crops)  

 

 

Brassica Beds (and a couple other cold crops)

The spring broccoli is played out and it’s time to reuse much of this space in my garden.  All of the Broccoli is going to be uprooted and composted this week if the ground dries out a bit.  After the broccoli makes me a main flower head and a few side shoots I reuse the space for Kentucky Wonder bush beans.

The cabbage gets to stay for a while

The cabbage gets to stay for a while

The cabbages are growing very well with minimal bug damage so far.  I guess it has been too wet for white butterflies to come around.  They are going to stay until I have enough to start a crock of sauerkraut. 

Up next... Green Beans!

Up next... Green Beans!

So I’ll get another bed of green beans started as soon as the ground will allow.  I love green beans and they are so easy in my climate / backyard.

I need to figure out when to start my fall broccoli seedlings.  First frost comes October 14th, on average.

May 2009 Backyard Garden

Gardening by numbers     

Gardening by numbers
Bed 1 is my wife's herb garden with an 8 foot row of cucumbers along the fence.  Just seeded this weekend.
Bed 1 is my wife’s herb garden with an 8 foot row of cucumbers along the fence. Just seeded this weekend.
Bed 2 has strawberries, three kinds of peppers and a couple eggplants I got at the farmer's market this weekend.
Bed 2 has strawberries, three kinds of peppers and a couple eggplants I got at the farmer’s market this weekend.
Bed 3 is seeded with sweet corn on the left side, white onion sets down the middle and melons on the right.
Bed 3 is seeded with sweet corn on the left side, white onion sets down the middle and melons on the right.
Bed 4 is seeded with bush green beans, beets and carrots.
Bed 4 is seeded with bush green beans, beets, sweet potatoes and carrots.
Bed 5 has rapidly maturing broccoli and was seeded a few weeks ago with beets and radishes.
Bed 5 has rapidly maturing broccoli and was seeded a few weeks ago with beets and radishes.
Bed 6 has broccoli, a zucchini, cabbages, a couple lettuce and my sons' 2x2 squares on the left corners.
Bed 6 has broccoli, a zucchini, cabbages, a couple lettuce and my sons’ 2×2 squares on the left corners.
Bed 7 has hybrid Big Mama tomatoes, supposedly a huge paste tomato.  The perimeter is planted with radishes.
Bed 7 has hybrid Big Mama tomatoes, supposedly a huge paste tomato. The perimeter is planted with radishes.
Bed 8 is planted with 8 heirloom tomatoes and has a perimeter ring of carrots.
Bed 8 is planted with 8 heirloom tomatoes and has a perimeter ring of carrots.
Bed 9 is a row of straw bales planted with lettuce and a couple extra herbs.
Bed 9 is a row of straw bales planted with lettuce and a couple extra herbs.
Bed 10 is an 8 foot wide narrow bed planted with a double row.  Cucumbers and snow peas will climb the lattice.
Bed 10 is an 8 foot wide narrow bed planted with a double row. Cucumbers and snow peas will climb the lattice.
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