I planted some broccoli this year, and everything started out fine enough. First came the leaves, then the stalks, after a few weeks I had these dime-sized broccoli heads starting to peak out from the center. But then one night, they all just jumped up, the heads sprouted on these thin little stalks and turned into flowers. It was over. The broccoli skipped the broccoli part of being broccoli and went straight to being an annoying weed.
Broccoli flowers aren’t even nice to look at, the whole plant looks like it’s trying to claw its way out of the earth. I don’t know what happened, because I did broccoli last year and it turned out great. The dime-sized head just continued to get bigger, until it was the size of a regular broccoli, the kind that you see in the supermarket.
I looked up some stuff on the Internet, but there weren’t any definitive answers, mostly just guesses about what causes broccoli to “bolt,” that’s the term, I found it out online, broccoli eventually bolts and turns into a flower and it’s inedible.
But amidst all of the rumors and conjecture I found a suggestion. It told me to pick off the tops, the flowers, all of it, just leave the stalks and the leaves, and maybe some new heads would sprout from the sides.
And yeah, that did happen. But they were all weird looking, all of them much smaller than the original dime-sized florets. These were no bigger than an M&M, and not even a regular M&M, I’m talking a mini M&M, remember the ones that came in a tube? They looked more like warts than vegetables, and whereas pre-bolted broccoli only had one head per plant, these things were popping up four, five to a stalk, it was like a gross broccoli pox.
Worse, these guys started doing the same bolting that their older brothers and sisters had pulled off two weeks before. I found myself this week, looking at my once proud-looking raised bed vegetable garden. Now, I stare at these plants, they don’t remind me of anything like broccoli at all. It’s more like a whitish pale-green virus, jutting awkwardly, almost sinisterly from the earth, taunting me, daring me to try meddling any further.
I’ve got to do something. These aberrations can’t be allowed to grow any further, to suck any more of the nutrients that I laced the soil with at the beginning of the season. They’re no more than weeds now, just very carefully spaced apart weeds. But what do I do? I have to go out and uproot them all? Are they going to take big chunks of the dirt with them?
And then what? Usually with weeds I just throw them to the side, but I have this weird fear that wherever I throw them, they’re just going to make new roots, they’ll be fine, they’ll start multiplying, becoming a weird perennial mutant broccoli, choking off the grass, eventually making its way over to my tomatoes.
My strawberries died immediately, by the way. I planted them, they grew like six inches outward, and then they started rotting from the inside out. It’s crazy to think that the broccoli’s somehow responsible, right? I mean, that’s impossible, tell me it’s not possible.