It’s All About the Dirt

The MR brought home a couple pony packs of broccoli a few months ago, and we’ve been running a little experiment. It’s not scientific or anything, and he may not even know about it, but I do, and that’s what counts.

Sometimes I get a little competitive, and when the MR brought home eight broccoli starts, he threw me for a loop. We only have so much space in the garden, and broccoli is a big plant. It likes its room, and I already had a plan in my head of what would go where. I planted four starts in the first bed and was going to plant the rest in the flower beds or just let them die.

That’s when the MR stepped in and planted the other pony pack between the fence and the onions. Early this spring, the MR added nitrogen to the raised beds and the side garden, so we’ve had much better growth this year. But when he was transplanting, the MR didn’t add my secret weapon–worm castings.

My broccoli has gone to town. I don’t know whether it’s the worm castings, the well-dug soil, the extra week of growth, or lots of space, but the broccoli in the raised beds (that would be mine) is more than double the size of the broccoli in the ground (the MR’s).

When I was planting some cucumber starts and a zucchini plant a few days ago, I was shocked at how much my plants had grown in a week and how large the crowns were getting. Last week, I added complete organic fertilizer, more worm castings, humic acid, and a dusting of top soil (just to keep everything in place) to the whole garden. This seems to have really given it a boost.

Now is there really a difference between the broccoli plants or am I just blowing smoke?

Broccoli Contest Collage

I took these photos and showed my family, and we were all nonplussed. Ones a little greener, the others a little bigger, we couldn’t really tell a lot of difference.

That’s when I came up with the clever idea of using a penny to show size, but I already had my dirty shoes on, and there was a matchbox car in the windowsill by the garage door–cause that’s where they belong–so instead we have this for comparison.

Broccoli with Car Collage

Someone asked recently what happens when you harvest the crowns? Is the plant done? Oh no, we have side shoots aplenty to keep the broccoli harvest going.

Side Shoots


And when the plants in the raised bed are done, the plants by the fence will be ready. We’ll just pretend it was all about succession planting to extend the harvest rather than my bad attitude toward an over abundance of broccoli starts.

Now remember those cucumbers and zucchini I mentioned? Well, I planted two of them in the garden proper.

Cucumber and Zucchini


But we only have so much room in the fenced off area; and since cucumbers are hairy and spiny, I don’t think they’ll be too appetizing to the bunnies, birds, and deer. So one will have to fend for itself in the wild next to the potatoes.

Cucumbers in the wild

I guess we have another contest going to see which cucumber does best. Maybe protection and loose soil is overrated, and a cucumber is just looking for room to grow. I guess we’ll wait and see. Me and the MR have talked about expanding the garden, but it just hasn’t happened quite yet.

For now, we are enjoying a lot of broccoli around here. Sweet Miss made it home from school for the summer last night. Her nutrition class taught her that broccoli and spinach are healthy choices. We already knew that; perhaps that’s why our garden is overrun with them at the moment.

So glad to have the four of us together again.

What are you harvesting from your garden?


3 thoughts on “It’s All About the Dirt

  1. Absolutely nothing. After some frustrations and thinking of the week we will be gone this summer with only a 23 year old male to remember to water and do it correctly, I decided the Farmers Market 2 or 3 blocks from my house will do just fine this year.

    Yours is looking great!!

  2. Pingback: Taking a Look Back at June | big white house on the hill

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