Broccoli is one of the most popular vegetables for home gardeners.
Although many people attempt growing broccoli from seed doing so will probably result in poor results for the beginner.
Belonging to the cole family along with cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collards, kale, kohlrabi and, of course, cabbage.
Start your plants early in spring or late summer. They like the bright cooler days 60F – 80F to promote good growth and will resist some colder days in fall.
Soil should be well tilled with good organic material and kept moist.
Soil PH level should be between a 6.0 to 7.0 to discourage clubroot disease and maximize nutrient availability.
A 8-16-16 rated fertilizer can be applied when preparing the soil for planting. Provide about 2 weeks lead time before planting. Later when the plants reach about 3 inches tall application of about a half pint of 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer per plant can be applied to promote growth.
Seeds can be planted indoors or in a green house to promote early growth. Plants should be spaced 18 inches apart in the row with 24 inches between rows.
After the plants have established themselves you can apply mulch at the base of the plant to reduce water evaporation and reduce weed growth.
In order to get the best crop you must promote constant growth of the plant until it matures. This means proper watering and fertilization throughout the growth cycle.
Preventing pests is also very important beatles, aphids and other pests enjoy eating the leafs of the plant which will reduce production of the flower. It is important to inspect your plants often and take steps as necessary to protect them.
Harvest the center green flower bud cluster of broccoli while the buds are still tight and before any yellow petals begin to show on the head. Cut the main stem five to six inches below the head while leaving the plant in place to allow bonus side shoots to continue to grow for up to a month.