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Broccoli From Seed to Harvest
Where do I begin with just how much better home grown broccoli tastes over store
bought nameless varieties? Maybe I am a bit biased because I think everything I eat
from my garden tastes better, but I am sure I am not alone with this assessment.
Not only is broccoli great tasting, but very easy to grow. In fact I have been growing it at
home for the better part of 10 years, and I can not remember, at any time, where I
struggled growing it once. Along with its ease of growth, the many nutrients broccoli
provides, makes for a great addition to anyone’s garden.
Broccoli grows best in cooler weather, but you can still get great florets in warmer
temperatures (more on that in a moment). I have achieved excellent results by starting
my broccoli seeds indoors about eight weeks prior to the final frost in my area. During
this time, if outdoor temperatures heat up during the day to above 50 degrees, I will
move the plants outdoors in the full sun, to start the acclimation process.
I continually add compost to my soil all fall and winter long, so I know my garden, from a
pH standpoint is ready to go, but it never hurts to take a reading just in case and adjust
your soil as needed. Broccoli grows best when the soil’s pH is a little below 7 (neutral),
in my own experience.
I have done well when I only grow a couple of plants, up through a near dozen, but one
thing I have found where the broccoli really does well, and that is in a spot that receives
full sun (at least 8 hours) throughout the day.
Your broccoli plant will grow a large head in the center of the plant. When it is dark
green, looks firm and the buds are “tight”, it is ready to be harvested. Simply use a
sharp knife and cut the head off. Do not pull out the plant. As mentioned earlier, even
after the head is harvested and spring moves into summer, the plant will still produce
small broccoli florets for a few more weeks. Although higher temperatures will send it to
over ripen much faster, if you keep an eye on your plant, daily, you can grab plenty of
extra for a lunchtime salad.
I have done well in the past, planting my broccoli near onions, celery, tomatoes,
peppers, carrots and eggplant. Neither the broccoli nor the neighboring plants showed
any adverse effects so it seems broccoli makes for a great companion to a lot of these
plants and more as some on our facebook page have noted.
To be forewarned, broccoli will take up a lot of space, so if you utilize square foot
gardening methods, most varieties of broccoli will take up two squares. Also, don’t be
afraid to grow your broccoli in pots, containers or raised beds. It is the perfect plant for
all of the above. They are very low maintenance. Just another reason why they should be
part of your garden.
"one thing I have
found where the
does well, and
that is in a spot
that receives full
sun (at least 8
Monday, July 9, 2012
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