Monday, September 30, 2013

How to Grow Broccoli

I am fortunate when it comes to broccoli. Not only do I live in an area where I can grow broccoli fairly easily (broccoli grows in most zones), but both my children love eating broccoli. So as you can imagine, having my kids involved in planting, cultivating and harvesting broccoli is an easy task.

Broccoli uses a lot of nitrogen from your soil, so in order to make sure the area where you plant your broccoli will be adequate, be sure to add plenty of shredded leaves and grass clippings in the previous fall. That means right now!

I like to start my broccoli from seeds indoors about three to four weeks prior to the final frost in my area. You can always locate your frost zone from the new and enhanced USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map on the USDA website. I use a homemade potting soil to start my broccoli seeds in. It is a combination of equal parts compost and peat and I mix in just a little perlite. I use to add in equal parts of all three, but I found the perlite in such a large quantity is really not necessary.

Once the fear of frost is gone, I will transplant my broccoli plants to their permanent location in my garden where I know they can get full sun, although broccoli will still do well in partial shade. I space out my broccoli plants about sixteen to eighteen inches. Broccoli plants can get fairly large. In a square foot garden, you might be able to get away with one square per broccoli plant, but that may be a bit tight.

Fertilize your broccoli plants every couple of weeks with a quality organic fertilizer. I tend not to use synthetic fertilizers. The choice is obviously yours. Fish emulsion is an excellent source of fertilizer for your broccoli plants.

You will know it is time to harvest the large head of broccoli, when it is dark green and firm. If you start seeing yellow in the buds, your broccoli is starting to over ripen. You will want to harvest your broccoli as soon as possible.

Just because you harvested the entire head of broccoli does not mean the broccoli plant is done. Throughout the course of the remainder of the season (at least a few more weeks in most areas), your broccoli plant will grow small shoots of broccoli which can be harvested and thrown into a salad for a nice fresh treat.

Additional Resources on How to Grow Broccoli
Great Seed Starting Project for Kids
Broccoli From Seed to Harvest

1 comment:

  1. 1 small point to add they like all brassicas like firm ground the firmer the better