Vegetables and Fruit forum: First time growing broccoli and it seems small.

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Name: Heidi
Mentone ca
Region: California
Heidlberg
Feb 10, 2015 10:24 PM CST
This is my first year planing broccoli, and it is starting to make heads but they seem to only be bite sized. Do I just need to wait a little longer or could it be the unusually warm weather, watering or soil conditions? The plants seem healthy, but the stems are small as well.
Heidi
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Feb 10, 2015 10:38 PM CST
Welcome! Heidlberg
Did you plant the Broccoli from seed? or did you buy small plants at the store?

The one time my Broccoli behaved like yours is doing I had purchased some small, sad-looking plants and there was a delay in planing (okay, I was lazy and forgot), by the time I planted them they grew just enough to make heads, tiny little heads. The plants were under stress and were tying to save the species.

The next year I bought plants and put them in the ground immediately. Success! I added lime to the soil and lots of compost and had a steady supply of water, never letting the plants feel stressed.
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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Feb 11, 2015 8:25 AM CST
It also depends on the type of broccolli----
there are types which only produce bite sized heads and not large heads.
Name: Heidi
Mentone ca
Region: California
Heidlberg
Feb 11, 2015 10:45 AM CST
Thank You!
I planted from seed. Because of the weather we have here in southern ca, I didn't start I doors but direct seeded. Now I'm wondering if they are bolting early because of our unusually warm weather. Day time temps are reaching the low 80s.
Heidi
Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
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farmerdill
Feb 11, 2015 11:00 AM CST
Concur: need to know the variety and growing conditions. Normal Broccoli is subject to "Buttoning" when the plants stressed. I have observed nurseries trying to sell plants that had already buttoned due to holding them in pots too long. Anything which stunts the plant will caused this and no the plant will not recover. The result is heads that rarely get larger than a half dollar. There are varieties ( sprouting broccolies) that just put out large amount of shoots with little heads 1-2 inches in diameter. In all cases tho broccoli is a large plant. If you have little plants, probability is that it is stunted. Most popular sproutng broccoli in the US is Calabrese which actually forms a small 3-5 inch central head before kicking out copius smaller side shoots. No. 80 degree weather should be no problem. Since you direct seeded crowding could be the problem. Bid plant need lots of room. They are also heavy feeders.
[Last edited by farmerdill - Feb 11, 2015 11:03 AM (+)]
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Feb 11, 2015 12:06 PM CST
Welcome to ATP! Welcome! Yes, I agree that it most likely is due to your weather conditions.
Name: Heidi
Mentone ca
Region: California
Heidlberg
Feb 11, 2015 12:58 PM CST
Thank You!
I will know for next year. I think that the problem is probably over crowding. Since I direct seeded, I planted them closer than I should have I tending to thin them, and transplant some of them to another plot, well, time got away from me I guess. Sad
Thank you for the advice, I will learn from my mistake! I too LOVE broccoli!
Heidi
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Feb 23, 2015 9:43 PM CST
Welcome, Heidi!

i agree with the others -- could be the weather, overcrowding, whatever... gardening is a continuous learning curve! I've had varying success with different varieties of broccoli -- the most productive for me was "Packman," but it does depend on where you are. Hope you have a great gardening year! Smiling
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Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
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Oberon46
Feb 24, 2015 9:58 AM CST
Year before last I had huge broc heads then last year was not so good. Still not sure why but I will pay attention to the watering and adding amendments. It gets confusing when you have raised beds and two or three different vegies in each. My beans are said to like blood meal, brocs lime, etc.

The ones in pots in the garden did especially poorly. But again, it may have been inconsistent watering.

Welcome! Heidi. Stick with this group. You will learn more than a dozen books could teach you. A custom teaching group. Hilarious!
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Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
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Gymgirl
Feb 26, 2015 1:26 PM CST
Welcome, Heidi!

What are the coolest/coldest temps you get there during the fall/winter? I grow Arcadia broccoli. Huge heads, and huge side shoots (almost saucer size). Beautiful blue-green foliage, perfect for edible landscapes.

I experienced buttoning early on when I was a newbie. Stress to the plants.

I also experienced that my plants will start fainting and bolting in sunny temps edging close to 85°. They just swoon in too much heat here. Remember, temps are relative, and your 80° there may be my 95° here, LOL!

Linda

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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Feb 26, 2015 7:47 PM CST
That's some gorgeous broccoli, Linda !! Thumbs up
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