Rolling the broccoli dice

So here it is. The gardener’s dilemma. Do I pick or do I let it go another day?

If you are a vegetable gardener, you know that this is no small question. No doubt you have your own tale of woe that is an amusing anecdote only in retrospection. Funny how time makes the sting less painful.

My own vivid memory is from a few years ago when we rented a house in Towson, Md. We were growing bush beans, and the crop was glorious. I stood in the garden one warm summer evening and thought to myself “I think these could use one more day.”  The local bunnies disagreed.  The next day when I went out to harvest my crops, I found the stumps of bean plants, which had been gnawed to the ground.

My big brother T’s story is even better. One year he decided to grow corn. He has a large garden, but it’s not a farm, so he probably had less than 10 stalks going. Green thumb that he is, the corn did wonderfully. Again, he made the gardener’s choice: “One more day.”

The next morning he looked out the window to see corn husks strewn along the terrace to the garden, remnants of a raccoon corn fest. He was surprised there wasn’t an empty keg and red plastic cups among the debris, as well.

So you see my current quandary.  The broccoli was an experiment for me, and it is now really too late to be growing it here. It really should have bolted by now and given up its space for peppers and eggplant. But I have one broccoli plant with a nice little head coming along, and the next day or two is forecast to be cooler than normal. Perhaps if I let it go for one more day, the head will get large enough to warrant two bites rather than one.

I think I’ll let it go … one more day.



  1. The year I planted a peach tree I was psyched because the scrawny little thing managed to produce five green peaches immediately. I spent what seemed like a good part of the summer watching those peaches slowly mature — and just as they hit the point where they were pickable, squirrels discovered them.

    Eat the broccoli now — one bite today beats stepping out into the garden tomorrow and discovering the plant bolted overnight.

  2. Morgan, Fritz LOVES carrots!

    Nan, I think you’re right. I hope the tiny little bite is still there for me when I get home tonight!

    My other pet peeve in the garden — that beautiful ripe tomato that you turn in your hand admiringly, only to find a gash where a bird tasted it — and moved on!

  3. it is not just vegetables, i used to plant dahlias in my garden. couple years ago they bloomed one evening and i thought i need to get some shots of them. unfortunately, i waited till morning and found the deer had eaten them to the ground. now they are in pots on my deck! my suggestion, EAT the broccoli!

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