How to Grow Broccoli | Guide to Growing Broccoli

 
How to Grow Broccoli | Guide to Growing Broccoli  

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Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, and grown for its edible, immature flower heads. One of the most nutritious vegetables, it contains high levels of antioxidants.

This cool-season crop grows best when daytime temperatures are in the 60s F. Grow in both spring and fall, but avoid mid-summer crops as hot weather can cause premature bolting. Romanesco types are especially handsome choices for edible landscaping.

 
   
 

Seeds

4 to 7 days,45F to 85F

3 years

Well Drained

Full Sun

6 " apart

12" to 20 " apart

55 to 60

Growing Guide
GROWING NOTES
Can tolerate light shade but will slow maturity.

Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter, pH 6.0 to 7.5. Can tolerate slightly alkaline soil. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.

Biennial grown as an annual.

Requires good soil, timely planting and protection from pests.

Broccoli prefers cool temperatures. In many regions it can be grown as both a spring and fall crop. Choose varieties touted for their abundant side shoots to extend the harvest; once the central head is harvested, these side shoots will continue to produce small heads for weeks

PLANTING INSTRUCTIONS
Select a site with full sun and well-drained soil. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2 to 4-inch layer of compost.

Start spring transplants indoors five to seven weeks before the last spring frost date, or buy nursery transplants three weeks before the last spring frost date. Where the weather is warm, select a variety that is bolt resistant. Set out transplants three to four weeks before the last spring frost. Space plants 18 inches apart. Protect transplants from hard frosts with newspapers, plastic cones, paper bags, or baskets. Provide a windbreak to reduce transplant shock and moisture loss. For fall crops, direct seed the broccoli in the garden 85 to 100 days before the average first fall frost date.

Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter, pH 6.0 to 7.5. Can tolerate slightly alkaline soil. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.

MAINTAINING
Sow seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before average last spring frost. Keep soil warm (about 75 F), until germination. Then keep plants around 60 F. Provide direct sun so plants don’t get leggy. When plants are 4 to 6 weeks old, transplant into garden 12 to 20 inches apart.

Use wide spacings if you want to harvest large central heads. Closer spacings will produce smaller central heads. But if you harvest secondary heads you will get a greater total yield from the closer spacings.

Larger, older transplants are more likely to bolt when exposed to cool temperatures in the garden. Transplant when plants have four or five true leaves.

Some cultivars will form small “button” heads when the weather turns warm following a 10-day stretch when high temperatures only reach the 40s F.

Can be direct-seeded as soon as you can work the soil. Will germinate at soil temps as low as 40 F. Plant ½ to ¾ inch deep, about 3 inches apart. Thin to final spacings.

Direct seed in midsummer for fall crop, or start transplants in late May and transplant in late June or early July.

In Zone 7 and warmer, fall broccoli crops will often overwinter.

Use low nitrogen fertilizer at planting. Too much nitrogen fertilizer may cause hollow stems.

Plants have shallow root systems. Avoid even shallow cultivation. Mulch to protect roots, reduce weed competition and conserve moisture.

Use floating row covers to help protect from early insect infestations.

To help reduce disease, do not plant broccoli or other cole crops in the same location more than once every three or four years.
 

 
   
 
 
   
 

Harvesting Guide
HARVESTING
Harvest for peak quality when the buds of the head are firm and tight. If buds start to separate and the yellow petals inside start to show, harvest immediately.

SAVING SEEDS
Gather seed stalks when seed pods are dry being careful to prevent losses due to shattering. Use a 1/8" screen to help with cleaning. Broccoli seed remains viable for 5 years under cool and dry storage conditions.


 

 
     
 
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