Mary's Veggie Garden

October 20, 2014

Fall Broccoli

Filed under: Broccoli,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 8:47 am
Tags: , , , ,

After several years of trying I finally got the timing correct for a fall broccoli harvest.  Wednesday I harvested the first head of Arcadia – the solid one pounder in the photo. The remainder of the plants are starting to head up and will be harvested over the next couple weeks.

Broccoli: Arcadia head and side shoots of Coronado Crown and Bay Meadows

Broccoli:  a head of Arcadia and side shoots of Coronado Crown and Bay Meadows

I’m also amazed at the size and quantity of the side shoots from my spring planting. The bag contains a full pound. Most of the side shoots are from 4 Coronado Crown plants. In the past I’ve grown Premium Crop. It is a steady producer of side shoots but by mid-October its shoots are quite wispy.

These Coronado Crown shoots are substantial. The Bay Meadows shoots are smaller than Coronado Crown, but still bigger than most Premium Crop shoots. The shoot size matches the size of the plants. The Bay Meadows plants are petite while the Coronado Crown plants are twice their size.

Fall cleanup at Vassar Farm.  Behind me, on the left, Coronado Crown broccoli, on the right Bay Meadows.

Fall cleanup at Vassar Farm. Behind me, on the left, Coronado Crown broccoli, on the right Bay Meadows.

Planting Plan for Fall Broccoli in Poughkeepsie, NY

I started the Arcadia seed June 9 and grew the seedlings under lights in my basement. On July 21,  immediately after removing the Sugar Snap Peas,  I transplanted the Arcadia broccoli into my community garden plot at Vassar Farm .

Area nurseries typically starting selling broccoli and cabbage seedlings around Aug. 7 and in my garden only one plant in 4 would actually produce a usable crop. My results show planting  two weeks earlier is better.

I covered the plants with a tulle row cover to protect against cabbage worms. The cover wore out  & was removed after two months (because it was used previously for the spring cabbages.) Since then I’ve sprayed with Bt. roughly every two weeks.

Arcadia broccoli plants Oct. 18.

Arcadia broccoli plants heading up on Oct. 18. Foreground: Bolero carrots. One of the carrots bolted; its flower is on the left edge.

I froze that head of Arcadia. While preparing it, I noticed it is very tender, much more than the side shoots of the other varieties. I also sampled the blanched broccoli. It tastes like …  broccoli. I guess I’m not a broccoli connoisseur.

Other harvests:

  • another 1 pound bag of broccoli side shoots.
  • 4 Yaya carrots totaling 3 pounds.
  • all the peppers in my garden, in anticipation of frost, working out to approximately 2 gallon freezer bags full of chopped green peppers, plus a big bag of ripe and almost ripe peppers to eat fresh.
  • a couple colanders full of cherry, plum and beefsteak tomatoes.
  • 2 cups of hardy kiwis. This is a piddling harvest considering the amount of work required to prune the vines every year.

Update: despite a freeze warning for early this morning, the temperature was 35 degrees F. 7AM and it looks like the tomatoes and coleus survived. So I’ll have vine ripened cherry tomatoes for another week, plus samples of the tomato diseases septoria and early blight for the Master Gardener Vegetable Gardening class I teach Wednesday.



  1. Nice looking garden. I am impressed with your broccoli. I grew Bay Meadows this year and wasn’t that impressed, what did you think of it? Arcadia is on my list for next year, and I will try your schedule for planting fall broccoli. Thanks for that information.

    Comment by dvelten — October 20, 2014 @ 9:23 am | Reply

    • The heads of Bay Meadows were on the small side; I guess that goes along with the small plants. The Coronado crown heads were much bigger but because of their unusual shape I had difficulty deciding when to harvest. I must write a post about that this winter.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — October 20, 2014 @ 9:47 am | Reply

  2. Well done you, mine is looking good too, but getting attacked by pests on the daily! Thinking of harvesting it soon!

    Comment by keithbawden — October 20, 2014 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

  3. I must look into spraying my broccoli and other crops, yours look gorgeous and so perfect.

    Comment by Norma Chang — October 20, 2014 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

    • That big head didn’t have any cabbageworms. Whoopee! I’d sprayed just as the head started to form. However there were a dozen cabbage worms in the bag of shoots. I didn’t bring enough spray to thoroughly cover the foliage of the old plants. I was concentrating on the new ones.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — October 20, 2014 @ 5:16 pm | Reply

  4. Interesting info on fall broccoli! Premium Crop was one of my favorite varieties for fall but I understand it is not available anymore. I am still waiting on my Arcadia to head up.

    Comment by Dave @ OurHappyAcres — October 20, 2014 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

    • I grew Premium Crop for years, I liked it much better than Packman.

      The remainder of my Arcadia heads will not be as big. The plants are all smaller than that first plant. The today’s head weighs 7 oz.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — October 20, 2014 @ 5:13 pm | Reply

  5. We too got down to 35F last night, but no frost. Not that things will be growing much with the cold weather. Lovely broccoli. This is the first year I’ve gotten fall broccoli at all. And like you I started early.

    Comment by daphnegould — October 20, 2014 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

    • Frost was spotty around here. At home I had no frost, but at Vassar Farm, in a broad valley between two ridge lines, the nasturtiums and tomato plants were frosted. The nasturtiums were buzzing with honey bees when I harvested the broccoli, but today there was one lonely honeybee searching for a live blossom under the dead ones.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — October 20, 2014 @ 7:45 pm | Reply

  6. Congrats on the broccoli harvest- it looks lovely!

    Comment by Julie — October 20, 2014 @ 10:19 pm | Reply

  7. Congrats on figuring out your fall broccoli timing – It’s a great feeling, isn’t’ it? I’m still at the beginning stages of figuring all that out so I still have a ways to go on that front with most crops. Even though it seems you have a somewhat longer season – our first frost usually arrives in the first couple of weeks of October – next year, I will try your timing suggestion, just to see how it works out.

    Comment by Margaret — October 21, 2014 @ 9:19 am | Reply

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