Growing Broccoli In The Southwest
Just like many other plants you can grow Broccoli here in the Southwest Desert…
When To Plant Broccoli
Broccoli is a cool season crop and grows best when daytime temps are between 65 and 80 degrees. Here in the desert we can usually grow broccoli from fall through the winter and into late spring. The best times to direct sow broccoli from seed is late August – early January.
Starting broccoli indoors from seed can give you a head start on the growing season. Something to consider when growing broccoli seedlings plan to transplant when they are about 8 weeks old, growing starts past 8 weeks can stunt their growth, depending on the size of the container you use. Of course, a larger container can sustain a longer growing period before transplanting, giving you a larger start.
Another thought, setting out seedlings during hot weather can sometimes kill them, it is best to plant seeds early in the growing season, and transplants later when it is cooler.
Where To Plant
Broccoli is a heavy feeder that needs soil high in compost and organic fertilizer that drains well. Plant broccoli in a sunny location in a well-worked garden area or bed with 1 or 2 inches of organic compost and blended manure dug in. Broccoli also loves calcium, if you know that your soil is lacking in calcium, find an organic source and follow the directions.
How To Plant Broccoli
When planting broccoli, for fully developed heads of broccoli, space broccoli plants broccoli 18 inches apart, and 24 inches between rows. If you do not want full heads, such as with Rabb or Rapini broccoli, you can plant them closer.
Feeding The Plants
Broccoli needs lots of nutrients, mainly nitrogen, but if given too much nitrogen fertilizer it can cause the broccoli to grow hollow stems. A liquid fish emulsion mixed to package directions can be given, when heads begin to form and at regular intervals.
Watering The Plants
Broccoli loves steady moisture to grow well, give them 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, depending on the amount of compost in the soil.
Celery, onions, and potatoes improve broccoli’s flavor when planted next to them. Nasturtiums and beets do not need lots of calcium and if planted near broccoli, they leave more calcium in the soil for the broccoli plants. Rosemary, dill and sage planted near broccoli help to repel pests.
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