Frank, did you grow you broccoli indoors or outside?
If inside, you will need to harden them off, as Horseshoe suggested.
If outside, no hardening off will be needed. I usually wait until at least four "true leaves" have reached a nice size. The first set of leaves are called cotlydons - so don't count those. When you transplant, remove the cotlydons, the plants have no further use for them.
Thanks. They just germinated in seeding mix in a big plastic pan and are under a grow light, so I expect them to develop pretty quickly. They're way too crowded, so would it work to transplant and separate them in a week or so, then transplant again into the ground a few weeks later after hardening them off against the direct sun, or do I just need to thin them out?
When's the right time to fertilize? I assume they take a full dose on N, something like 10-10-10.
Calalily, you don't need to remove the cotyledons and more often than not I'd recommend NOT removing them. Let the "cots" wither and fall off naturally, letting the plant benefit from as much nourishment that is in them as possible. More importantly, when you remove cotyledons it leaves an open wound on the stalk of the plants, increasing the chance of disease to enter and/or attracting bugs/insects to the exposed juices and tender stem. No doubt about it your 60 plants are gonna be just fine.
tarheel, yes you can transplant your little broc seedlings. Let them get a couple good leaves on them. Moving them into cell packs or bigger pots would do them wonders, allowing them to get a stronger root system going as well as giving them ample air space for their top growth. Cauliflower can be done the same way. And of course, if you have hundreds of plants in your plastic pan and only have room for a dozen or so then yes, just thin them out and let them grow on. Hopefully the pan is big enough to allow the saved plants to gain in size.
I'd feed them some nitrogen when you set them in your garden. (I like using dried blood/blood meal myself.) If you want to feed them after you bump them into cell packs or after you thin them you'd be better off giving them some fish emulsion to help them get a good jumpstart.
I moved mine into 3 1/2" pots because that's what's on hand. They grew so fast that I planted them out after a couple weeks. I guess they were about 4 weeks old. I started them off at the first sign of true leaves with 1/2 strength Scotts Pro which is probably about the same thing as Miracle grow. They got some triple 8 when I planted them. They're heavy feeders and as the days shorten they're raring to go. My second planting just came up and I'm going to push them the same way. I have broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and a new one...kohlrabi.
I tried the same routine with rutabagas but decided they are better seeded in place and then thinned. They got so leggy so fast that even when I planted some out, they stayed floppy.
Twiggy, I had kohlrabi for the first time last year. Now I can't imagine not growing it. We love it. I've planted rutabagas twice this year, not one germinated. The place I got the seeds from I've had lots of trouble with germination.
I confess my total ignorance re: kohlrabi. I saw a thread about it on the recipe forum and remembered some raves from last year so thought I'd try it. I've seen the silly looking things in the store but have never tasted one. I know that's ridiculous at my age but better late than never. I like all the other cole crops so I'll probably love it. I'm expecting something similar to a cabbage core which I dearly love to eat with a little salt.
twiggybuds - yes Kohlrabi does taste a little like cabbage core. The Kohlrabi in the supermarket tends to have a tough outer skin, whereas those from the garden are vitually skinless. Rather like sweet potatoes - from the garden, I can cook and eat the whole thing, but the sweets from the supermarket have to be peeled after baking.
My little dog, Chloe, loves sweet potatoes so she gets the skins :)
twiggybuds - as you know gardening is a lot of work, but when you can walk out your backdoor and harvest "dinner" somehow the effort is worth it.
Over the years I've been asked why I bother to garden when you can buy the same things at the market - or others have said they have better things to do with their time. Trying to explain to them "why" has always been allusive. My hubby once said to me: "You're not happy unless you're digging in the dirt!" He's so right! :) I even garden in the rain!
I think to be a true gardener, the reward has to be greater than just dinner. The process is always very gratifying to me. The miracle of the seeds, etc. Another thing might be that I recognize that many things are beyond my control but plants are very responsive to my inputs. Then there's the challenges of pestilence and weather that I could do without but it sure keeps things from becoming boring or predictable.
When I had free ranging chickens, I had an out of town visitor that watched them out the window and then remarked that she couldn't understand why anyone would want them. "All the stupid things do is scratch in the dirt." That drove home it home clearly that some people just don't get it and probably never will. Thank goodness we're not all alike.
Quoting:"All the stupid things do is scratch in the dirt."
And the've been surving by doing just that for thousands of years!
Gosh, I hope you managed to let your visitor know what a valuable service your chickens were doing - eating the weeds/bugs, and fertilizing as they went. I had four chickens for a short time, and except for them waking us up at the crack of dawn each day, I enjoyed them and their eggs. Then some neighbor called the zoning board and they gave us 30 days to find them a new home (sigh)
Two of those beds are 3 ft X 12 ft; the other three are 3 ft X 10 ft.
The sides are 2 X 10" untreated lumber, giving a good depth of just under 10" plus however deep you till your soil first before putting the beds in place.
I sure do love 'em! Because of the nice friable dirt and the depth I can finally grow lots of root crops now as well as offer extra protection (insect barrier, shade cloth, plastic, whatever the need calls for) over the plants when I decide to put some removable hoops over the beds
Honeybee, folks in our town can have hens in the city limits but are not allowed roosters. I wonder if it is that way where you live...just keep a few hens for the eggs and do away with the roosters, eh?
Horseshoe - I've tried to find something online about keeping hens within city limits, but darned if I can find any info on the subject! If I'm going to keep hens, I'd only want to do so if it's permissible.
If anyone knows a link - I'm within the city limits of Charlotte NC - Mecklenburg County.
There is someone in Charlotte who commented on the above article stating:
"We've been urban chicken keepers for over four years here in the heart of urban megalopolis of Charlotte NC.Our city/county ordinance is pretty clearly defined and available for research on-line. We can have up to 20 chickens per acre properly housed and that housing must be approved by Animal Control and an annual permit fee must be paid of $35. Neighbors on both sides of your property must sign off on the chickens and the setback should be 25 feet from either neighbor's property (although exceptions are made if the neighbor is OK with this). Obviously, noise of roosters and odors are not permitted. We have a half acre lot and our 10 chickens have provided us with the most fertile growing conditions in our huge vegetable garden and our many raised bed boxes as well as the butterfly and hummingbird gardens as well as plenty of delicious and wholesome eggs for us and our friends. We are permitted to slaughter the girls who are retired from laying if we do so discretely so that no one has to see the killing act."
It's the first comment after the article. They give their name so maybe you could look them in the phone book or online and get more info. Or, since they mentioned Animal Control maybe you could call that department also.
Horseshoe - the eggs will be for hubby and the compost for the garden. I'm going to do some research this winter when I have time away from the garden to see about housing/feeding/keeping hens. I want to be able to do things "right."
I used to have a book about keeping chickens in the backyard (Rodale Press I seem to remember) - but I gave away all such books when we left South Florida. Now there's the internet, where one can find such info for free :)
Broccoli is handled exactly like cabbage, kohlrabi and cauliflower. They all look alike so be very careful with your labels.
I sowed some of each and got the brilliant idea to set my pots outside to get a good soaking from a gentle rain. I also had planted some onion seed and pak choi. A big storm came up that night and they all got mixed up and many just washed away. The only way I knew this is that oniions came up in the other pots and some of the pots have nothing at all. It's a fine mess and time will have to tell.
"You're not happy unless you're digging in the dirt!" He's so right! :) I even garden in the rain!"
One of the gratifying things about being a Dave's Garden member is finding others who don't think I'm crazy! Honeybee, your husband could have been describing me as well, and I also garden in the rain and even under floodlights when I don't get enough in the day! My mother once commented that I probably didn't spend enough time in the sandbox as a child! Whatever the reason there is nothing so wonderful as getting my hands in the dirt, amending it and improving it and then watching things grow and then either enjoying the surrounding beauty (as in flowers) as well as eating the results from the veggie gardens!
My broccoli efforts this year were a dismal failure as I think I planted them too late (end of May) and only harvested some day before yesterday because they never set! I think they may have been root bound at the time of planting and we had a very rainy summer. Other years have been much better. The above info is very helpful for next year!
A poor man can get a heck of an education by watching others failures!
(I remain anonymus in the writing in that phrase...!)
I profess in gardening by trial and error and try not to make rocket science out of it!
I garden by the seat of my pants where if its not one blooming thing its another.
PS - as for chickens, keep them clean and keep them happy! Fresh water is paramont to egg laying as is light in the winter. Best chicken for meat - white rock cross, best chicken for laying - leghorns if you want a daily dose like religion! Best fertilizer going! ;>)
Ok, finally a thread with enough "southerners" (relatively speaking...) to tell me which cole crop seeds I still have time to sow in Zone 9a!
Last year this time I was just getting the idea to be a cole crop grower. So, I ended up buying seedlings and planting them out the week of our Thanksgiving break. I had a beautiful 1st tiime crop of broccoli, cabbages, & cauliflowers, all grown from seedlings. I had wonderful turnips, beets, and carrots grown from SEEDS. So I know about those seeds. My question is about sowing seeds for broccoli, and cauliflowers. I did buy buy broccoli, cabbage (about 16!) and cauliflower seedlings, but only have the cabbages and 1 or 2 broccoli and cauliflower seedlings that made it through the heat. I bought the seedlings and they've been on my patio table for the last two months. I figure those that made it this far should be well hardened off, and should give me a good return.
But, I need more broccoli, and cauliflowers. Can I still plant seeds now? OUTSIDE?
I'm truly getting inclined toward this winter sowing process, 'cause it makes sense (to me) to start them outside and let God take care of 'em the way He intends to. I'd sow my seeds in milk jugs in coco coir, protected and in some sunshine to collect warmth during the day. Our days are still hoovering around the mid 70s, but the nights are finally cooling down to the mid 60s to upper 50s. I'm thinking I could do this.
Ya'll please LMK, 'cause I'm sowing my turnips, beets, carrot and lettuce seeds this weekend in two new raised beds.
Also. My new raised beds are 4x8 and 4x10 respectively. I want to push the envelope this time, and grow as MUCH in those beds as they can realistically hold. Would using a square foot planting scheme give me the most yield for the 72 square feet that I have? LMK soonest, please, so I can prepare for my plant out!
Thanks a BUNCH, in advance! ^_^
P.S. I'm planting all my broccoli, cauliflowers and cabbages in modified eBuckets. The modification was using an overturned colander in the bottom of each bucket to form a wick. So far, the 6 plants I planted Saturday are taking off like weeds! Evidently, this new design is providing a much better wicking system than the others I've tried.
Gymgirl, I think you would have time to grow cauliflower and broccoli from seed especially if you grow the ones that require less time to mature like early snowball cauliflower and pac man broccoli. I planted seeds last week for cheddar and cassius cauliflower and 2 kinds of broccoli. I don't think we get hot as early in the spring as you do though.
Thanks, Calalily! I'm thinking I can wintersow (offer some protection) some of the seeds then let them take off once they're established. I have 2 snowball cauliflower seedlings down now, and will check for DTM on the packs of seeds I have.
My 1st crop of broccoli and cauliflower last fall grew well into the end of February before they starting bolting. I didn't get to save any seeds cause they were hybrids.
Linda about 3.5 minutes into this video the Bayou Gardener discusses planting and growing in zone 8 all winter. I put in cauliflower around Christmas last year and they finally made heads when they felt like it. I'm going to be planting all winter.