Broccoli

pfeifer78May 11, 2007

Anyone have problems with broccoli plants being weak and not supporting their own weight? I planted seeds indoors about 4 weeks ago and now they are about 4-5 inches tall but aren't supporting themselves. Is this normal? Would stringing them up solve the problem or should I just scrap it and start some new seeds?

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selkie_b(z4 MN)

Mine were a bit weedy, I transplanted them a bit deep and they are recovering nicely now in their grow boxes. I did have to put in a few seeds though (and they are MUCH less weedy) directly as the squirrels thought those little holes were perfect for hiding stuff in.

-Marie

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 9:40AM
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leaveswave(.)

A fan on seedlings started indoors helps thicken/strengthen stalks. Not sure how much that would compensate for too-low light, though. Not saying that any of this was or wasn't the case.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 9:48AM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

Hi pfeifer, Have you raised broccoli seedlings before or is the the first time? If you've raised them before, are they weaker looking this year then in the past? I didn't start any this year, but my recollection is that the stems aren't perfectly stright. Seems like they have a little curvature at the bottom, but they should stand up pretty well.

Pretty well all seedlings will grow toward available light and won't have very strong stems if they don't have enough light. If you didn't have overhead plant lights or florescent lights on them for (I forget what they recommend here - 12-24 hours a day maybe) they are likely to get long and leggy. I've always kept my lights on 24 hours a day and have had really good luck doing it that way. The fan that leaveswave mentions also makes a big difference. They struggle against the air resistance kind of like they would struggle against the wind when growing outdoors and become stonger because of it.

I don't think that stringing them up would make them stronger, but maybe it would help support them until they could grow a little stonger on their own, given light, etc, etc.

How many do you have? If only a few, it might be more productive to buy a few seedlings for this year, and try again next year.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 4:25PM
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deweymn(z4mnstpaul)

I had some spinach plants and three brocoli plants survive my winter sowing blunders. The leaf spinach are ready for the table tonite and the broccoli are about 6-8" tall since I put them in the ground at tax time. Granted my city yard garden is small and the squirrels want to dig where I did the night before. Someone just told me to spread cayenne pepper around where I plant seeds and that will discourage them?

Both of these I mounded when I transplanted them and try to keep doing this when I can. Not too much to get the stalks buried too far tho.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 4:15PM
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pfeifer78

Thanks for the help folks. I strung them up, but they never got stronger and I ended up giving up on them. Try again next year I guess.

Anyone have tips for growing it while starting it inside that I should remember for next year?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 12:24AM
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deweymn(z4mnstpaul)

My tip would be to winter sow a batch and see how they turn out.

My dozen or so spinach plants are doing well.

I ended up with two brocolli from ws that are now 2' tall which I think I will stake to add some support.

Good info on the forums for growing from seed and it seems that proper light distance and air movement are real important. I have to redo my light shelves. I am going to start another batch of left over seeds under the spiral florescent type lights. I think those worked pretty good for me. (I want some late blooming annuals for fall).

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 8:37AM
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