Do you grow vegetables in the winter?  Here in the low desert regions of the desert Southwest, we can grow vegetables all year. 


My winter vegetable garden is filled with a variety of cool-season vegetables and I have rarely had any problems growing any of them except for broccoli.


For some reason, in past years my broccoli has been rather lackluster.  Oh, the plant grows, but the broccoli heads are always small with no real central head forming.  


It’s been frustrating because my mother’s garden (just 2 miles away) always produces gorgeous heads of broccoli.  Every year, after harvesting a small amount of broccoli stalks, I decide that it is the last time I will grow it.

But come fall, I always relent and plant some more.  So, imagine my delight when I ventured out in to my garden this month and found two large heads of broccoli ready for picking!



Aren’t they beautiful?

So, what did I do differently?

I simply planted them in a different location (about 10 ft. away) in the vegetable garden – that’s it!

When planting them this year, I remembered that many people plant tomatoes in a different location from year to year to allow the soil enough time to replenish and I thought that I’d try it with my broccoli and it worked!

My entire family loves broccoli and nothing compares to the flavor of fresh broccoli.  But, you can also freeze it for later.  To do this, you need to ‘blanch’ it by cutting the broccoli into florets and then putting them into boiling water for 3 minutes.  Immediately afterward, dip the florets into cold water with ice cubes to stop the cooking.  Dry the cooled broccoli the best you can and place meal-sized portions into plastic freezer bags and freeze until you are ready to use!

So the lesson is, that if you grow a type of vegetable that does not seem to grow well despite doing everything right – try growing it in a different location.

Come back tomorrow, when I’ll share with you a new vegetable that I grew in my garden!
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

4 replies
  1. Indie
    Indie says:

    The broccoli looks beautiful! One year I gleaned broccoli leftover in a field at a nearby farm I worked at. I blanched and froze it, and it lasted almost all winter. Very yummy!

    Reply

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