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How to Grow Broccoli Plants

Broccoli is a tasty and nutritious cool weather crop. It is very popular in home gardens.  Broccoli is a member of the mustard family, and was originally cultivated from wild cabbage. Like other members of the mustard family,  broccoli has a strong, distinct flavor.

Medical studies show that the Broccoli plant is beneficial to your health. The studies suggest that they help to guard against cancer, especially colon and rectal cancers.

In addition to all of the other benefits of Broccoli, it is low in calories.

Did you Know? One U.S. President openly proclaimed his distaste for Broccoli. While he made a seemingly innocent statement of his food preferences, it created quite a stir. Who is the President? If you guessed George Bush (the first George), you are correct.


Days to Maturity:

Plants form a large head in about 85 - 90 days. After picking the primary head, most varieties will produce secondary shoots with much smaller heads all season long. They can be harvested well after the first frost in the fall.


How to Grow Broccoli Plants:

Broccoli is a cool weather crop. The plants prefer full sun, and a rich garden soil. It grows best in the spring and fall. Fall crops will survive long after the first frost, and even after the first snowfall. Flavor is best in cool and cold weather.

Ideal soil pH is 6.0 - 7.0. See: Soil pH levels

Sow Broccoli seeds as early as the ground can be worked. We recommend an early indoor start 3-4 weeks before the last frost. As soon as the garden is ready for planting, transplant seedlings. Spring frosts will not affect them.

When growing broccoli, keep soil moist during the growing season. Fertilize with a general purpose fertilizer every 3-4 weeks.  

Harvest compact heads before they begin to flower. As soon as the first floret begins to open, broccoli loses its sweet flavor and becomes bitter. Harvest side shoots in the same manner.

Broccoli grows slowly in hot weather. It forms few heads during this period. Most home gardeners avoid growing broccoli during the hot humid months of summer. Once the weather cools in the fall, the plants produces smaller florets more vigorously.

Did You Know? Broccoli and Cauliflower are the only two vegetables that are also flowers.

Also See:

Plant Problems

Soil Temperatures - Ideal germination temperature by vegetable

Ideal Soil pH - by vegetable


Insects and Pests:

Broccoli is extremely susceptible to insects. The most common  insect problems are are aphids, and cabbage loopers.

Cabbage loopers are the larva stage of a moth. Those white moths that visit your garden and yard are the culprits. Some people call them white butterflies. Try placing a screen or insect netting over the plant, so the moth can not lay her eggs. Commercial growers apply insecticides to control them.

Aphids are controlled by frequent spraying. Organic controls in the form of soap or garlic sprays are also effective.


Disease:

Broccoli plants are fairly resistant to most plant diseases.


More on Plant Problems


Hardiness:

Broccoli thrives in cool and even cold weather. It can be among the first plants in your garden each spring. Start them indoors, and plant them before the last frost, freeze or snow. They will survive below thirty degrees. In the fall, they will be your last crops to survive the increasingly frequent frosts.


Garden Broccoli Recipes: May we suggest:


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Pest Netting - Keep rabbits, deer, and other foraging animals out!

More on Growing Broccoli

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