Growing Broccoli – A Complete GuidePopular on CamTrader
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Published: December 16, 2020
Growing broccoli in your garden is a pleasingly rewarding process. Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) is a versatile vegetable. It is also a surprisingly nutritious vegetable full of minerals and vitamins such as folic acid, potassium, Vitamin A iron and fiber.
Broccoli is a cool season, sun loving plant. It is usually grown in the spring or fall. The plant belongs to the brassica or Cruciferae family. Broccoli is a close relative of collards, brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage and cauliflower.
Adaptable and resilient this vegetable doesn’t require lots of space to thrive. It is also one of the easiest vegetables to cultivate. This is your complete guide to growing broccoli.
Packed full of nutrients, growing broccoli is a surprisingly easy process.
- What is the Difference Between Broccoli and Calabrese?
- Different Varieties
- Growing from Seed
- Planting Broccoli
- Caring for Growing Plants
- Common Pests, Problems and How to Solve Them
- How to Harvest Crops
What is the Difference Between Broccoli and Calabrese?
Many gardeners and casual observers confuse, or struggle to tell the difference between, broccoli and calabrese. While they may look similar, the two plants have different growing requirements. Calabrese is a fast growing crop that is harvested in the same year that it is sown. Broccoli is overwintered and harvested the following year.
Growing broccoli requires cool temperatures. Warm weather can stunt the growth habit of the plant. The plants thrive in temperatures between 65 and 70 ℉. You will need to plan your crops around the high, summer temperatures.
In cool areas you can begin growing broccoli in early spring or mid summer. Growers in warmer areas should plant quick growing varieties in late summer. This allows your crop to avoid the highest temperatures of summer.
Recommended varieties include:
- Bordeaux F1 is a reliable late year variety. It produces purple spears from early summer until late fall and requires no cold period to begin producing the spears.
- Claret F1 is a popular purple hybrid. It is known for its thick spears which emerge from April onwards. This is a vigorous cultivar that does well in poor soils.
- Nine Star Perennial is a reliable cultivar which produces small pale stems every spring for up to 3 years. A vigorous variety, it does best with a little space.
- Green Goliath is a popular heat tolerant cultivar. It is grown for its large heads and side shoots.
- Green Magic is another heat tolerant variety. A reliable plant it’s stalk also freeze well.
- Green Duke is heat tolerant and reliable, a popular choice amongst gardeners in the South or warmer climates.
- Flash is another heat resistant, quick growing variety. Once the head is cut the plant produces scores of side shoots.
Broccoli can be started either from seed or purchased as young plants. Seeds are easy to start and cheaper than plants. Growing from seed also allows you access to a wider range of plants.
Growing from Seed
Seeds store for up to four years so don’t feel you need to use the entire packet in the first year. How many seeds you sow depends on how much broccoli you require, and how many people you are feeding. Smaller families will find two or three plants more than enough.
In cool areas, sow the seeds from April to June. Planting in this timeframe allows you to harvest crops from February or March until early May. In warmer areas sow quick growing seed varieties either late in the summer or in early fall.
Seeds germinate in temperatures as low as 40 ℉. However, the warmer the soil the quicker germination occurs.
If you are sowing in the spring, sow seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before your last predicted frost date. Sow outdoors 2 to 3 weeks before the last frost, as soon as the soil can be worked.
In the fall, sow seeds 85 to 100 days before the first predicted frost. At this point the soil and temperature is warm enough to encourage germination but not too warm that it stunts growth.
Sow the seeds in trays filled with fresh potting soil. You can also sow directly into position in a bed. To do this dig over and weed the soil well before sowing. Your chosen site should be full sun, ideally 6 to 8 hours a day.
Planting in darker positions may cause plants to underdevelop or become leggy. A sheltered site is preferred, this helps the plants to survive cold winters.