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broccoli ready to pick?

Posted by tracymo 5 Lenexa, KS (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 1, 10 at 23:30

Here is a link to some pictures of some of my broccoli heads. None of them are over a couple of inches in diameter. The broccoli was not starting to head when I left town on 21 May, but when I got back yesterday, they were being eaten by cabbage loopers (which I hand-picked, then sprayed with Bt), and the heads were as they now appear.

I'm thinking it's kind of early for broccoli, but I've never grown it, so I'm not quite sure what I'm looking for.

Tracy

Here is a link that might be useful: link to photos of broccoli


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: broccoli ready to pick?

My broccoli almost never gets as large as you find in the grocery store, so you can't go by size alone.
A good way to tell when it's ready to pick is to look very closely at the color of the outside edge of the head. If you see any yellow at all, thats a sign that the florets are getting ready to bloom. If you see that, cut it immediately.
We've had a unusually warm spring here in IL, and my broccoli didn't get much bigger than my fist before it started to flower, so I had to go ahead and pick it. It was small, but delicious!


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RE: broccoli ready to pick?

same here backyard. Thats ok fall time is when we get the big heads any ways. Ill take the warm spring anytime.


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RE: broccoli ready to pick?

I'd leave those in your pictures. They will get at least 3 times that size. In my garden mine are still doing fine and substantially larger than yours so I would think in your zone you still have a good deal of growing time left.

Air temps will limit how long you can leave them to grow but once you begin to see a hint of yellow on the head it is time to harvest.

Dave


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RE: broccoli ready to pick?

This article has some useful rules of thumb.


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RE: broccoli ready to pick?

What parts are you in Joe-il and backyardening? I'm in IL as well - Central IL. The seven broccoli plants I have are doing very well - and it has been in the mid-to-high-80's for the past couple of weeks. It has been a nice cool-down today after all of the stormy weather we had overnight.

You can see a picture of the size of my broccoli on my site. They just started putting on the heads about two weeks ago.

Here is a link that might be useful: BsnTech Gardening Blog


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RE: broccoli ready to pick?

Dave,

So you don't think it's too yellow? Since this is the first time I've planted broccoli that wasn't hit by cutworms, I wasn't sure.

nygardener,

I have read articles but wasn't too sure how MY brocs matched up.

BsnTech,

Thanks! It helps to look at more photos.

Tracy


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RE: broccoli ready to pick?

Tracy,
I think that I would pick those heads now. To me, they look like they are not going to get bigger and would only get less tender if they haven't already done so.


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RE: broccoli ready to pick?

Oy. Maybe I better pick some and leave some, do you think?

I'll go and take another picture, today, to compare with those from yesterday, before deciding.

Tracy


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RE: broccoli ready to pick?

They look like still growing, to me.
You will know if they are getting ready to bolt. Besides getting yellow, the floretts will also change shape/size.So this thing is not going to take place overnight. You knot that brocs are very slow growing.


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RE: broccoli ready to pick?

Ok, well I took some pictures, last night, and they still look the same, or just a bit bigger, so I'm just going to watch them for now.

Tracy


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RE: broccoli ready to pick?

Dave, So you don't think it's too yellow?

No I don't see any yellow in your pics. I see spring green new growth that will turn darker green as it develops but no yellow yet.

Dave


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RE: broccoli ready to pick?

I agree with Wayne. Meaning, I think I'd pick some of those heads, even thought they are small. I'd pick the ones showing signs of bud separation.

Tracy, I've usually get smaller heads on the OP broccoli cultivars, particularly Decicco. Green Goliath is the only OP cultivar that does well for me. So what cultivar did you plant? Sub-optimal growing conditions can also impact head size. Too much rain in October & November 2009 resulted in my 2009 Fall broccoli having much smaller heads.


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RE: broccoli ready to pick?

I'm getting huge heads. The bugs don't bother spring plantings here. To me the broccoli is more succulent before bead enlargement.


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RE: broccoli ready to pick?

Thanks, Dave. I took more pictures last night, and looked at the brocs again this evening, and I agree about the light green vs. yellow. I'll leave them. The middle one is definitely getting bigger. I'll just check them every day to make sure they aren't opening.

Grandad, I planted Premium Crop. I also planted Windsor elsewhere, but the Windsor just today started to show heads.

I'll keep an eye on things, for now.

Tracy


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RE: broccoli ready to pick?

tracymo, Premium Crop has been a great producer for me. I have not tried Windsor. Premium Crop usually produces very large heads. As I noted above, last Fall my broccoli heads were much smaller, due to poor growing conditions. One other factor that has impacted broccoli head size is timing. Our Fall season calls for setting out broccoli plants in Septermber. I sometimes push this into October & November. Plants set out from mid-October to November grow very slowly and are much smaller. The size of the heads is generally in proportion to the size of the plant. So the smaller plants, due to poor growing conditions or timing, provide an advance warning of smaller heads sizes.


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