GROWING BROCCOLI IS EXCELLENT IN CHILLY WEATHER
Growing broccoli has been known for more nutrients than any other vegetable. It has large amounts of vitamin C and beta carotene which are very important antioxidants. Especially in the United States this has become the most favored vegetable in the family of cauliflower,brussels sprouts and for that matter the entire cabbage family. It has been concluded that eating foods high in antioxidants can reduce the risk of some forms of cancer and heart disease. This is good reason to put growing broccoli high on the vegetable list for your garden.
Growing Broccoli in cooler areas makes for an excellent crop since it enjoys cool weather. This particular vegetable forms florets instead of single head as in cabbage or cauliflower. The climate factors for growing broccoli are good. It can sustain a frost at 20F (6.5C) and enjoys daytime temperatures around 50-70 F(10-20C) and never any higher than 80F(26C) or it will "bolt"into seed. A little more about that later on this page.
There are two distinct ways to approach the broccoli either by seed or well established young plants which will be transferred to your garden. There are also two approaches in starting your growing broccoli from seed. The seeds can be started outside at a depth of one-quarter to one-half inch deep. The timing of this planting depends a great deal on your climate but seeds should be sown no later than late summer. Broccoli requires strong leaf growth before the arrival of cool weather. The seedlings themselves should be sown at least 18" apart. It is necessary to plant where the growing broccoli will receive at least 5 hours of sunshine.
The second approach is to sow your seeds in flats indoors. Using this method your growing broccoli should be planted mid summer because it will require 4-6 weeks before it is ready for transplanting. A word of caution applies here:DONOT ALLOW YOUR TRANSPLANTS TO REMAIN TOO LONG IN THE FLATS AS IT MAY RESULT IN "BUTTON HEADS" SOON AFTER PLANTING.This is a term referring to disappointing end of result very tiny button like heads which frankly worthless. So pay attention to your flat sowing time cycle.
GROWING BROCCOLI TIPS THAT MAYBE USEFUL
You should allow 36 inches between rows because broccoli plants grow upright often obtaining heights or two and one-half feet! This would indeed be an excellent candidate for a raised bed garden for discussion on raised bed gardens see the section on building and constructing raised bed gardens The garden should have good drainage and be well prepared with lots of organid compost prior to your planting.
The broccoli plants should first be fertilized with a starter fertilizer when the the first plants appear from seed or fertilized when the young transplants are put into your garden. A side dressing of nitrogen should be applied when the plants are nearing half development. An ample soil moisture should be used along the way especially when the heads are seen to grow. The reason I specified soil moisture is watering the tops of the head encourages blossoming and then the plant proceeds to seed which is described as bolting. You will have an large amount of seed but no broccoli to eat.
Your broccoli will continue to produce florets so that a single plant,assuming the treatment has been good,may produce over a month or maybe more. The edible part of the broccoli are of course the florets which really unopened flowers including the attached stem. When harvesting remove the large central head with 5- six inches of stem. You should under no circumstances wait until the head begins to seperate because this is the beginning of the blooming cycle and bolting is next as discussed above. Always cut the heads off the stem on an angle so rainwater is not allowed to accumulate and rot what is left of the growing stem.The head removal from your growing broccoli stimulates the remaining side shoots which will develop into a new head for future harvesting.
GROWING BROCCOLI AND PESTS AND DISEASES TO CONTEND WITH
There are those miserable aphids and cabbage worms to contend with on your growing broccoli. There is much more discussion if you see our insects covered on this page There are three species of cabbage worms. Cabbage worms,cabbage loopers,and diamond back moth worms. The cabbage worm itself is green and velvety. The moth is white and seen all day long hovering over garden plants. The cabbage looper moves by doubling up and forming a loop and moving the front of his body foward. The diamondback worms are tiny pale and green caterpillars.
The moth is gray with diamond shaped markings on the wings when the wings are observed closed.The worm stages of these critters cause damage by eating holes in the leaves of the cabbage heads. The eggs can be seen laying on the leaves most often at the bottom of the leaves where they attach to the stem. This is an excellent time to remove these critters because the worm itself is quite small and difficult to see. I would begin checking the leaf formation within two to three weeks of the plant emerging from the soil. These worms are quite destructive and can ruin your entire crop of growing broccoli.
I am planning on devoting a section of this site to various recipes for things to make with all types of vegetables but this vegetable has become such an important part of some folks diet that I thought it would be good to add a stir-fry recipe to this page. You more experienced cooks and gardners probably already know this standard recipe but here goes for those who have not a clue
- 2 tablespoons of a good olive oil
- one-half cup walnuts broken or chopped coarsely
- one-quarter cup chopped green onions with tops
- 4 cups of broccoli florets
- one-quarter cup of red pepper strips
- 2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
- one-quarter cup of wine(optional)
- 2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce
- Three finely chopped mushrooms
In a large heavy fry pan heat the olive oil until good and hot. Add your walnuts and onions and stir-fry for one minute and tossing it constantly. Add the broccoli and continue to stir or toss for three-four minutes. Add mushrooms,red pepper strips,soy sauce,worcestershire sauce and wine.This should cook for at least two minutes longer or until all the liquid is absorbed. It should be served immediately and makes enough for six people or leftovers for less.
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