Broccoli – Vegetable garden

Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the most popular vegetables all over the world that used in a variety of dishes and cuisines. This vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked, but the best ways are to steam or eat them raw as salad, because that preserves the nutrients in it. Broccoli is rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, which reduces and prevents the damages caused by free radicals, such as pigmentation and wrinkling. In addition, the health content of Vitamins B and E aids in giving your skin a healthy glow.During pregnancy, women need to consume large amounts of folate, and broccoli has it in abundance. Folate helps prevent neurological and spinal defects in the fetus.It contains chromium, which is effective in regulating insulin levels and thus keeping diabetes symptoms at bay.

Scientific name: Brassica oleracea var. italica
Common name: Broccoli

Broccoli

How to grow and maintain broccoli:
soil:
Broccoli can grow well in a wide range of soils but does best in heavily organic- amended, well-drained areas. It grows best in soils with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. Clay soils, like those in Georgia, should definitely receive the addition of some topsoil, compost or manures in order to increase drainage and available nutrients. A soil test should be completed to accurately determine soil pH and increase the chances of planting success.

Sowing and Planting:
It does not like being transplanted; sow it in in situ in succession (or as directed on the packet), 2-3 seeds together every 15cm (6inch), in rows 30cm (12inch) apart, and thin to the strongest seedling. You can sow broccoli in a seedbed or in modules in a cold frame; plant out from summer or autumn, 60cm (2ft) apart each way. Plant them deeply and water well until established.

Watering:
Grow the first sowings of plant under protection if this is necessary in spring. Do not let plants dry out; water generously as the flowerheads are forming. It is vulnerable to winter wind damage, so earth up stems and stake tall plants in autumn. You may need to net against bird damage.

Fertilizer:
It is a fairly heavy feeder and will require additional nutrients. After initial fertilization at planting, apply 2 pounds of 5-10-15 fertilizer or equivalent per 100 square feet of bed each month during the growing season. Mulch broccoli with pine straw or leaves to keep weeds away and to preserve moisture in the soil.

Harvesting:
The first and largest flower heads of broccoli will be ready to cut after 11-16 weeks; if you need then feed with a high-nitrogen fertilizer, a second crop of smaller sideshoots will develop. Wash heads well as creepy-crawlies often lurk in the creases. Harvest sprouting broccoli from late winter onwards, pick shoots regularly to encourage more.

Pests and Diseases:
The most serious broccoli pest is cabbageworm. Cabbage root maggots can also be a problem. Both diseases and insects can be controlled by using sound cultural garden practices and recommended chemicals when necessary

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