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Old February 25, 2016   #31
Zone9b
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ddsack,
Like you I was amazed at how close they were spacing these plants. After looking at the Clemson trial I looked elsewhere to see that others were spacing this close, that's where I found the info from NC University. The point the Clemson study is making is not that head weight is not affected by closer spacing but that greater yields are obtained and head quality is not reduced. For example, there Conventional Charleston trial of Emerald Crown at 8'" spacing resulted in head weight of 205 g, total yield per ha 9,304 kg: Emerald Crown at 4" spacing resulted in head weight of 216 g and 13,341 kg per ha. To me that appears to be an over 40% improvement in yield.
You might try the link for the Clemson trial again. It comes up quickly for me and I only have a 10 meg internet connection.
The Clemson trial includes a number of popular varieties, and it includes a test and texture test of the various varieties. Castle Dome gets their top nod in the taste texture tests.
Here in Central Florida my growing season runs from approx Sep 1 to Early June, all depending on the weather (especially temperature in late May and June) and the heat and to some extent cold tolerance of the varieties grown. My goal is to get to a point where I can grow more the a required amount of broccoli in a roughly 5 x 14 ft raised bed. Currently I as growing Premium Crop and getting 3 crops during the time allowed. I am considering switching to a early heat tolerant variety which will allow me to grow 4 crops during this time frame and if I am really aggressive in getting my transplants ready on time maybe, just maybe, 5 crops during this time frame. Another advantage of multiple crops is that I would often have fresh broccoli to eat and leave much to freeze for the winter. Winter here means July, Aug, Sep. LOL
Thanks for your response, oh and if you get to read the Clemson trial please tell me what you think.
Larry
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Old February 25, 2016   #32
BigVanVader
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A general recommendation would be 85 to 120 lb of nitrogen, 170-240 lb P2O5 and 170-240 lb K2O5, plus 15 to 20 lb of borax per acre. Without boron, small buds, hollow pithy stems with internal brown discoloration, and low yields can result
So is that borax as in the cleaner borax? Weird, I would never have thought of using that for boron. Learn something daily here...
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Old February 25, 2016   #33
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So is that borax as in the cleaner borax? Weird, I would never have thought of using that for boron. Learn something daily here...
Good catch! Yes I believe that to be the 20 Mule Team. How about "The distance between leaves should be 3⁄4- to 1 inch to indicate rapid growth; if not, apply more nitrogen". I'm always more or less guessing when to fertilize. Now a way to easily measure and determine when to fertilize. That may save me a couple of bucks.
Thanks,
Larry
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Old March 1, 2016   #34
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I am currently harvesting my 2nd crop of Premium Crop Broccoli for the season and the results appear good. Plant spacing 11" x 11" and head quality and weight don't appear negatively much affected by this spacing. Hopefully I will get a 3rd crop in and I hope to attempt closer spacing then. For anyone interested viewing the results of beginning my 2nd harvest they are reported in the following link in Tomatoville.
http://www.tomatoville.com/showthrea...693#post536693
Larry
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Old April 3, 2016   #35
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So is that borax as in the cleaner borax? Weird, I would never have thought of using that for boron. Learn something daily here...
Upon further reading I don't think I will follow a recommendation to add Borax to my garden. Just too many unknowns for me. I will stick with fertilizer (NPK), Kelp Meal and occasionally Fish Emulation for now.
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Old April 5, 2016   #36
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I have heard that too much borax can be very harmful to many crops. Most fertilizers contain trace amounts which are generally enough but a soil test could provide answers if you think your boron is inadequate.

I now plant my broccoli about 18 inches apart and usually get huge heads. I prefer not to deal with so many plants but then I only grow it for my family's consumption and do not freeze it. I'm usually sick of it by the time I'm harvesting side shots. Same with cauliflower.

Bill
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Old April 5, 2016   #37
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I have heard that too much borax can be very harmful to many crops. Most fertilizers contain trace amounts which are generally enough but a soil test could provide answers if you think your boron is inadequate.
I now plant my broccoli about 18 inches apart and usually get huge heads. I prefer not to deal with so many plants but then I only grow it for my family's consumption and do not freeze it. I'm usually sick of it by the time I'm harvesting side shots. Same with cauliflower.Bill
Bill,
I never thought of my fertilizer as a source of Boron but makes sense. I also probably get trace amounts from the public water I use to water every other day, when rain is insufficient, which is much of the time. Kelp meal is said to be a good source of boron, which I use in modest amounts. I also have read that it is not too difficult to get excess amounts of zinc and boron by using larger amounts of kelp and rock dust. I don't use rock dust, too expensive for me.
It is said an application of boron will reduce hollow stem in broccoli plants. Although I have not calculated the percent of stems which are hollow in my broccoli, I will in the future. I last harvested in March and although I saw some hollow stems I would guess that it was less than 1 in 12 plants. That would seem to indicate if boron is a problem that it is at most a minor problem.
This time around row spacing is about the same at 11 3/8" but I have reduced spacing in the rows from 11" to 8". When I harvest, hopefully in late May, I will compare the results to my harvest in March. Not completely an Apples to Apples comparison because the 2nd crop of the season from December to March is always the best due to the colder weather. While the 3rd crop from March to very early June is always the worst due to the significant rise in temperature in May.
One of the advantages I am looking for by being to grow more broccoli in a single bed is to leave other beds for other types of vegetables.
I have the ability to eat more or less the same things day after day and still enjoy them. However, if I have green beans frozen I vary that with Broccoli, but due to an awful fall bean season, for now, well it's pretty much broccoli and some Kale.
Thanks much for your comments, they help me think.
Larry
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Old April 12, 2016   #38
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Right now my broccoli is producing large firm heads with tight beads which are wonderful tasting with the moderate temperatures and rain we have been experiencing the last month or so. As soon as it gets hot the taste quality will drop and so will the size and quality of the heads. The same is true of my cauliflower which is making some very large heads with beautiful white heads but as soon as it heats up the heads will quickly deteriorate. Actually despite the rain which has been bad for my tomatoes and peppers the cooling affect it has had is extending the spring broccoli season for me.

Bill
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Old April 12, 2016   #39
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Right now my broccoli is producing large firm heads with tight beads which are wonderful tasting with the moderate temperatures and rain we have been experiencing the last month or so. As soon as it gets hot the taste quality will drop and so will the size and quality of the heads. The same is true of my cauliflower which is making some very large heads with beautiful white heads but as soon as it heats up the heads will quickly deteriorate. Actually despite the rain which has been bad for my tomatoes and peppers the cooling affect it has had is extending the spring broccoli season for me.
Bill
Bill
Sounds like your broccoli is doing very well. What variety are you using? I was looking at another broccoli project where they grew a number of varieties. It is called the Eastern Broccoli Project. They gave some information regarding results on various spacing. Whereas the Clemson project achieved higher yields all the way down to 4", this project had somewhat different results. When they cut their spacing from 12" to to 8" the number of boxes per acre improved but when they cut the spacing further to 6" their productivity deteriorated and the management costs went up.
My 3 varieties, Premium Crop, Lieutenant, and Castle Dome, which I am growing currently, all look good. It is interesting to note, that the Eastern Project pointed out that Lieutenant variety was 1 of 4 that had exceptional performance under stressful conditions. I may get to see if that is true for me in May when it starts to heat up here. All have been in the garden for 29 days. The first variety to start to head is Castle Dome (50 dtm) of which 16 of 30 plants are just starting to head. Our April weather so far has been cooler than normal therefore great for broccoli. It appears with some luck the Castle Dome will live up to its billing of 50 dtm.
Larry

Last edited by Zone9b; April 12, 2016 at 12:44 PM.
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Old April 14, 2016   #40
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This year I am growing two varieties Gypsy and Coronado Crown. Both are making huge heads averaging over 8 inches across right now. I'm sure I will get a few smaller and I have already gotten quite a few much larger. The Coronado Crown is a bit latter making and is larger and has a more domed head. I picked 5 heads today and could only fit 4 of them in a five gallon bucket and had to carry the other one in my hand. My cauliflower is doing almost as good making heads about 7 to 8 inches across. I am growing two varieties of it also one is Snow Crown and the other is Bishop. The snow crown has made much earlier than the Bishop which has not made one yet. I am waiting to see how large it will be and if it tastes as good because the leaves make a much better wrap over the actual cauliflower. I use clothespins to pull and hold the leaves over the heads on the snow crown to keep them white. It is still rainy, cloudy and cool so the plants are loving it though I can't keep any dipel on them so the worms may start taking a real toll on them soon. I have been feeding them a mix of Liquid Lawn and Texas Tomato Food and they seem to like it a lot. This is the finest crop of both that I have had in the last 20 years so I am already overwhelmed with it and looking for some neighbors who might like some because there is no way my wife and I can make a good dent in it.

Bill
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Old April 17, 2016   #41
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This year I am growing two varieties Gypsy and Coronado Crown. Both are making huge heads averaging over 8 inches across right now. I'm sure I will get a few smaller and I have already gotten quite a few much larger. The Coronado Crown is a bit latter making and is larger and has a more domed head. I picked 5 heads today and could only fit 4 of them in a five gallon bucket and had to carry the other one in my hand. My cauliflower is doing almost as good making heads about 7 to 8 inches across. I am growing two varieties of it also one is Snow Crown and the other is Bishop. The snow crown has made much earlier than the Bishop which has not made one yet. I am waiting to see how large it will be and if it tastes as good because the leaves make a much better wrap over the actual cauliflower. I use clothespins to pull and hold the leaves over the heads on the snow crown to keep them white. It is still rainy, cloudy and cool so the plants are loving it though I can't keep any dipel on them so the worms may start taking a real toll on them soon. I have been feeding them a mix of Liquid Lawn and Texas Tomato Food and they seem to like it a lot. This is the finest crop of both that I have had in the last 20 years so I am already overwhelmed with it and looking for some neighbors who might like some because there is no way my wife and I can make a good dent in it.
Bill
Bil,
Congratulations on a great crop. I was tempted to grow Coronado Crown, I had read many good things about it, but because it was a bit latter to mature I chose to pass. Potatoes, tomatoes,etc. are not particularly easy to grow here in Central Florida, at least for me, but luckily because of our normally rather moderate winters the Calciferous vegetables are much easier to grow here. From Arugula to Watercress many do well here.
I hope to harvest my first head of Castle Dome late this week at approximately 40 days from transplant. Premium Crop and Lieutenant varieties look good but will be later. I should harvest for the first time this season Espada bush, Rattlesnake pole and Grandma Robert's Purple pole beans later this week, Can't wait to try Espada and Grandma Robert's which I'm growing for the first time.
Larry
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Old April 17, 2016   #42
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This year I am growing two varieties Gypsy and Coronado Crown.

Bill - we grew Coronado Crown last year and loved it! Tried to order seeds again and no one had any, so one company subbed Belstar. I love the tight heads of Coronado Crown.

I have a few seeds leftover so will try both Coronado Crown and Belstar.

Maybe next year we'll be able to find seeds.
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Old April 17, 2016   #43
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This year I am growing two varieties Gypsy and Coronado Crown.

Bill - we grew Coronado Crown last year and loved it! Tried to order seeds again and no one had any, so one company subbed Belstar. I love the tight heads of Coronado Crown.
I have a few seeds leftover so will try both Coronado Crown and Belstar.
Maybe next year we'll be able to find seeds.
In the past I've had a similar experience with Premium Crop Seed. So popular that it is all but impossible to buy the seed.
Larry
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Old April 19, 2016   #44
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Bil,
Congratulations on a great crop. I was tempted to grow Coronado Crown, I had read many good things about it, but because it was a bit latter to mature I chose to pass. Potatoes, tomatoes,etc. are not particularly easy to grow here in Central Florida, at least for me, but luckily because of our normally rather moderate winters the Calciferous vegetables are much easier to grow here. From Arugula to Watercress many do well here.
I hope to harvest my first head of Castle Dome late this week at approximately 40 days from transplant. Premium Crop and Lieutenant varieties look good but will be later. I should harvest for the first time this season Espada bush, Rattlesnake pole and Grandma Robert's Purple pole beans later this week, Can't wait to try Espada and Grandma Robert's which I'm growing for the first time.
Larry
Even though Coronado Crown is latter to head it holds better in the heat maintaining a tight small beaded head longer than any other variety I have grown. You know you could try starting some of your broccoli sooner but you might have to be prepared to cover it with a frost cloth or plastic if you get an unusually cold few nights. Timing is always tricky for me with broccoli and other similar plants due to our totally unpredictable winters. I have had winters so mild that I have had great broccoli crops in January and February and other winters so cold that the plants were killed under a tight sealed plastic hoop. I usually start some at least two or three different times starting in the fall. Usually my spring planting is my most productive but sometimes summer gets here before the plants have reached any size at all and I get those quarter size heads of broccoli which is really discouraging but the same thing can happen in the fall too.

If you haven't tried Maxibel beans you might want to give them a try. They are a very productive filet bean with wonderful flavor and they are somewhat larger than most filet beans and they do well in our heat for a good while. I grew them the first time over a decade ago I have not missed planting them since.

Bill
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Old May 1, 2016   #45
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My results with the Castle Dome Broccoli are here:
Out of 30 plants, 3 plants produced failures, I weighed the majority of the heads and my estimate is that the average head weighed between 10 and 11 ounces. Taste, to me, was quite good. My observations led me to believe that the variety wouldn’t do any better than average under significant heat stress which is common here in Central Florida in early June, but of course I don’t know for sure. Taste seemed to be quite good. Color is an attractive kind of light lime green. The best advantage is that the variety appears to be extremely early. The variety is said to be 50 dtm but I first picked it in 37 days and picked the last at 46 days from transplant. The plants are noticeably smaller than Frontier and Premium Crop which are also in the same bed. Even at 8” inch spacing in the row the plants didn’t appear to be crowded. With this variety it appears that reducing spacing to 6” in the row would not have any substantial reduction in head size or quality but I haven’t tried it. Also, I didn’t have any plants with hollow stem, which seems to indicate that Boron levels are sufficient.
The first heads of Lieutenant variety will be ready to pick this week and Premium Crop is starting to head.
Bill, I will look into Maxibel beans and thanks for the tip.. I am currently growing one fillet bean called Crockett. It has dark green beans, tastes pretty good, has fairly good productivity and is very disease resistant.
Larry

Last edited by Zone9b; May 1, 2016 at 06:29 AM.
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