Tips and advice on growing broccoli successfully. Learn how to grow broccoli with the right climate, soil conditions, when to harvest and how to store. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, protein, fiber and flavor and has many uses in the kitchen. We will show you how to grow broccoli successfully with this step-by-step guide.
Like most leaf vegetables broccoli plants like to have an alkaline soil, with a pH of 6.5. This can be achieved by adding lime at the suggested rate given on the bag. Dig the lime in well, water in well and leave the bed for at least a week before planting out your seedlings.
Broccoli seeds should be sown in seed
trays to a
depth of 6mm and covered lightly with seed raising mix or sand and
vermiculite, or sand mixed with a light soil. Mist well, with water,
and place some sheets of wet newspaper on the top. Keep wet and remove
once the seeds start germinating.
Once the broccoli seedlings have grown to a height of 10 cm it is time to transplant them. Before planting your broccoli plants out however, just check to see if they have a growing tip, or central bud. If they don't, discard these as these plants are 'blind' and won't come to anything.
Q. How large should the central head of broccoli grow before cutting?
A. Harvest the central head when the individual florets begin to enlarge and develop and before flowering begins. Size varies with variety, growing conditions and season of growth; but central heads should grow to be 4 to 6 inches in diameter, or even larger. Late side shoots may reach only 1 to 2 inches in diameter.
Q. What causes small plants, poor heading and early flowering?
A. Yellow flowers may appear before the heads are ready to harvest during periods of high temperatures. Planting too late in the spring or failing to give the plants a good start contributes to this condition. Premature flower development also may be caused by interrupted growth resulting from extended chilling of young plants, extremely early planting, holding plants in a garden center until they are too old or too dry, and severe drought conditions.
Small broccoli heads that form soon after plants are set in the garden are called "buttons" and usually result from mistreated seedlings being held too long or improperly before sale or planting. Applying a starter fertilizer at transplanting gets the broccoli plants off to a good start but cannot correct all the difficulties mentioned.
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