Broccoli is considered a cool season plant. It can be grown in all climate zones but it will tend to turn into flowers if the temperature is too high. In mild climates plant broccoli in early spring, fall or winter. If you live in a colder climate set transplants out 2 weeks before the last frost, in late winter or early spring. Broccoli only needs about 5 hours of sun a day. It also require 1 inch of water per week. Broccoli is pretty hardy so it can withstand some frost. It does not grow well in greenhouses. The smaller varieties of broccoli, such as Crusader, can be grown in a container that is at least 20 inches deep. If using seeds plant them indoors 4-6 weeks before planting time. If the summers remain cool in your area you can plant new broccoli about every month. Remember that 12 plants at a time will be more than enough for a typical family so save some seeds to plant again later.
While the buds are still tight cut the central heads off. You should cut up to 6 inches of stalk along with the broccoli head. After you harvest the central head the broccoli plant will begin to grow offshoots. As long as you continue to harvest your broccoli before it flowers you will continue to get more shoots during the cool weather. Once the weather turns warm your broccoli will flower and you will no longer be able to harvest it.
- Aphids are present if your broccoli plants curl, pucker and turn yellow. Look for ants because they are attracted to secretions by aphids. Remove aphids by vigorously spraying with water in the morning and evening.
- Cabbage loopers may be a problem if your plants have small ragged holes in the leaves.
Broccoli is a fabulous vegetable to cook with. It makes wonderful soups, salads, casseroles and side dishes.
Broccoli is a member of the very nutrient dense cruciferous family of vegetables. These are vegetables you should eat at least 2-3 times per week, preferably 4-5 times per week. Broccoli is a good source of:
- dietary fiber
- vitamins C, K, A, E, B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6
- omega 3