Even though the broccoli looks pretty much like a cauliflower, it actually belongs to the cabbage family. If you take one floret of broccoli and look at it very closely, it actually does look like a miniature green tree. Broccoli finds mention in many different circumstances and culinary preparations such as:
There are quite a few different types of broccoli and while the most common variety is something known as Calabrese broccoli you can also see:
How to grow broccoli
This vegetable prefers cooler seasons. So, it will survive spring and fall or autumn seasons and give you plenty of nutrition during this time. It is a pretty sturdy or hardy plant and you can start your broccoli cultivation by planting seeds either indoors or outdoors. If you are choosing to plant them indoors then do so around three weeks before the last frost spring season is expected. If you are directly planting it outdoors then wait till it is about 80 to 90 days before the first frost of fall.
The seeds can be planted in containers which have well drained soil and a thin layer of compost or manure as well. Once you have transplanted the saplings outside, do ensure that you have left at least 2 feet distance between them so that you can harvest comfortably.
Taking care of broccoli plants
Broccoli needs moist soil. You can use fertilizer, organic compost or mulch that will help you achieve benefits such as better soil nutrients, sustaining the temperature of the soil helping it to retain moisture. It would be good to pay attention to the kind or variety of broccoli that you are going in for.
Some varieties that have been mentioned before, such as, Green Duke and Green Goliath are known to be pretty tolerant of heat. It also would be a good idea to use extra mulch to protect the roots of the plant. Since the roots are pretty shallow, the mulch will help suffocate them and also prevent you from cultivating.
Some of the common pests that the broccoli vegetable plant may fall prey to are aphids, cabbage loopers and whiteflies. You have to keep an eye out for these and treat them by means such as organic pesticides.
Broccoli may also suffer from nitrogen deficiency which you can see if the leaves at the bottom turn yellow. You will then have to apply nitrogen rich fertilizer to the soil.
Harvesting and using broccoli
You can harvest broccoli either during fall or during summer, depending on when you have planted the seeds. You will need to monitor the plant on a regular basis to figure out when it is ready for harvesting. When you see the spears also known as the flower shoots emerging, then you can cut out the central spear right away. You will also see that the broccoli is developing various side shoots which you can keep picking on a regular basis.
Since the broccoli is high in fiber and vitamins C, it is come to be known as a health vegetable which is great for daily diet.