Broccoli (Brassica oleracea italica)
How to plant and grow broccoli (Brassica oleracea Italica Group or Brassica oleracea italica variety)
Broccoli is a plant of the same species as cabbage, but has been selected for the consumption of its flower buds. These are harvested when the flowers are still closed, and are usually eaten cooked, although they can also be eaten raw.
There are basically two types of broccoli for growing, branchy broccoli produce several inflorescences and head broccoli, as the name suggests, produce a large head in the center. Despite the names used in the trade, broccoli are plants of European origin, from the Mediterranean region.
Plant profileCommon name: Broccoli, Broccoli
Scientific name: Brassica oleracea italica
Plant type: Vegetables
Height: 10cm - 50cm
Spread: 10cm - 50cm
Sunlight: Full Sun
Moisture: Moist but well drained
Where does broccoli grows best?
Broccoli are vegetables that hardly grow well in places where the average temperature exceeds 23°C.
Although they can withstand lower temperatures for short periods, they grow best in the range of 6°C to 23°C.
Branch broccoli is more tolerant to heat and can grow well at higher average temperatures, up to 28°C.
These plants need to be planted in full sun.
The soil must be well drained, fertile, rich in organic matter, with a pH between 6 and 7.
Broccoli needs the micro-nutrient boron to develop well, and its deficiency results in hollow stems and small, malformed inflorescences.
If the soil is deficient in boron, it is necessary to use a fertilizer containing this micro-nutrient or apply borax or boric acid to the soil, or alternatively spray the leaves of the plants with a solution of boric acid.
Such procedures should be done with care and only when really necessary, as excess boron is also harmful.
Water broccoli in order to keep the soil always moist, but not soaked.
The seeds can be sown directly at the final location, at a depth of approximately 1 cm in the soil. Germination usually occurs in less than a week or two.
They can also be sown in seed trays, small pots or newspaper cups. Transplant the seedlings when they have 4 to 6 true leaves. However, broccoli seedlings can be sensitive to transplantation, so be very careful not to damage the seedlings and their roots. Transplant preferably in the late afternoon, with the soil well moist, or on cloudy days.
The spacing can be 60 cm to 1 m between the planting lines and 30 cm to 60 cm between the plants. Larger spacing tends to generate plants with larger inflorescences, but productivity per area is usually higher with smaller spacing.
Remove invasive plants that may compete for resources and nutrients.
Broccoli is usually harvested 75 to 100 days after sowing, varying according to the planted cultivar. After the first harvest, side shoots may appear that allow another harvest, with smaller inflorescences.
Branch broccoli can be harvested from 60 to 90 days after sowing.
Inflorescences can be harvested several times at intervals of 5 to 10 days until the end of the flowering period.
The time to harvest is when the inflorescences are well developed and have an intense color, but before the flowers start to open.