Fresh broccoli is one of the highlights of the vegetable garden, growing crisp and delicious in the chilly temperatures of early spring and fall.Nowadays, I can’t remember why I disliked broccoli as a kid, but I suspect it was its kinship to cabbage and mustards – and distinctive sharp flavor – that was too much for a young veggie skeptic.The secret to growing broccoli is to encourage full, healthy flower heads but to harvest them before they mature (“bolt”) and lose flavor.Some types of broccoli focus on one main flower head, while others sprout smaller individual florets.Planting: Broccoli is a cool-season vegetable that likes daytime temperatures in the 60s and can tolerate light frost and temps down to the 20s.Summer Heat: Broccoli will “bolt” (go to seed) in hot weather, which results in a loss of flavor and toughening of texture.Because of the short growing season, broccoli is in a race against time and needs high-quality soil amended with plenty of rich compost.Plant broccoli seeds about ¼ to ½ inch deep, and transplant to the garden in about 5 weeks.Mulch, regular water, and shade covers can prolong your broccoli season, and as the weather warms you should harvest more frequently to keep your plants from shifting into seed mode.How to Harvest: Using a sharp knife, cut the main stalk of the broccoli at an angle, several inches below the flower head. .

Growing Broccoli: Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Broccoli Plants

Once you harvest the main head of a broccoli plant, it will often keep producing smaller side shoots that can be enjoyed for months to come. .

How to Grow the Best Broccoli You'll Ever Eat

Sprouting broccoli tends to grow in a bushier fashion and produce more, but smaller, heads compared to large-headed varieties.(One popular variety yields purple heads, making it a fun crop for kids!).Like kale and spinach, broccoli is a cool season crop, growing best when temperatures stay between 60–75˚F.If conditions are too cold for too long (e.g., below 40˚F for several days in a row) or get too hot too quickly, broccoli will bolt — resulting in loose, mealy heads.If you’re growing broccoli in the fall, you should start your plants about three months before your first frost date.Place four to six broccoli seeds in each rockwool cube, and expect them to germinate within about a week.Your seedlings are ready to transplant once they’re three inches tall and have roots growing out of the rockwool.Tower Tip: Discover how you can naturally beat bad bugs and prevent plant diseases like these.To harvest broccoli leaves, simply cut them from the plant, always allowing a few to remain and keep growing.When your broccoli plant produces heads that are firm and tight, harvest them quickly — before they flower — considering the following:.You should cut heads (along with about six inches of stem) at a slant to keep water from pooling in the main stalk and causing rot.If you don’t enjoy your homegrown harvest right away, you can blanch and freeze your broccoli to preserve it.By growing broccoli with Tower Garden, you’ll be able to harvest and enjoy it at the peak of freshness. .

6 Tips for Growing Broccoli This Fall

Broccoli that matures during cool weather produces healthy heads that taste sweeter than those you pick at any other time.Broccoli grows best in fall because spring conditions may be unpredictable.If temperatures heat up early in spring, heat-stressed broccoli opens its flower buds prematurely, and high temperatures as broccoli matures can cause bitter, loose heads to form, with smaller and less tasty florets.When to Plant.You can easily calculate the perfect time to plant broccoli seeds this fall.If you're gardening in a raised bed, space your plants 15 to 18 inches apart; for gardening in rows, set the transplants 18 to 24 inches apart within the row and space the rows 24 to 36 inches apart.After you've harvested a plant's central head, you can encourage extended side-shoot production by scratching a little nitrogen-rich fertilizer such as fish meal or aged manure into the soil around its base.Protect Against Pests.Diffley says it's important to harvest broccoli in the morning before the plants heat up, because broccoli has a really high respiration rate. .

Broccoli

Broccoli.Broccoli is a hardy vegetable of the cabbage family that is high in vitamins A and D. It develops best during cool seasons of the year.Side heads develop after the large, central head is removed.New heat tolerant varieties allow broccoli to be produced in all but the hottest parts of the season.Transplants are recommended to give the best start for spring planting, because transplanting gets the plants established more quickly.Fall crops may be direct-seeded in the garden if space allows or may be started in flats to replace early crops when their harvest ends.When to Plant.Transplant young, vigorously growing plants in early spring.For fall crops, buy or grow your own transplants or plant seeds directly in the garden.For fall planting, start seedlings in midsummer for transplanting into the garden in late summer.Cabbage worms — Three species of cabbage worms (imported cabbage worms, cabbage loopers and diamond back moth worms) commonly attack the leaves and heads of cabbage and related cole crops.The moth is white and commonly is seen during the day hovering over plants in the garden.How large should the central head of broccoli grow before cutting?Harvest the central head when the individual florets begin to enlarge and develop and before flowering begins.What causes small plants, poor heading and early flowering?Since broccoli grows best in cool weather, your garden plan should produce a fall and spring harvest.Look for bright green or purplish-green heads.It tastes best and is highest in nutritional value when storage time is brief.Broccoli contains large amounts of vitamin C and beta carotene which are important antioxidants.One half cup cooked broccoli contains the following nutrients as well as many other trace nutrients and phytochemicals.Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup cooked fresh broccoli).Trim and peel the stalk, it is high in fiber.Steam broccoli for 3-4 minutes or simmer in about one inch of boiling water for the same amount of time or less.Cooked broccoli should be bright green and tender-crisp.Broccoli, as well as all other broccoli vegetables, must be blanched (scalded) in boiling water before freezing.Select broccoli that has grown under favorable conditions and prepare for freezing as soon after picking as possible.Meanwhile, wash broccoli, trim stalks and cut through florets so that pieces of heads are not more than 1 inch across.Blanch no more than one pound at a time.Start timing immediately and blanch for four minutes.Immediately place in the freezer, allowing an inch of space around each container until it is frozen.Add more water if necessary.Wash, trim stems from broccoli and peel, cut into strips the same size as carrots.Broccoli Stir-fry.Add red pepper strips and soy sauce and continue to cook one minute longer.

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How to Grow Broccoli

It is one of the cole crops, the family of Brassica oleracea that includes Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi.Warm climates may get three harvests of broccoli by planting fast-maturing types in spring, fall, and winter.This condition is called buttoning, which sounds cute, but the plants never produce larger heads.Whether they've been grown in your house or inside a greenhouse (find them at garden centers), broccoli seedlings need to be hardened off by gradually exposing them to longer periods of sunlight over several days.Start by bringing the seedlings outside to a shady spot for 30 minutes, and slowly increase the amount of exposure outside over a week or two.You can direct-sow seeds 1/2 inch deep into the ground as soon as you can work the soil and are sure the temperatures won't be too cold for growing.At planting time, add compost to the soil or scratch in a balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) according to label directions. .

How to Plant and Grow Broccoli

Grow broccoli so that it comes to harvest when temperatures average no more than 75°F (23°C) each day.In mild-winter regions, start seeds indoors in late summer and set them in the garden in autumn for winter harvest.Broccoli will bolt and go to seed in warm temperatures or when daylight hours lengthen.Broccoli is frost hardy and can tolerate temperatures as low as 20°F (-6.7°C).Broccoli is a cool-weather crop that must come to harvest before temperatures rise consistently above 75°F (24°C).Start broccoli seed indoors 5 to 6 weeks before the last frost in spring.In mild-winter regions, start seeds indoors in late summer and set them in the garden in autumn for winter harvest.Whether that is too cold or too warm will cause broccoli to go to seed without forming heads.Avoid planting broccoli near pole beans, strawberries, or tomatoes.Grow multiple plants in larger containers set 18 inches (45cm) apart.Broccoli is very sensitive to heat so be sure to move plants into the shade on hot days.Control these pests by handpicking them off of plants or by spraying with Bacillus thuringiensis.Broccoli is susceptible to cabbage family diseases including yellows, clubroot, and downy mildew.Plant disease-resistant varieties, rotate crops each year, and keep the garden free of debris to cut back the incidence of disease.Heads that have begun to open showing small yellow flowers are past the eating stage.Broccoli will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen after blanching for up to 3 months.Learn to grow 80 tasty vegetables: THE KITCHEN GARDEN GROWERS’ GUIDE. .

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