Grow some fresh broccoli this winter. Photo by Rick Harris under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence 2.0.
There's nothing tastier than broccoli fresh from your garden. Photo by Samuel Mann under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
In a nutshell, here's how I generally feel about broccoli. Photo by Carolyn Cole under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
Here in California, many gardeners started their broccoli seeds several weeks ago. However, I was slow on the up-take this year and didn’t start any seeds myself. I was so slow, in fact, that instead of getting to carefully choose my broccoli variety, I had had to pick up whatever was available at the nursery. Works for me; beggars can’t be choosers.
I know some people have strong feelings about broccoli, but it happens to be one of my favorite vegetables. I prepare it by simply steaming it in a double-broiler, then I add fresh chopped garlic and squeeze fresh lemon over it.
|More on how to grow broccoli…
• Broccoli: Not Glamorous, but Very Productive
Broccoli is a cool-weather lover and not to mention that a touch of frost brings better flavor to this vegetable. It may be a little on the late side for some planting zones, but if you’re not too far north you still have time. I’m wondering what kind of a gamble I’m taking as mine will be growing in an open bed as opposed to a cold frame this year.
Plant broccoli in full sun and keep the plants evenly watered. Good companions to broccoli include, carrots, lettuce, rosemary, oregano, sage, chard, and celery. They tend to need more boron that some vegetables and if your soil is heavily alkaline or acidic, you may want to add some organic matter such as compost. They can also be fertilized every three to four weeks to give them the boron boost they crave.
When the head is fully formed and dark green it’s time to harvest. The buds should still be tight and there shouldn’t be any yellow on the buds. The yellow color is a signal that they are over-ripe. Even after the main head is harvested, the side shoots will form for a few weeks. Harvest these shoots every few days so they continue to form.
I feel compelled to share with you the greatest broccoli song ever written. It’s performed by Dana Carvey and once you’ve heard it, the word “broccoli” will never sound the same. Be patient and listen all the way through – it’s so worth it. Enjoy – Choppin’ Broccoli.
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