Sow indoors, 3 or 4 seeds per pot, 5mm (¼”) deep, under very bright light. Thin to the strongest plant. Space transplants 45-60cm (18-24″) apart in rows 75-90cm (30-36″) apart.
Ideal pH: 6.0-6.8. Broccoli is a moderate to heavy feeder that does best in humus-rich soil amended with composted manure. Mix ¼-½ cup complete organic fertilizer into the soil under each transplant. Transplants should be set out by the time they have 6-8 true leaves. When plants are 20-25cm (8-10″) tall, push soil around the stems up to the first big leaf to encourage side shoots. Broccoli does best in cool weather.
Cut the crown portion of the broccoli with 5 to 6 inches of stem, after it’s fully developed, but before it begins to loosen and separate and the individual flowers start to develop into bright yellow blooms. Removing the central head stimulates regrowth to develop for later pickings. Cutting the head lower on the stem will encourage fewer, but larger side-shoots. The regrowth portion grows from the base of the lower leaves. You can usually continue to harvest broccoli for several weeks.
Diseases & Pests:
Flea beetles – Use row covers to help protect plants from early damage. Put in place at planting and remove before temperatures get too hot in midsummer.
Cabbage root maggot – White maggots (larvae) attack all plants of the cabbage family. Larvae tunnel in and feed on roots of plants. Damage causes wilting early on, death of plants a little later on.
Cabbage aphids – A hard stream of water can be used to remove aphids from plants. Wash off with water occasionally as needed early in the day.
Cabbageworms – Handpick and destroy.
To help reduce disease, do not plant broccoli or other Brassicas in the same location more than once every three or four years.
Companion Planting: All Brassicas benefit from chamomile, dill, mint, rosemary, and sage. Avoid planting near eggplants, peppers, potatoes, or tomatoes.
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