Broccoli is one of the few vegetables that my entire family likes. While we have never had a hard time getting our kids to eat veggies, we have had a hard time finding things we all like to eat. Broccoli is one of the items we all like. Whether we smother the stuff in cheese sauce or we roast it and eat it plain, it is something we always have in our home.
Like many of you, we have a garden and we enjoy planting items that we all like. So we started growing broccoli and we soon learned that there is an art to growing good broccoli. We have a lot of trial and error experience and we are finally stating to grow better broccoli. Here are a few things we’ve learned along the way.
Cool Weather is the Key
First, you need to make sure that you are growing the plant in the right time. Broccoli is one of those plants that thrive in cooler weather. I am not talking about cold weather but cooler weather. The hot and humid days of June-August are not a good time to grow broccoli. If you are going to grow in the spring you need to wait until the last frost and even then you need to have already started the seeds in your home. After the frost you can plant them outside and you should have a decent harvest through late spring. By summer the plants will dry up.
When you start your garden you are probably already taking the time to level out the acidity of your soil. Broccoli is one of those plants that will do much better when the pH of the soil is neutral. Somewhere around 6.5-7.5 is optimal. The broccoli is also going to do much better when the soil temperature stays around 65-70 degrees. Further, you need to be aware that broccoli loves a rich soil. It is almost impossible to overfeed the plant so make sure you have plenty of fertilizer.
Spacing is also very important when you are trying to plant a great garden. Broccoli is going to grow rather large. It will actually have a larger girth than it does a height. With this in mind it is best to plant your broccoli about 18-24 inches apart. Too close and they will choke each other out. The plant loves full sun and it does amazingly well when it is paired with another plant. The best partner plants are strawberries and pole beans.
Broccoli loves to eat. Make sure you are properly fertilizing the plants so that they can reach their peak quicker. A great option for fertilizer is a fish carcass. If you are not up for leaving old fish in the garden then you could always make a fish emulsion from tuna or other canned fish.
Lots of Water
Broccoli needs on average 1- 1.5 inches of water per week. If you live in a dry area, you will need to irrigate your broccoli plants on a regular basis.
I always place mulch around my garden but especially around the broccoli. It helps to choke out weeds and it also promotes water retention. Since broccoli requires so much moisture, mulch really acts a guarantee that the roots will stay wet and nourished.
This is an element that many gardens do not have. It will help regulate the pH of your soil. Check at your local greenhouse or gardening center for a fertilizer that is rich in boron.
Choose The Right Variety
Make sure you are picking the right kind of broccoli to grow. I have found that the larger head types produce the more common types of broccoli. If you aren’t careful, you will end up with broccoli that looks a little strange and then your family might be a little hesitant to eat it.
These are a few of the most important tips to help you grow better broccoli. Did you plan broccoli in your garden this year?