Use these tips on how to grow broccoli to add this cruciferous vegetable to your garden this year.
When deciding what to grow first in your garden think about the time of year you’ll be sowing seeds. If you want to start early broccoli is an excellent choice. It grows best in cooler weather when the temperatures are less than 60 degrees. By starting your seeds early you can get a head start on planting them in your garden. Here are some tips on how to grow broccoli so that you can have an excellent harvest this year.
How to Grow Broccoli from Seed
Broccoli doesn’t need a warm place to grow from seed. Start with your seedling tray dug out about a quarter of an inch per seed. Plant 1 to 2 seeds in each spot, water, and place in a cool room. After about a week, when seedlings start to sprout, move them to a warmer spot. Here are more detailed instructions on how to grow broccoli from seed.
How to Transplant Broccoli Seedlings Outdoors
Broccoli seedlings will need hardening off in order to make sure they are successful in growth. Hardening off is a process that allows each seedling to get used to it changing outdoor temperatures. After you’ve completed hardening off, dig holes that are as deep as your roots and about 18 to 24 inches apart. Water until the soil is moist. Here are more detailed instructions on how to transplant broccoli seedlings outdoors.
How to Treat and Prevent Pests while Growing Broccoli
Unfortunately, broccoli is prone to pests and bugs. Common ones include aphids as well as cabbage worms. Broccoli is awesome prone to nitrogen deficiencies. You can treat and prevent all of these with a few tips below.
Aphids are common gardening pests. There are multiple ways to deal with aphids in the garden. First, spray as many of the aphids of the plant as possible. Then apply one of the following treatments to get rid of the remaining aphids and prevent them from returning.
Neem oil is quite effective against aphids. Be sure to follow the application instructions provided on the packaging.
You can often get rid of aphids with soapy water. Mix 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap into 1 quart of water. Then apply the soapy water by wiping or spraying the leaves of the plant. Soapy water should be reapplied every 2-3 days for at least 2 weeks.
Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic, organic material that will kill aphids. Just be sure not to apply diatomaceous earth when plants are in bloom as it is harmful to pollinators, too.
Check out ways to deal with aphids from Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Cabbage Worms and Loopers
You can identify Cabbage Worms and Cabbage Loopers easily. Cabbage worms are green and cabbage loopers are yellow caterpillars. They can be both prevented and treated in the same manner. Plant thyme near broccoli. The bugs hate thyme and will be repelled by it! You can also try attracting natural predators such as wasps.
Dealing with Yellow Broccoli Leaves
If you find that your broccoli leaves are turning yellow that might indicate in nitrogen deficiency. You can easily solve this by adding a blood meal to your soil. This can be bought at your local garden center.
How to Harvest Broccoli
For best results, harvest broccoli in the morning. It will keep its tenderness. Do this just before they flower. The flower is like a yellow bud. If you wait too long the quality of your plants will deteriorate very quickly. Simply take a knife and cut off the head of your broccoli and take about three to four inches of the stock with you. Broccoli is typically ready to harvest within 70 days of seed and 45 to 65 days with a seedling start.