Mary's Veggie Garden

October 20, 2014

Fall Broccoli

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


May 19, 2014

5/19/2014 Instant Garden

Filed under: Broccoli,Cabbage,Gardening,Leeks,Lettuce,Onions,Peas,Spinach,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 7:52 pm

I believe in planting a vegetable garden gradually. Some vegetables enjoy cold weather while others thrive in the heat. The gardener is happiest if the vegetables are planted when they are happiest.

Here are the cold loving crops in my home garden – planted gradually, starting as soon as the soil was workable. I gave the soil a few days to dry after the snow melted then started planting.

Snow Peas and Kale

Snow Peas  planted 4/2: ‘Oregon Sugar Pod II’  (right) and ‘Mammoth Melting Sugar’ (left end) and kale transplanted out 4/22.

Thanks to Daphne for her post reminding me that tulle netting will work for most pests. I’m protecting the kale from Imported Cabbage worms (the adult is a butterfly) and Cabbage Maggots (the adult is a fly). It should work for both. I supported the  netting with two small tomato cages because tulle is rough and I was afraid it would abrade the plants if it rubbed the leaves.

Cascadia Snap Peas and Tyee Spinach

Cascadia Snap Peas planted 4/8 and Tyee Spinach and a few radishes planted 4/9.

Unfortunately the Norway maples to the south  leafed out in early May so the garden is now part shade and  plant growth has slowed.


Lettuce transplanted 4/13

The lettuce is small but I’ve harvested a few leaves already.

Cabbages and Kohlrabi

Cabbages ‘Mammoth Red’ and ‘Early Jersey Wakefield’  and Kohlrabi ‘Kolibri’, all transplanted 5/2.

My other garden is  two plots (total 20’x40′) at the Vassar Farm community gardens. Normally I alternate planting the two gardens, but not this year.

In mid-March I stopped by the Farm. There was still 6-12″ of snow blanketing the gardens and I knew then that plowing would be late. Snow melt was followed by rain and the plowing didn’t finish until 4/22.  Usually I’ve planted by that date. I paid my plot rent and volunteered to help mark the plots. Finally on 5/5 they asked for help to finish marking.  Marking had started the previous Friday but was so wrong that another gardener and I along with 2 Vassar employees remeasured and marked the entire garden – about 120 plots. We finished around 2:30 p.m. and I could finally start my VF garden.

VF community garden plots after marking but before planting. There are 4 plots going across and 20 rows of plots stretching to the right.

A few VF community garden plots after marking but before planting. There are 4 plots going across and 20 rows of plots stretching to the right plus another section completely out of view.

My planting marathon:

  • 5/5 Late afternoon – measure, mark and rake garden paths; evening – return with husband and post hole digger to place fence posts.
  • 5/6  Morning – direct sow three varieties of spinach seed; afternoon – return with husband to staple up my fence of deer netting and chicken wire; evening –  bury 15′ of fence and transplant chard and beets.  Also transplanted ‘early’  lettuce and direct sowed radishes.
  • 5/7  Bury another 30′ of fence bottom, transplant 93 Cortland onions, transplant 12 kohlrabi and direct sow 13′ of the original Sugar Snap peas.
  • 5/8 Transplant 94 Cabernet onions. Fertilize and mulch all onions. Rain threatening.
  • 5/9   day off – raining. Should be good for all the seeds.
  • 5/10 rain stopped early. Transplanted some Asian greens and my ‘late’ lettuce plants. The late lettuce was supposed to be transplanted 3-4 weeks after the early lettuce, not 4 days later.
  • 5/11 Bury 30′ of fence, transplant broccoli and cabbages. Transplant celeriac.
  • 5/12 trench,  plant half of potatoes, back-fill,
  • 5/13 trench, plant the rest of potatoes,  back-fill, mulch bed. Transplant bunching onions then direct sow  three 4′  rows of Yaya carrots. Rain predicted for the rest of the week – should get the carrots off to a good start.
  • 5/14 mulch. The backlog of planting is finished!
  • 5/15 – 5/16 drizzle then rain. Not as much as predicted but a good amount – 1.2″. Sell vegetables in the drizzle at the Master Gardener Plant sale, our main fund-raising event.

I start most of my plants from seed under a fluorescent fixture in the basement. I don’t have much space under the lights so the pots are tiny and I time sowing to move plants into the garden while fairly small.  The onions and early lettuce spent an extra 3 weeks in the pots but they grew very little during that extra time. I’m hoping they are not permanently stunted.

I never expected to accomplish this much in 9 calendar days. Here is what it looks like.


Onions – so sad. They weren’t happy spending 3 extra weeks in the market packs.

The onions don’t look like much now, but it usually takes about three weeks before they look happy.

The lettuce had doubled in size.

The lettuce has tripled in size though it is still tiny.

Cabbages protected by tulle.

Broccoli protected by an Agribon floating row cover insect barrier. The cover is  8′ wide but extra width is tucked under a 2×4 behind the plants.

Assorted cabbages protected by tulle.

Assorted cabbages protected by tulle.

I’m worried about the broccoli and cabbages. I turn the soil with a garden fork before planting. (It’s been 2-3 weeks since plowing and weeds are growing.) I’m finding a lot of grubs in the turned soil, particularly in the areas closest to the grass where the Brassicas are planted. They look like the larvae of Japanese beetles or some closely related beetle. I killed every grub I found but I suspect I missed many. I wouldn’t want the adults to emerge under my row covers.


The beets were transplanted on schedule and are looking good (but need more mulch.)

The radish, pea, and spinach seeds sprouted rapidly. Radishes and spinach are showing their first true leaves and have also been discovered by the flea beetles. I’m still waiting for carrot sprouts, but they were planted only 6 days ago and needed the rain that didn’t fall.

The sugar snap peas will be trellised as soon as I bring over the post hole digger.

The sugar snap peas will be trellised as soon as I bring over the post hole digger.

Cornell says that later planted peas often catch up with earlier plantings because they grow so fast in the warmth. I’ll compare the start of this year’s harvest to the last two years to see how true that is.

This strange yellow pea plant is in the sugar snap row. It seems to be growing fine despite its weird color.

This strange yellow pea plant is in the sugar snap row. It seems to be growing fine despite its weird color.

And I have harvested this week: 2# rhubarb made into rhubarb bread, an overwintered leek put on our home-made pizza, spinach leaves from the 7 plants that overwintered under our 2′ of snow and garlic & common chives for scrambles eggs.


Spinach – looking very moody.

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