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Veggie Bites – Broccoli

I will try growing some radishes around my broccoli to distract the flea beetles; they love radish leaves.

Greetings fellow gardeners,

As I was doing my chores this morning, I noticed that the air was warmer and that the feeling around me was that of spring. When I let the chickens out, they looked at me hopefully, and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that the temperatures were going to go back down. The warm air is causing the snow to melt, and I was very grateful that there was still enough snow covering my tender perennials. The weather is always an adventure.

It has been very busy around here lately. A large, barred owl was perched in my crab apple tree looking longingly at the chicken compound. A sharp-shinned hawk has set up a territory near the bird feeder. My feeders are set into the tree, so the little birds are protected from the hawk and I am hoping that he moves along. The turkeys have left the hügelkultur and have moved to the driveway. As their food supplies diminish, they start looking to my bird feeders.

Turkeys

Broccoli

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) is going to be the next seed I intend to start. 

Broccoli

I don’t usually grow broccoli because I have had issues with the many pests that seem to be attracted to them: cabbage worms, aphids, and flea beetles to name a few. It is a favourite vegetable around here, so I am going to give it another shot. Starting the seeds now will give the broccoli a longer growing season, and hopefully I will have a larger plant before the frosts in the fall. If I grow several seeds, I can experiment to see if I have fewer pest problems by growing my broccoli in a pot instead of in the ground.  I will try growing some radishes around my broccoli to distract the flea beetles; they love radish leaves. Even if they chew up most of the radish leaves, that does not bother the radish itself. Radishes can be direct sown, and they grow quickly.

The stores have opened up in my area and, of course, I had to check out the garden section. I noticed that this year they have microgreen kits!  The kits include everything that you need, and you can save the tray and reuse it. My microgreens seem ready for a re-seeding, so I had better get on that. Soon I will be needing that shelf space for tomatoes, and the microgreens will go to the second shelf where they may need to watch out for the too-many cats.  The stores are also full of different soils and fertilizers and pots and the newest of this and that. It can be very confusing. I like to use a seed-starting soil at the beginning as it is very light. My seedlings graduate to the heavier potting soil as they grow. I don’t really like the plugs that expand with water, but they may work well for you. You never know unless you try. I usually pick up my fish emulsion fertilizer around this time of year, so I am prepared for the season. 

The arrival of spring is an exciting time for gardeners, and perhaps we all get a little too eager. I always order too many seeds for my too many garden dreams. I still have my gridded papers and keep fitting my ideas in here and there. It will all work out in the summer sunshine. Have a wonderful week and keep dreaming of spring. Judith.

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