Broccoli is a fantastic crop to grow while the weather is cool.
Broccoli likes to be in full sun, as well as rich, PH-neutral, well-drained soil. A heavy feeder, broccoli benefits from high-nitrogen fertilizer, as well as amendments like compost, alfalfa meal, or composted chicken manure.
Broccoli grows fairly large, so giving it some room to grow is important. Place seeds or starts about 18" apart and rows between two and three feet apart, to give you some room to walk. You can do two or three rows close together between walkways if you like to maximize spacing, but any more than that will make them hard to reach.
Pests can be wide ranging, from cabbage looper caterpillars and cabbage-worms in cooler weather to grasshoppers and harlequin bugs when the weather has warmed up. The best way to manage these is to take a walk through your garden daily and look for damage.
If you find any, look under the leaves and pull off and remove any pests. If you have chickens, they'll appreciate the snack, or the bugs can easily be squished. BT can also be used to eliminate caterpillar populations, but will need to be sprayed weekly to be effective.
Harvesting your broccoli is easy. Cutting the stem five to six inches below the head will send the signal to the plant to continue growing new heads.
Don't wait too long, or your broccoli will bolt, and the florets will spread out and become bitter. Note: if it does bolt, the yellow flowers are edible and great in salads. The leaves are also edible; young, tender leaves can be eaten raw in salads, and the older leaves cooked like spinach or kale.
And you can always harvest your broccoli, cut it up, and freeze it to be used later.
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