Broccoli

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The increased popularity of broccoli in the home garden and at farmers’ markets is simple to explain. It's nutritious, delicious raw or cooked, ...
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The increased popularity of broccoli in the home garden and at farmers’ markets is simple to explain. It's nutritious, delicious raw or cooked, freezes well, and is relatively easy to grow. Originating in the Mediterranean countries of Italy and France, broccoli is a member of the cabbage (or cole) family. Broccoli is probably the single most recognized vegetable for nutritional value. It commands huge commercial production acreage in this country and Mexico, and will remain a staple of our diet for a long time to come.

Broccoli will produce marketable heads in many soil types as long as the soil is well-prepared, properly fertilized and has a pH of 6.0-6.8. Broccoli can be direct-seeded for fall crops, but extra care must be taken in soil preparation, watering, weed control and early flea beetle and root maggot control. It is more commonly handled as a transplant, which can eliminate several weeks in the field. Sow seed in a 70°F greenhouse about 2 weeks before the avg. last frost date and grow for about 3-4 weeks for spring plantings and summer harvests. Harden off at 60° F for a few days before transplanting. Alternatively, sow seed in a bed protected from damaging winds, and transplant the bare root seedlings to the field after 6-8 weeks. Premature heading (buttoning) may occur if transplants are tough, old, or grown at temperatures below 55° F.

Growing Tips: Since quality is best when heads mature in cool weather, plan for a fall harvest. Seeds can be direct seeded, but are more commonly started indoors and transplanted to the garden in early summer. Make sure that seedlings get plenty of light, or transplants will look spindly. Avoid using tough, old transplants grown below 55 deg. F. to minimize premature heading. Harvest the large central heads when the deep green and tiny flower buds are tight. Cut 5 - 10 down stalk to encourage growth of side shoots.

Average Seed Count: 75 per packet; 7500/Oz.; 115,000/Lb.

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