Saturday, May 26, 2012

Broccoli Heading versus Sprouting

We harvested our second cutting of broccoli today. It was not impressive. 2 years ago I won a free package of Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli seed and planted them last year with practically no harvest. This year I replanted those same seed not realizing they were sprouting broccoli. Normally in years past we had planted the old fashioned broccoli that make a large single head and then smaller side shoots after that. The above bowl was today's harvest. 

This was my average cutting every few days two years ago before the sprouting broccoli.

There was always plenty to freeze before. Needless to say I won't be planting sprouting broccoli again. Luckily I realized my mistake and planted more broccoli later that will hopefully bear before hot weather sets in. 

I guess the lesson in this instance is to always read the package carefully especially on free or new seeds that you are not familiar with.

On the package it says that it makes a 5 to 8 inch main head. No way is this head that big, maybe 2 inches if we are lucky. It does make a nice big healthy plant. Too bad you can't eat that!

It does produce a few side shoots but not enough to make up for the lack of a large main head. For the space it takes in the garden for us it is just not a large enough producer. We have De Cicco broccoli in the next row. We are hoping this variety makes up for the loss of crop. 

Needless to say that is 2 years now that this variety has not produced well for us therefore we will not be planting it again. Anyone else out there have trouble with the Calabrese variety of broccoli?I am going to sprout the remaining seeds and give to the chickens !!

I have learned a lesson, something about looking a gift horse in the mouth: )

So as not to seem such a negative Nelly we are at least getting a few small sprouts to throw in salads and stir fries...

I will be planting some broccoli this fall to make up for the failed spring crop.

For those of you that are new gardeners...See even us long time gardeners screw up...and I might add a little too often for comfort.

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. You gave me a scare there. I had to go look up what variety I planted. Thankfully it is Romanesco. Whew!

  2. I've never had luck with broccoli, some type of bug always starts eating it,not sure which. I looked it up though and the University of FL and TX extensions recommend it so maybe it likes hotter weather? Another site says it requires different treatment than normal broccoli. Needs slightly acidic soil and lots of nitrogen. Someone in San Francisco loved it but another person said they only got small side shoots. I saw something where you are supposed to harvest the center and then lay it on it's side for the shoots to start producing well. Maybe experiment with your remaining seeds and see what happens?

    1. Laying it on it's side sounds interesting!

  3. Just so you know, you actually can eat the broccolli leaves, they taste like collard greens.

  4. Love broccoli leaves! And stalks! I just peel the tough outer layer off and then shred it to make broccoli slaw!

    But, yeah... I always remind myself and fellow gardeners that each garden is a work in process. There will never be the Perfect Garden (tm). Live and learn and pass it on. :)

  5. Was just coming to tell you that you could eat them and they taste like collard greens but Jennifer said it. lol

  6. Thanks for the heads sprouting broccoli for this farm!

  7. Sounds very interesting! I will check this out! broccoli seeds

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