Texas Weather Confuses Plants!

picture of broccoli head flowers

Flowering Broccoli–Jan 24, 2014

The motorists stranded in Atlanta due to snow and ice on the roads is a pretty good indicator about how well the South is prepared to deal with the infrequent occurrence of winter storm weather.

Conditions in Texas aren’t much better. It has been quite cold around here—and it’s not over yet–with some weather agencies indicating possible snow/ice are in the long term forecast for later in the first week of February–that’s not looking good for the groundhog!

In this area, we’ve gotten the cold winter storm conditions (lows in the upper teens, highs in the lower 30’s with ice/snow mixes) mixed with warm spring conditions (lows in the 40’s, highs in the 70’s) immediately followed by days of Spring the plants are quite confused!

Broccoli is a “cool” weather plant that performs best when temperatures are in the 60’s. In my garden, the broccoli is still growing, but the broccoli heads are very small—but still taste better than anything I can purchase at the grocery store.)

Normal appearing broccoli head with buds

Broccoli “buds”, Jan. 24, 2014

The broccoli part that is consumed consists of flower buds. Given warmer temperatures and increasing daylight hours, those buds will open to reveal the flowers (see yellow flowers, top picture.). Other plants in the garden (directly next to the flowering broccoli) are at different stages of development. Depending on the timing of weather conditions and maturity of individual plants, those broccoli have heads that are still buds (picture above).

Notice on the “normal” broccoli — the buds are very compact; whereas on the flowering broccoli–the buds are enlarged with flower petals.

Both forms are edible—the flowering plant will tend to be more stringy (fibrous, like celery strings) and tough even after cooking, so it’s a matter of choice.

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