Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gardening Lessons Learned: Broccoli

I started my garden at the end of July last year and I've learned lots of things since then. I planted lots of things: broccoli, lettuce, onion, cauliflower, carrots, and even sugar cane. I haven't had any experience growing these vegetables before so I did a lot of googling and made lots of mistakes. Broccoli requires a lot of space because the plant actually grows very large. I didn't know this at the time I planted the seeds and now my broccoli is blocking my cauliflower oops.

This is a floret that is ready to be cut. If you wait for it to grow bigger in size, like I did, then the floret will actually flower and will no longer be edible. I read that usually the first year that broccoli is grown the florets it gives aren't very large.

In warmer climates, like here in AZ, the floret can go from ready to eat to flowering within a day or two. As you can see the floret is already spreading out and beginning to open. This floret is no longer edible. Now if you waited too long to cut your floret and it is no longer edible then you can harvest the seeds from the flowers for next season. 

Once the broccoli begins to flower the bees will pollinate them and you will be able to get seeds. Once the flower has finished blooming small green pods will appear. Wait for the pods to dry to a light brown color. Once it is dry you can pick it and open it by hand and the seed will be inside. All seeds should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place until you are ready to plant them.

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