Today we harvested broccoli from our garden. This the first time we've ever been able to get it to grow well and actually be able to harvest and eat it. This is so exciting for us, as we are all broccoli lovers (especially Nicholas - its the ONLY veggie he'll eat!).
So, here are a few things I've learned about growing broccoli. First, nine plants are not enough. I naively assumed that the florets would grow as big as they are in the grocery store. I wasn't thinking about the fact that we are not using pesticides (pests were not a problem - I guess because its too cold for bugs right now) or chemical fertilizers. I'm hoping to have larger florets next season, after the beds have been composted (we're making some nice organic compost). Regardless, I plan to fill the whole square foot garden block (16 blocks) with broccoli plants.
Second, I need to plant them a little earlier in the fall. We planted them about 2 weeks too late (last week of September). I think they might have had a quicker start with a little earlier planting. We are lucky that we live in the Deep South so a fall/ winter garden is very do-able. As a matter of fact, it might be a good idea to plant a few each week until at least one bed is filled with broccoli. That way, we can stager the planting and stager the harvest. Since we have 4 beds, it might even be possible to plant more than 16 broccoli plants, since not much else grows at freezing temps.
Third, I think the plants need more sunlight than they get right now (we have lots of big trees in the yard). It would be nice to find some way to help them get more light.
We plan to put new broccoli plants in the ground soon for a late winter/ spring garden. These I want to start indoors from seeds, and I think we'll need to do that soon. I'd also love to grow some leaf lettuce and spinach indoors this winter. I guess we'll need to do some research and lots of experimenting. We'll update in a few weeks to let you know how its going.