Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tiny green crowns

This year I planted broccoli in my garden - the first time I've ever tried. I was amazed by how well it grew!

I mean that literally. You see, I knew nothing about broccoli when I put the plant in the ground.

First thing that happened was nice, big, healthy-looking crowns came up from among the broad, rubbery leaves. Wonderful, I said, and picked them. My mac and cheese was never so tasty as when I knew I'd grown at least some part of it myself.

I thought that would be the end of my broccoli plants. Boy, was I wrong.

Next thing I knew, all sorts of little tiny broccoli heads popped up in the crooks between the main stalks and the leaves! I had more than a dozen new heads come up in the space of a week or so. None of them was even close to the size of the broccoli crowns you see in supermarkets, so I left them alone. I assumed they'd keep on growing and would become something superhumanly huge on their own.

All that waiting resulted in a transmogrification of my plants from good-natured little florets to wild masses of exuberant yellow flowers and ecstatic bumblebees. Yikes, I said, and hastily picked the few non-flowery shoots.

More little broccoli heads popped up. I tried keeping pace but after I while I admitted defeat - seemingly overnight, those cute little florets became foot-tall yellow stalks of sunshine that proceeded to create what looked like tiny bean pods.

My garden never did achieve full cruciferous glory after producing those first few good-sized crowns. But the veggies were tasty ... and the plants became so pretty. I'll tell myself I learned something - namely, find more friends and relatives who like broccoli - and try again next year.

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