Broccoli is a popular ingredient in many dishes, and is quite easy to grow. It prefers a cool growing season, and it is best to plan your harvest for two plantings: One in the spring as soon as the frost is over, and the other two months later. Here are some more useful tips:
- Any soil is satisfactory for growing broccoli seeds, which is why if you're going to grow your own vegetables, this is a great one to start with. Its root system is very shallow, so proper soil preparation is important. The key is to make sure it is supplemented with a good amount of organic matter. You should apply a well-rooted manure to the soil, or you can apply a 4-8-4 mixture of fertilizer. Whichever you choose, make sure it is forked in and pulverized well.
- When planning for an early crop, you should start sowing your seeds indoors about eight weeks prior to transferring them to your garden. When sowing indoor seeds, plant them in flats about 1/4 inch deep in rows that are about 2 inches apart. You can expect that several hundred broccoli seeds will germinate in about a week.
- When your seedlings are 4 inches high, you can transplant them into your garden. You should plant them 18 inches apart in rows that are 2 to 3 feet apart. You should only move the best seedlings into your garden.
- When planting a late crop, you will follow the above spacing guide for your late season planting.
- It is very important that the plants receive a continuous supply of moisture. This is necessary so they will have good growth and production. If they do not have adequate moisture, the plants will bear prematurely and the quality will be poor.
- You should cultivate frequently to help your plants retain moisture and to keep weeds at bay.
- Prior to your crop maturing, you should apply a good fertilizer. A fertilizer of 4-8-4 can be applied at the rate of 1 tablespoon per plant. To apply, simply make a ring of the fertilizer about 6 inches from the stem of the plant. Then, cover the fertilizer with soil.
- Your first crop of broccoli will generally be about 3 inches in diameter. It will probably look like heads of green cauliflower. You should cut the central head with 4 to 6 inches of skin before it starts to separate and flower. This will stimulate the growth of side heads.
- Your second and succeeding crops will come in as individual heads that appear after the central head has been cut away.
- Broccoli seems to taste best when it has been cut in the early morning.
Now you know about planting broccoli. Perhaps you're ready to learn how to grow other vegetables!