My plan was to start broccoli from seed this year, but I temporarily misplaced the seeds when they fell behind the recycling bin. I planted starter-plants instead to give the garden a head start, next to the still-flowering tomato plants. In Canada the tomatoes would have been toast by now, but they continue to produce through the first “frost” here in sunny San Jose.
Last year we planted fava beans, then tilled them into the vegetable bed before they produced any beans. I learned that the small white nitrogen nodules that appear around the roots enrich the soil. The plants themselves act as a cover crop, reducing erosion from rain and wind. This year, the broccoli will act as a covering winter crop, but will hopefully produce some greens for the dinner table as well. Three out of four of my family members will actually eat broccoli, not bad in our household of picky eaters.
Winter gardens are easier to tend in a variety of ways: fewer weeds, fewer garden pests and if the weather cooperates, scattered showers throughout the growing season.
We’ll see how it grows!