June 30, 2016

Update on Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts

The broccoli and Brussels sprouts are finally gaining some size. At one time the leaves had darkened and started falling off even after being in the ground for a month. David from Dave's Square Foot Garden mentioned that his plants did that when they were root bound. I have to wonder if our terrible flea beetle infestation had put the plants behind because their larva are soil dwelling and feed on roots as well as feeding on the brassicas' leaves.

I treated the garden with beneficial nematodes on June 9th, and I think they must be impacting the flea beetle population. Normally I was squishing at least 5 flea beetles on each eggplant but today I only found a couple beetles in the whole eggplant bed.
There's 6 different varieties of broccoli so lots of variation in growth and leaf patterns. Their beds are the shadiest right next to the car port, soon to be covered deck and barbecue area.
The brassica beds have become catch all beds. I've been planting lots of basil and more Asian greens amongst the broccoli and Brussels sprouts. The frilly leaved Mizuna and spoon shaped Tatsoi were really ate up by flea beetles but they're finally recovering.
I've never had Brussels sprouts do so well. I'm so happy. Brassicas really do like their feet wet, I guess watering everyday is actually a necessity.
I really hope we'll be harvesting Brussels sprouts this winter. It's my husband's favorite vegetable, right up there with broccoli. Fingers crossed!

Lots of bloggers have been talking about starting their winter vegetables. I just finished planting the summer garden, I'm really not ready to start more seedlings. So many decisions to make. What to start and when to start? Lettuce, kale, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, turnips, spinach, fennel. Oh my.

Hmmm. Bush beans will finish by the end of July so carrots can start going in at that point. The current broccoli bed gets no sun whatsoever in the fall/winter months. Maybe brassica seedlings can go in beneath the pepper plants while they're finishing up in September.


David Velten said...

Your broccoli is looking good. Hope you get some Brussels sprouts. Last year my sprouts produced nothing but least I can go to a farm stand and buy a whole stalk of them. Even your mizuna and tatsoi look healthy and unaffected by the flea beetles. I had a lot of trouble with flea beetles on the tatsoi, so I didn't plant it this year. I will have to check out the nematodes.

Phuong said...

Hi David,
I've never had Brussels sprouts produce for me, so it'll be a first if we can get fresh sprouts. They definitely seem like one of the more persnickety vegetables to grow. I think it was Mark from Mark's Veg Plot that mentioned using beneficial nematode drenches. They'll be on my list to use next spring as well.

k said...

Good luck with the Brussels sprouts! I would like to try them sometime, but I'm not sure they'd do well in my area.

Margaret said...

Your brassicas are looking great and congrats on the Brussels sprouts! It's wonderful when you try a remedy (nematodes) and it actually works, isn't it? I've just harvested the 1st of the broccoli today - they are not doing as well as last year and I'm blaming the heat. Both my mizuna and tatsoi are no-goes at this point as they were shaded out by the kale and kohlrabi...I'll have to change up my bed layout next time.

Phuong said...

Hi K,
We're in a pretty warm area as well, so Brussels sprouts are probably a bit iffy for us. I don't know the right time to plant things so it's all experimentation.

Phuong said...

Hi Margaret,
The nematodes probably would have done even better in early spring since they're a bit temperature sensitive.

Hasn't the weather been strange? So hot and dry, but your peas are doing so well despite the heat. It sounds like your kohlrabi are doing great, mine are just starting to bulb even though they were transplanted a month and a half ago.