Mail-Order Broccoli
(I Couldn't Resist)

Dateline: 1 September 2016

The picture above came in my e-mail from the Burpee seed company on August 20th. I've never ordered vegetable seedlings through the mail but those broccoli looked mighty good. And when I checked the price I was surprised to find that I could get 12 broccoli seedlings for $8.24, plus $4.95 for shipping. I couldn't resist spending a grand total of $13.19 and giving this idea a try. 

So I placed my order on the 20th and the box arrived this afternoon...

I opened it up right away...

Then I opened the bottom and slid the contents down and out...

Amazing. Six broccoli plants, instructions, and a little packet of "Dino-Mite truly organic all natural mineral plant food."  

I had a spot all ready for the plants in my garden. I'm planting them in small frames with insect netting covers. The cabbage butterfly is still flying around here and laying it's eggs. I've had broccoli ruined by the worms... more than once. But not this time!

Here's a picture of the frame...

The frame is just 2x4 pieces screwed together and placed on top of the ground. The frame serves to hold the pvc pipe hoops. I've had those hoops and used them in my garden for at least five years.

Outside dimensions of the frame are 30" x 30". Why 30" x 30"? Because that's the same size as the Haxnicks Micromesh lantern cloche I bought. And it will accommodate the 5ft long hoops (giving me an inside height of around 25"). Also, a 30" x 30" frame can be made from a single 10ft 2x4, which costs around $3.50.

30" x 30" is also a manageable size. I have 4 kale plants in a 30" x 30" Haxnicks Micromesh cloche and they have produced a prodigious amount of kale. In fact, the kale is ready to harvest again. Here's what that kale cloche looks like today...

Here's a close-up shot showing how I have attached the hoops to the frame...

The hoops will slip right out when/if the time comes that I don't need them any more.

I planted four broccoli seedlings in each framed bed. Here's a broccoli seedling being planted (I removed some leaves before planting)...

The soil where these broccoli are being planted recently had green beans. The bean roots are still in the soil. I added some Azomite mineral powder and some kelp meal to the soil and stirred it into the top couple of inches.

In this next picture you can see (if you look close) that I have planted four broccoli seedlings and I have mulched all around them with buckwheat stems that I grew in another part of my garden as a green manure...

Here's a close-up of one broccoli in the buckwheat stem mulch...

Once the bed was planted and mulched, I covered it with a piece of ProtekNet 25gr insect netting...

The netting is secured by tucking the edges under the 2x4 frame. Here's another view...

Those broccoli seedlings should like it there and they should grow with health and vigor once they get over the shock of mail transport and transplanting. 

Here's a picture of a young cabbage plant in a similar cloche with insect screen (I transplanted it about a week ago)...

 Finally, here is a broccoli bed covered with the Haxnicks Micromesh lantern cloche...

If all goes well with these little broccoli beds, I'll show you some pictures later in the season. Stay tuned.


  1. Elizabeth L. Johnson said,
    I'm seriously thinking about that micromesh for my tiny raised boxes. I could re-sow for the fall, beet and carrot seed that the quail ate last week. Thanks for reviewing useful products; I, otherwise, wouldn't know they exist for my benefit. By-the-way, how do you water your garden? Just wondering.

  2. Elizabeth—

    I have two of the Haxnicks Micromesh cloches and I like them. They fit a 30' x 30" frame perfectly. My only concern is how long they will last. UV rays will eventually break the material down.

    I typically don't water my garden, beyond the watering necessary to get seeds and seedlings off to a good start. This year was a bit of an exception and I watered some plants with my bucket irrigation idea. But only certain things got watered with the buckets (squash, cukes, tomatoes). Plants will put down roots as needed to reach water, and capillary action is bringing water to the surface continually. There is also morning dews. Those things are usually sufficient to supply my garden with water, as long as I'm not planting things too close together. Mulch helps retain soil moisture too. Whole fields of crops like corn and soybeans are grown here without any irrigation, so that's an indication that a garden can also be grown without irrigation. That said, you live in a different region of the country. My experience here may not apply to your area. :-)

  3. Last year I had about 20 broccoli plants and we froze about 50 2 cup packets. Ate them all winter and spring. This year I planted about 15 and got three small heads and NO side shoots. Going to have to buy from the store if there is any to buy. I am very concerned about this new "World Money" that is supposed to make it's debut on Sept. 30. Not sure wether it is a hoax or some people trying to con the rest of us. But have heard for the last 4-5 years that Russia,China, Brazil and a few others have been trying to unseat the US dollar as the worlds reserve currency. If this is true we are all totally screwed as far as our economy goes. Sticking my head in the sand now! See Ya Everett

    1. Hi Everett,

      Sorry about the broccoli. Did you grow a different variety? I can certainly relate to the experience. This year we have lots of beautiful tomatoes but that hasn't been the case for the past couple of years.

      As far as new money, I don't know about it changing on Sept 30, but it's just a matter of time before the dollar as reserve currency is replaced. After all, it is no longer "Good as gold" and there are serious efforts underway to get a new world money. And I agree with you that it will be a major crisis for this country when it happens. Our dollar dominance is what has allowed America to become a world empire. When the dollar loses it's position of prominence, I think that will be the final nail in the coffin of American empire.

      Currently, I'm more concerned about that Hanjing Shipping company that has gone bankrupt. Something relatively simple like that can and may be the spark that starts a rippling cascade effect that cripples the just-in-time supply chain that keeps the western world chugging along. With all this global complexity comes significantly increased vulnerability. The world has never been so dependent on so much complexity for it's needs.

  4. I'm loving those insect net covering....don't seem too difficult to make by the looks.

    1. Not difficult at all. Imagine... a growing environment with no bugs that eat your plants, yet the plants still get all the air, sunshine, and rain that is available to them. There is no downside that I can see to using this netting, except the cost. And the small beds are easy to manage to maximum productivity.