The better broccoli

Broccoli I worked hard to plant in February, transplant to larger pots in March, transplant outdoors in early April is just getting established, and will still need weeded at least once before I get a harvest in another two months.


 In contrast, Good King Henry (Chenopodium bonus-henricus) which I did the work of planting years ago, has had some very nice flowerbuds for the same use as broccoli for several weeks. What’s more I should be able to depend on this same production for several years with only a little spring weeding, if even that.

GKH growing happily with a ground cover of (edible) mache (Valerianella locusta).

I got a sizable handful of flowers last year for the first harvest from my GKH’s, as pictured below. It has a slight bitterness compared to broccoli. It’s that kind of bitterness people call a nuttiness or richness though, not the herbal caricature-wrenching bitterness.


Throw them into boiling water until they go limp, remove,  run some cold water over them, and eat like any other broccoli.

Screen shot 2015-05-19 at 4.40.53 PM

The cold leftovers I chop up and throw into scrambled eggs or the like.

This is only the beginning though. Up next: Turkish Rocket!


  1. After years of thinking that I didn’t especially want GKH because I have so many other leafy things to eat in spring, I have suddenly decided that I absolutely must have it. I have read many discouraging accounts about trying to grow it from seed. I was thinking of planting a patch of it in late November with hope of germination in spring. Does that sound likely to work to you? How did you get yours started?


    1. Stephen does give quite a nice account of GKH. Do you intend to try blanching it like him?
      I have had bad and good success with GKH. In general it just wants a really temperate climate. Planting in Novemeber for you should give sufficient stratification. From what you have told me, the problem will be keeping it moist. I plant ‘source flats’ as I call them of minimal size to hold the seeds for strat and germination. I then transplant them as they come, which I think you already do based on your Turkish Rocket.


    2. Further details: I essentially sprinkle the seed on the potting soil (lighter quality is better, so very fine broken down compost or a mix with peat) and let the initial watering cover them. No more. In my climate I have best success bring stratified seeds in to my greenhouse a month before warm weather sets in. They like to germinate in cooler weather with warmer days. Once its actually warm enough outside tenps are genereally too warm and spikes too hot which can dry out the pot between waterings and kill young seedlings. This year I grew 14 of them from a packet, which was much better than last year when I only got one. I keep growing them every year for clients or decide I want more myself.
      I actually divided my oldest plants this year, which are four years old. Very deep taproots. I divided each into at teast three parts. Despite a good livability rate I haven’t been impressed with the divisions’ vigor.


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