Broccoli is a cool-weather crop that is native to the Mediterranean region and Asia Minor with a large eatable flower head and stalk.
HOW TO PLANT BROCCOLI
Broccoli is best grown in full sun with well-drained soil and a soil pH range of 6.0 through 6.8.
Because broccoli is a cool-weather crop it won’t make it through the heat of the summer but it can be planted in the early spring for an early summer harvest and planted in the late summer for a fall harvest.
They can be sown straight into the soil after the last frost or as I prefer they can be started 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost indoors using a cardboard seed starting tray.
They are best planted 2 feet for rows so you have enough space to tend to them and 1 and a half feet apart in any other setting and between one quarter to one-half of an inch deep.
For best results, it is recommended before planting or sowing them to till compost into the soil which is known as amending the soil.
This will provide nutrients to the soil, helps with water retention, and will help to keep the soil loose which will make it easier for the roots to grow.
FERTILIZING AND WATERING
To avoid any possible issues of over-fertilizing your celery, you should test your soil before adding any fertilizers.
Broccoli is best fertilized with a high-nitrogen fertilizer two months after the seeds sprouted from the ground, one month after transplanting, or after thinning to promote tons of growth.
If you prefer, you can use a homemade organic liquid fertilizer and they will require about 1 to 2 inches of water per week.
Broccoli takes 60 to 70 days to harvest from germination when the broccoli heads are deep green and filled with flower buds.
If the flower buds start to turn yellow then it is time to harvest.
Harvesting is done with a sharp and clean pair of gardening shears or a knife, leaving between 2 to 3 inches of the main stem above the soil.
With most varieties, after harvesting multiple side shoots will form from the main stem, and sometimes a third harvest can happen in one season.
Broccoli is best propagated through seed, therefore some plants should be allowed to go to seed for the following season.
Broccoli has many pests that feed on them but using natural methods such as attracting predators and using natural insecticides such as essential oils, diatomaceous earth, or insecticidal soap will keep your pest control organic.
- Harlequin bugs
- Flea beetles
- Cabbage webworms
- Cabbage loopers
- Cabbage worms
- Cabbage root maggot
Broccoli that is planted close together can develop mold and mildew issues during times of high humidity.
If this is the case then preventive measures may need to be taken.
- Powdery mildew
- Downy mildew
- Alternaria leaf spot
- Damping off
- Black rot
- Club rot
- Fusarium yellows
- Ring spot
- Sclerotinia stem rot
- White blister
Plant viruses are caused by pests causing damage to a plant, therefore good pest management is a must.
- Cauliflower mosaic virus
- Turnip mosaic virus
Broccoli consists of three main varieties that include sprouting broccoli, broccoli rabe, and calabrese broccoli.
The Calabrese is the most common variety with large green heads and a thick stalk. purple and white sprouting varieties have smaller heads and stalks.
Arcadia broccoli has tightly packed florets that make for large heads.
- Plant spacing – 12 to 18 inches apart
- Days to germinate – 7 to 10 days
- Days to harvest – 60 to 68 days
- Plant spacing – 18 to 36 inches apart
- Days to germinate – 5 to 10 days
- Days to harvest – 66 to 75 days
PURPLE SPROUTING BROCCOLI
- Plant spacing – 24 36 to 16 inches apart
- Days to germinate – 3 to 10
- Days to harvest – 120 to 180 days
- Plant spacing – 12 to 16 inches apart
- Days to germinate – 3 to 10
- Days to harvest – 58 to 90 days
- Plant spacing – about 18 inches apart
- Days to germinate – 4 to 10
- Days to harvest – 75 to 110 days