Broccoli is a hearty, healthy vegetable that is high in vitamins A, D, and beta carotene. It is also an excellent source of Calcium and should be part of any healthy diet. If you want to grow broccoli in your garden, make sure the soil’s pH is between 6.0 – 7.5 for the best results. To have fertile soil is also essential, with much manure or compost worked into the soil during the winter.
If you live in a dry area, it might be best to choose the broccoli brand Cruiser. It can be harvested after 58 days, and there will be a large yield. For very hot climates, Green Comet is recommended, and the broccoli can be harvested after 55 days. Green Goliath is good for any other climate and is versatile in that you can plant it in spring, summer, or fall, and can be harvested after 60 days.
If you plant in the spring, sow the seed directly into the garden as soon as there is no chance of frost, but if you want to plant in the fall it is best to start the seedlings in the midsummer and transplanting to the garden in the late summer. When you plant the seed make the rows about 40cm apart, plant 2-3 seeds every 30cm, about 1.5cm deep.
Water the seeds carefully after sowing taking care not to wash them out, and mix in a starter fertilizer. The soil should be kept moist after that until the broccoli is harvested, but not too wet if you want to keep them healthy. Once the seedlings show up, pick the strongest ones to stay in and weed out the weak ones. Now you will have a great harvest.
If you are planting the transplants, make sure you plant them slightly deeper then their original state and water them right after transplanting. When the heads start to develop, also give the broccoli another treatment with the fertilizer, this time one high in nitrogen, and water the broccoli consistently for optimal results.
The broccoli can grow as tall as 2 feet, so there may be a need to stake the broccoli plant. If you do stake the broccoli, use a thick string to prevent it from cutting through the stem.
The broccoli can be harvested before the flowers open, and the central cluster should be harvested first. Then the side shoots can develop farther and can be harvested once they are the maximum size. This system of picking will give you the greatest harvest since it encourages the side-shoots to grow even more.
The broccoli can be harvested in this way for at least 3 weeks, up to two months, or until the first frost. If you want to store broccoli after harvesting, it can be placed in plastic bags and stored in the refrigerator for about 5 days. Do not wash the broccoli before placing it in the refrigerator since that encourages rotting. To freeze the broccoli, blanch it first in hot, salty water (1 Tablespoon per 5 liters) and freeze in airtight bags.
For a very simple, and great recipe follow these steps:
- Wash 3 Cups of broccoli flowerets thoroughly, and boil it in salty water (1 tablespoon for 5 liters of water) until it starts to turn bright green.
- Take the broccoli out of the water, rinse it and leave it to stand while you prepare the sauce.
- For the sauce, mince 4 toes of garlic, and saute in 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add in 2 tablespoons of oyster flavored sauce (available in the Asian section of the grocery store) and mix it thoroughly.
- Put the broccoli flowerets into the pan and toss them in the sauce. Do not overcook it, just coat the broccoli. Then the vitamins will still be in the broccoli, and it will be slightly crunchy.
- Serve immediately with some steamed rice and meat.
Enjoy your broccoli and your gardening experience!