Planning: Broccoli

I’ve never liked broccoli until recently that is. I started running and for some odd reason I crave broccoli after my runs. That made it a perfect veggie for me to try growing this year.

Broccoli is in the family Brassicaceae (mustard) and has high needs for nutrients and water. It requires slightly acidic soil and each plant should be planted 18 inches a part.

I generally try to grow all of my plants from seeds. Broccoli is no different. It germination between 45 and 85F and usually germinates between 4 to 20 days. The plant can be transplanted 4 to 5 weeks after that. I’ve found a few suggestions to add crushed eggshells into the soil at the time of planting because of the high calcium requirement of broccoli.

For my crops this year, I’m planning on starting them around March or April and July or August. It typically takes 45 to 70 days from transplant to harvest, depending on the broccoli type you plant.

There are a handful of insect pests to look out for with Broccoli; the imported cabbage worm, cabbage loopers, diamond back moth and flea beetles. In addition, broccoli can be effected by black rot disease, club root, downy mildew and alternaria leaf spot.

One way that I’m protecting my broccoli is by planting it with companion plants, such as potato, rosemary, and sage. I haven’t decided how else I plan to organically fight these pests/diseases if they do occur and am on the look out for suggestions/tips.

After looking at several different types of broccoli, I’ve decided that for my first crop I’m going to plant DeCicco, purchasing the seeds from Seed Saver Exchange. I will be planting 9 plants for the Spring crop and will decide how that goes if I need more or less for my Fall crop.

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