Broccoli


Broccoli can be enjoyed in many dishes by the whole family, whether it is raw, cooked or steamed. In order to enjoy your broccoli crop throughout the season, make sure you plant your broccoli in the right soil where the plants will get a lot of sun.


Fact: Most heads of broccoli become too top-heavy to support themselves; therefore you may want to stake your plants.


Types of broccoli:
Calabrese:

The most well-known and familiar type of broccoli, it has a large green head and a thick stalk.

Sprouting Broccoli:

This type of broccoli has more heads and thinner stalks than calabrese broccoli and is available in white or purple.

How to plant:
Broccoli should be planted in firm soil to give it support while growing. The pH level of the soil should be about 6.8; you can add lime to the soil to increase the pH levels. Broccoli plants do not transplant well, therefore the seeds should be planted directly in the ground. Calabrese broccoli should be planted in mid-spring or early summer and sprouting broccoli should be planted in spring.

Broccoli is a cool weather crop that grows best when exposed to an average temperature between 64 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Broccoli seeds should be planted in a 3/4 inch deep hole with three seeds per hole. Each hole should be 12 inches apart when planting calabrese and 24 inches apart when planting sprouting broccoli.


Common Problems:
A variety of birds, caterpillars and butterflies have been known to attack broccoli crops. If this happens, cover your crop with netting to prevent the broccoli from being damaged.


Harvest Time:
Your broccoli is ready to be harvested when the florets on the outside edge of the head are the size of a match head. By cutting the main head of calabrese broccoli after the flowers begin to bud, the sideshoots will continue to grow and you can harvest it for three or four months. If you snap off the shoots of sprouting broccoli when the flowers start to bud, more shoots will grow and you can harvest it for up to two months.



- Text Copyright ©Alan Buckingham 2008. DK Edition. Growing Vegetables.