How To Grow Broccoli

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    PLANT TYPE: Annual
    SCIENTIFIC NAME: Brassica oleracea var. italica
    LIGHT: Full Sun
    SOIL TYPE: light, dry, well-drained soil
    pH RANGE: 6.0 – 6.8
    MOISTURE/WATERING: Keep moist, not waterlogged
    MATURITY IN DAYS: 65 -70
    KNOWN PESTS: Cabbage worms and loopers
    KNOWN DISEASES: Head rot and downy mildew

    OVERVIEW:

    Broccoli is a rewarding vegetable to grow and is best planted in soil rich with organic matter. Broccoli seed should be sown early in spring so the heads mature before hot weather.

    Broccoli is high in Vitamins A and C and is also considered to be a cancer-fighting food. For best flavor, cook broccoli only until tender/crips or use raw with dips or in salads. Broccoli freezes very well, maintaining its color, texture and taste.

    PROPAGATION / SOWING:

    Plant broccoli seeds 1/4 – 1/2″ deep. Transplant or thin small broccoli plants to 15-18″ apart in rows 32-36″ apart. Broccoli transplants can be started in April for May planting. Transplant after 4-6 weeks. Use a starter fertilizer, soaking the root ball thoroughly prior to transplanting. Direct seed broccoli in late spring, as seedlings can tolerate a light frost. Broccoli can be direct seeded up until mid-late June for a continuous harvest. Soil temperature should be 21-26 degrees C (70-80 degrees F) for optimal germination in 4-7 days.

    COMPANION PLANTING:

    Bush bean, beet, carrot, celery, chard, cucumber, dill, lettuce, onion family, potato, spinach, tomato.

    CARE & GROWING OF BROCCOLI:

    Broccoli prefers full sun, but will tolerate part shade. Prepare a rich, loose soil that holds moisture well and has a pH level of 6.0-6.5. Broccoli is a heavy feeder and will also benefit from applications of Boron, calcium and magnesium, particularly during the early stages of growth. Hollow stem in broccoli is related to boron deficiency.

    HARVESTING BROCCOLI:

    Harvest when the broccoli buds of the head are firm and tight, cutting 5 to 10 inches down on the stalk. This will promote the growth of side shoots which will provide an abundance of smaller broccoli heads over a long period.

    BROCCOLI PESTS & DISEASES:

    Broccoli can and often does get attacked by Cabbage worms and loopers (white and yellow butterflies) which can be controlled using BTK, Rotenone or Pyrethrum (however, inspecting your broccoli plants daily and simply picking off these worms and loopers is very effective – and natural). Use row covers to block out all insects including root maggots, aphids and Diamondback moths. Maintaining a soil pH of 6.8 and higher will discourage club root. Fungal and bacteria diseases such as head rot and downy mildew can be prevented by allowing good air circulation and avoiding a mid August maturity when the air humidity is higher. Strong healthy broccoli plants growing in an organically rich soil will be better able to fight disease.

    POPULAR BROCCOLI VARIETIES

     

    Arcadia Broccoli

    Arcadia Broccoli produce heavy, firm, dark blue-green 8 inch heads that are finely beaded. This large broccoli is ideal for close spacing and high yields. Black Rot and Downy Mildew tolerant, with some tolerance to frost. Greag for freezing. Maturity 69 days from transplant.

    Early Dividend Broccoli

    A very fast growing hybrid broccoli. Early Dividend broccoli produces high yields with dark green color and excellent side shoot development after the main head is cut off. Very flavorful. Early Dividend will produce an high yield of broccoli earlier than most whether you direct seed or use transplants. Ideal for freezing. Maturity 45-50 days from transplant.

    Gypsy Broccoli

    Gypsy broccoli is an ideal broccoli for warmer climates. The Gypsy hybrid is perfect for summer and fall harvest. Gypsy broccoli can be used for bunching and crown cut. Heads are medium green in colour and have small to medium sized beads. Maturity 62 days from transplant.

    Patron Broccoli

    Patron broccoli produces tight 5-6″ domed heads with small beads. Good tip quality after harvesting and handling. Mid season maturity. Good for bunching and crown cut. Patron broccoli is tolerant to downey mildew. Maturity 58-60 days from transplant.

    Premium Crop Broccoli

    All America Selections Winner! Premium Crop Broccoli produces large, firm dark green heads with small beads. The Premium Crop Broccoli hybrid will hold its quality longer on the plant than most other varieties. Good for freezing. Maturity 55 days from transplant.

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