Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Growing Broccoli from Seed to Harvest

Calabrese is easier and quicker to grow than other types of broccoli.

48 days. (Brassica oleracea) An Italian heirloom that was brought to America in the 1880s, 5-8" heads and many side shoots.
For the best results, broccoli should be planted after a crop of peas or beans, as these vegetables leave deposits of nitrogen in the soil, which is much needed by the broccoli for healthy growth and development. 

Broccoli is a cool weather crop that generally thrives in cooler temperatures that do not exceed 30°C (86°F). The ideal temperature for cultivating broccoli is between 65 - 75°F.

Broccoli should be planted in an open, sunny or partially shaded area.  I like to soak seeds for up to 24 hours before planting.
Sow broccoli seeds thinly, approximately 1/2 inch deep in rows that are 2 feet apart. Cover the seeds loosely with soil and water well. The seeds will germinate within about 10 days and then the seedlings can be thinned out to 1 foot apart (for Calabrese).

Calabrese is an extremely fast-growing crop and some varieties will be ready to harvest from anything between 40 - 65 days. If sown in April or May, the broccoli should be ready to harvest from July onwards until November. 
The newest addition to Mary's Heirloom Seeds is the Romanesco De Italia Broccoli
http://marysheirloomseeds.com/specialty-heirlooms.html
 75-100 days.    The true and popular Italian heirloom with spiraling, apple-green heads that are so superbly flavored.   Romanesco broccoli heads are really densely packed clusters of lime green flower buds that develop in the center of a leafy rosette. This variety is widely grown in northern Italy. A must with many of the finest chefs.

Harvest the broccoli when the side florets start to loosen slightly but the main head is still very compact. Cut at the base of the stalk, so that the main head is removed.
Companion plants for Broccoli include: Basil, Bush Beans, Cucumber, Dill, Garlic, Hyssop, Lettuce, Marigold, Mint, Nasturtium, Onion, Potato, Radish, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and Tomato. 
Celery, onions and potatoes improve broccolis' flavor when planted near it. Broccoli loves plenty of calcium. Pairing it with plants that need little calcium is a good combination such as nasturtiums and beets. Put the nasturtiums right under the broccoli plants. Herbs such as rosemary, dill and sage help repel pests with their distinct aromas. 
For natural and Organic pest control, use Companion planting and Diatomaceous Earth 
 Recipes for fresh Broccoli

Organic Broccoli Cheese Soup from Sweetwater Organic Community Farm
 Vegan Broccoli Salad from The Blender Girl


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4 comments:

bluecottonmemory said...

You make me want to plant broccoli!

Krista R said...

I've tried broccoli from seed a couple of times and haven't been successful. Giving it another go this year & hopefully it works! Thanks for stopping by the Wake Up Wednesday link party!

Black Fox Homestead said...

I've tried broccoli a few times with no success. I'd really like to grow the romanesco because it is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this at our HomeAcre Hop!

Crystelle Boutique said...

Hi Mary! I love broccoli! So yummy and healthy too... Thank you for linking up at Wonderful Wednesdays, your post has been featured: 12 Spring Gardening Tips. Congrats!! :)
“hugs” Crystelle