What to Plant: Transplants
Dates: See Vegetable Planting Calendars
Edible: Florets, stems (if young), leaves
Nutrition: Vitamin A & C, fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, lutein
Seed Viability: 5 - 6 years
Soil temp: 45ºF – 86ºF (77ºF)
Planting Depth: 1/2"
Germination: 4 - 20 days
Spacing: 14" x 14" to 18" x 18"
SqFt Spacing: 1 per square
Days to Harvest: 55 from transplant, 112 from seed
Length of Harvest: 8 - 9 weeks
Bed prep: Prepare beds by adding compost and SROF at ¼ cup per square foot. Mix well and smooth surface.
Planting: Transplants should be set at the same depth as the top of the root ball. Broccoli can be direct seeded. Seed thickly and transplant once sufficient size has been attained. Thinnings can be used as a potherb.
Watering: Keep evenly moist.
Aftercare: Feed regularly every 2 - 3 weeks with 1/4 cup SROF. If bottom leaves appear yellow or reddish, increase the frequency of fertilizing. Mulch to keep bed cool, moist, and weed free. Watch for disease or pests.
Harvest: Cut the stem below the head before any yellow flower bud can be seen. The head should be firm and tight.
After the main stem has been harvested, feed again to stimulate the side branches. Smaller florets can be harvested as a second crop. Some varieties such as Green Comet, Premium, and Cruiser may not form side branches.
Broccoli will store better if it is plunged in chilled water immediately after harvest. Do not allow the heads to sit in the sun after harvest - keep cool and shaded.
Aphids – sucks plant juices
Cabbage worms - eat the leaves
Snails & slugs - chew on leaves
Cutworms - cut plant off at soil level
1/3 to 3/4 more broccoli can be produced by planting two transplants in the same hole and not thinning. The heads will be smaller, which is often desirable for raw eating and steaming. Another method is to plant a single plant in each hole, pinching out the main bud after 4 - 5 leaves have formed.
Avoid transplants that have yellow leaves. It may just be a deficiency, but it could also be Yellows Disease. You should also avoid transplants that are severely root bound or have thin, wiry stems. These may be stunted enough that they will produce smaller heads.
Broccoli can withstand light freezes and will bolt when the temperatures warm in late spring.
Check the stems when harvesting. If they are hollow, it is a sign of boron deficiency. You can correct this for the next year by adding a small amount of 20 Mule Team Borax to the planting bed. Do not overuse boron without a soil test.
Broccoli is thought to have been developed from a cabbage plant by the Etruscans. It may have been known to the Greeks 2500 years ago. It was introduced to England as "Italian asparagus". Broccoli has been in commercial cultivation since the 1500's, but was not widely popular in America until the 1920's.