Huge broccoli but no florets?

by mike hurcombe
(kent, uk)

Hi, I am an inexperienced gardener. However last year i decided to grow some broccoli. I started it from seed last spring and when i got seedlings i put them in the garden under a closh. When they were bigger i removed the closh.
Nearly a year later and i have broccoli that is nearly 5 foot tall yet i have no sign of any florets. I keep getting new leaves but that is it.
On the back of the seed packet it states to harvest at the end of feb - start of march but i can't see that its going to happen.
Have i done something(s) wrong or has the mild winter had some effect? Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Mike

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Feb 14, 2012
no florets? NEW
by: hotchaiguy

I can't really relate to your growing season there, although my grandpa came from Ramsgate. Never knew him.
Anyway, here in northeast Indiana, USA, this last season I bought four inch plants in late April and they grew twenty inches tall and formed their first heads by late May while it was still coolish. They seem to produce fruit when it is cool to cold. After this they only produced single florets as they continued to grow, but they produced more total fruit than for the typical heads you see in the store. Just had to pick the single florets every other day and you got a lot of it. Now, when I bought some more small plants late in the season and planted them , they grow thirty inches tall and looked great, like you described yours-but no fruit. Hmm ?? I thought , they may not produce until the heat of suumer passes. And that is just what happened. I even picked some on Christmas Day, some snow and ice setting on them. This probably due to our extra mild Winter. Broc. in Winter here ? No way. Ha !That explains the young child's wonderings as to where frozen brocoli comes from. So my only suggestion is: Has the weather been to mild there ? If so the promise of harvest in early March may still be a reality for you. Let me know. My sister-in-law just two streets away didn't get any fruit all Summer and I encouraged her to wait for cool to cold weather and it came for her.
Tom Peirce - a third generation American with foots in Kent. I have been the twice mostly in Ashford, but traveled about Kent. Loved it.

Feb 16, 2012
Overwintering NEW
by: Erica / NW Edible

Hi Mike - I think I know what's going on here. :) It sounds like you are growing what we Americans call overwintering or sprouting broccoli, as compared to what we'd think of as "regular" Broccoli (also known as calabrese). Sprouting broccoli is a common crop in the UK and the Pacific NW where I garden due to our mild winters. It does not head like market broccoli with one big central head. Instead you get a long harvest of smaller "side shoots."

This type of broccoli and its companion, overwintering cauliflower, are very tasty and are the best way to get fresh food in the empty garden months of Feb - April. But the trick is, these plants don't do ANYTHING until they go through the chilling period of winter (unlike regular broccoli) so you really just have to wait for them to be ready. Since you started them so early the payoff should be loads of shoots to harvest in the next month or so. For future reference I start my overwintering broccoli in June or July.

I would anticipate that you will start seeing good side-shoot production at any point now. Shouldn't be much longer. Here's more info on what you are growing:

Hope the helps.

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