Growing Broccoli

The Garden Advisor, By Lisa Ray, And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden

Virtually unknown in American gardens 50 years ago, broccoli is now a cool-weather favorite.  It is delicious eaten raw , streamed, or cooked.  It provides the body with vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and fiber.  It is a easy plant to grow from seed or purchased plants. Seeds can be started indoors early or direct sown  after threat of heavy frost is passed.  Also purchased plants can be planted at the same time for continuous  harvest.  The ideal soil is well-drained with plenty of calcium; pH 6.7-7.2 in full sun.  Space plants 12-14 inches apart.  Wider spacing will yield larger heads.  Cultivate or mulch and keep the soil evenly moist.  Lack of water will stress the plant, which may fail to head or may become vulnerable to insect pests.  Use cardboard “collards” to deter cutworms.  Spray with BT if cabbageworms are a problem.  Harvest heads when they have reached maximum size but before the tight green flower buds begin to loosen and show yellow.

Perennial Vegetables

Although most vegetables are annuals-meaning that you have to start new plants each year-there are a few exceptions.  Plant perennial vegetables just once, and you’ll be able to harvest from them year after year.  Listed below are several perennial vegetables, followed by their edible parts. 

  • Artichoke, globe:  flower bud
  • Asparagus:   young shoots
  • Cardoon:  peeled stalks
  • Dandelion:  leaves, roots
  • Horseradish: roots
  • Jerusalem artichoke:  rubers
  • Rhubarb:  leaf stalks
  • Sorrel:  leaves

Vegetable Calendar

Get those summer seeds ordered or brought before they’re all gone!  There’s a lot more gardeners these days.  But right now, it’s time to plant spring seeds, sets, tubers, and plants in the ground while it’s cool.  Seeds:  beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, kohlrabi, lettuce, snow peas, spinach, mustard, radishes, and turnips.  Sets and Tubers:  green and bulb onions, and potatoes.  Plants:  cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, collards, lettuce, and spinach.

Old Time Garden Advice

If the moon has such an effect upon the great oceans, why shouldn’t it affect the land? 
To get the best results, sow or plant all grain in the light of the moon; plant all vegetables and fruits that produce their fruits about ground, the light of the moon.  Plant everything that goes to root (like potatoes, beets, turnips, carrots, etc.) in the dark of the moon.  I do not mean to say that so doing will insure your crops; seed and soil conditions must likewise be right and seasonable.  Samuel Campbell,
Farm Journal, 1906

Check out The Old Farmer’s Almanac for the dates.

Questions

What if I have too many stones in my yard for a garden?  Well, this is Stone County.  You can grow in raised beds.  Look around you,

They are everywhere.  This is a common problem.  In my yard,

solid rock is 2 feet down, so I grow in raised beds made from native stones.  Of course, there are other materials you can use, such as wood, bricks, or cement blocks.  Make the beds narrow enough so you can reach one half from either side.  Four feet is a good width for most people.  Leave 4 to 5 feet between beds as paths.  Beds should be deep enough for roots to spread.  Fill the beds with a well-balanced soil.  Raised beds are a large pot; it drains quickly, so water daily, and feed your plants as often as needed.

Understanding Annuals

True annuals germinate, grow, flower, set seed, and die all in one season.  Their single goal is to reproduce themselves.  This is good news for the gardener, since it means that most annual plants will flower like made to achieve this goal.  Some of the best-known annuals-including petunias and marigolds-have achieved their popularity because of their free-flowering nature.  If you use tricks such as deadheading (removing spent flowers) to prevent seed formation, many annuals will step up flower production and bloom well over an extended period until cold weather arrives.  The first hard frost usually kills the plants and signals the end of the bloom season for that year.  You can allow a few non-hybrid flowers to seed for collecting for next year’s flowers.

Broccoli Pasta
1 1/2 boxes Barilla pasta, or other
1 1/2 heads broccoli
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup olive or canola oil

Start by boiling water in a large pot. Once water has boiled, pour in the noodles.  Bring noodles to a simmer for about ten minutes or until noodles are soft and tender.

While the noodles are simmering, add the olive oil then prepare the broccoli in a separate pot.

Heat both the noodles and broccoli on medium high. When both are done, drain the noodles along with all of the olive oil that was added to the water (the oil was just to give it flavor).   Remove from burner and mix the broccoli and noodles in the pot. Add the garlic, and butter to the mixture.  Return pot to stove and heat over low heat for about five minutes.  Serve warm or cold.

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