Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Our Broccoli Bites the Dust

I don't have a fun Memorial Day recap for you, because I worked all weekend. This is what happens when you have a part time job selling fine wines to the masses - people drink more on holidays, which means I work more. I'm not complaining - I need the money, as always, and I did get to drink beers with friends after our summer writing workshop last night. It was a good weekend, but nothing out of the ordinary. So instead, let's chat about my garden. 

Not our garden. Unfortunately.

Spring has not been kind to our rasied beds. We had a long, cold March and April, effectively skipping straight past spring and landing with one foot already in summer. Our greens have done great - our garden is partially shaded, even though we cut down a few sickly trees, and our lettuce, kale, and collards are thriving. Even our Brussels sprout is big and lovely, though it has yet to create an actual vegetable. Sometimes I think it's just showing off. 

The broccoli was probably our biggest disappointment. A few weeks ago, I spied some baby broccoli on our plants and got very excited. We eat a massive amount of stir fry, and broccoli is the key ingredient. I couldn't wait to slather those babies in peanut sauce.

Baby broccoli.

Then, it got hot. The sun shone, the air warmed, and I rejoiced because summer is the best - until I went to the garden and saw that our broccoli was no longer a tight bud of soon-to-be-delicious dinner. It had transformed, seemingly overnight, to this. 

Flowering broccoli

Pretty, but not exactly edible. Some internet sleuthing revealed that broccoli does best when the soil is between 40 and 70F. Any warmer and the buds will flower, and there's not much you can do at that point to save your stir fry. Which means that next year, I will plant my broccoli in the fall, when we are a safer distance from summer. For now, I'll pull up my plants, feed them to the chickens, and make way for some warm weather friends - tomatoes, peppers, basil, and zucchini should do the trick.

Gardening, it seems, has a steep learning curve, but every plant we stick in the ground is a new lesson. Today it's broccoli, tomorrow it'll be something else. One day, after enough lessons, I'll finally eat that home grown stir fry, and I'm certain that it will be the most delicious dish in the world. 

9 comments:

  1. If you plant in the ground rather than a raised bed the soil will be cooler.

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    1. That makes perfect sense! Unfortunately, our soil is terrible - very sandy and previous residents used that area we built our gardens as some kind of dumping ground/burial site. I will keep that in mind for future gardens, though!

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  2. Hey Chrissy, Have you read the book "the 64 dollar tomato"? If not, please check it out. it is funny and interesting and tells the story of gardening and how it has quite a high learning curve.

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    1. I haven't read that book, but it sounds right up my alley. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  3. My in-laws have great luck with broccoli, but we tried it last year and had minimal success for what it requires in time and effort. A couple tiny heads of broccolette is about all we achieved.

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    1. We'll probably plant one or two in the fall, just for the learning experience. In order to grow the amount of broccoli we eat, we'd need a much, much bigger garden!

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  4. Oh man, sorry about that! It is frustrating when things don't go right in the garden. We are definitely still learning and make so many mistakes.

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  5. I learn gardening lessons from you even though I don't have a garden. I had no idea broccoli would flower like that.

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  6. I have never been able to get broccoli to grown anything that even resembles a floret so I totally understand your frustration. There are lots of other veggies that I can easily grow and toss in my stir-fry, so I am okay buying my broccoli at the farmers market from a grower with better luck than me.

    I discovered your blog in the Backyard Farming Connection Hop, nice to meet you!

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