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Growing Broccoli

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Date: April 6, 2020
Agent: Donna Teasley
Hello, this is Donna Teasley, Horticulture Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative
Extension, Burke Center.

Cool season crops such as lettuce, cabbage and broccoli should be planted and growing by now. One of the most popular cool season vegetables is broccoli and many gardeners in our area grow it successfully each year.

Let’s talk about how to get a good crop of broccoli in your garden. There’s a wide window of opportunity for planting broccoli-from 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost until 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost. Our last predicted frost date is April 16 so there’s still time to get some broccoli plants in the ground. Avoid old plants. If they look pot bound or don’t have good color find some better plants. They like a loose, well-drained soil with plenty of sun. Broccoli requires a minimum of 1 inch of water per week but will benefit from more water.

Sometimes broccoli heads don’t get big and there are several things that can cause this problem. Planting too close together, planting in heavy clay soil, or planting too early or too late can cause this problem. High temperatures or lack of calcium can cause the plant to produce no head at all. Broccoli is a heavy feeder and should have a light application of fertilizer every two weeks.

If you’re looking for a great early vegetable to grow in your garden, give broccoli a try this year. It’s great raw or cooked and also freezes well.

This is Donna Teasley with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Burke Center. If you would like more information about this program you can call us at 439-4460.