The broccoli is a dark green plant that appears like a green miniature tree and belongs to the cabbage family. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds.
Apart from nutrition values, the broccoli is a cash crop due to its demand in the daily diet. And, broccoli farming is picking the trend nowadays.
Broccoli has the greatest content of essential nutrients, including magnesium, iron, and calcium.
Being a nutritious vegetable, broccoli is growing in consumption. Besides its use in a variety of cuisine, it is quite popular in green salads.
As broccoli is a cold season crop, it is wise to grow broccoli in the winter so that at the time of harvesting the temperature should not be above than 23-degree Celsius.
This is interesting that the broccoli thrives best in the climate condition that varies from 7-degree Celsius to 23-degree Celsius. Besides, broccoli is frost-resistant and can tolerate temperatures below the freezing level for at least one week.
Understanding how broccoli grow
It is recommended to sow broccoli seed month before the spring’s last frost. Because now you get enough time to move the seedlings to the field in broccoli farming, after hardening off them for some time so that they can bear the hardest of climate conditions.
On the other hand, it is worth sowing the seeds indoors in the case of the late summer, for the regions that have mild winters. Later you can put them in the greenhouse, once autumn starts and so it can be harvested in the winter.
In both the cases, temperature hitting the freezing level for quite a time or rising beyond the 25-degree celsius can hamper the growth of the head of the broccoli.
While in areas that have cold winters, it is recommended to sow the seed in the summer so the crop can mature in autumn, just before the cold.
To make the soil fertile for broccoli farming, it is worth adding well-mixed compost containing the manure. Once, the manure is spread over the soils. Then plow the field for three or four times before starting the main planting.
The crops of Broccoli may be grown in a variety of soils. Besides, the sandy and silt loam soils are ideally used to achieve a higher yield from broccoli crops.
When considering the pH value of soil, it should be between 6 and 7 if soil can have the best moist conditions throughout the crop.
In some cases, aging manure can be applied to soil to replace soil nitrogen in areas of heavy rain or sandy soil.
Selecting Variety of broccoli
While selecting the variety, it is necessary to keep the maturity time of the crop. The green sprouting variety often takes the 70 to 140 days to mature. The proper selection of the broccoli variety directly influences the final yield because one can thrive in a certain environment and others indifferent.
Thus, it is worthy to select the relative variety so that the crop matures after optimum climate conditions.
In the case of broccoli farming, direct seeding is far more valuable as compared to the transplant. While for some areas, due to the climate conditions, transplant is a better choice.
Besides, in both cases, it is recommended to grow the broccoli in two rows on the raised beds with a minimum distance of 4o to 45 cm. While in case planting is done in a single line, space should be around 60 cm.
And, during the transplant, a young plant with some leaves and almost a month old is the right choice to succeed.
On the other hand, it is better to transplant thin plants to a different section of the field.
And, in case of direct seeding, sow the seed half an inch deep and at least three inches apart.
When transplanting, it is worth that you must have a minimum of 11,000 plants per acre.
Broccoli planting spacing
For the spacing make sure that it adheres to the capability of irrigation, the schedule of the plantation as well the particular demand in the market if there is any.
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Irrigation of broccoli plants
Broccoli gives a better yield when irrigated regularly, it’s worth keeping the soil enough moist when flowers start to bloom. Though, watering with the furrow or the sprinklers achieves better growth in the broccoli plant.
While if you have a large farm in the case of broccoli farming, it is appropriate to use drip irrigation.
The amount of water for the broccoli largely depends on the soil type, weather conditions as well as the growth or maturity of the crop.
The watering to the plants should be more frequent when the crop is in the last phase and the vegetable’s growth is at its peak.
To get the highest yield of the crop, applying the proper amount of fertilization is utmost necessary. For healthier plant production, most of the crops rely heavily on NPK fertilizer.
Broccoli is a relatively hard feeder and must feed in a thin layer of old manure before the crop.
The land as a resource requires proper maintenance and monitoring. Fertilization will then be produced on the basis of soil analysis tests.
In the case of the drip irrigation system, nitrogen can be applied through the water as it is the most precise way to feed the plant.
How grow broccoli sprouts
Broccoli develops in just more than two months from seed to harvest. It is appropriate to wait for the sowing before the weather conditions become favorable for the plants. Thus they can become stable and efficient, offering protection against intense weather.
While all broccoli plants may endure freezing, extended cold periods can delay development or harm plant production.
The flowering cycle is triggered by low temperatures and warm days. This mechanism can cause plants to have flowers earlier than normal. This can affect the size of broccoli’s heads.
To combat these conditions, cold weather shelter is provided that gives further 4 to 8-degree insulation, protecting and extending the season of freeze harvests for up to four weeks.
Grow broccoli microgreens
Proper care of the crop is as important as another step. The caring of a plant may include, apart from the watering and fertilization, eliminating the unnecessary weed, identification of the insects or the adequate analysis of the crop diseases.
The main problems of broccoli development may be insect pests, in particular for summer seedlings.
Right monitoring of each plant can prevent unnecessary loss to the crop and eventually can hamper the overall yield at the end.
To take care of your plants, make sure you take appropriate action as soon as you get any hint of any problem to the plant.
These are some of the highlighted problems in broccoli farming:
The weed battles for food, sunshine, and air with the majority of the crops. And, consequently, reduce the growth of a particular plant. So, it is appropriate to keep the crop weed-free as it starts to appear after a month of transplantation.
Controlling the insects
Several insects harm the broccoli plant throughout its life. Flea beetles, wireworms or the cutworms can make the seedling die at the early stage.
Besides, cabbage aphids can attack the heads while they are in the development phase. In this case, it is necessary to control these insects even before the head starts to develop. A quality insecticide can be sprayed to the plants to prevent these harmful insects. Or, you can handpick them to get higher yields.
The soil-borne pests have less impact over the broccoli plant, yet some soil pathogens can cause clubroot disease. These diseases can be controlled by crop rotation or applying the line to the roots in the case of broccoli farming.
Apart from these, downy mildew affects the broccoli plants quite a lot. It can be identified with the spots in the leaves. This fungal infection does not have a great impact on vegetables until it affects the head.
To counter such infection, some growers prefer to use a fungicide. In some cases, a seedling is treated by chemical treatment especially in moist conditions, which favors the disease.
The broccoli head is also susceptible to the various diseases that need to be taken care of. The head diseases severely affect the flower buds and can also because of the head rot.
Such disease spreads in wet conditions and causes significant damage to the overall yield. To prevent such conditions, it is appropriate to use correct pesticides once you get any symptoms.
Seed based plants can produce broccoli in 100 to 150 days. This is the best broccoli plant harvest time. Broccoli can be developed in 55–80 days from the transplants method. It is worth leaving the foundation and some exterior leaves of the broccoli plant to facilitate fresh heads in the secondary production.
A crop must be hand-picked two to three-times during a season and in case of storage, a broccoli stem should be cut at the 6 inches.
Moreover, it is recommended to harvest the broccoli in the morning to maintain the freshness of the vegetable intact.