It didn’t run down the street or anything like that, but in garden parlance, it bolted. This can happen for a variety of reasons, I’m just surprised that it happened so fast.
My vegetable plot is tiny so every plant counts. With only four plants, I certainly wasn’t producing much more than a meal’s worth of this delicious green. Things were looking promising until this week, when each plant took a different turn.
Two of the four remaining plants flowered. Yes, yes, it’s pretty and all but now it’s no longer edible. One of the plants suddenly shot up tall and straight. My husband asked, optimistically if was broccoli rabe, a distant and reviled cousin, seeking to explain the unusual appearance.
Tomorrow I’ll harvest the sturdier stalks and will hope to get some additional florets from what remains. According to this Growing Broccoli Guide I should:
Cut fall heads with less stem attached, leaving as much of the plant intact as possible to produce smaller side shoots or “florets,” which you can harvest until a hard freeze. When you bring broccoli indoors, soak the heads in lightly salted water (1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of salt per gallon (4 l)) for 30 minutes before cooking or storing. This will drive out any cabbage worms hiding in the heads. Broccoli will keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for 7 to 10 days and can be eaten fresh, and it freezes well for future use.
Next year I’ll try a different winter crop. In another twenty years, I’ll have this gardening thing down.