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Garden & gardening topics

Garden 2022: Broccoli, Cauliflower & Sprouts, Oh My! – October 13, 2022

Readers of earlier posts will recall that the initial mid-May planting of broccoli failed, as did the cauliflower. I set out new seedlings for each early in August, and direct-seeded both cauliflower and broccoli in their original beds in July.

The second planting of broccoli seedlings was an unqualified success. I have never seen such large leaves on broccoli, and the production has been fantastic. There’s been acceptable head production on the direct-seeded plants as well, but the plants are not nearly as large.

The transplanted cauliflower also grew very large, and harvesting has begun there as well. The bed of plants grown from seed succumbed to the frost and turned yellow before they could produce. Those plants were also much smaller than the second batch of transplants

I’m fairly certain that the two beds where the initial crops failed and then produced small plants have soil issues. The plan is to dig them out come spring and rebuild the soil base. This is easy enough to do, and one of the advantages of raised beds.

Brussels sprouts continue to come off the plants set out in May, and the second batch of transplants are producing sprouts. At this point I think there will be harvestable sprouts in a few weeks. All of the sprout plants are surviving the regular frosts with no issues.

Found a few radishes still out there, too!

I brought in all of the above last Monday, handing off the preservation process to Wife, who’s been doing this for a while and has it down cold.

Everything got a salt bath to start, and then the sprouts were checked and cleaned as needed. The broccoli is cut into spears and the cauliflower, large florets. Then it’s time for blanching, ice baths and bagging for the freezer.

Amazingly we found no worms or bugs in the broccoli, and the sprouts were also devoid of pests. Some vestigial dead small flies were in the leaves on the cauliflower, but they washed right off. Nothing found within the heads.

The blanching times for each vegetable varies, mostly due to size. Broccoli was dunked in boiling water for 2 minutes, the sprouts for 3, and the cauliflower for 5 minutes. All separately, changing the water for each veggie. Then Wife bagged up 4 two-person portions of sprouts and 17 of broccoli for the freezer. The florets from the cauliflower heads were spread on a baking sheet and placed in the freezer. The individually frozen florets filled a 1 gallon freezer bag nicely.

There are at least another dozen broccoli crowns that’ll be coming in within the next couple weeks, and I’m hopeful we’ll get at least 5 or 6 more cauliflower. The Brussels sprouts should continue until we get a really hard freeze, which is usually later in November. And there are still two cabbages trying to make a go of it.

It’s been a great season! We’ve eaten well, having plenty of fresh vegetables throughout the summer, and have stored much for the winter: Red onions, yellow onions, pickled cukes, eggplant, cabbage, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, butternut squash, Swiss chard and Brussels sprouts. Thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley and dill seed is dried and ready for use. 

I’m planning one more Garden 2022 post next month, publishing the completed tracking sheet and some lessons learned. Then it’ll be time to plan next year’s adventure!

Thanks for stopping by.