The reputation of the plant entitled Broccoli is wide spread, known to be the evil green vegetable that all kids hate, the green plant was repelled by millions including the former president George H.W. Bush. Mothers worldwide are trying to convince their loved ones to eat this controversial plant, its nutritious benefits being a big selling point. We would very much like participate in this world wide movement by joining the Moms and Broccoli side and therefore today we will show you how to grow broccoli in the comfort of your home.
Broccoli is categorized as a member of the mustard family, the cool-weather basically originates from Italy cultivated wild cabbage and it`s original Italian name is cabbage sprout, term derived from the Latin word that defines the branch or arm the vegetable supposedly resembling these.
A plant known to be one of the firsts green assets of spring, Broccoli can be the very first item you cultivate in your vegetable garden, it is also one of the last standing during fall`s frost, being productive throughout a season. Every time you harvest broccoli by chopping the central crown, smaller side shoots are being stimulated for later pickings; the first harvesting of the plant takes usually 70-95 days, the secondary side heads can be harvested for weeks and weeks until the freeze hits; these should be harvested before the flower buds begin to open so pay close attention to your broccoli crop.
Among its cruciferous cole crops peers like the highly related cauliflower, broccoli is remarkable as it contains the highest levels of the antioxidant vitamin C. Broccoli consumptions is very much encouraged as it`s known to improve detoxification, ward off cancer, lower the cholesterol levels, work as an anti-inflammatory, improve digestive and cardiovascular functions.
Mastering the action of growing broccoli is not hard according to experienced gardeners reason for which we invite you to follow the instruction below and make the world healthier place with the help of Broccoli.
- Starter fertilizer for the early stage
- General fertilizer
- Manure or Compost
- Basic gardening tools like fork, tiller
Positioning and timing
- It is highly recommended a site in full sun.
- Broccoli is known to perform in well-drained soils with pH levels of 6-6.8 rich in calcium
- Plant in the spring, as soon as the soil can be worked; broccoli should never enter hot weather either so harvest it before.
- If you choose to plant it indoors sow seeds 6-8 weeks before the frost free date. Broccoli can be grown in indoor greenhouses or under lights. 2-4 weeks before the frost free date the seedlings will be moved into the garden if they`re ready.
- Start by loosing the soil up to a depth of 12-15 inches; use basic garden tools like tiller, garden fork or spade to achieve this
- Lay a layer of compost or manure of 3-4 inches.
- Use a complete garden fertilizer on the crop
- Every planting should have its private space, leave 18-24 inches between them and insert them 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Leave aproximately three feet betweeon rows. Keep in mind that transplans should always be planted a little deeper than they were originally grown.
- Use the starter fertilizer on your plantings.
- Insect Netting
- Manure, Compost or Mulch
- Calcium Fertilizer – Optional
- Row Covers
- Insect Netting
- Collars Made From Cardboard
- Soap or Garlic- Made Organic Sprays
- Keep the soil moist at all times; 1-2 inches a week should do
- Mulch used properly will retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing
- As soon as your crop starts forming the little heads it is recommended to apply a 5-10-10 fertilizer, manure or compost around the base of the plant, not the stem; water afterwards
- When your plantings are half-grown, probably around 10-12 inches tall, use a complete fertilizer
- Keep plants 1 foot apart from each other at all times by harvesting
- Garden pests can ruin your crop, you can use insect netting, row covers or cardboard collars to protect them; later on these will protect them from cold as well
- Avoid insecticides if possible, you can use organic soap or garlic sprays instead
- Harvest the Broccoli when the head buds are large and firm, at this stage they will shape individual florets in compact clusters of small flower buds that are not yet separated, bright yellow petals can be observed inside.
- Central heads can be cut when they reach 4-6 inches, by doing so 6 inches of stem should remain attached, on this side shoots will continue to developed naturally, these will reach 1-2 inches diameter.
The Garden Issue Tips and Tricks
- The most versatile varieties are the Green Comet and the Green Goliath, they`re highly tolerant and they`re producing early
- Cruiser is a high-yielder know for its tolerance to dry conditions where Packman performs well in summer and fall crops ; Waltham 29 and Arcadia are also commonly used for fall crops
- Avoid planting cabbage-family plants in the spot for three years to prevent soil, stem and root disease; if possible, change their position every year
- Watering the head of the broccoli encourages flowering, water at the base
- Row covers, newspapers, plastic cones, paper bags and even baskets can be used as protection against hard frosts
- You can use cardboard made collars to deter garden pests and various windbreakers to retain moisture for a longer period of time
- Before cooking soak the heads in salted water to drive out any possible hidden cabbage worms.
We highly recommend you to read our guide on How to Plan Your Vegetable Garden for more basic gardening principles.