Friday, January 25, 2008

Brussel sprouts; bolted arugula

I have only 2 brussel sprout plants in the garden, but I wanted to show you how they grow. For those of you who haven't grown brussel sprouts, they are a cool season crop; these plants haven't shown any stress from our bouts of weather in the low 20s. As a matter of fact, one of the plants has a leaf positioned perfectly to catch and hold rain, and each time it freezes there is a beautiful shimmering teardrop of ice cupped in that leaf. You can't see the sprouts themselves unless you pull the leaves aside and look at the main stalk; they form at the base of each leaf. The sprouts at the bottom of the plant mature first, then the next ones up, and so on. You simply cut or twist the sprouts off the plant as they mature, leaving the rest of the plant to keep growing and producing.

My arugula, however, is telling me that it is done and needs to be removed from the garden. It has started to bolt (send up flower stalks instead of leaves). Now all of its energy will go into flower stalks, flowers and seeds. At this stage it will not provide any more good greens, so I will pull it out and prepare that spot for spring planting. I wonder if the hens will like the spent arugula plants? The arugula photo is on the top, the brussel sprout on the bottom.