Broccoli

Broccoli is fairly a simple garden vegetable to grow. You can either sow seeds directly in the garden anywhere from two weeks before to two weeks after the last frost date or you can start seeds inside 4 – 6 weeks before transplanting to the garden. You can plant your transplants anywhere from two weeks before to two weeks after the last frost date. Broccoli is a cool season plant and can tolerate a light frost very well.

Plant broccoli in full sun, though it can tolerate a little shade. Broccoli grows best in a light well drained soil and produces best with lots of organic matter mixed in. As with most other garden plants, broccoli prefers a soil pH of 6.0 – 6.8. Keep soil moist, but not water logged.

Broccoli is a heavy feeder and will benefit from a little extra calcium and magnesium. Epsom salt and ground egg shells are good sources of magnesium and calcium.

Harvest broccoli before flowering while the buds of the head are firm and tight. Cut the stalk 5 – 7 inches below the head, this will encourage production of side shoots. These side shoots will provide lots of smaller heads to harvest over a longer period of time.

Head rot and downy mildew can be a problem, especially when the humidity is high. This can be prevented by allowing good air circulation around the plants. Neem oil or organic neem based products can also be used as a foliar spray to help protect against these diseases.