Benefits of Growing Broccoli
Nutritional Profile - Broccoli contains beta carotene, plant based omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A,C, zinc, iron and calcium.
Use in: Soups, salads, roasted, grilled, steamed, crudite.
Sun Exposure: Full sun, but can tolerate light shade.
Soil: Well drained, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0-7.5 and plenty of organic matter. Can tolerate slightly alkaline soil.
Moisture: Water well at time of planting. Provide consistent soil moisture with regular watering, especially in drought conditions. Mulch to keep down weeds and keep moisture consistent.
Planting: Broccoli is cool-season crop, so it should be started in late winter or early spring (depending on your climate) for an early summer crop, or in mid- to late summer for a fall crop. High temperatures will affect development of the broccoli heads. Seeds can be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost date. If direct seeding outdoors, plant 2 to 3 weeks before your last frost date, or as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Broccoli seeds are capable of germinating in soil temperatures as low as 4°C, but warmer soil is preferred and will greatly speed up development.
Spacing: Plant 1 broccoli plant per square foot of growing space using Square Foot Gardening Method. Or plant in rows 12-20 inches apart.
Sow seeds: Sow seeds 1⁄2 inch deep
Harvest broccoli in the morning, when the buds of the head are firm and tight, just before the heads flower. Cut heads from the plant, taking at least 6 inches of stem. Make a slanted cut on the stalk to allow water to slide away. (Water can pool and rot the center of a flat-cut stalk, ruining the secondary heads.) Most varieties have side-shoots that will continue to develop after the main head is harvested. You can harvest from one plant for many weeks
Store your broccoli in the refrigerator to ensure freshness, heat makes the vegetable wilt and go yellow very fast. Broccoli can be bunched into a 'bouquet' like it is often sold in the grocery store, and placed stem side down in a dish of water. Alternatively, wrap broccoli in damp paper or tea towels and place in an open plastic bag. Broccoli needs air flow to stay fresh. Broccoli also freezes incredibly well.
Lettuce, radishes, spinach, swiss chard, beets, nasturtiums and marigolds.
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