Broccoli – Brown Bead

Q: This broccoli was grown by a seasoned gardener with over 50 years of experience. This is the first time we’ve seen this with broccoli in the garden. The flowers parts are oddly yellow. They kind of brush off. If you cut the broccoli and leave it overnight, almost the whole head turns like that. Can you solve our mystery?

A: The problem looks like “brown bead”, the plant’s reaction to stress from disease, excessive heat or low fertility. Fast growing broccoli plants tend to be less susceptible to brown bead. Broccoli under higher nitrogen application rates may have less incidence of the disorder than plants under lower rates. Appropriate irrigation also decreases the incidence and severity of brown bead.

It is not a disease per se, so better growing conditions next spring will likely give better results in your garden.

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