Category Archives: Broccoli

Planting Begins

The Inspector

The Inspector

Today is my first planting of the fall 2015 season. While I was working, a neighborhood critter stopped by to inspect my job. The photo shows him next to a hole I was preparing for a tomato plant. He must have approved – he didn’t say anything.

I planted one tray, four plants each, of broccoli, cauliflower, and jalapenos. There were no varieties listed on these plants. I also planted a tray each of “Copenhagen Market” cabbage, “Beefsteak” tomatoes, and “Purple Top White Globe” turnips.

Did I say Turnips? Yep. They’re an experiment—I’ve never tried growing them. I was surprised when I spotted them in the nursery so I asked the woman behind the counter how they grow in Florida. She looked a little evasive when she said, “we sell a lot of them.” I guess I’ll see.

I ought to pick up the empty trays

I ought to pick up the empty trays

Just in case there’s any confusion: these are turnips, not rutabagas. Rutabagas are yellow. Turnips are white. Turnips are also one of the few root crops I really like.

The second photo shows turnips in the foreground with jalapenos to the right, broccoli and cauliflower to the left. Cabbages and tomatoes are out in left field.

More Planting


Baby cabbage

I always buy my seedlings too far in advance – with the best of intentions, of course. On Friday I picked up nine Copenhagen market cabbage seedlings at Lowe’s. I was going to plant them immediately but…

On Saturday I had to drive down to Pinellas Park so I picked up eight Packman broccoli seedlings at Willow Tree. I had plenty of time that afternoon…

Sunday I decided to relax. Monday was drizzling – I changed my oil instead of gardening. Isn’t that life?


Kale and Cabbage

Finally, after work today, I got my planting done. Stepping on the thick compost felt like walking on a foam mattress.

For no good reason, here’s some pictures of my five-week-old kale and cabbage. There’s a profusion of blossoms on the purple sweet potatoes.




Broccoli Harvest

I began harvesting broccoli from the first planting.

Monday, 12-1: One head—10 oz.

Thursday, 12/4: One head—13 oz.

Saturday, 12/6: Three heads—15, 22, and 25 oz.

Sunday, 12/7: Shared 3 lbs. of broccoli with the fellowship. Many smiling faces!


Up to Date

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne more quick post to bring us up to date.

On the fourth weekend in September, the 26th and 27th, I planted eight broccoli (Packman variety) and four tomatoes (Celebrity). You can see them in the background of the photo.

Last week, on Monday the 3rd, I planted eight cabbages (Copenhagen market), four cauliflower (no variety listed), and four kale (ditto).

February Harvest

Once again, I’ve been remiss in posting.

Our cold, miserable January ended with a bang – the last five days were even more wet and miserable than the rest of the month. Around here we average 2 inches of rain in January. During the last five days of January, 2014, I got over 3 inches at my house. February has started off less miserably but the rains continue off and on.

The good news is:
I haven’t had to water my garden during the last two and half weeks.
There was not one Frost all winter!
I harvested some vegetables.


Wednesday, January 29: harvested three small heads of broccoli, total 18 ounces. I chopped these up and ate them, raw, over the next several days in my lunch. Very tender and tasty.

Saturday, February 1: harvested three ripe tomatoes, total 11 ounces. Yum.

Sunday, February 2: remember those cauliflowers I planted on a lark? Well one of them never formed a head. I harvested the other three today – for a total of 33 ounces. The smallest head of cauliflower weighed as much as the largest head of broccoli. Must think about planting more cauliflower next year.

Thursday, February 6. Harvested one small tomato: 4 ounces. I’ve been very pleased with the tomatoes and I’m keeping on top of picking them just as they become ripe. The flavor is very good. I also picked a couple of tiny green peppers and jalapenos on Friday – these plants are definitely done for.

The garden isn’t yet producing enough veggies to supply all my needs. But I eat raw veggies every day for lunch—and the garden has been handling that for the past couple of months.

I’ll add some pictures to the post when I figure out where I put my camera. I had it on Friday…


[Update: I mowed the lawn for the first time this year. I really should have done it two weeks ago.

More broccoli. I picked another small head: 3.75 oz. ]

Two in One Day

01ReadyImagine, two posts on the same day! This one, instead of being delayed like most of my others, is actually about today. Mostly.

This was a good morning to stay inside doing housekeeping – it’s cold out there. After lunch it warmed up quite nicely – low 60s. As long as I was working, and in the sun, and wearing a sweatshirt and a hat, it was quite comfortable. Did I mention I was also wearing long-johns? No, I’m not kidding. It doesn’t bother me to work outside under the summer sun when it’s 95° and 100% humidity. Cold is another story.

Just to get caught up to date, last Monday I cut my first head of broccoli. It wasn’t very big, about 6 02Fillounces. Yes, I ate it before I took a picture.

Today I worked on the compost heap, adding lots of kitchen and garden waste that had been building up. I decided to “seed” all three of my compost bins with worms. These aren’t garden worms, but compost worms (a.k.a. red worms). I’ve been neglecting raising them in a plastic bin in the sunroom. I’m curious to see how they take to living in the wild. They probably won’t start breeding with 03Plantthe weather this cold but one never knows. Tomorrow it’s supposed to reach 70.

I went to Home Depot to check out vegetable plants – they looked pretty good. I picked up nine each of Packman broccoli and Bonnie hybrid cabbage (a new variety for me). Each nine-pack cost $3.89. That’s only 43 cents per plant.

Before transplanting them I washed the 6 inch pots with hot soapy 04Back Fillwater. That’s just a precaution in case the previous potting soil had any nasty fungus or microbes. Note: as a general rule it isn’t best to reuse potting soil. Toss it in the compost heap to take care of any nasties that might have taken up residence.

Once the pots had air-dried I laid them out on a card table in the sunroom.

The first step in transplanting is to water the plants enough so their root balls will stay together.

I filled each pot about 05Donehalfway with the soil I prepared last weekend.

After placing the seedlings in the pots, I back-filled with more soil.

The Brassica family does not like loose soil very much. I firmly pressed down the potting soil around the root balls.

Finally I gave each pot 2 cups of dechlorinated water. The potting soil was pretty dry.

I’ll keep the plants inside tonight but tomorrow they go out in the cold, cruel world.

And More Rain

BroccoliYes, it’s still raining – off and on. We got another quarter-inch here on Saturday night. It has been a week since I last needed to water the garden. The plants still looked good when I got home from work today but I decided to water them anyhow.

Not much news. Yesterday Clay borrowed my live trap. His target is a chicken killing possum. Such is Cabbagelife in the big city!

Today I picked:

1.5 ounces of jalapeňos
6.0 ounces of eggplants
6.5 ounces of bell peppers

My tomato vines have lots of green tomatoes on them. I’ve never been a fan of eating green tomatoes so I think I’m going to wait.

Enjoy the pictures – my first batch of broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower are starting to “fruit.”


Rainy New Year

What is it with this weather?

December was mild with only a few cool days – normal weather. A frost is very rare in December. On the other hand, a solid cloud cover with barely a glimpse of the sun is not normal from Christmas to New Year’s. And did I mention the rain? I thought we were in the dry season. This past week it rained on Monday. I worked in the garden on Tuesday. It rained on Wednesday and Thursday. Finally, the sun came out yesterday (Friday, January 3) but the temperature plummeted. The high for the day was only about 53°F.

So I didn’t get as much done in the garden this week as I had hoped to.

Potato HarvestI harvested the sweet potatoes from the four plants that I had bought at Lowe’s. As I worked I discovered that only three of the plants had survived. I harvested a whole 4 1/2 pounds! Many of the tubers were rather small.

I also pulled a small purple sweet potato that was growing as a weed amongst the bell peppers.

Note to self: keep mixing compost into the soil and, next time, add a little fertilizer at planting! The heavily weathered soil on the Suncoast has little natural fertility.

Crater LakesWhile digging sweet potatoes I also weeded the bed. Then I planted the four cabbages and four broccoli that were patiently waiting in their 8 inch pots. I used the crater planting technique. I filled each crater with water – untreated, straight from the hose. Since it rained on Wednesday and Thursday I didn’t do any watering this week.

I quit work while there was still daylight so I could get cleaned up to go to a New Year’s Eve prayer fellowship. That was a peaceful, productive way to bring in the new year.

Clay and Maggie dropped by on Wednesday to bless me with a half-dozen eggs from their chickens. They also wanted to see my garden and pick up their manure buckets. I sautéed the purple sweet potato, one of the Beauregards, and an eggplant in palm oil. We enjoyed sampling them together. The purple potato wasn’t as sweet as the orange ones. Maggie’s especially fond of sweet potatoes so I sent some home with her.

P1000374We checked the temperature of the newest compost pile – number four. Even though it was less than 9 inches deep and there’d been a cold rain all morning the temperature was up to 84°.

After looking things over, Maggie asked why I bothered transplanting the broccoli and cabbages into the ground – they were growing so well in the pots. What a silly question! Obviously, I had to transplant them because, uh, you know. Well, I mean. Hmm…

Maybe I ought to experiment with container gardening?

By the way – what’s the plural of broccoli? There seems to be some confusion online. Since the word “broccoli” is the plural of the Italian word “broccolo,” I’m going to use broccoli for both singular and plural in English. So let it be written, so let it be done.