Further Adventures with “Perennializing” Brassicas

This week’s post continues a story that we first posted June 10, 2021. Here is a link to that story. (You will need to scroll down on that page to the June 10 posting.)

Our author is again Sequoia Ferrel, of Gaia Rising Farm on Guemes Island.

Further adventures with “perennializing” brassicas

By Sequoia Ferrel

posted September 10, 2021

  1. After you have harvested your brassicas — broccoli, cabbage, kale, etc. — if you don’t pull it up, it will often try to regrow. Even if you cut it down to a stump but leave it in the ground, like this kale plant, it may make new shoots. For this kale plant I would cut it down to one shoot.

Picture 1 (above): Kale sprouting

2. Another kale plant that was completely cut off but you can see it really wants to come back.

Picture 2 (above): coming back!

  1. This is a cauliflower with old seed heads at the left and multiple new shoots coming up. I have had this plant for three or four years now giving me early cauliflower.

Picture 3 (above): multiple new shoots

  1. This is the same cauliflower after I cut out most of the shoots. I decided to leave four shoots for now, but I could have left just one or two. I can decide to cut some of these out later. It is good to keep checking on these things because they are likely to keep adding new shoots. You don’t want too many or you will get lots of tiny cauliflower heads instead of a few bigger ones.

Picture 4 (above): pruned

  1. I don’t remember if this is a broccoli or a cabbage that went to seed. In the same spirit of experimentation I will wait to see what happens.

Picture 5 (above): what to do with this?

  1. Here is what I did with that one. I just cut out several stems. I’ll probably take another look at it in a while and choose the strongest shoots and cut out some more.

Picture 6 (above): after…

So if you like to experiment and don’t immediately need the space, try growing some of your brassicas as perennials. Their roots are established, and they are hardy. You don’t have to fuss with seeds and small tender seedlings that can get chomped by slugs. And they will reward you with an earlier harvest than you would otherwise get.