Two years now, most broccoli plants have headed out very early, giving
2" to 4" heads. In the past, with same or similar soil and
manure, we've flourishing plants that yield 12" to 14" heads.
Climate in NS is a bit wetter and usually a bit warmer than western
Massachusetts or southern NH. We've had an unusually chilly and wet
spring this year (after the seedlings were in) but not last year.
Any suggestions to remedy this? Identify the likely cause?
Just harvest the heads when they are ready and leave the stump in the
ground and then keep harvesting as new nubbeny headlets form. I know a
woman who harvested from her broccoli plants for 3 full years before she
had to take them out.
We do that until the plants die back. I may have mentioned this before
but here goes: we have Bright Lights Swiss Chard planted in a flower bed
next to the front porch. We planted the chard in early May 2013, it is
still producing. We cut it back every couple of weeks and eat the
cuttings, the plants keep producing. Luckily the chard only gets
sunshine from about 0600 until 1200 and is then in shade for the rest of
the day. We live in USDA Heat Zone 8b, Harris Cty, Texas and it gets up
into the low nineties F nowadays.
Here is Oz we call that plant Silver Beet (even the one with the rainbow
coloured stems) and I LOVE it. Such a very useful plantt ohave in the
garden as it means it's always possible to produce a meal from it even
if I hadn't been out shopping for weeks (as if that is ever going to
And it copes with everything our filthy climate can throw at it. Below
freezing temps in winter and hot as the hobs of Hades in summer and the
dear old stuff still produces and does so for several years. Add to
that the fact that the chooks too get to eat it as I harvest it on the
way past to their pen. They love it almost as much as i do.
Growing up in SE Texas I had never heard of chard. Finally discovered it
about twenty years ago and have grown it since. This batch is the first
I've grown in the shade and it is truly a perennial here.
Like you we love the stuff, eat it at least twice a week. I also blanch
and freeze it for later use without having to pick and clean. There are
many varieties of chard but we have planted the Bright Lights here
because the homeowner's association directors are the south end of a
north bound horse and get prickly if they think we're growing FOOD in
our front yard. I don't think they've even noticed the chard or the pear
tree that is in our front yard whereas all other homes have a live oak.
I call that "stealth" gardening as I also took out a messy hedge in
front and planted dwarf Barbados cherry bushes. <G>
We are in our hot time here, temperatures of 90+F daily by noon and
doesn't really cool off until about 0200. Lived in Saudi Arabia for five
years back in the eighties and had temps up to 125F but there was always
a breeze and very little humidity even though we lived on the shore of
the Red Sea.
LOL. Sad that there are such morons around IMO. He needs to see a
truly good kitchen garden. I think they are beautiful and that is
usually the first place in the garden that we go and visit when we do
Open Garden Tours.
I don't think they've even noticed the chard or the pear
Mutter, mutter - it's as cold as charity here.
temperatures of 90+F daily by noon and
I don't mind dry inland heat but hate coastal humidity (the sort that
occurs in temperate zones).
from that source. Got hit by another storm burst yesterday evening. Out
of a clear blue sky it suddenly started raining, very heavy for about
fifteen minutes and then gone. In that fifteen minutes we got right at
two inches in the rain gauge on the back fence. I think we've had about
two feet of rain in the last two months. Houston and the surrounding
areas got hit with a foot of rain and several people drowned because of
it. Luckily we're on higher ground than most of the area. We all live on
the former bottom of the ancient Gulf of Mexico, guess we were lucky
getting a home on an ancient sand dune.
Picking brown crowder peas again today, those things are coming in like
crazy. Sweet chiles and eggplant also producing heavily.
On Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 12:39:49 AM UTC-4, Mike Spencer wrote:
Perhaps your soil has gotten low on boron. Boron is a micronutrient that is necessary for good cole crops. The addition of a little laundry additive (Twenty Mule Team Borax) will solve the problem is this is the cause.
It's possible. Trace elements are a problem in Nova Scotia due to
soils and heavy rainfall. We use seaweed for mulch which should help
with some trace elements but maybe not boron. I have borax on hand so
I can turn a little in around the replacement seedlings.
OTOH,the UMinn. Extension service  suggests that boron deficiency
leads to "hollow stems with internal discoloration" but blames small
heads on immature plants on "nitrogen deficiency, cold temperature
shock to young transplants, drought stress or other factors that
markedly restrict vegetative growth". The only one of these that's
very likely to have affected us is too much cold for the young plants.
We had a light frost or two after they were planted.
Thanks for the boron pointer. I knew about boron problems with
turnips but not cole plants.
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