Broccoli Planted Early

This time last year we were just finished growing our broccoli transplants inside. With just two to three leaves the delicate plants were planted in the ground. No sooner had we planted, a snow storm came through so we were forced to cover it in hopes it would survive. Amazingly, not only did they survive, the thrived! I knew it was a cold weather plant but didn’t know the resilience it had.

This year we planted the broccoli inside earlier, transplanted outside earlier and now it’s got a great start for the year. Due to our heat, and broccoli being a cold weather crop, we usually get our main harvest later in the season when it’s cooler. This year we started getting broccoli heads much earlier and overall the plants were more productive. They had grown so large by summer they shaded the ground which kept the roots cooler and there was broccoli every time we wanted it!

Lessons learned! Not only do we get more broccoli in a year, but we now are trying to extend the growing season on other crops by using our

Indoor Transplants

This year we got an earlier start on our transplants so had to double transplant some of them. Luffa requires almost 300 days of sunlight to get fully ripened Luffa so we started them very early and moved them into 4 inch posts before we transplanted into quart sized pots and then again into their final home.

Since last year’s broccoli was phenomenal having started them early under covered tunnels, we tried it again this year. The broccoli transplants went through 3 winter storms last spring we are expecting at least one this year. It’s been said the chill from a light frost improves the flavor of cabbage family plants. Broccoli is one of them.

Of course we grew basil, tomatoes and pepper transplants. They always take a long time to get to size but once they do, they rapidly produce. At least that has been our experience to date.

We have been hardening off the plants but will not drop them into the ground until we are sure the snow is past us.

First Broccoli in a Tunnel

The snow finally made way to nice weather which mean the overgrown broccoli transplants I had re-potted because they got too big can finally be planted into the ground! With the continued cooler weather it became clear that the plants still need protection for night frosts so we went ahead and put up a tunnel over the row. We are happy we did this because we had a few days of snow and the cover kept the plants from being impacted by the cold.

We were in the middle of laying and covering the subsurface irrigation drip lines when the weather turned bad so we still have some work to do before the beds are fully ready to plant. We focused on planting the one row of broccoli first since they had gotten too big to stay in their pots anymore.

We really wanted to get an early start on the broccoli because its a cold weather vegetable. Every year we planted it later during the same week as the tomatoes. The the weather go too hot. Unfortunately this resulted in the broccoli being ready to harvest late in the fall when it started to cool down. We decided planting earlier may result in bigger yields. Let’s see how this year goes!

See the broccoli on the farm’s YouTube Channel:

A Happy Broccoli Accident

We tried to grow broccoli our first year at the farm and got a lot of leaves with tiny broccoli heads so swore we would never grow it again.

Zoom forward to 2017, as we were planting basil seed and realized we were running out. At the end of the season we collect seeds from everything possible. Unfortunately we sometimes forget to write down what seed was collected on the bag or packet. In this case we thought we had basil seed and what popped up was broccoli! We kept them well watered and in the fall we got the biggest heads to date. It was only the size of a grapefruit but tasted fantastic on salads!

Fresh broccoli is nothing like the stuff you buy in the grocery store. There is no stink to it and there is no bitter aftertaste. That only occurs when broccoli has been sitting a long time. Makes you question purchasing broccoli from the grocery store, doesn’t it?

Even though the heads don’t grow to full size, will we grow broccoli again?
You Bet!