Broccoli belongs to the cabbage family and is quite unique in terms of the nutrition it provides and yielding two harvests per year. The big heads of broccoli are rich in vitamins and dietary fiber. Broccoli makes a very good home grown crop requiring very little maintenance.
Season : Late spring and summer are two best seasons to grow broccoli. The biggest advantage with this vegetable is that it can tolerate a little summer heat without getting affected.
Location Constraints : Broccoli has very shallow roots and withers away immediately if transplanted. It is advisable that you sow the seeds directly in a container and leave it in a sunny spot. If the weather fluctuates, use a shade to cover the crop.
Sunlight: The sunnier the better it is for broccoli. Like all other vegetables, broccoli requires a minimum of six hours sunlight everyday from the germination stage. At the same time ensure that you water the plants every day so that they don’t get dried out.
Spacing – Broccoli plants have heads that become large sometimes. In such cases, they will require more room to spread. Dig 1 inch deep holes, 60 cms away from each other to sow the seeds. Once the heads have fully formed, you can thin them out so that they don’t overgrow. Thinning also gives them space to spread.
Growth: – The growth of broccoli generally depends on climate, watering and care. Broccoli grows 6inches long with two to three leaves. Water and sunlight deficiency might make broccoli very small and stunted. Use Organic Growth Promoter Combo which provides micro nutrients and hormones that stimulate growth of plant.
Height and Spreading: When broccoli is planted closely then they tend to produce smaller heads. That is why spacing is very important. Broccoli plants grow up to a height of 6 inches with a couple of true leaves. Pruning can be done to avoid overgrown heads.
Temperature: Broccoli requires a little heat hence the early summers with not-so-hot temperatures is suitable. They tend to dry out with the cold winds so just ensure that they receive plenty of warmth.
Watering: Care should be taken that the plants never dry out. Munificent watering will be helpful during growth stages especially when the flower heads are forming. Lack of water may result in tough stems and stunted broccoli. Use self- watering planter box for vital growth and survival of plants
Nutrient Management: Try using vermicompost or a nitrogen based fertilizer to enhance better growth of broccoli plants. Fish emulsion can also be used but deep watering is essential for it to grow. If the soil is rich in manure, that might be more than enough for the heads to come up. Use vermicompost for organic farming from Organic.Life.
Pest Management: Except for birds picking up the tiny broccoli heads, the crop is free from pest infestation. Sanitizing the soil before sowing the seeds will prevent mildew and fungus attacks. Pest control combo-Neem based is a product from Organic.Life which helps in keeping the crop health.
Harvesting of Broccoli: The first harvest with the largest flower heads can be harvested after 11 to 15 weeks from sowing. Leave the smaller ones to develop continuing watering and fertilizing schedules. After chopping the heads off, you can leave the stems in the container. In another ten days, tiny side heads will develop.
Uses and health benefits: Broccoli has amazing health benefits. They are rich in minerals, vitamins and natural fiber that keep the digestive system clean. They are delicious when served raw in variety of salads and also taste great when lightly steamed. Many people have a disliking for broccoli because of its slight bitter taste but the flowers are incredibly nutritious. One serving of broccoli boosts good health.
Additional Information: Picking broccoli heads and leaving the shoots promotes growth and you can harvest two crops every year without much effort.