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Posts Tagged ‘growing broccoli’

We’ve tried for a couple of years to get great broccoli but it’s not working for us. Earlier this month we had a crazy hot spell — something you’d expect in July and not early May — with temperatures in the 80s and creeping toward 90 on some days.

Bolted broccoli. Again. Still tasty though!

Bolted broccoli. Again. Still tasty though!

It started really well — big leaves and small, compact broccoli heads. But once the temperatures spiked, it was all over. What broccoli was growing started to bolt. The stalks were separating and starting to produce flowers. Some of the other ones weren’t even growing (though now that the weather has cooled significantly, they seem to be bouncing back.)

Oh well. We plan try again in the fall, starting from seeds. Next year, I’m going to use our old garden beds as cold frames and get the broccoli, peas and lettuce started way early. Maybe even February. Maybe even when there is still snow on the ground. We’ll see how it goes.

The mysterious cluster of insect eggs. Or pollen. Who knows!

The mysterious cluster of insect eggs. Or pollen. Who knows!

Random side note:  This year when we cut the main heads, I discovered a cluster of what looked like yellow eggs on one of the broccoli stems. After a bit of searching, I came up empty as to what it was. Best guess was maybe ladybugs, but those looked like shinier eggs. It could just be a bunch of pollen trapped in a spider web, too. Has anyone else seen something like this?

 

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We were expecting big, beautiful heads of broccoli. But like most things in our garden, what we expected and what actually happened don’t match. Our broccoli was doing very well then one day the stalks were all leggy and the heads started to separate. After desperate Google searches to find out what was going on with the broccoli, I learned that they were bolting.

This came as a bit of a surprise because we planted them in late March/early April and the tag with the transplants said it would take 80 days to maturity. These were done in a little more than a month and the heads still seemed small. But then again, this is our first time and I had no idea what broccoli was supposed to look like when it’s ready for harvest.

Temperature fluctuations are largely to blame because in any given week, it could swing from 60 degrees to 80 degrees and back again. In addition to the weather, the slugs and cabbage white butterfly worm were starting to take their toll. Not all was lost, though. I cut all the main heads (way less than we expected) and were able to use it in stir-fry.

We’re not giving up yet and will try again in the fall. I put together a gallery of our broccoli trial so others can know what to look for and signs of distress or healthy growth. I had a heck of a time finding any post or website that described our exact problem, so I hope this helps!

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