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Broccoli is ready in North Jersey

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North Jersey Gardeners are beginning to reap some of the fruits of their early spring labors. One happy West Milford gardener encouraged us photograph the head of broccoli which was destined to join a chicken and several potatoes on his dinner table over the first week end in June. South Jersey gardeners may have had that privilege several weeks ago.

Broccoli, once the heads have been harvested, is still valuable and should be allowed to remain in the garden. It will produce numerous florets or miniature heads over the season which can be harvested and eaten just like the primary head, and the broad leaves can be harvested and eaten like cabbage or collards; or may be stuffed, just like stuffing cabbage.

If you like, in the fall simply mulch several plants deeply and allow them to overwinter. Not only will you be able to plunder a few leaves but the biennial plants will produce seed pods which will give you and your friends seeds for years to come.

This technique will work well where temperatures rarely dip below 32° in winter but in colder zones, take up a few designated plants and pot them in sand, transferring the pots into a cool but not freezing place indoors until the following spring. Replant them out of doors when the ground is workable, and simply wait for the seed pods to form.

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