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Broccoli - Planting, Harvesting, Pests and Diseases

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broccoli

Starting Seeds: Sow broccoli indoors in early spring. Harden off the seedlings by placing them outside in their pots for several days. Plant the hardened seedlings in the garden after the last frost.  Broccoli can be planted as seeds directly into the garden a few days before the last frost. Broccoli seedlings are cold tolerant, but will die if frosted. Broccoli does not do well in acid soils.

Planting in Garden: Plant seedlings (or seeds) 1.5 feet apart. Plant rows 2.5 feet apart. Deep beds can tolerate closer rows.  For best results, dig planting hole, add a scoop of manure, pour in some water, set in your seedling, surround by soil and pat down. This provides everything a young seedling needs: nitrogen, water, soil gently packed around it.  Mulch around the plants and between the rows to keep weeds down and keep the soil moist. As the plants grow tall and thick stemmed they will need to be staked up.

Harvest: Cut the large heads as soon as they are mature and before they flower. Then cut the smaller heads for the rest of the summer. Plants will produce until the frost.

Pests: Cabbage moths will lay their eggs on broccoli. Watch for the small green caterpillars (larvae) and squish them! Turn over the leaves of your plants daily to search for caterpillars or watch for chewed leaves, find the caterpillars and squish them. They will blend it, so look carefully.
To avoid seedlings being damaged by cutworms, wrap small stems in about 2 inches of tin foil. The foil should extend an inch below the soil level and an inch above. This will stop cut works that clip plants right at below the soil’s surface.

planting broccoli

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