Posted by: David | October 5, 2010

Unstoppable Broccoli

Last Saturday was a busy getting-the-garden-put-to-bed for winter kind of day. There was a possibility of first frost forecast for Saturday night-Sunday morning, so it was time. First, we gathered all the pumpkins and winter squashes and pulled up all their vines and neighboring weeds. It’s not really that easy to weed amongst these vines once they take off in the summer. They wildly grow out in every direction with huge leaves that make it impossible to see the ground and you don’t want to step on the vines. So you do the weeding you can do while you still have access.

The winter squash harvest.

To the right of the wheelbarrow of pulled tomato plants is where the corn and squash vines were.

You may remember the chopping of the cornstalks a month back. That litter seems to be working its way back into the soil. The squash vines, tomato vines, and assorted weeks are now all piled to rot at the western edge of this garden patch. Except for a cluster of sunflowers the behind-the-barn garden is clear and ready for winter.

And all the rest of the tomatoes were gathered, and the vines all pulled.

The garden is cleared, except for the sunflower clump. The view that the horses see from the paddock.

Nice work clearing the garden Dave. We would have liked to munch on some of those cornstalks y’know.

nd then there’s the broccoli …

The broccoli, a hearty F1 hybrid variety called “Packman“, first yields a big “central head”, which, after decapitation, quickly sprouts smaller florets from the sides. And after you pick those, more florets sprout from their sides …

And after you pick those there are 32 smaller florets …

So as the title of this post says, the broccoli just won’t stop. But I stopped it after one final harvest and then yanking all the plants. I used to throw them into the compost pile, but those stumps just don’t break down, so I dumped them in a heap not too far from the garden. That’s where I’ll put all the woodier stuff that just clogs up the compost. And check on them in a couple of years.

If you don’t harvest in time, the florets spread out and flower.

he deer ate the pepper plants. Luckily we’d harvested all the peppers already.

he brussels sprouts are finally reaching reasonable size. They’ve got another month. Frost won’t bother them.

From all the peppers and some of the tomatoes, I made a nice batch of chunky salsa Monday evening.  Froze up about 6 quarts. There were a lot of jalapenos in it, so it should be pretty hot. Also some leeks, parsley, and garlic. I blendered up some of the dried tomatoes and onions and threw them in to thicken it up. Mmmmm.

ot stuff.

Sunday was a lovely housewarming party at our daughter and son-in-law’s house. They had nearly a hundred people passing through throughout the day.



  1. I winterized our garden last night. Pulled all the sweet potatoes and removed all those stalks that were still hanging around. Only thing left to do this season is plant the garlic for next season.

    Yeah, I started prepping the garlic bed so by the time I plant it should be all settled in. Our sweet potatoes didn’t do so well.

  2. I thought of your brussels sprouts last night when I was eating some (frozen, with butter sauce, not yummy fresh). Got to wondering how you like to cook them. I’ve mostly just had boiled or steamed with salt, pepper, and butter. Any suggestions?

    Well, funny you should ask. Today at work a colleague told me that he likes to take the sprouts and slice them in half, lay them cut side down in a skillet and brown them in a little olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper, then finish them in the oven till they’re cooked through all tender and soft. That sounds good to me. I usually cook them boringly, in the microwave. But I’m going to try this fry-roast method. It’s pretty hard to mess them up in my opinion. I’ve tried them raw, and don’t recommend that.

  3. The Brussels sprouts where you say that they have reached a reasonable size: if this were collapsed vertically into a single plane, you’d have what I thought was the inside organisation of cabbage: between the “stalks” of the leaves, there would be very small stalks each prepared to develop into another cabbage or a flower (cannot remember what it looked like).

    I have a flu, headache, antibiotics.

    Sorry you’re not feeling well. 😦

    Yes, I think you have the structure correct. Each brussels sprout is just like a miniature cabbage sprouting from the thinck central stalk just above each individual leaf stalk. Reasonable sized brussels sprouts are 2-4 cm after you peel off the rough outer leaves. There are no flowers until the second year. In our climate one would have to somehow overwinter the plants and replant them the following spring. Not something I’m planning to try.

  4. I have come back to life. This flu started on the 23 of September, and it took all this time to overcome it. The salsa looks incredible good. I would put a bag on it on my polenta. It would also be good on rice. It also sounds good.

    Congratulations on your revival. I’m sorry you had to be ill for so long. Yes, the salsa would be great on your polenta or your rice. It’s very hot you know. There are lots of jalapenos in it. I wish I could send some of it to you.

  5. A few things:

    1. somehow I always end up reading yours and Vodka’s blogs in the same sitting and it is always the most beautiful contrast 🙂

    2. I totally lost track for a few seconds when I read your sentence that included “big central head”

    3. I was a bit sad that the horse wasn’t looking in my direction in the picture. Like the horse is right there but I’m not good enough to catch its eye. That made me feel a bit bad about myself and I kind of blame you.

    Good day. 🙂

    1. To be mentioned in the same sentence with VAGB makes me all tingly. Thanks.

    2. I get similarly disoriented sometimes when I’ve read too much. Fortunately my attention span has collapsed into a black hole. Or brown. Not sure.

    3. I’m really sorry about that. That is my daughter’s horse and he’s kind of a dickhead. If I showed him a large photo of you I’m certain he would be transfixed.

    Good day to you too, dear Romi, and thanks for stopping by.

  6. That broccoli must be stopped!

    I loved this post and all the purty pictures. I wish you could video a walking tour of your land and post it. It just looks so idyllic.

    Well, the broccoli was stopped, after all. Frozen. Thanks for loving this post. I’ve thought of posting more videos, but don’t really have the patience for video editing. It is fairly idyllic most of the time, which is one reason I love spending so much time here.

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