Friday, June 12, 2015

Brassica Update



This year I have a fifteen foot row of brassicas planted in the in-ground garden. I used black plastic mulch and they are covered with Agribon-19 spun bond row cover to ward off pests. Biggest problem is preventing the cover from blowing off in the frequent winds we are getting this Spring. The brassicas seem to like their environment and are looking very healthy. Most remarkable is the absence of pest damage from flea beetles and cabbage caterpillars. Last Sunday I opened up the tent to do some watering and harvest some kale, so I took a few photos to give you a tour of the tent.




This the the broccoli end of the row, with two varieties. Plants are large and healthy with no signs yet of heads forming. At least they are not bolting. Both varieties are new, based on recommendations of other gardeners.




This is Arcadia, first time I have grown this variety. It is a bit later but is supposed to have large heads and abundant side shoots.




And this is Fiesta, another first for me. Daphne has grown this one with success, so I decided to give it a try. Catalog descriptions do not mention side shoot production at all, but reviews by gardeners all mention prolific side shoot production.




In the middle are four Brussels spouts, the standard Jade Cross variety I picked up at a garden center. They are looking good but who knows if I will get anything. I have had one good year, which was fantastic. Sometimes the sprouts stay small, pea size, and never size up, despite pruning and curses . Other years the sprouts tend to loosen up and become leafy, a condition supposedly caused by excessive heat. Nothing I can do about that because I can’t control the weather, but sprouts have a long development period, so here they have to be grown through the summer months. Time will tell. Gardening is all about optimism, and I am optimistic I will get some this year.




To the left are the kales. That is Tronchuda Beira or Portuguese kale with the large leaves in the foreground, which is new to me this year. Further back is Beedy’s Camden kale, a reliable and hardy Siberian kale I have grown for years. I did not photograph the dinosaur kale because it was recently clipped, so nothing to see.


  1. Coles looking good Dave. As healthy as the Sprouts look, I'm sure you'll have success this year.

  2. They do look very good. My sprouts are looking just like yours. Pretty good. But I've never ever gotten Brussels sprouts to work for me. I've tried many times. Maybe this one is the charm. I guess I'll find out in the fall.

  3. Your brassica bed is looking great! My broccoli (Arcadia as well) is still tiny - I did start it late, but it seems to be taking much longer than I would have thought to size up - and I'm talking about the leaves. I did start 2 other varieties as well (Packman & Munchkin) and they didn't amount to anything at the seedling stage. I seem to be having a much harder time with brassicas (as seedlings, anyhow) this year than I have in the past.

  4. I can't get over how good your Brussels sprouts look. Your tunnel looks great, does it get hot under the agribon row cover? My plants are still small but we have a long growing season so hopefully they'll amount to something.

    1. It does get warm under it, but it also provides some shade. Unfortunately, the flea beetles and cabbage moths are around until hard freeze, so uncovering them lets all that in.

  5. Your Broccoli and Sprouts look exactly like mine! I don't expect I will have any problems with excessive heat... :)

  6. They all look wonderful - no nibbles on the leaves!


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