Broccoli 3-30-14

Broccoli 3-24 (1)

Our baby broccoli has survived for a week in the bone-chilling late March air. Lucky for the broccoli, it does not have bones.

Leading the broccoli pack is Thompsons OP, a full season broccoli that has produced extra large primary heads in our Everett garden. One of them grew to nine and a half inches across. That was the year we made our Mel’s Mix with home-made compost instead of bagged compost. The side-shoots lasted into fall in that rich mix. Trying to repeat the performance in 2013 I tried to enrich MM with composted horse bedding. If it was lush leaves and tiny heads we were after then the horse compost would have been perfect. This season we are back to compost that is mainly chicken bedding. It is too early to tell how these will turn out, but they are looking nice and healthy.

70 days. This delightful variety has a long harvest period, making it a winner in the home garden. The medium to large heads have an excellent flavor, and the great side shoot production provides a high amount of tasty florets after the main head has been harvested. Suitable for both early spring plantings as well as a fall planted crop TSC online

Solstice OP is our newest broccoli. First planted in 2013, it did not get a fair trial. We have new plants in for season 5 that are doing well. Time will tell if this is a broccoli we come to love.

The (justifiably) much maligned public opinion of open pollinated broccoli among commercial growers is about to be turned on its head by a couple of new releases in the category. “Solstice” comes out of a gene pool started at OSU and later selected by Jonathan Spero of Lupine Knoll Farm in Southern Oregon. A very refined variety, solstice features tight, dark, uniform heads and excellent side shoot production. Maturity is much more uniform than most OPs while still giving about a week+ harvest window, a feature we find to be positive attribute. For growers used to the hybrid “look” and performance, this is the best OP entrant we’ve seen and we encourage you to trial it. Bravo!  Uprising on line

Nutri Bud OP surprised me with how well it fed us in season 2 and 3. Somehow I spilled all the seed from Nutri Bud and a baby boc choi into the bottom of the zipper bag they were stored in for the winter. I knew these seeds were similar, but until I decided to try and replant Nutri Bud for season 5, I did not realize how identical they are. Ray and I will be eating a nice crop of boc-choi this spring. Only one set of leaves is broccoli like. But at least there is one set out there! We got our seed from Greenheart Garden (Farm?) on Lopez Island…. they do not seem to have an internet address.

Early maturing variety, high in free glutamine, a building block of protein and an important healing nutrient. Large 6-8″ central heads with medium-sized shoots on vigorous 16-20″ plants. 55 – 70 days to harvest.

Umpqua heirloom Grown only in season 3 when it was impossible to compete with the giant Thompsons and the productive Nutri bud, Umpqua will have one more trial in season 5. I don’t need to be impressed, just fed… and if my freezer is full of bright green broccoli for the winter, I will be satisfied.

Open pollinated broccoli has been long neglected in the realm of seed breeding. Our extensive 2008 trials of all the OP varieties currently available proved to be fairly discouraging, with one exception. Umpqua was simply heads and shoulders above the pack in growth and flavor. We have often seen Umpqua described in catalogues with the kiss-of-death descriptor, “best suited for home gardens”. Really? We’ve been happily growing Umpqua for fresh market and CSA for years and have been impressed with its color, taste, vigor, and head size. Growing quite large when given good fertility, it matures over a period of about 2 weeks with side shoots for a couple weeks more. We’ll leave the “farm suited” weirdly dense, month-long shelf life, tastes-like-cardboard, 10-acres-ready-to-cut-at- 7:42 AM-sharp-on-Tuesday-July-6th-just-in-time-to-meet-the-truck, modern hybrids to those whose businesses require such qualities. Great for fresh market but not a shipper. Uprising online

Purple Peacock F1 Not really a broccoli but a broccoli-kale hybrid, we start Purple Peacock with our broccoli and grow them side by side. We value it for the baby leaves in our spring salads. It does make small broccoli-like heads that are a dusty lavender color but it is the beautiful leaves that we love. The seed is expensive, being a hybrid, so we try to be careful, not wasting any. Sweet in spring salads, beautiful in a bowl of mixed greens.

70 days. We were spellbound by this flamboyant broccoli-kale cross. It has all the best qualities of both a kale and broccoli with the glamour and splendor of a peacock’s display. Loose heads of purple florets are encircled by the deeply serrated, fuchsia veined leaves. The greens are extra tender when young, and sweet as the tastiest kale as they mature. An impressive production of side shoots provides a continuous harvest of delicious florets. TSC online

From "Skagit Breaking" FB

From “Skagit Breaking” FB

 Cold constant rain makes today a day to bake instead of plant. I will pray while I bake for the men and women out in this weather, doing recovery at the Oso 530 mudslide. The area had been declared a bio-hazard due to the propane, gas and other fuels household chemicals and septic tanks failures. All of these have been spread over the area by the massive mud slide. Rescue workers and dogs must be decontaminated at days end.  New Pink Moon, 52/36 20% chance of drizzle. Sunrise at 6:51, setting at 7:36 for 12 hours and 45 minutes of daylight.

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