Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Family Wants More Broccoli

I never manage to grow anything like the amount of broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower that my family would like for me to, because our garden really isn't very big. Allowing for things like crop rotation, succession planting, and cover crops can mean that, some years, there is room for even less.

In theory, this was going to be one of those "less" years, but somehow, while we were out on our errand-run over the weekend, we ended up with two additional packs of transplants -- nine broccoli and nine cauliflower -- to add to what's already in the garden. As a result, for the past couple of evenings I've been working on making space for those 18 plants in the garden.

Luckily, I've collected enough mature Joanie Beans for next year's seed and harvested enough Pigott Family Cowpeas to make me happy. That meant I could pull all the bush bean and cowpea plants, creating a space large enough for about two-thirds of those transplants. Where the rest will go, I do not yet know, but I will think of something.

If the pH of the soil in my lawn were higher, I'd follow the example of UGA's Center for Urban Agriculture and just plunk those plants into the lawn. I saw the experiment that showed this was possible at a Turfgrass Field Day down in Griffin, GA, and it was just wonderful.

Cool-season garden vegetables had been planted in strips cut into a Bermudagrass lawn. In the experiment, strip width and plot sizes varied, to check the effect on both the veggies and the recovery in spring of the lawn. While the lettuce, cabbage, and collards did not produce well in the narrower (13 cm) strips or when direct-planted in the lawn, broccoli produced a crop (though some were small) in every treatment.

Most of the strips were somewhat weedy in spring (crabgrass liked that bare soil), and in some strips the ground had become uneven, but there was broccoli, making a crop in the Bermudagrass. Even just thinking about it makes me smile.

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