THE U-Pick GARDEN will be closing August 20th. This will be the last year the garden will be open to the public. Next year I'll be operating as a CSA, supplying about 20 regular customers with weekly boxes. Thank you for your support over the last 8 years, but it's time to try something new.

To get a copy of my book, "How To Grow Vegetables In Sitka, Alaska" just give me a call....The books are $20 plus tax. If you live out of town and want me to mail you a copy, you can mail a check for $25.60 to:

Lori Adams
P O Box 6021
Sitka, Alaska

Down To Earth U-Pick Garden is located at 2103 Sawmill Creek Road in Sitka, Alaska. It is open usually from mid-June through late August. Hours are Monday-Saturday 12:00 to 6:30. On Farmer's Market Saturdays I am not open until 2:00. Children are welcome but may not run through the garden or chase the ducks. If you have any questions you can contact me, Lori Adams, at 907-747-6108 or 907-738-2241. My email address is

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Rita Picks Broccoli

I never have a lot of Broccoli, so I rarely put the sign out at the bottom of the driveway, but if you are at the U-pick garden and stars are aligned properly that just might get to pick Broccoli.

Joyce and Rita stopped by the other day and Rita kindly "volunteered" to pose for photos to show you all how to pick Broccoli.

Thanks, Rita!

NOTE: There are photos with Rita's hands and photos with my can easily tell the difference:
Rita's hands are beautifully manicured complete with fingernail polish and she's wearing "hip" jewelry on her arm. My hands on the other hand.....Whoa! sorry about the dirty fingernails!

1. Select a mature Broccoli head. Broccoli heads range from 3-9 inches across depending on the variety, so it's very important that you know how to tell if a head is mature or not.

A Broccoli head is made up of many, many, tiny green flower buds, and each bud will eventually open up into a yellow flower. A Broccoli head starts out very small with TIGHT buds. The head is hard and the buds can not be squeezed together....

....or pulled apart.

Although this Broccoli head is perfectly edible it is not mature and it would be a crying shame to pick it. If it's left on the plant it will continue to grow and get significantly larger.

A mature Broccoli head has buds that are plump and loose. You should be able to see a few buds that look like they could open up into flowers at any time.

 The buds are loose enough so that you can squeeze them together....

....and pull them apart.

NOTE: Broccoli heads that have bloomed are perfectly edible and really quite pretty, but the longer they bloom the tougher they get.

2. To harvest a Broccoli head it is best to use a serrated knife. Cut the stem at a fairly sharp angle just below the head to allow the rain to run off the stump easily to try to prevent the stem from splitting and rotting.

3. Many people do not realize that after a Broccoli head is harvested the plant will continue to produce numerous side-shoots called "sprouts". 

You can harvest sprouts with a serrated knife....

Or by carefully snapping them off with your fingers....

4. Broccoli is $5.00 for a large head or a green plastic strawberry crate full of sprouts.

NOTE: Broccoli leaves are also edible and can be used just like Kale!


  1. i didn't grow broccoli this year but I did do cauliflower because we like making cauliflower pizza crust...anyways, I noticed today that aphids got one of my cauliflowers plants! I'm going to see if I can salvage it, but I don't have high hopes. :(

  2. SAD!! The best thing about growing Broccoli is that it keeps producing sprouts all year...the bad thing about growing cauliflower is once the head is's over. But who can resist growing cauliflower?