Broccoli is a extremely valuable vegetable when it comes to providing a full range of vitamins and minerals (not to mention fibre) to our diets. This is a healthy plant and it is no wonder that mothers have been saying for years, “Eat your broccoli!”
When to Plant
Early crops should be sown indoors approximately 6-8 weeks before you want to plant them outdoors.
The seeds are easily germinated so do not crowd them in the seedling tray.
Give them at least 1.5 cm (one-half inch) from any other seed.
When the seedling has four true leaves (leaves that develop after the first two seedling leaves) transplant it into a larger container for growing-on.
Full sunlight, a regular feeding at half strength and a temperature of 16C (62F) will produce a nice short, thick plant for putting into your garden.
Late crops can be sown directly into the garden from early May until the first week of June in zone 3-5 gardens and as late as July in warmer areas. Sow the seed as thinly as possible – 4 to 5 seeds per 30 cm (12-inches). Remember that this seed germinates quite easily. Then thin out or transplant the resulting seedlings so they are 45 cm (18-inches) apart. Generally broccoli will mature approximately 100 days from the day you sow it.
Where to Plant
In full sun in good garden soil.
How to Plant
The transplants should be put into the garden 45 cm (18-inches) apart and the rows 75-80 cm (30 to 36-inches) apart. Try to put the plant at the same depth in the soil as it was in the pot. A trifle deeper is better than shallow.
Care & Maintenance
Harvest broccoli when the large central heads are still tight budded. While you can eat them when the buds begin to swell and open, they are much nicer harvested tight.
Get A Second Crop
- Do NOT pull up the plant but simply cut off the top head.
- The side shoots will develop and you’ll get a ton of these from each plant.
- Harvest side shoots regularly before they start to stretch or the buds open on them.
- These smaller heads are easy to pick and use fresh in salads and stir fries.
- The major pest of this plant is the green caterpillar of the cabbage moth.
Dust with rotenone or hand pick to control this pest.
Dropping the harvested heads in salty water will also help to identify the “surprises” you miss. Chewed up leaves are the primary sign that you have an infestation.
Preventing the Cabbage Moth Butterfly Caterpillar
If you are concerned with cutworms (small worms that eat the stems below the soil line) you can wrap the stem with a band of waxed paper or heavy paper to stop the worm from getting to the stem. A bit of lime or wood ash (very tiny bit) scattered around the plant will deter slugs. Alternately, you can use an organic slug bait around your transplants.
(all numbers rounded out)
1/4 inch = .6 cm
1/2 inch = 1.3 cm
1 inch = 2.5 cm
6 inch = 15 cm
12 inch = 30 cn
18 inch = 45 cm
36 inch = 91 cm