Archive for June, 2011

First Success with Broccoli

I first started growing broccoli about 2 years ago. We eat broccoli almost every week, because it’s so densely packed with nutrients. So I figured it would be fun to try to grow it ourselves. But I didn’t have much luck growing broccoli until this spring. In previous years, the broccoli plants didn’t grow much, and the broccoli heads were very small, about 3 inches wide. This year, our broccoli plants including the broccoli heads are huge. The largest broccoli head I have harvested so far this season is about 8 inches wide (see third picture above).

I planted a half-dozen broccoli seedlings back in mid-March in one of our raised beds. Last year, slugs ate many of the leaves of our newly planted broccoli seedings, which no doubt stunted their growth. So this year, I placed iron pellet snail/slug bait around the plants as soon as I put them in the ground and reapplied it every 2-3 weeks.

I fertilized our broccoli plants this year at least once a week with a water soluble general purpose fertilizer. For a period of time in April and May, I was fertilizing the plants 2-3 times a week (which may have been an overkill). Starting in early May, the plants really started to grow rapidly, and before I knew it, they were huge. Each plant is about 24 inches wide, measuring from leaf tip to leaf tip. Some of our individual broccoli heads from one plant are as big as a cluster of two or three grocery store-sized broccoli heads! In terms of flavor, our broccoli tastes about the same as grocery store broccoli. Although, our broccoli tastes fresher.

The weather in our area was ideal for growing broccoli this spring. The temperatures here have been mainly cooler than average for the past several months. Broccoli grows best with highs between about 63 and 74 degrees F. We have had very few warm days this spring, and the high temperatures have been mostly within that range. Our average high for June is about 77 degree F. Typically, it would be too warm for ideal broccoli growth by about late May in our area.

June 11 2011 | Broccoli | No Comments »