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(another) Broccoli Question

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staf74
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Post  Weatherkid 4/29/2011, 9:16 pm

I have a broccoli plant in the garden that's only about 8" tall. It has a few larger leaves and looks quite healthy, the only problem is that I noticed a head already forming on it today. Last year when I grew broccoli they only started to head when they were about double the size of this plant.

Any suggestions on why it's heading so early?
We did have a string of 80°F+ days but it was back into the 60°Fs today. We've also had huge amounts of rain recently. I don't know if this means anything but I'd be grateful to find out.

Thanks,

Weatherkid
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Post  Furbalsmom 4/30/2011, 1:25 pm

Wish I had an answer for you Weatherkid,

It is quite possible the high temps caused the broccoli to do what it is supposed to do, mature by flowering.
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Post  staf74 4/30/2011, 2:23 pm

My guess would be as Furbalsmom: simply going to seed as it was tricked that summer is here by that stretch of 80's. I have a good harvest of Broccoli today but no-where near as prolific as in the fall when my heads were huge. I will post pics in the middle south update coming out on Monday. We had a stretch in the upper 80's and the heads were doing great until then. They stopped growing tightly and I could see the buds beginning to open. I had to harvest today.

In the fall you will encounter the opposite problem. Profuse vegetative growth in the warmer late summer / early fall temps and giant heads in the cooler later fall with the temps consistently dropping as they mature.

At least that was my experience so try them again !!!
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Post  pattipan 4/30/2011, 3:34 pm

Weatherkid wrote:I have a broccoli plant in the garden that's only about 8" tall. It has a few larger leaves and looks quite healthy, the only problem is that I noticed a head already forming on it today. Last year when I grew broccoli they only started to head when they were about double the size of this plant.

Any suggestions on why it's heading so early?
We did have a string of 80°F+ days but it was back into the 60°Fs today. We've also had huge amounts of rain recently. I don't know if this means anything but I'd be grateful to find out.

Weatherkid


My first question would be what type of broccoli are you growing? Some varieties crown faster than others and then there is actually types that are referred to as "crowning broccoli," although those are more commercially grown.

As soon as the crown is big enough, cut it off and eat it! If the broccoli plant continues to branch and bud, then you are fine. Your weather has been about the same as mine here in Pendleton County, West Virginia. Last week was in the 80's and today it's cooled off to the 70's. A couple of my plants which are about the same size as yours look like they may crown early too. I am growing Packman which I grew last year as well. I am hopeful based on the success we had last year -- we were eating broccoli from late May to mid-August!

Another thing I read on a garden site (if I find that link I'll post it) is to mulch with straw or dry grass around the broccoli plants to keep the soil cool and moist -- a combination broccoli loves.

I guess what I am trying to say is to not give up on it yet!

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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 5/1/2011, 10:55 am

In the future, you may want to seek out varieties touted to give side shoots after you've harvested the central head. The side shoots are every bit as good as the central head; they keep on sprouting; are usually just about the best size for stir-frying; and I think the small stems are more tender than the central head. Just 4 plants can keep give you a serving of broccoli side shoots a day!
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Post  Weatherkid 5/7/2011, 1:22 pm

thanks for all your replies. I think either it didn't get enough nutrients... or it was too hot. The other broccoli plants are doing well, with normal progression and size.

I'll definitely try again this fall.
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Post  SQFTBIX 5/26/2011, 12:50 pm

All of my Broccoli has bolted and flowered. 90 degrees does that to them. I even planted heat tolerant varieties but they almost made it until the heat was turned on. I am going to plant much earlier next year as it seems the hot weather is coming very early now. Don't feel bad, my neighbors report the same thing - it just got too hot too quick. Mad
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 5/26/2011, 2:14 pm

SQFTBIX wrote:All of my Broccoli has bolted and flowered. 90 degrees does that to them. I even planted heat tolerant varieties but they almost made it until the heat was turned on. I am going to plant much earlier next year as it seems the hot weather is coming very early now. Don't feel bad, my neighbors report the same thing - it just got too hot too quick. Mad

I went out and nabbed a three inch head this morning. I couldn't hold out any longer. Monday is supposed to hit 90 and I was already seeing some loosening of the buds. Hope it's yummy and I didn't wait a day too long as it is. My cauliflower looks mighty tasty, though. Got a 6-8 inch head on the first one and the second is already about 3 inches, but two weeks behind the first.
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