Plant Broccoli for Good Health
Broccoli is a favorite vegetable of many cooks. Freshly grown broccoli has a distinct flavor that is unmatched by other vegetables. Learning how to grow broccoli can provide you with a tasty supply straight from your own yard.
Broccoli has to be replanted from one growing season to the next. It’s fairly simple to keep a broccoli garden to have freshly grown broccoli for meals and to freeze. When packaged properly, fresh broccoli keeps well in the freezer.
How to Grow a Broccoli Garden
Like most other plants of the cabbage family, broccoli does well in most growing zones, except zones with extremes in temperature. Generally, broccoli is hardy in climates where it will receive full sun and cooler temperatures at night. Prepare the soil for a broccoli garden in the late fall. Turn the soil over with a good fertilizer of composted materials or manure. It’s a good idea to test the soil in the garden before planting to insure it has a nitrogen base. If you are unsure of the pH of the soil, it can be tested at a local garden center. Simply pull a small soil sample from the location of the proposed broccoli garden. If the soil pH is between 6.0 to 7.0, this will insure the proper soil nutrients for good growth. It’s always important to know the type of soil in a garden before planting. Each vegetable has different soil requirements. Broccoli doesn’t do well in hard clay-like soil or in sandy soil.
Once the soil has been tested, broccoli can be grown from seeds. It can also be started indoors in small starter pots a few months before the start of the growing season. When transplanting broccoli seedlings, remove from the starter pot and plant with potting soil and roots in soil about one-half inch deep. This should be done after the broccoli plant has several sturdy leaves. When planting from seeds outdoors, this is also the depth that will be needed to get broccoli plants started. Broccoli should be spaced about three inches apart. Give broccoli plants about six weeks to grow from seeds.
Watering and Fertilizing Broccoli
Because of its dense texture, broccoli grows best with frequent watering. Check the moisture on leaves and around the base of each plant to determine when water is needed. This is important to insure a good crop of broccoli heads to harvest. Broccoli tends to drain soil of nutrients quickly. It’s necessary to fertilize broccoli plants throughout the growing season. Use a liquid fertilizer that can be sprayed onto the plant and poured around the base. Fertilize only in the early morning hours or after the sun has gone down to avoid fertilizer “burn.” Broccoli also attracts insects. Dust or spray with insect repellent.
Although broccoli is an annual plant, it can be encouraged to produce bumper crops by allowing final growths of heads to go to seed. Then, seeds can be collected and replanted the next season. By cutting broccoli heads during regular growth, this also encourages additional harvests from the same plant.