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Growing Fall Broccoli

October 20th, 2015

When I posted about my fall broccoli last week, there were lots of of questions about it. The varieties I grew for fall were the same as the ones I grew for my summer crop. I got a packet of ‘All Season’ broccoli from Renee’s Garden, it has three different types in one packet,¬†early, mid, and late season varieties.
Renees garden broccoli
Fall broccoli produces much nicer and tastier heads than spring sown plants. I’m completely amazed by the quality of my fall broccoli vs my spring broccoli. The key to good fall broccoli is seeding at the proper time. I seeded them in flat back in July. My first sowing was gobbled up by my turkeys, luckily I had seeded another planting 10 days later just in case something happened to my first crop. I transplanted them into the garden and mulched them heavily with compost.
broccoli
I watched patiently and wondered if they were actually going to produce heads, then all of a sudden they started and grew into the most beautiful broccoli I’ve ever grown. The broccoli is tasty and there is no hint of bitterness at all. Overall, it was a grand success. The key is starting them early enough to make sure they will reach maturing right around the first frost date. The heads hold for a long time in the garden, so there’s not a problem with having too many on hand. Next year I might try a shorter season ‘Arcadia’ broccoli from Johnny’s Seed, because it’s a cold tolerant variety bred for winter production.

Do you do any winter gardening? What’s your favorite crop to grow?

Hello Broccoli

October 15th, 2015

My fall broccoli is turning out to be the best broccoli I’ve ever grown. I’m AMAZED at the beautiful heads, the size of them and the lushness of the plants. There hasn’t been a cabbage worm in sight either, though the turkeys have been sneaking out and nipping the broccoli leaves.
broccoli
One of the best things about growing broccoli in the fall is that it doesn’t bolt. This head of broccoli has been standing in the garden for two weeks now. I’d rather leave them on the plant to keep nutrients in tact. It looks as if I’ll be eating a lot of broccoli this fall, what a wonderful way to extend the season when other vegetables are waning!

Have you ever grown broccoli as a fall crop?

Seasonal Eating

June 30th, 2015

One of the things I love about having an edible garden is the changes in our diet throughout the season. Spring dinner plates are filled with salads of leafy greens. When the weather turns hot and dry, the lettuce starts to bolt and get bitter. There’s never a lack of green on our plates, just as the lettuce is going by, the other summer vegetables are coming into full swing.
edible gardens 2
There are just a few spears of asparagus left to pair with garlic scapes, sugar snap peas, broccoli, summer squash and other vegetables. Stir fries become our main meals, filled with whatever is ready to harvest and paired with some kind of meat from the freezer, or local seafood. Here’s my recipe for Ginger Beef Stir Fry if you’re interested.
edible gardens 1
edible gardens 3
Having a vegetable garden, not matter how small, is a great way to get in touch with seasonal eating. You learn how good vegetables can be when harvested at the height of their maturity and eaten straight away. Vegetables at the grocery store don’t even compare to the ones you get from your own garden.
edible gardens 4
As much as I love salad, I’m excited to move on to summer vegetables. Broccoli and sugar snap peas are probably my favorites.

What are you harvesting from your garden this week?

Friday Favorite: Renee’s Garden

March 13th, 2015

I’ve been buying seeds from Renee’s Garden for many years. One of my favorite things about her seeds is that you can get multiple varieties in one package. This year I got the Long Harvest Broccoli that contains three different varieties in the seed packet. This is so handy for those of us that don’t want to buy three different packets of seed but would like to grow a few different varieties. I’m really interested to see how this work, I’d love to have a longer broccoli season.
Renees garden broccoli
The seeds are color coded as well, so you can label them as needed. These were the zucchini seeds I planted two years ago.
color coded seeds
I’m so appreciative that Renee takes the time to develop handy things like this that are so helpful for the home gardener. Her varieties are also selected specifically with the home gardener in mind.

Do like to grow multiple varieties of the same vegetable?

Another Reason to go to the Farmers Market

March 22nd, 2012

I’m a big advocate of shopping locally, mainly because it’s good for both you and the local community. Even though I have a fairly large edible garden I still head to the local market a few times a month throughout the year. Besides purchasing eggs, cheese and milk there, I also wander the stands in search of new kinds of vegetables to try or to grow in my garden. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where the local farmers are branching out to sustain a year-round market, you might find yourself with a whole new world of vegetables to try to grow in your own garden.

Take this sprouting broccoli for example. I’ve tried growing it in my garden before, but I had a hard time finding specific cultivation information and thus was not successful in getting it produce. I was reading Tender“>’Tender’ by Nigel Slater the other evening and discovered how it needed to be cultivated in order to produce. I spent some time searching the internet for a few varieties that would survive my zone 5 winter and came across West Coast Seeds who sells a nice variety of sprouting broccoli. Essentially, you start sprouting broccoli in late summer and allow it to overwinter. In spring, around this time, it will start producing shoots of broccoli, not one large head, but small side sprouts.

Wouldn’t you know it, I went to Local Roots in Wooster, OH last week and one of the farmers was selling sprouting broccoli! You know I’m going to order some seeds for a few different varieties and I’ll be starting them in late summer to overwinter. There’s nothing I would love more than to be harvesting broccoli from my own garden right now – and I know for sure that it can be done in my area thanks to my friendly local farmer.

Have you ever heard of sprouting broccoli or grown it in your garden?

I cannot recommend this book more, it’s part gardening manual, part cookbook it really is quite a bargain for around $25. Nigel recommends specific varieties of vegetables to grow and cultivation information. The recipes are usually simple and any that I have tried are outstanding. After checking it out of the library several time I finally have a copy on my bookshelf.

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About

This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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