Organic Vegetables- How To Grow Organic Broccoli Organic Vegetables- How To Grow Organic Broccoli
Broccoli is one of those well maligned organic vegetables that even former president Bush rebuked. However, if well grown and cooked or frozen soon after it is picked, broccoli provides a great deal of nutrition. It can also be grown easily in your organic home garden.
Step 1 – Soil Preparation
Always choose an open and fertile spot that is unshaded and well drained, but retains moisture well. The soil should be slightly acidic with a minimum pH of 5.4. Before working the soil, take a sample and have it tested. Contact the Agriculture Extension Service in your county for soil collection and testing. Once the pH is determined, adjust accordingly. Also, broccoli needs sufficient nitrogen to thrive, so top-dress the soil with organic feed like seaweed fertilizer during the growing process. Since the plant can be subject to soil infections it is highly recommended to rotate the plot every three years.
Step 2 – Planting
Sow broccoli in a seed bed unless your soil is extremely heavy. In that case, use seed trays that can minimize any root disturbance. Plant them about an inch deep, spacing them at least 3 inches apart in a row. Transplant from tray to ground when the plant reaches 4 inches tall, or when you see the first appearance of leaves develop. Always replant where the soil was treated with manure the previous autumn. Make sure you allow transplants two feet of room each way. Water daily, especially during dry weather, for at least three to four weeks at about a 1/4 pint per day. If the soil is light, drill holes 3 inches wide by 4 inches deep. After plants are well established, earth up the base. Secure the planting well enough so if you grabbed a leaf and pulled it would tear off.
Step 3 – Fertilize
Apply an organic feed like seaweed fertilizer all through the growing process. Hoe plant beds frequently to keep them weed free. Also, mulch plants liberally to retain moisture. It also helps to suppress weeds. Water plants up to four gallons per square yard of plants per week during extremely dry weather. Make sure to maintain watering at least 10 to 20 days before plants mature. Stake plants for support in the fall.
Step 4 – Harvest
Take the central spears on the plant first and the side shoots. Start harvesting once the spears are about the size of large walnuts. As you take mature spears, this cropping action should produce greater yields.
Step 5 – Disease Control
Broccoli can be subject to clubroot, a common disease that affects many plants. If infected, the soil could be unusable for 20 years. However, there are certain steps to take to avoid its introduction. These include: providing good drainage, rotating crops every three years, limiting acid in the soil to a pH of 7, always working into the soil liberal amounts of organic material and maintaining hygienic garden practices using boots and tools that are thoroughly cleaned.
Once a plot has been infected, stop all growing in that area so the disease does not spread with further rotation.