Should I pull the broccoli?

earthworm73(WA z8)May 22, 2010

I have two SWC with about 8 broccoli plants each. Most of them were purchased in those 8 pack cells with a tiny amount of soil as compared to the root system. They have been in the boxes for about 3 weeks and are growing in leaps and bounds (as compared to the one I put in the ground on the same day). Anyway some of the broccoli in the boxes already started producing tiny heads which I understand was a response to the stress of living in those tiny cells with little to no water or nutrients. Should I just pull the ones prematurely making heads so the ones not making heads yet can have better access to the water and nutrients for making larger heads?

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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

When you say they "are growing by leaps and bounds, do you mean in a skinny and tall fashion. If so, they are likely too crowded to do much....maybe ever. Some vegetables can recover and regrow and others like corn are a one shot plant.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 12:33PM
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earthworm73(WA z8)

No wayne they are growing normally and spreading out. If you are not familiar with the Earth Box and other SWC they make veggies grow at twice the normal rate than in ground. I just don'r wanna waste my time, space and nutrients with the early producing ones if they will never make edible size heads.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 12:53PM
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heather38(6a E,Coast)

I asked a similar but different question last night, how long have these small heads been there, if they have just appeared, could it just be normal growth? as you are 2 zones higher than me? short thread but attached for info.

Here is a link that might be useful: My question and the answers

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 7:48PM
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earthworm73(WA z8)

heather they have been there since they were in the small cell packs.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 9:36PM
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Not all zone 8s are the same, ofcourse.
I am also in zone 8 in ATL/GA. For us broccolies do not have much more/longer chances.
Mine have lots of leaves but no heads yet. I am not keeping my fingers crossed.
Probably I will end up with just some greens, no heads.

I would have been thrilled if my broccolies were growing heads.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 10:12PM
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heather38(6a E,Coast)

Ah sorry, I didn't get that from the original post, if it was me I would pull them then, but I know nothing :-) as you can tell :-).
All I can say is so far the advice given to me seems to be holding true, the head has increased in size noticeable in one day, and my other broccoli are showing tiny heads, I only have 6, so easy to keep tabs.
Maybe I should do a time line? I will start tomorrow with the new heads, won't help you, I am afraid but maybe people in the future, I hope by my reply and bumping it you get a more definite answer than mine, but this is only my second year gardening and I am on that steep learning curve :-) but I would pull up, I can't waste space and sounds to me like you are in the same boat?
Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 10:58PM
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I am also growing broccoli and I have 8 beautiful plants, but no heads yet! I fear it is becoming too hot and I will let these grow because the foliage is so unique and beautiful. I will start again in august because of the cooler weather!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 11:26AM
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To hot now. Pull them! Don't waste your time and space.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 3:17AM
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If you do pull them, use the broccoli greens... they're really good raw or cooked, any way you would use cabbage. I actually prefer them to cabbage, I think they have a better taste.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 3:16PM
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Earth worm, If they formed tiny heads while in the cell packs, They will never do anything worthwhile. This phenomena is called buttoning ( after the button sized head). The plant has been stunted and will rarely recover. I would suggest to all of you, to examine broccoli and cauliflower plants carefully when buying. I have seen too many sitting in garden centers that have alredy buttoned but still for sale.

Here is a link that might be useful: Broccoli

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 4:30PM
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I've had this exact thing happen to me a few years ago. It was the first time I ever grew broccoli and I didn't realize they weren't supposed to have those little heads on them...they were tiny/young plants at the time. After reading that they were "buttoning", I yanked all but one plant. For some reason, I let that one plant go... Well, it grew a side shoot that didn't create a tiny button broccoli head and you know what? That broccoli was the best broccoli I ever grew! I REALLY regretting pulling all the other plants.

I think you should give them a chance. If no side shoot happens, then yank them.


    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 10:33PM
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