Broccoli is a staple for many families that want to eat healthy. It isn’t exactly cheap though! Growing broccoli in your garden just might be the answer.
Broccoli is a cool season vegetable that can be planted in early May in Zones 4-6 and in September and February in Zones 7-10 (check to see your growing zone). You can grow broccoli from either seeds or transplants.
WHERE TO PLANT
Broccoli needs a bit of space to grow. A mature plant can grow to 12-14″ so seeds should be spaced at least 12″ apart. You can harvest broccoli throughout its growing season and not grow a traditional head. Grow broccoli in a raised bed or out in the vegetable garden. It also can be grown in a container as the main focal plant with other herbs and veggies planted around it.
How to grow broccoli from seeds:
Broccoli is slow growing, so start it indoors 6 weeks before the final frost of the season. Use a nutrient rich soil and plant seeds ½ an inch deep in your seed starters.
How to transplant your broccoli seedlings:
Most seedlings are fine to be transplanted when 2-3 inches tall, but you want to wait until broccoli seedlings are a good 5-6 inches tall before you move them. You want them to be hardy, and to be sure the threat of further frost has passed.
Seedlings should be planted a good 3 inches deep, and each plant should have a at least 12 if not 18 inches between it and other plants. Broccoli does like to stretch out, so by giving it this kind of space you can allow it to do so and thrive.
How to care for broccoli seedlings:
Broccoli is such a low key vegetable. You will find that it doesn’t need any fancy care in order to get it growing. Be sure it is getting 6 hours of sunlight a day and is in moist soil. You don’t want to allow the soil to dry out at any point.
Pests may be a problem, so be sure to keep an eye out for bugs such as aphids. When you see them, remove the pest as well as any damaged portion of the plants. Some also like to put collars around the stem of their broccoli plants to keep pests from eating and climbing on them. You can create your own collar out of paper or cardboard tubes if you wish.
Fertilizing your broccoli is not necessary. Should you still want to, a basic garden fertilizer will do the trick.
The average head of broccoli is the size of an adult fist. Do not wait for the head to grow any larger than that as it will not taste the same. It will instead be bitter and dull. Do not wait for the broccoli head to flower or produce small white bumps. Instead, simply cut it at the stem when it is the size of a fist and bright green.
Once your broccoli is harvested you can steam it, eat it fresh, add it to salads, and cook it into casseroles! Broccoli has so many serving options, you may have to grow a whole garden full to try them all.