Things You Need To Know About Broccoli Plants
The broccoli plant will grow to a height of approximately two feet and
the florets form a head in the center of the plant leaves. These florets
the buds of the broccoli flower and, if unharvested, the head will
become filled with these flowers.
Most broccoli plants, with proper cultivation, can be
harvested twice. Once the main head is harvested side heads form. Also,
in some climate areas, a spring and fall crop may be grown.
A heat tolerant hybrid
allows broccoli to be grown into the summer as long as extreme heat is
not the case. Since this plant has a very shallow root system, when
broccoli adequate soil preparation is key.
You can grow this yummy vegetable from seeds or you may purchase plant sets. For an early spring crop,
plant your seeds in flats approximately a quater inch deep
and two inches apart.
A soil temperature of 70 to 80 degrees is optimal. They will
germinate in about a week, and in six weeks they should be five inches
tall and ready to transplant. The timing for a fall crop dictates that
the young plants should be in the ground six to eight weeks before the
For growing broccoli you need a patch in full sun but partial shade is also acceptable. The plants grow best in a neutral to slightly acidic soil so a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 ideal.
We use a no-dig system in our veggie garden that broccoli seems to love. Add some good quality compost on top of the soil before planting. The presence of certain minerals like boron,
calcium, and magnesium is
important to healthy growing broccoli plants. The easiest way to add these minerals to your soil is with seaweed.
Transplant your young plants late in the afternoon to reduce heat induced plant shock and tamp the soil around the plants then water them well. The plants
should be set at 18 inch intervals with the rows spaced at 32 to 36 inches apart.
At this point, wrapping a collar around the base of the plant will
provide protection from cut worms and also add two to four inches of mulch to retain soil moisture.
How To Grow Broccoli
Water is critical to growing broccoli. Water sufficiently so that
it penetrates to a depth of at least six inches. Here are some watering tips!
A light watering will
cause the plant to
have a shallow root system and consequently it will not receive the
nutrients necessary to produce a good head. Also, without adequate
watering the plants
will form the head prematurely and the size and quality will be
To give your crop a healthy boost, half way through the growing cycle, apply
some organic fertilizer around the plant. You can
simply ring the plant six inches from the base with the fertilizer and
cover it with
mulch. Other than this, growing broccoli is not labor intensive until it
is time to harvest.
Depending on the variety, the harvest time is 48 to 70 days. When the
head is about four to six inches in diameter cut the stem five or six
inches below the head. This will cause side heads to develop which will
attain approximately two inches in diameter and will extend your
Don't wait too long to harvest or the heads might go to flower; if this happens, you can still eat the stalks.
Pests And Problems
When you are growing broccoli, you will have to contend with several possible pests. Imported Cabbage worms will attack the leaves as well as the heads
of the plant. I don't use pesticides to get rid of them. Picking them off is probably the easiest way to reduce their numbers. Using an insect fleece prevents the butterfly from laying eggs on your plants!
Diamond Back worms will feast on the leaves and their calling card is holes in the leaves.
Aphids, cabbage root maggots, and cut worms will
also wreak havoc on a broccoli crop. All of these can be controlled with organic pest control methods.
Plants with hollow stems are a sign of boron deficiency in your
soil. Head rot and downy mildew are also maladies you may face. Good
air circulation and nutrient rich soil will go a long way to keeping
Several types of broccoli have different harvest times and heat tolerance. Some examples include:
- Coronado Crown - This variety is noted for its large head and resistance to heat. It matures in about 60 days.
- Green Magic - This is a good fall plant that is also heat resistant and matures in 60 days.
- Flash - With a slightly sweet flavor and greenish head pigmentation, this variety matures in only 50 days.
- Cruiser - Maturing in 58 days this variant is noted for its high yield and relative drought tolerance.
- Bonanza - A large plant with heads of nine inches or more, it is ready for harvest in 55 days.
Bear in mind that even the heat tolerant varieties will grow better in a cooler climate.
Your success with growing broccoli in a home garden depends on planting it
properly, at the right time, and having the proper soil conditions.
This is one
of the easier crops to grow and requires little maintenance during its
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