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VEGETABLE GARDEN: SELECTED VEGETABLE CROPS [continued]

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  MG Manual Reference
Ch. 10, pp. 82 - 83

[Selected Crops: intro | asparagus | beans | broccoli | brussels sprouts | cabbage | cauliflower | sweet corn | cucumbers | eggplant | lettuce | melons | onions | peppers | potatoes | squash | tomatoes | herbs | herb use ]

Broccoli
BROCCOLI Top

ENVIRONMENTAL PREFERENCES
Light: Sunny.
Soil: Well-drained, high organic matter.
Fertility: Rich.
pH: 6.0 to 6.7
Temp: Cool (60 to 65° F).
Moisture: Keep moist, not waterlogged.
CULTURE Top
Planting: Start seeds indoors for early spring transplants. Seed in beds or flats for fall transplants.
Spacing: 15 to 24 inches by 24 to 36 inches.
Hardiness: Hardy annual.
Fertilizer Needs: Heavy feeder. Use starter fertilizer when transplanting. Sidedress three weeks later and again as needed with l- 1/2 ounces of 33-0-0 per 10 foot row.
CULTURAL PRACTICES Top

There are two types of broccoli, heading and sprouting. Most garden broccoli is of the heading type which is closely related to cauliflower and forms a large central head. When this is removed, side branches will form throughout the summer. Sprouting or Italian broccoli forms many florets or small heads but these do not produce a solid head.
Broccoli Raab or Turnip broccoli is not a true broccoli but, in fact, a type of turnip cultivated for its flower head. Can be sown in spring to raise as an annual or can be sown in fall to raise as a biennial. Harvest leaves in fall and flower shoots in spring before they open. Cook and eat like asparagus. Most turnips grown for their greens can also be treated this way.
To raise broccoli, buy transplants locally or produce your own. Set out according to Table 10.11. Transplants for a fall setting can be produced along with cabbage and cauliflower transplants, taking about four weeks from seeding to setting into the garden. Set plants 18 inches apart in rows 30 inches apart. Sprouting and perennial broccolies are sown directly into the garden in spring. Follow packet directions. Broccoli has a relatively shallow, fibrous rooting system. Cultivate carefully or, even better, mulch.
The heads of broccoli are really flower buds. These must be harvested before the flowers open or show yellow. Mature heads measure three to six inches across. Lateral heads that develop later are smaller.
COMMON PROBLEMSTop
Diseases: Downy mildew, sclerotica rot and blackrot.
Insects: Cutworms, cabbage worms, cabbage looper worms, flea beetles, aphids, whitefly.
Cultural: Poor heading from buttoning; early flowers from interrupted growth due to chilling when planted extremely early, drying out, or high temperatures.
HARVESTING AND STORAGE Top
Days to Maturity: 60 to 100 days.
Harvest: Large terminal buds cluster before flowers open, then small side buds cluster as they develop over following weeks. Harvest with 6 to 8 inches of stalk. Harvest sprouting and other types according to packet instructions.
Approximate yields: 6 to 10 bunches (about 4 to 6 pounds) per 10 foot row.
Amount to Raise: 8 pounds per person.
Storage: Very cold (32° F), moist (95% relative humidity) conditions for 10 to 14 days.
Preservation: Freeze.

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