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cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

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cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  davecourington on 6/11/2014, 1:52 pm

This is my first year with SFG and I love it for many of the plants that I have growing. I have had a big issue with the List above though, I planted them in Late March and figured I would be on my way to delicious veggies and making Kraut, etc. I have beautiful plants for the most part but it took forever to get the to start growing well in the MM. I followed the instructions in the new book and removed the bottom of the rootbound rootball on my plants and I think that might be why they never got going. I will not follow that advice again... Now that they have started to take off it is so warm that I think they will never make any heads to consume. Any ideas on if leaving them to grow is worth the trouble or do I just pull them up and feed them to the chickens and wait til Fall planting season and start from seed and not remove the bottom of a rootball. I feel stupid for ever following that advice as I knew it was contrary to everything I have ever done in planting.
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  landarch on 6/11/2014, 2:02 pm

I think growing cole crops is tricky...from my experience, even when you do everything right there is still a decent chance that either 1) no heads fill form or 2) plants bolt way too quickly.

I have better luck with these in the fall...this spring I did four each of cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.  I pulled all broccoli plants after they all bolted without forming heads.  I pulled all cauliflower plants after either no heads forming or bolting too soon.  I picked one decent head of cabbage a couple days ago...remaining plants started from seed and set out at the same time, are either not forming heads or the heads have remained small for weeks.

I'm stubborn enough to try again in the fall...seed to be started indoors in late June and ready to be set out in mid-late July.
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  FamilyGardening on 6/11/2014, 4:22 pm

sorry to hear you are having trouble with your cole crops......it does happen to us too...even when our crops are not in our SFG beds....

this year our store bought broccoli transplants bolted, but our self sown seedlings are doing much better and are still going.....( yet we have other issues, like rats eating the small heads off before we can harvest...eerrr)

not sure if you know this or not.....but you can eat the cole crop leaves and they are delicious!.....we cut our broccoli leaves up and use them in stir fry like you would cabbage......we haven't tried cauliflower leaves yet......

oh....and our chickens go nuts over the leaves as well!  Very Happy 

happy gardening
rose
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  quiltbea on 6/11/2014, 9:26 pm

I'm in the north where one would think cole crops/brassicas would do well this year but mine haven't.  I didn't put them out early enuf.  This year our last frost was April 20 when normally its around May 30th.  Quite a difference for us.  The broccoli and cauliflowers all bolted before forming heads.  The cabbages are struggling along and the Brussel sprouts may be the only thing I'll harvest since they have a long growth period anyway.

Fall is usually better for cole crops.  They are heading into cooler weather and don't have to put up with the heat or the bugs that devour them in the spring.  I don't know how that works for Florida growers.
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  sanderson on 6/12/2014, 4:07 am

Dave, Hopefully someone in your climate Zone/Region will speak up. There may be an optimum time for cole crops, like seeding in September, for example. As far as cutting off the root ball, exactly how much did you remove? If the seedling pot was 2 1/2", did you trim more than 1/4"?
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  walshevak on 6/12/2014, 9:19 am

I  always loosen up the roots on potbound transplants.  Usually just the really bad mat at the bottom and a little on the sides.  Yes, it set the plant back a bit, but I've had no success at getting a plant to grow unless I do this. 

I would say the heat in FL is your enemy now and that the only thing edible you will get from these plants is the leaves.  I have already pulled up all mine one at a time, ate the leaves and pitched the plants.  Then plant a fall crop.  

One year I was fighting the onset of hot weather and decided to put a little "bloom booster" around my broccoli to see if I could force heads.  1/2 strength once and I got some really nice heads.  That was the only year I've done well.  Otherwise,  I get small heads that bolt fast and sometime some side shoot heads.  I don't do cauliflower and cabbage

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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  gwb1865 on 6/20/2014, 9:34 pm

I haven't grown cole crops in years but when I did, I would plant my spring crop in mid-February. Some years were good, others not so good.  I had better and more consistent results with fall plantings.
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  bbroomm on 1/8/2015, 1:40 am

Hi from western west palm beach.
These are some of the ones I started out with when I started trying to garden this summer.  The brocolli I started from seed in some miracle grow I bought at the same store I bought the seed from in pots on my patio.  I just decided to try gardening, I didn't know anything.  I still don't ...but the kind of know nothing that buys seeds at the store with a bag of dirt the boyfriend recommended.
I then bought some cauliflower from the bonnie plants and transfered them to pots.
And cabbage I tried from seeds.  Those were the worst performers for me.  Tried it all summer and couldn't get a plant.  The brocolli did well I thought.  Until I saw videos/pictures of other people's brocolli plants.  The leaves looked nice for a while and I was hopeful.  But the leaves didn't get big like I've seen from others'.  And I never got brocolli from it and eventually killed the plant.
The cauliflower I transplanted looked to be doing ok.  It grew a little bigger than the transplants, but never really did anything either.  So I killed those too. 
Again, I was using Miracle Grow potting mix and Miracle Grow gardening mix or something like that. 
My cucumbers did better.  I actually got to eat one of them, even if it was just one that was a win for me.
Um...Cantelope.  Never did anything but grow leaves and die.  Same with my tomatoe.  Grew nice and tall then died.  No flowers even.
My collards did ok.  Since I never expected anything else other than leaves from them I got what I wanted from it =)  
I tried romaine transplants too and I'm not doing too well with that.  Better this time than the first time when I think they just went to seed.  This time they at least look like lettuce.
Spinach is a disappoint from me every time.  Most of the time I can't even get it to germinate.
And Arugula hates me.
I have a white fly problem.  Like a big problem.  And I've tried the whole soap and water thing, but they laugh at it.  And basil.  They love my basil too =(  Even bought a thyme plant.
I found this forum earlier today.  I didn't know this was such a way of life (square foot gardening).  I found out about Mel's Mix recently and have been trying to figure out how I would make some.  I bought a bunch of Coco coir and some vermiculite, but that's about it.  I didn't realize there was a book, but I have a short attention span and don't like to read.  What was I saying?
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  sanderson on 1/8/2015, 2:51 am

Brroomm,  Thanks for sharing your gardening experience.  This will help us help you.

The All New Square Foot Gardening Book by Mel Bartholomew is easy reading with good photos.  1st or 2nd Edition, either will work, although I found the 1st Edition simpler.  I have bought three of his books (new or gently used) on eBay and Amazon.

Gads. I had to chuckle all the way through your story of gardening. Sounds like me when I started SFG in March 2013. Has it really been 22 months? Instead of Miracle Grow, I used Kellogg's Compost with 1/3 perlite and 1/3 fluffed peat moss. Everything started out nice and then flat-lined. I had to supplement the exhausted Kellogg twice with Miracle Grow fertilizer while I frantically made my own half-baked compost. A Brussels sprout (BS) in a pot was all of 12" at 15 months! Green worms (from the white butterfly) happily ate my kale, BS, cabbage leaves. But the determinant Roma tomato grow over 8 feet tall (with early Blossom End Rot (BER) and the mockingbirds were happy eating the green horned worms. I had lots of pots to supplement by little beds but I used saucers underneath and they got root rot. (plant athlete's foot). After I removed the saucers, they improved. What saved me?? The folks on this Forum. I would have tossed in my trowel without their encouragement.

Here are my suggestions:
1. Read the book.
2. Remove saucers from pots.
3. Try small beds. I have some that are only 1' x 3' interior dimensions, 7 1/2" tall.
4. Make Mel's Mix. Let us know what ingredients you are able to find before you buy. We will try to evaluate your potential Mix before you shell out $$.
5. Make sure the pots are at least 8-12" across.
6. Grow BS, broccoli, small lettuce, etc. in the late fall for winter eats.
7. No or few bees around? (This is a common problem more and more) By a cheap pack of small hair artist brushes to help pollinate cantaloupe (smallest brush) or squashes (a larger brush)
8. Look at YouTube for "How to ..." topics.
9. Ask questions here.
10..Mulch the pots and beds to keep the soil cool and prevent excessive surface evaporation.
11. Post photos so we can have a visual of your problems thinking and your successes cheers .
12. Try Craig's List for local sources of barnyard manure and composts.
13. Ask questions here. Oh, I already said that. I guess I mean it. If you read the book, you will develop questions.
14. Use 5-gallon food-safe buckets for tomatoes, potatoes. OSH, Lowes, and HD carry them. Also, I've read that bakeries may give away their 3 and 5 gallon buckets free.

That's about it for now. Oh, use the Search box for topics. There is a wealth of experience and information on this Forum on just about any topic.
(PS: ask questions)
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  AtlantaMarie on 1/8/2015, 11:24 am

And pictures help us help you figure out what's going on!

(Got family in Delray, btw...)
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  bbroomm on 1/9/2015, 2:00 am

Hey, thanks for the awesome reply.  I feel like I hijacked Dave's post.  =( sowwy
Ya its weird how our stories resemble each other.   Very Happy
I'm excited to grow stuff that I can just run outside pick & eat.  Plus I have pets that I'm growing stuff for.  But since I live in a tiny apartment with just a small patio I didn't know how involved I wanted to get into gardening.  Seems silly to shell out all this cash for stuff that would probably die anyway for lack of space/sun (and I work full time plus).  I did almost go buy some random compost bags to try to make some MM til I read this forum.  I bought some coco coir bricks, then I bought some vermiculite form burpee.  But I don't know what grade it is (it doesn't say on the bag and I haven't opened it since I'm not ready to mix it).  Seems i need FIVE kinds of compost. Shocked   I saw cow and mushroom compost at home depot and almost ordered some worm compost online.  I tried to remember where I saw bat guano online.  Plus where I live there's a lot of horse stables.  But I don't want to just go ask them for their horse poo.  I lack social skills  Sad  The small apartment thing comes into play here cause I have no place to store all this stuff.  So if I don't mix and use it right away...I have no place for it.
I think I read somewhere online when I was looking to see if my city had free compost from WM that said my zip code/city didn't allow personal composting due to something about the Everglades, like I said I don't like to read.
So I do have a question about compost/compost tea.  What's better?  Worm compost or regular compost, and would you need both?  And compost tea, that's on top of everything else right?  That's just instead of watering, you use compost filled water?  I can't compost and I can't make worm bins, so I'll have to buy whichever it is anyway. (I did try to sneak a tiny compost pile right next to my patio between the concrete, we'll see how it goes)
I'll work on getting some pictures of what I have going when I can be home in the daylight.  
I don't use saucers, but I do have some pots that have built in watercatcher things?  Should I remove them?  I also have some self watering pots.  Stop using that?
Before I found the forum yesterday I was using Youtube for the majority of my information.  I frequent MIgardner, Calikim, Praxxus, Gary Pilarchik, ToniB cause she's from down here, south florida farmer bob cause he's from down here and a couple others.  ToniB taught me about pollinating, I never saw that elsewhere before her (nope, no bees around here.  Thankfully tho, I'm allergic to the stings of all insects).  But now I'm just waiting for something to flower so I can try it!  MIgardner had a interesting thing with a comforter bag I'm waiting to get some good soil to try that.  
Farmer bob is able to grow anything!  So I thought I should be able to also if I had enough sun.  Now I know good soil is key too.  His videos are actually how I found out about MM.  
Been wondering about the mulch situation.  I haven't mulch'd anything, but I see ToniB does.  Now I just wonder what to mulch and what not to.
5gallon buckets..thought about it, seen it in some videos.  What I've been looking for is the 7gallon tubs from bubblebeet's videos.  I can't find them anywhere, but seemed like a really good alternative to raised beds that I don't have room for.
Another problem I'm running into is that I have no power tools and I see a bunch of this diy stuff requires you to drill stuff, or make stuff.  I'm very ...non skilled...and the bf has no interest in gardening so he's not helping me with any of it.  He just wants me to feed the pets what I grow.
I tried Jiffy Peat Pellets too.  More disappointment than success, yet I seem to want to keep trying them.
I feel like I talk too much.
Delray is pretty close.  A bit south and a bit east of me.  I used to live in Boca and drove thru Delray all the time  Very Happy
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  sanderson on 1/9/2015, 3:41 am

I want to reply but it's bedtime. Tomorrow.
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  AtlantaMarie on 1/10/2015, 2:48 pm

Take a DEEP breath, BB. 

B-r-e-a-t-h-e.....

Laughing

Now, doesn't that feel better?

I certainly can't answer all of your questions.  In some cases, I don't have the knowledge.  So, see?  You're helping me, too, by asking.  Thank you!

There are a few things you can do on the patio even without many tool skills.  You can stack round or rectangular buckets on top of each other, put holes for the plants on the sides, use MM with them.  You could probly get 3 plants/bucket.  I'm planning on using that for herbs, strawberries, etc.  Maybe carrots or broccoli in the top one.

I'll try to post a pic later...
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  sanderson on 1/10/2015, 3:25 pm

I thought of this thread last night.  She uses the 2' x 3' cement pans.  http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t17176-gwennifer-s-table-tops?highlight=gwennifer
Instead of building frames, set each on 6 common bricks.  Yes, they need holes drilled.  But, I promise you that if you buy a cheap electric drill and a 1/4" bit, you can do it.  As a woman, I have always tried to do things so I could be self-sufficient.  If you go to Home Depot, Lowes, Harbor Freight, etc., and ask a sales person to show you how to use it, (forward drill in, backward drill out, inserting and securing the bit) you will feel empowered. And impress the BF.
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Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  GloriaG on 1/10/2015, 3:58 pm

This is in response to the original problem related to growing cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower in the south.

These plants are all in the same family and thrive on COLD weather.  As a result in the south they have to be planted so they mature in the cool weather of very early spring.  Broccoli and Cauliflower will "bolt" at 75 degrees, and cabbage will refuse to form a head.

In the Dallas area, I usually plant these crops in fall and harvest in early spring.  If I want to add more plants they must go in no later than February so they have time to mature.

In your short cold season, there may not be enough cold temperatures in spring to allow them to mature.  That means you may have to plant your cold weather crops in fall. Your county extension office or a local gardening shop will be able to confirm the exact dates for your areas.

I hope this helps.
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  has55 on 1/10/2015, 9:36 pm

Davecourington, I agreed with GloriaG. cool weather is a must for the cole family like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. I went thru this several years ago and found spring did not work unless I landed early in the spring or late winter and beat the heat of summer. But if it came early in may or the last week of april, I was doom. fall worked best for me. 

this site has planting schedule and plant types for your area. you have to go to the bottom for the info.


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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  sanderson on 2/3/2016, 3:18 pm

My cabbages look great but I am afraid they won't form solid heads of cabbage like they did last spring. I didn't get the starts planted until mid October. Maybe plant them earlier? Any words of wisdom?

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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  sanderson on 3/4/2016, 6:03 pm

Five out of 6 plants formed heads!   bounce  They are supposed to be round but I'll take 'em.

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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  landarch on 3/4/2016, 10:37 pm

Sanderson, very nice.
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/4/2016, 11:40 pm

The question I have in my mind is this..because I got a free cabbage seed packet from Baker's....cabbage is very cheap, is the home grown super better tasting, or basically just guaranteed organic?

Like, homegrown tomatoes and peppers and squash and etc are soooooo much better tasting, plus all the varieties that won't ship. Does cabbage ( and I love cabbage) translate to that?

I would not normally grow it.....just buy it.
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  sanderson on 3/5/2016, 12:58 am

I personally haven't had the greatest success with cabbage, but I do like growing it during the winter. The leaves may be a bit tougher, but again, I'm not the Cabbage Queen. Want cabbage rolls? Cut a few lower leaves. Want raw coleslaw without a side of E. coli? Grow in your own Mel's Mix. [Mine is the hot Berkeley compost, 160*F or hotter] Make your own sauerkraut, home grown and home made. So, pleasure is what I get.

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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  camprn on 3/5/2016, 10:16 am

sanderson wrote:My cabbages look great but I am afraid they won't form solid heads of cabbage like they did last spring.  I didn't get the starts planted until mid October.  Maybe plant them earlier?  Any words of wisdom?
feed them  Wink

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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/5/2016, 10:30 am

sanderson wrote:I personally haven't had the greatest success with cabbage, but I do like growing it during the winter.  The leaves may be a bit tougher, but again, I'm not the Cabbage Queen.  Want cabbage rolls?  Cut a few lower leaves.  Want raw coleslaw without a side of E. coli?  Grow in your own Mel's Mix.  [Mine is the hot Berkeley compost, 160*F or hotter]  Make your own sauerkraut, home grown and home made.  So, pleasure is what I get.

True, like to skip the E. Coli.....and love coleslaw. It deserves a square in spring. Thanks!
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  jimmy cee on 3/5/2016, 1:06 pm

Scorpio Rising wrote:
sanderson wrote:I personally haven't had the greatest success with cabbage, but I do like growing it during the winter.  The leaves may be a bit tougher, but again, I'm not the Cabbage Queen.  Want cabbage rolls?  Cut a few lower leaves.  Want raw coleslaw without a side of E. coli?  Grow in your own Mel's Mix.  t Berkeley compost,[color=#ff0000] 160*F or hotter]  Make your own sauerkraut, home grown and home made.  So, pleasure is what I get.

True, like to skip the E. Coli.....and love coleslaw.  It deserves a square in spring.  Thanks!

According to a section in the microbe book temperatures over 160 degrees burn off the carbon in compost piles.
I believe 150 to 155 is the highest recommended temperatures.
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/5/2016, 1:11 pm

jimmy cee wrote:

According to a section in the microbe book temperatures over 160 degrees burn off the carbon in compost piles.
I believe 150 to 155 is the highest recommended temperatures.[/color]

I just read that very chapter this morning, Jimmy! Coincidence? I think not!
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Re: cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower issues

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