How to Grow Broccoli

Broccoli is VERY nutritious and great for you, but can only be grown in the cooler temperatures of Spring and Fall. It does need full sun during those times, though.

Spring Planting-Summer Harvest: Start indoors Mar/Apr or direct-seed in late Apr/May. Harvest in 2-3 months.

Summer Planting-Fall Harvest: Start indoors or direct-seed late May-early June. Harvest in Sept/Oct.

Start seeds 12 weeks before the last Spring frost for your area. Will sprout in approximately 10 days if kept somewhat warm. Move to full sunlight after the sprouts appear. Transplant outdoors about 5 weeks before the last Spring frost.

These fit well in a square food raised garden - plant 1 per square foot, or 12 inches apart. A 2 foot by 2 foot raised bed/box is recommended. Line the inside with a thick stack of black-and-white newspapers, fill with soil and compost, and mark off the four square feet, you can fit four broccoli plants, one per square. As noted above, plant seedlings about 5 weeks before the last Spring frost. Water regularly. Weed weekly and keep mulched, especially in warm weather.

Don't let the head go too long - one day you've got tight buds and the next day they've opened and you can't eat it. It's actually fine to harvest a little early - still very delicious and quite tender!

Cut the main head off at the base near the soil using sharp shears or a serrated knife. Leave as many leaves and foliage as possible. You can also harvest the side-shoots, which are very tender.

Problems: We had a major problem with earwigs the first year we grew this. Also watch out for cutworms, cabbage worms, green worms and root maggots. It is also susceptible to club root.

Rotation: It is best not to plant cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts) in the same spot year after year, since diseases and insect pests will build up. Rotate crops within your garden.

Note: Since you can't grow these in the Summer (too hot), try this: after harvesting a square, pull out the plant, and sow a 9 bush-beans in the square foot. Harvest the next broccoli, and sow another 9 bush-beans in the square foot. Same with the other two. By the time you're ready to harvest the bush beans, it will be time to transplant into the bed the Fall crop for broccoli.

Although this is a very nutritiou vegetable, we don't grow this very often, as it takes up a lot of space for not much produce. If this is an absolute must for your family, be prepared to allocate the space for them.

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