How to Grow Broccoli from Seeds How to Grow Broccoli from Seeds
Broccoli seeds are the preferred means of propagating this healthy vegetable that is full of nutrients and vitamins. Broccoli plants prefer cool weather, and do best in a rich, compact soil.
Step 1 – Sow the Broccoli Seeds
Different varieties of broccoli are sown at different times. It is therefore very important to read the package instructions carefully before you sow your broccoli seeds. Broccoli can be grown indoors in containers, or outdoors in the soil. These plants also do well if transplanted, so you can start seedlings indoors in late winter and then transplant them outside later. If starting indoors, sow the seeds in a soil-less potting mix, which is the best medium for starting seeds. Sow the seeds at a depth of half an inch. You can sow several seeds in a seed tray, and then thin them to the strongest seedlings when they grow. Keep the seed tray moist at all times. Provide the seedlings with direct sunlight, which is important for their growth.
If you choose to sow the broccoli seeds outdoors, amend the soil in advance. Choose a sunny spot, and sow the seeds in early spring, as soon as you can work on the soil. Make sure that the planting spot you choose was not used the past 3 or 4 years to cultivate any plants from the cabbage family. Doing so reduces the chances of diseases and infection. Dig out the soil to a depth of 10 or 11 inches. Add nutrients such as bonemeal and all purpose fertilizer to the soil, and mix thoroughly. Plant the seeds at a depth of half an inch, leaving a space of 3 or 4 inches between each. If planting in rows, leave a distance of 2 feet between the rows. Water well.
Step 2 – Thin the Broccoli Seedlings
Broccoli seed germination takes less than 8 days, in most cases. When the seedlings appear, choose the strongest ones. Remove the thinner or weaker seedlings. You can transplant the seedlings outdoors when they are 7 or 8 weeks old. Harden the seedlings before transplanting them. You can do this by leaving them outdoors for a short duration, and then gradually increase their time outdoors. Leave a space of one foot or more between each plant. Apply a thin layer of mature compost around the plants, leaving a few inches of buffer from the plant. Water thoroughly.
Step 3 – Watering, Fertilization, and General Care
Broccoli grows well with a regular feeding of all-purpose fertilizer. Apply every 3 or 4 weeks during growing time. Broccoli also requires regular watering, especially in dry climates or sandy soils. Check the planting spot for weeds and remove them regularly. Protecting your plants with a mesh or netting will dissuade common pests. Providing good air circulation and adequate water will minimize the risk of disease. Harvest broccoli when the heads are still young and the florets are tight.