Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Broccoli Going Strong through the Freezes...

Wow.  Despite repeated temperatures in the teens and an unreliable row cover material that continually blew off, leaving the plants completely exposed to the freezing night air, the broccoli plants continue to bear lovely crowns of broccoli florets!  I am wowed. Spring planting has never yielded this kind of broccoli harvest.

 Here in coastal Virginia, the rollercoaster spring weather, with leaps into the 70's and even 80's during the early spring months, invariably starts my broccoli plants bolting while they are still quite small and my best harvest has only been a few modest mini-crowns of broccoli florets.  But fall planting, with the plants amiably growing along well into the winter... this is fabulous.  I don't know how long they can keep it up.  We've picked the large center heads and now have side shoots forming heads but it remains to be seen if those can develop far enough to make keeping the plants going worthwhile.

By contrast the cold weather lettuces, chard and spinach have all shown substantial damage from the freezes, even under light cover.  Collards, cabbage and curly kale just shrug it off, of course.

One of the loveliest things in the garden right now is the rainbow chard with it's brilliant red stems and colorful leaves. Some stalks are deep burgundy and purple, others orange and green.  When the sun hits the row, they light up the garden.  What a rewarding plant to grow - talk about your ornamental edibles!

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