Gardening

Broccoli: Growing and Managing Broccoli in the garden step by step

The broccoli , broccoli or broccoli ( Brassica oleracea italica ) is a plant of the family Brassicaceae or crucifers. It belongs to the same species as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or Chinese broccoli , but they are different varieties. This plant has a large number of  edible green flower heads , set in the shape of a tree. It is usually prepared boiled or steamed, but it can be consumed raw, in fact, it has become a very popular raw vegetable as an aperitif. It is high in vitamin C, vitamin E, and soluble dietary fiber

It is considered one of the vegetables with the highest  nutritional value , has antioxidant and cleansing benefits, strengthens defenses and is preventive against cancer, although it is not recommended in large quantities for people suffering from hypothyroidism. Let’s see how we can grow it in our garden.

How to grow Broccoli in the garden successfully

Temperatures

It is a cool climate crop , which is why it thrives worse during hot summers, so it grows mainly during the autumn and winter seasons . It is necessary that the temperatures during the growth phase range between 20 and 24ºC; In order to start the flower induction phase, you need between 10 and 15ºC during several hours of the day. They do not usually freeze with temperatures below 0ºC, as long as they do not last too long. Broccoli needs full sun to grow well.

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Broccoli cultivation prefers soils with a tendency to acidity, with an optimum pH between 6.5 and 7. It requires soils of medium texture, it does not bear excessive salinity, both in the soil and in the irrigation water.

They need the substrate to be well fertilized, as it is demanding in terms of potassium (K) and nitrogen (N) , so it would be convenient to add compost , since synthetic fertilizers are not allowed in organic farming . Like spinach , broccoli likes the soil to be constantly moist, but not waterlogged.

A padding or a permanent plant cover will help you to maintain the necessary humidity as well as providing an extra amount of organic matter.

Broccoli cultivation management

When to sow or plant Broccoli

The broccoli is planted in seedlings   or the plant is bought, and it is transplanted. If we opt for seedlings, normally outdoors, from March to June and from August to September . The seed should be covered lightly with a 1-1.5 cm layer of soil and given frequent waterings to achieve a developed plant in about 45-55 days.

When the plants reach between 10 and 15 cm and about four leaves, they are transplanted outdoors in a planting frame in rows, about 60-75 cm apart, and 45 cm between plants. If you are going to plant in a pot (recommended a capacity of not less than 15 liters) put only one plant per pot.

Given its tall size, it is advisable to underline the plants, that is, add soil to the base of the stem to prevent it from falling.

How and how much to water the broccoli

Broccoli requires  practically constant humidity , so watering must be abundant and regular , especially in the growth phase , although without flooding the soil. In the floral induction phase , the soil should be without excessive humidity, but in a temperate state .

When they have formed the inflorescence, it is not advisable to water by sprinkling (overhead), as they could present rottenness or fungi, that is why the ideal irrigation system for this crop is drip irrigation .

Harvesting the Broccoli

Broccoli should be harvested with the number of outer leaves necessary for protection (6-8 leaves) . The harvest begins when the length of the stem reaches 5 or 6 cm, later they are collected as the regrowth of lateral inflorescences are produced.

Good quality broccoli should have closed , glossy dark green inflorescences , compact (firm under hand pressure) and a well cut stem of the required length.

For harvesting, the central head is cut off while the shoots are still rigid. After collecting the central head, they are covered with a little mulch with compost to favor the formation of more secondary shoots, since two or three more can be removed.

Broccoli Crop Association

Broccoli pairs well with potato and onion ; In addition, if we plant mint or rosemary nearby , it will help to drive away parasites. We could also plant lettuce or sow spinach , which by having shorter vegetative cycles, we can make good use of the space and will not compete for it.

Curiosities about broccoli

  • 200 grams of broccoli provides three times the daily needs of vitamin C.
  • Broccoli provides significant amounts of folic acid , essential for growing children and pregnant women.
  • Broccoli is the vegetable with the highest nutritional value per unit of edible weight.
  • The heaviest broccoli on record (13,117 kilos) was grown in England in 1964.
  • Its intense smell is due to its richness in sulfur nutrients.
  • The United States is the world’s largest producer of broccoli

I hope you found the article interesting and that you will send us some photos of your broccoli soon!

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