Seasonal Broccoli Gardening Guide
Broccoli is a cool weather vegetable. It grows best in climates which do not get a harsh winter, because it will be able to grow hardily throughout the cold months. By planting correctly, you will be able to get a good crop and be able to have many harvests.
Step 1 – Preparing the Seedbed
In order to create a seedbed which will last throughout the winter, you may want to create one which will be set in two old tires. This will keep the soil in the seedbed at least 10 degrees warmer, because the tires will be absorbing heat from the sun. Mix together gravel and potting soil in order to create an environment which is not too rich in nitrogen and is not too wet. Broccoli does not like conditions which are too wet, as the roots will rot.
Step 2 – Seasonal Vegetable Planting
The best time to plant your broccoli seed is when the temperatures have started to drop, usually right at the beginning of the fall. This will allow you to have a cool time period in which you can begin to grow your broccoli. Do not plant the seed deeper than 1 inch.
Step 3 – Winterizing Broccoli
In order to allow your broccoli to make it even further into the season, other than just the seedbed, you need something which will cover the plant and yet allow it to breath. This will retain heat, yet keep it cool enough to be able to thrive. Cheesecloth is a great way to accomplish this. After watering your broccoli, cover it with the cheesecloth. This creates a breathable dome the broccoli will love enough to grow well into late fall and early winter.
Step 4 – Creating a Hotbed
Fertilizer helps you to create a great hotbed, which will allow the broccoli to last further into the winter. As the fertilizer decomposes, it releases heat that warms the soil. You can also till in the canopies of very hardy leaf producing vegetables, like radishes. This will also add nutrients to the soil, which your broccoli will appreciate.
Step 5 – Go South
The best place to plant any garden after the summer months is on the south side of a house. This is because you will be able to take advantage of the copious amounts of sunlight in the afternoons. Even in the late fall and winter, you will be able to utilize the sun in order to warm up the soil, and keep your plants growing. Keep an eye on any plants which are covered, so they don't get too hot. Broccoli plants that get too hot tend to flower very easily.