Friday, June 26, 2009

Broccoli Heaven

Broccoli plants in our garden taken a couple of weeks ago. The heads are now mature and ready to eat.
We have had steamed broccoli, boiled broccoli, with cheese sauce and without cheese (I prefer cheese of course). Now I am into making broccoli salad.
Broccoli is a cold crop which means we can start this plant early in the spring in Michigan. It can survive 20 degree temps. Optimum temps are between 50-70 degrees. Once the summer heat starts, the plants will bolt to seed. It takes about 6 weeks from seed to transplant, so plant seeds now to have a delicious fresh crop in the fall. Or if you want to buy plants, put them in the ground in late summer.
We keep an eye out for the little green worms that sometimes attack broccoli. They are so hard to see since they are the exact color of the leaves. I always soak the head in salt water for a few hours since that will get the critters off the florets. I have heard, but not tried, sprinkling cayenne pepper on the leaves before the head forms will deter aphids and caterpillars. This is a tip to use if you are into organic gardening.

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