“I’ve planted broccoli for the first time this summer. How do I know when it can be picked?”
Samantha – Apple Valley, Minnesota
Broccoli can be eaten at a couple of different growth stages. Some people eat the unopened flower buds. As the weather gets warmer you’ll want to pick it before the flower heads bloom. So harvest the buds when they are about the size of a match head. Samantha, one mistake common among home growers, especially first timers, is that you keep waiting for the heads to get to the size of those in the super market. Don’t expect your home grown broccoli to get the size of supermarket broccoli heads, as their growing environments are much more controlled to achieve the size they get. What they lack in size, though, they will make up for in flavor and nutritional value. Using Monty’s 8-16-8 will help.
“I plant roses because I love how they look and also because of their smell and the diversity of smells they provide. Bleeding hearts are also quite fragrant. Are there other more fragrant flowers to consider? I know all have their own degree of fragrance, but I’m looking for strong smelling flowers to entice the senses when you walk in my garden.”
Rose – Knierim, Iowa
Brugmansia, or “Angel Trumpet” comes to mind immediately for year round outdoor growing in zones 8-11, although in your climate you’ll have to make it a patio plant that you can take indoors in the winter. The same is with a Gardenia, “Passion Flower,” jasmine, nicotinia (flowering tobacco) or lemon and limes. Sweet Alyssum, Moonflower and 4 O’clocks are also great smelling plants. Unfortunately, none of these plants are perennials for your Iowa climate, but they can be grown in your greenhouse or as patio plants that can all be moved inside over the winter. All have overwhelming fragrant qualities. Honeysuckle and magnolias are also fragrant favorites particularly in the south.
O, and since you asked about roses, don’t forget to check out the latest videos on roses from our founder and noted rosarian Monty Justice. You can find them on youtube, or here. You can also check out our rose care calendar to make sure you are getting the most output from your roses.
“My Calla Lily never blooms. I thought these plants required low maintenance and even bloomed in diffused lighting conditions. What am I doing wrong?”
Blaine -Cold Springs, Nevada
There are a couple of reasons that come to mind as to why your Calla Lily is not blooming. Although they really are low maintenance, they do prefer bright indirect sunlight, with morning and late afternoon light as their preference. So if you have them in any less they simply aren’t getting enough light. If you are using a fertilizer, make sure it is low in nitrogen, which encourages green, leafy growth. Too much nitrogen will overpower the phosphate a plant needs to make blooms. Monty’s 2-15-15 is a great fertilizer to use if you are looking to encourage more, and longer lasting, bloom. Read more, here. Another reason a Calla Lily will not bloom is if the bulbs are simply getting too old.