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BrianSkilton
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Cauliflower / Broccoli / Etc

Hey guys, I started my Cauli and Broc in March and got it out toward the start of April. Now it is quite large, however its getting hammered with high winds (46mph today) and a few days coming up will reach 90 degrees today is one of those days. I am afraid they will bolt and i won't get any yield from any of the 16 plus plants (if they are still standing). Next year I'll have to build a brick fence around the garden :D. After the 2-3 days of 90 degree temps it will be back down in low 80's for the most part. So I still haven't multched but I have been watering them daily (seriously) and making sure the dirt is moist at all times. I am hoping this will help them....Is there anything else I can do? Its not even summer yet...these temps are just to high, we still should be in upper 60's and 70's. Uggh...

Today has sucked to say the least (sorry I had to get some of my disgust out)

[img]https://www.phantom360.com/images/Cauliflower/May_22_2010.jpg[/img]

Pictures Around A few Things in the Garden

[img]https://www.phantom360.com/images/Cauliflower/Wind6.jpg[/img]
Maple Tree was already tampered with by Rabbits, the wind finished the deal. :roll: It would have made it if it wasn't for the wind storms.

[img]https://www.phantom360.com/images/Cauliflower/Wind1.jpg[/img]

[img]https://www.phantom360.com/images/Cauliflower/Wind2.jpg[/img]

[img]https://www.phantom360.com/images/Cauliflower/Wind3.jpg[/img]

[img]https://www.phantom360.com/images/Cauliflower/Wind4.jpg[/img]

[img]https://www.phantom360.com/images/Cauliflower/Wind5.jpg[/img]
Last edited by BrianSkilton on Sat May 22, 2010 7:12 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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rainbowgardener
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Shade cloth would help filter the sunlight. If you put shade cloth over hoops over them then mist the shade cloth, it would provide some evaporative cooling as well.
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BrianSkilton
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rainbowgardener wrote:Shade cloth would help filter the sunlight. If you put shade cloth over hoops over them then mist the shade cloth, it would provide some evaporative cooling as well.
Good idea rainbowgardener. Hmm, were can I get some of that though? Does Lowes or Home depot have some? Sounds like just the thing, anything to stop some of the suns rays on them.

Rainbow, since your active in the forum right now....what kind of mulch would you buy? All I see is Cypress, but I heard its not the best to use..
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rainbowgardener
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Your veggies are actually better off with green mulch... grass clippings, pulled weeds, hay, etc.

The wood chips are better for around shrubs and trees and bigger perennials. I used to get the black satin just because I liked the look of it. But now I make my own, just run all my cut brush and prunings through a little chipper shredder and voila, free wood chips.
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Rainbowgardener may still respond with her answer, but in case you're in a hurry, I thought I'd pipe up. :wink: I have mostly been using grass. But not the little grass clippings from the mower. I let sections of my garden -- especially unused edges grow rampant with weeds and some barnyard grass that managed to sprout from a strawbal years back. I use a hand sickle to chop down anywhere from 8"~18" stalks and lay them around the plants. Chopping them down as necessary. I also hand-pull lawn grass that grows around the garden beds to use as mulch. Yesterday, I needed to pull out some Ostrich Fern that was shading a newly planted baby shrub, so I used the 2~3' fronds to mulch some ornamentals. I suppose they can also be used for vegs since you can eat the spring shoots.

Don't let the green stuff touch the plants you're mulching. I leave them a little way away, then pull them a little closer but still not touching when they're dried.

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BrianSkilton
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Applestar sounds like a very good idea. The only thing I can't get my head around is stopping the grass from blowing away. I'll have to look around fro some alternatives. I'll try your suggestion but with the high winds I just don't see it staying put Unfortunately. I've lived here most of my life (was in Cali for awhile) and the wind still amazes me here, its a surprise we don't have more wind power turbines up. When we have a few days blowing 10-20 its like heaven here in the spring compared to today.

Anyway enough of my ranting...I'll head to lowes and pick up a few things...maybe they will have some shade cloth.
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Re. keeping the mulch from blowing away: ground staples? I'm not being flip; I wonder whether wide ground staples would do the job.

Cynthia H.

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BrianSkilton
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Sounds like it might work. You mean place some fabric over the mulch and then staple it down? I know I might sound crazy and ridiculous when I state the wind is gusting to 46 but I'm not pulling anyone's leg. I know wood chips and bark wouldn't blow away, but I'm not sure which wood is safe for veg? By the way thanks for all your help guys. 8) Straw is also a good idea, but I am not sure were to pick some up at.

Hey Cynthia El Cerrito is a quite windy spot in Cali isnt it? What do you do to protect parts of your garden? I forget if it was applestar that told me about a snow fence, which I have been considering getting...
Last edited by BrianSkilton on Sat May 22, 2010 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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All of the cole crops are what are called cool weather crops. That means they can withstand some freezing temps and can be started early in the spring as soon as the ground is workable. It does not mean that they can't live and grow to maturity in warm weather. They will be fine. Keep them watered and relax. You are doing great!
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jal_ut
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I am afraid they will bolt and i won't get any yield from any of the 16 plus plants
Of course they must bolt before you get a crop. To bolt is to send up a flower spike. On cauli and broccoli that is what we eat. Right???
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BrianSkilton
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Thanks for the reassurance Jal_UT, sometimes it gets depressing gardening in this state, but everyone has there own set of problems though, whether its too cold, too hot, too rainy, etc. The weather isn't always going to be perfect (far from it), I just got to tell myself that. Thanks again guys for the help. I will try to see if I can put some grass clippings around the cold weather plants, to help cool the roots.
Last edited by BrianSkilton on Mon May 24, 2010 10:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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BrianSkilton
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Of course they must bolt before you get a crop. To bolt is to send up a flower spike. On cauli and broccoli that is what we eat. Right???
Yeah, but I don't eat the flowers, I eat them before they flower and get tough. By bolt I meant get tough and the florets bloom. You are technically right though, we do eat the flower stalk, but before it actually turns into yellow blooms. I always thought bolting meant the plant is going to form flowers and from the flowers it will form seeds (going to seed).
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I'm with you Brian and I have seen broccoli in hot weather go straight to the flowers without ever setting a head.

In cool weather they can sit there for three weeks with the heads getting bigger and bigger. In hot weather the flowers just open up.

I just ate the last of my broccoli tonight... ate the main heads awhile back, now we ate all the little side shoots. It might make a few more, but they get puny and in the meantime, it's time to get them out of the way, because the tomato plants in the same bed are getting big.

I will do a fall crop of broccoli, too.
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Nice, do you have pictures :D? When did you end up planting the broccoli? I did at the start to middle April. Anyway no heads have started to form on any of them, that is what i am worried about. They were growing so well when they were protected from the wind in some WOW's but I took them off when it started getting up the 60-70's. I would have started them early but in March it was very cold and there was still some snow on the ground. Do you think I could still get them out earlier? Normally May doesn't have any 90 degree days, it usually on average has lower 70's.
Last edited by BrianSkilton on Sat May 22, 2010 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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[quote="BrianSkilton"]Thanks for the reassurance Jal_UT, sometimes it gets depressing gardening in this state, but everyone has there own set of problems though, whether its too cold, too hot, too rainy, etc.


:cry: the ect. for me was a freaking torndo, on April 30.

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I grew DeCicco last year, and the two plants in late PM shade produced small heads almost all summer without flowering. When the real heat came along, they started to elongate into flowers, but then, they starting forming little heads again in fall. So if you can get them through this heat wave with the shadecloth, I think you'll be OK.

I let the flowers mature, hoping it would self-seed, but that experiment failed, so I'm broccoli-less this spring. :( (But that's OK, I started a lot of Early Snowball Cauliflowers, Romanesco Broccolflowers, Diablo F1 Brusssels Sprouts, Red Acre Cabbages, Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbages, and Caraflex F1 mini-pointy Cabbages. :())

p.s. yep, that was me suggesting the snowfence as windbreak. Still think it would work. :wink:

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Yeah, I hope so. Right now my main concern is the wind...chance of hail tonight too, ugh. I think the snow fence idea would help too, I never made it to lowes tonight. I tried staking down the plants. Do you think lowes has a snow fence this time of year?
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You can only ask -- call ahead. If they do, you might be able to get it for a discount. Otherwise, you might have better luck at an independent hardware store where they may not be as in-and-out seasonal. Also farm-supply type stores.

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BrianSkilton wrote:Sounds like it might work. You mean place some fabric over the mulch and then staple it down? I know I might sound crazy and ridiculous when I state the wind is gusting to 46 but I'm not pulling anyone's leg. I know wood chips and bark wouldn't blow away, but I'm not sure which wood is safe for veg? By the way thanks for all your help guys. 8) Straw is also a good idea, but I am not sure were to pick some up at.

Hey Cynthia El Cerrito is a quite windy spot in Cali isnt it? What do you do to protect parts of your garden? I forget if it was applestar that told me about a snow fence, which I have been considering getting...
We lived in Denver and Cheyenne when I was a kid, so I'm familiar with the unbroken series of incredible winds that roll down from Canada (cold winds) as well as the chinook winds (warm winds, for those not familiar with them). They're all way too strong. And I'm pretty sure the wood bark *would* blow away. :(

The storm winds I deal with for three or so months of the year are mostly during the winter, when the plants I'm growing are low to the ground: kale, broccoli, rapini, etc. One pair of veggie boxes is sort of protected from the prevailing wind direction by blackberry vines, a mixed blessing.... One veggie box is protected by the huge rosemary and some rose bushes.

The weird layout of our patch of dirt vs. the south neighbor's house gives us an ongoing wind-tunnel effect the other nine months as well. Across the street to the east, our neighbors will be enjoying a nice 70-something-degree afternoon, while my veggies and I are battling 55 degrees and 25 mph. :x (The redwood tree blocks the sun as well....)

There are many warm-weather veggies I simply can't grow *in this particular yard,* although they do well almost anywhere else around here. *sigh*

Back to the staples: I was extending applestar's idea of the long-cut grasses. I was thinking that, if you had 24-30" grasses lying beneath the plants, ground staples might keep them in place. I hadn't thought about a cloth over them, and I would never recommend the plastic sheeting, because it's nothing but trouble in the long run. (I can say this from personal experience, after having dug out plastic fragments and lava rocks :!: from the area where I created Bed #1.)

I think a snow fence is worth trying--I remember seeing them year-round in Cheyenne, where we lived on the westernmost street of Warren AFB and looked out at the unbroken range. Of course, when the growing season is approx. Memorial Day to Labor Day, it's not worth taking the snow fences down. Since the wind in ND is so severe, maybe you can put the snow-fence posts/supports up at twice the recommended frequency for strength.

If you have the energy to make a brick "fence" (with holes in it for light and warmth?), that might work, too, but sounds like it would require a LOT more $, time, and expertise. You may have these! :D but when I problem-solve--and not just in gardening--I like to start with low-tech, low-budget, low-energy ideas first and then ramp up as needed.

Sometimes you do need an elephant gun (so to speak), but sometimes a fly-swatter will do the job just fine. Or even a rolled-up newspaper. My mental image here is not stopping/blocking the wind, but diverting the wind elsewhere: over the plants, around the plants...so that human effort (yours) won't be exerted in vain.

Keep us posted; best wishes at the hardware/farm supply.

Cynthia

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I'm with you Brian and I have seen broccoli in hot weather go straight to the flowers without ever setting a head.
Aw c'mon, you can't get flowers without first having buds. If you went out and it was in flower, that means you missed it when it was just buds.

Repeat after me, "I will walk through my garden every day with a hoe in my hand."

The hoe is to have something to lean on while I look for drought stress, insect damage, weeds, and maturity of the plants. I want to catch my veggies when they are at the peak of quality, not after they are old and tough. ;)

Broccoli heads vary some depending on variety and the rest on very fertile soil. If you want the very large heads, you will do well to thin the plants to 18 inches apart.
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jal... maybe it doesn't get hot early at 5000 feet and you haven't seen this. I thought I was explaining it clearly. Cool weather, the broccoli heads stay as heads for three weeks or more getting bigger and bigger, adding more and more buds that stay closed while this is happening. Hot weather, the first few buds that appear open right up to flowers without waiting to become heads. Yes they start as buds, but they don't stay buds very long at all, not long enough to make a nice head. It is not a question of me not paying attention, it is not a question of soil fertility or spacing, it's what broccoli does when it is too hot.
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BrianSkilton wrote: The only thing I can't get my head around is stopping the grass from blowing away.
Grass seems to have some kind of "magical aerodynamic properties" that hold it in place pretty well. It seems like the strands tend to weave together and form a mat, instead of individual strands.
When the wind is strong, I scatter the grass, and then spray it with water... the water gives the grass some initial weight to hold it down, and also helps "settle" or "mat down" the grass.
Once that's done, it stays put (most of the time)... and I have some really windy days in my garden.

Good luck!

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jal_ut
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Plant "Pacman" broccoli. You will have all the broccoli you want up until hard frost. It keeps putting out side shoots all season.

[url=https://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/4782-product.html]Click Here[/url]

I am not suggesting you buy from these people, but they give a description of the variety. Its best to buy seed and start your own.
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Yeah I think I tried packman last year, it produced fairly good. But last year we had a spring, it didn't jump from a cold spring to 90 degree hot and humid weather in MAY. Right now its 90 degree's with winds gusting to 50 is what it says on the wind advisory from weather channel :cry: poor broccoli, cauliflower. Not sure how they are even trying to take it.

Well, off to Lowes today....
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cynthia_h wrote:
We lived in Denver and Cheyenne when I was a kid, so I'm familiar with the unbroken series of incredible winds that roll down from Canada (cold winds) as well as the chinook winds (warm winds, for those not familiar with them). They're all way too strong. And I'm pretty sure the wood bark *would* blow away........(read on above)

Cynthia

Thanks for all the information Cynthia. I see you have had quite a few problems with these strong winds as well. I'm glad you have a few things to help block the wind though :). I wish I would have put in some fast growing bushes (almost tree like by how big they get). I see them all over out here. Anyway I will see if the grass mulch works out...or I'll try wood chips, we shall see.

Anyway, I did make it to Lowes and Home Depot today. I asked two of the employee's at each store if they had any row cover or shade cloth; they both looked at me strange, they said you mean "landscape fabric, :roll: that is probably the closest thing we have", they said. Lowes did not have a snow fence either. However they had a ton of stakes, I manage to take what was left about 6 bundles of bamboo. So I left Lowes kind of disappointed. Home Depot didn't have row covers or shade cloth either, well at least they thought they didn't have it. After the guy told me "no we don't have that" I looked around anyway and found some burlap shade cloth...go figure. Not exactly what I wanted but I thought it would do. Home Depot did have a snow fence, neon orange. I didn't think it would look that great so I decided to forgo it. I thought they would have a wooden snow fence they look so much better. If I have to I'll go back. However they had this tarp like fence that I had to restructure since they had the wood stakes spaced waaaaaaay to far apart. They have a bigger tarp fence that I will probably get to run the length of the garden (width wise and height wise). This one I will probably take down if the windy days pass. Anyway I posted some pictures below of my crappy job to protect the plants from the gailing winds and the scorching heat. Hope it helps a little. The shade cloth seems to cool down the broccoli greatly :D. I know the garden looks horrendous right now, but protecting the plants from the wind is top priority.

[img]https://www.phantom360.com/images/Wind/May24th_6.jpg[/img]
It seems to help a little but I'm not sure if its worth it. I suppose it will help a little. The winds are back down to around 35-40, so a little better but still blowing like everything. I was amazed to see the wind blow the rocks off the buckets. Half the buckets blew across my yard. So I had to chase them down, not fun. So I got a few bigger rocks...
[img]https://www.phantom360.com/images/Wind/May24th_2.jpg[/img]
The burlap shade cloth was a pain to get up in the wind...I don't want to be doing that again. :roll:
[img]https://www.phantom360.com/images/Wind/May24th_3.jpg[/img]
I'm getting sick of the wind blowing down all my onions so I staked them crisscross. We shall see if this helps.
[img]https://www.phantom360.com/images/Wind/May24th_4.jpg[/img]
Looks a bit of a mess but, oh well....just so it works.
[img]https://www.phantom360.com/images/Wind/May24th_5.jpg[/img]
[img]https://www.phantom360.com/images/Wind/May24th_1.jpg[/img]

I'll see if I can get some video posted of the wind today, it was just unbelievable. Worst I have ever experienced and that is saying something.
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I know... we do what we have to do... between the deer netting or row cover over almost everything, my garden looks a little strange too! :?
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Wow, I'm amazed. Right now I waiting for this storm to pass over us. We are near Sioux Falls and they have recorded 71 mph guests of wind, tree branches are all over and shingles have blown off roofs. That wind speed is is equal to an f1 tornado. Wow nature is cruel at times...

That is one big cold front. One side of the state its 46 degree's here it is 80, probably not anymore. Well I guess the good thing is we needed a cold front, lol.

Wish me luck guys, I don't want to go outside tomorrow...
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Well, good luck. It sounds awful!
As for the photos, what I see is a very well-cared for garden. :D

You're reminding me that last year, I got lulled into using all these flimsy supports around the garden -- they were doing the job -- then a really bad storm came along and everything fell over, got blown away, or knocked down. I think I'll go re-think some of my support systems.... :wink:

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Thanks Applestar, Yeah I under estimate the power of nature far to much, haha...so I made sure this time. However sometimes there is not a darn thing we do can but pray nothing happens. Well I haven't been to Sioux Falls today but I have seen pictures of some damage. We slipped through the cracks, I think we took a bad slam but it didn't quite blow 70 mph here I don't think. Because I don't see any damage. Below though are some pics from our local weather team. This is just wind damage. When it's blowing 50mph during the day and a storm rolls through, not pretty. All these places are within miles of us...

[img]https://keloland.com/ClassLibrary/Page/Images/Data/32633.jpg[/img]
[img]https://keloland.com/ClassLibrary/Page/Images/Data/32631.jpg[/img]
[img]https://keloland.com/ClassLibrary/Page/Images/Data/32630.jpg[/img]
[img]https://www.keloland.com/ClassLibrary/Page/PhotoAlbum/Images/Photos/ph_8510.jpg[/img]
[img]https://keloland.com/ClassLibrary/Page/Images/Data/32629.jpg[/img]
[img]https://keloland.com/ClassLibrary/Page/Images/Data/32632.jpg[/img]
[img]https://keloland.com/ClassLibrary/Page/Images/Data/32635.jpg[/img]
[img]https://keloland.com/ClassLibrary/Page/Images/Data/32636.jpg[/img]
[img]https://keloland.com/ClassLibrary/Page/Images/Data/32639.jpg[/img]
[img]https://keloland.com/ClassLibrary/Page/Images/Data/32634.jpg[/img]
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jal_ut wrote:Plant "Pacman" broccoli. You will have all the broccoli you want up until hard frost. It keeps putting out side shoots all season.
Howdy "jal_ut" .
I get a lot of good advice from you at this forum, and I am usually in agreement with everything that you say. So, first, let me say thanks for all your submissions.

But, I must respectfully say that I think Broccoli grows differently for a lot of the rest of us, than it does for you in Utah.
It's certainly a challenge for me, here in Tennessee.
When it gets into the 90s here, in May... we can pretty much write off any more meaningful production from Broccoli... it's pretty much "toast" by then.
I try for a Fall crop too... but often have issues with the weather being too hot to really get the Broccoli off to a good start... many years, we've had "scorching" days all the way into October.

I can certainly identify with what others have said about the Broccoli bolting; it jumps into "flower shoots" before setting any type of decent "head" ...
and it's a Heat issue, not lack of attention by the gardener. :D

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But, I must respectfully say that I think Broccoli grows differently for a lot of the rest of us, than it does for you in Utah.
Right on. Not only with broccoli, but all crops I am sure. We live in two different worlds. Each area has its unique characteristics and problems.

We get 90 degree weather too in August, yet the broccoli keeps on giving. I let it go to flower for the bees. It will continue to bloom even after frost.

My point on the broccoli was, and is, that you can't have flowers before having blossoms. Since its the blossoms we want to eat we need to pick them before they open no matter how large the cluster.

If your broccoli doesn't get ready by the time you get 90 degree weather, may I suggest you need to plant it earlier? It is only a 60 day crop and if you need it finished by May, you should plant it early March. Maybe even late February. For sure you can plant broccoli a month before your average last frost date. When is that date for your area? Have you ever tried Pacman? It is supposed to be more tolerant of hot weather.

Broccoli, as with any of the cole crops, is a heavy feeder. Be sure to give it good fertile soil. Soil fertility has a lot to do with the size of the heads.
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My point exactly about starting early. I plant broccoli seeds indoors mid Jan and put them in the ground mid Mar, a month before the last frost date. That way I get nice big heads (it is not ONLY a soil fertility issue, it is also a temperature issue as noted above) and still have time to get some of the side shoots heading up before it gets hot.

Same is true for the other cool weather crops like spinach. If you plant your spinach early, you will have plenty of time to pick spinach leaves before it gets hot and the spinach bolts. If you plant it later, it will still bolt when it gets hot and you won't have gotten as much spinach from it.

But the things like shadecloth can help extend the season some.
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farmerlon
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Location: middle Tennessee

jal_ut wrote:
may I suggest you need to plant it earlier? It is only a 60 day crop and if you need it finished by May, you should plant it early March. Maybe even late February. For sure you can plant broccoli a month before your average last frost date. When is that date for your area? Have you ever tried Pacman? It is supposed to be more tolerant of hot weather.

Broccoli, as with any of the cole crops, is a heavy feeder. Be sure to give it good fertile soil. Soil fertility has a lot to do with the size of the heads.
All good suggestions and comments, thanks.
I moved some Broccoli to the garden the 3rd week of February, this year. But, I think it was "set back" some, because I did not harden it off as well as I should have. I keep "fighting" with Broccoli, and I keep learning, so I'm confident that I will "whip it" one of these days.
Next year, I'm going to stagger several plantings, beginning the first week of February, and see what combination of time and weather conditions give me the best results.

I have tried PacMan in the past (not this year), but I'm sure I made some other mistakes that prevented it from doing well ... so, I will definitely try it again next year.

Broccoli seems to be this biggest challenge for me, but I'm not giving up on it! :lol:

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applestar
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I'm still trying with the broccoli and cauliflower too. When Rainbowgardener and I compared weather notes, it seemed like in my area, we have more severe/colder temps until later into the spring, then have more severe/hotter temps earlier in the spring. My 1 month before last average frost would be 3rd week of March. Granted I haven't tried starting the cole crops in mid-January, but that's when we're usually having the coldest temperatures of the year -- -5ºF or so and no higher than single digits and teens for a whole week, etc. There's no way I can grow anything in my garage, even with all the strings of holiday lights we have.

Well, now that I do have a small Indoor Grow Light Area, maybe I'll try that next year, but starting them in 60's+ doesn't bode well for cold-hardy transplants....

With the spinach, they won't germinate any earlier. Rutger's Ag. Extension publication for NJ spinach production notes that the weather is more favorable for fall crop. So maybe I'll just have to get over the weirdness of sowing cool-weather crop seeds in early August and just try it. Possibly, similar weather effects would make fall cole crop more likely, though the difficulty with that is protecting them from the Cabbage Whites, Cabbage Loopers, and Diamond Backs. :roll: Another is finding room to grow them in a cluster or a row that can be covered with a netting, when there are mature vegetable plants in full production everywhere. Hmm... possibly the potato patch (for spinach) or the garlic row (for cole crops -- mid~late July seeding) would provide a good succession bed... 8)

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BrianSkilton
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Well I have some very small heads on my broccoli and romanesco plants. Very tiny heads, but I have some under shade cloth, and put grass mulch around the others, and I also gave them some fish and poop organic (that's the name on the label) fertilizer today. I hope I get a fairly decent head. I started my broccoli plants in March, and planted them out in First week of April. They have almost been in the ground 55 days. So I thought I would see much larger heads by now, but I think they were set back when I transplanted them. Anyway, I will post the progressive when and if I get decent sized heads.
Why buy produce when you can grow it?
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