Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Eat your broccoli!

Always in search of new veggies to introduce into our urban garden, I added two varieties of broccoli this season. After some research, I went with Piracicaba, developed in Brazil to withstand heat, and Purple Peacock, a kale/broccoli hybrid, purchasing organically grown seedlings from a Union Square Green Market vendor. I planted them just three weeks ago, and to my surprise, we've already gotten a floret from the Piracicaba. The flavor is mild and sweet but also has a nice tang to it. Though small, the floret's beads are big and loose, unlike typical broccoli. I was unsure of whether to pluck it, but I saw the tiniest yellow bud peaking out and didn't want the fruit to go to seed. I've read that once the first floret is picked, new stems will shoot out along the stalk making for plenty of broccoli all season long and well into fall. I have three plants growing in a large round pot, so I'm looking forward to enough broccoli for a real side dish this summer. As for the Peacocks -- four of them are in another pot -- they also produce small heads with loose beads. One of the nice things about that variety, aside from its colorful plummage, is its tasty leaves that are more kale than broccoli-like. I have yet to harvest them as the plants are a ways from floret stage. Still, I'm feeling pretty good about the decision to grow broccoli. If the first taste is my guide, I'm looking forward to an even better crop than expected.
Small but tasty
Ready to steam

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