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Help with broccoli question

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Help with broccoli question

Post  scubadoo on 4/9/2011, 7:51 pm

I just built an SFG...I put a couple of broccoli transplants in there and one shot up and put out some pretty yellow flowers...I hate to sound stupid, but I've never grown broccoli in any type of garden before. Are we supposed to cut the flower off??
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Re: Help with broccoli question

Post  elliephant on 4/9/2011, 8:02 pm

That's called bolting. Sad

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Re: Help with broccoli question

Post  scubadoo on 4/9/2011, 8:05 pm

Okie dokie...but what do I do? If I cut the flowers off will I have a chance at growing the broccoli...or do I just let it be 'pretty' in it's square until the fall and replant another one?
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Re: Help with broccoli question

Post  GreenBlueberry on 4/9/2011, 8:27 pm

No, your broccoli is unusable now. Once it bolts (flowers) it's not good to eat, you would keep it only if you want the seeds. Broccoli is harvested when that flower is still "green".
Check this for more information: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cornucop/msg0621450921754.html
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Re: Help with broccoli question

Post  quiltbea on 4/9/2011, 8:54 pm

That's right, once it flowers its bolted and going to produce seeds. No good flavor at that point. You have to pick them when they look like this:

Its still good even if you have a bit of yellow showing up in the heads that look like little dots here and there.
After you pick that head in the middle, leave the plant. Small brocs will start growing on the stems around where the head once was and they are very tasty so harvest those as well.

See the small broccoli nibs growing on the stems that were left?
Mmmmm good.
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Re: Help with broccoli question

Post  pattipan on 4/9/2011, 9:07 pm

Typically when you plant broccoli it will form a head (called a crown) in the center of the plant first. You harvest the crown when the buds are still tightly closed. This will encourage side shoots to form, in fact you may see them forming already. You don't want to "pick" the broccoli, instead use a sharp knife and cut off at a slight angle.

Is the flowering shoot coming up from the center of the plant? I would cut it off and toss it, it's gone too far to be good eats. Can you see other small buds coming out on the plant? These will continue to grow and you can harvest them when they are still buds.

We planted Packman broccoli (8 plants) last year, we harvested broccoli from May to end of August. June was the best month. It was hard to eat store-bought after that! Got 8 more in a box for this year. Can't wait!

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Thanks for broccoli replies!! :)

Post  scubadoo on 4/14/2011, 12:14 am

Thank you, everyone, for posting replies! It helped alot! Yes, my flowers came from the middle (or crown) as you called it. But, I had just put that transplant in the garden a little over a week ago, and it hardly had time to "grow" into a big plant, the crown just bolted almost overnight tho I tried to keep it shaded with a large egg crate...it had gotten so warm so quickly this year down here, and we hardly have a "spring" season. I will plant them closer to our fall and see how it goes....
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Regional planting schedule?

Post  scubadoo on 4/14/2011, 12:23 am

I see that many of you are from the southern area, also...What month did you put the transplants in the square or started from seed? I'm very curious as you all have the 80 degree spring weather like we do. I've looked back through Mel's book about when to do plant certain types of veggies, but we've either had frosts or super cold weather just before the last frost date and 2 weeks later we are up to 85 degrees already. What planting schedule has worked for you?
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Re: Help with broccoli question

Post  dizzygardener on 4/14/2011, 12:40 am

I'm sure someone from the lower south will give you their first hand experience as to when to plant broccoli.

But, broccoli is hardy to 18° F, so a little frost won't hurt it.
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Re: Help with broccoli question

Post  SFG in Chicago on 4/14/2011, 12:46 am

Your broccoli probably bolted because it's too warm. Broccoli is a cool season crop and likes a little frost, that's why the book says to plant it up to 5 weeks before last frost. In my area it's the right time to plant broccoli, in yours I'm afraid it's probably too late. You can try again in the fall though!

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Re: Help with broccoli question

Post  scubadoo on 4/14/2011, 1:07 am

Yep! Couldn't get my significant other to help me get the SFG done earlier...but at least it is done now and I can move forward with all the other summer plants...which isn't a bad thing, because it looks like I might be able to get a couple rotations on several of the summer veggies?! Can't have too many green beans in this household! Smile
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