In this post I will give you five easy tips for growing your best crop of broccoli and other brassicas. Broccoli is one of my favorite garden veggies to grow and it can be easy! Simply knowing when to plant broccoli and how to care for it will set you up for success.
Broccoli is a member of the brassica family. Brassicas are a group of vegetables including cabbage cauliflower and kale that typically thrive in cooler weather. I like to grow broccoli in my spring and fall garden. Depending on your climate zone you may be able to grow broccoli for a good portion of your growing season.
Tips for growing your best Broccoli crop
1.Know When to plant Broccoli
Broccoli is a cool-climate crop, ideally suited to regions with mild summers and moderately cool spring and fall. I have had many crops of broccoli “bolt” during the first stretch of warm sunny days in our growing season. Knowing when to plant and harvest brassicas in your growing region is of the utmost importance.
Gardeners in regions with hot summers can plan for two crops of brassicas per year. An early spring crop, harvested before the weather warms, and a late-summer planting, for harvest in the fall. With suitable climate conditions and careful scheduling, it’s even possible to harvest three crops of brassicas in one growing season.
2. Prepare your soil accordingly
Most brassicas prefer soil Ph between 6 and 7. Broccoli especially likes good, fertile soil. We strive to add manure and other compost to our soil in the off season. We let it decompose and create a fertile layer over months of hard winter. We also rotate our brassica crops with plants like onions and tomatoes this helps with the plants susceptibility to disease and helps deter harmful insects.
3. Get ahead of naughty pests
I recommend increasing your healthy bug population to decrease the pesky bugs. I typically introduce ladybugs into my garden in the late spring. After the last frost but before the weather is too hot for the tiny insects to stick around. Ladybugs eat aphids and can really help your brassica crops.
Proper crop timing can also help with pest control, if you plant or harvest your broccoli in the warmer months you are bound to encounter some aphid issues. If you time it right and harvest broccoli when the weather is still very cool at night you give the pesky bus like aphids less time to cultivate and take over.
4. Have an organic pest deterrent on hand
To continue on from tip three. When all else fails have a good all natural pest deterrent on hand. I have a few recipes that I like, but honestly what has worked the best for me is good old Dr. Bronners Peppermint Castile soap. You can buy this almost anywhere and it really does work well. Insects don’t like the peppermint smell and it also makes the plant slippery which In turn makes it harder for the bugs to climb in lay eggs and infest. It’s also completely nontoxic and won’t harm you your vegetables or the environment.
5. Pick varieties suited to your growing zone
For all garden planting and harvesting I recommend researching your growing area. Know when your last frost typically is, and what varieties of plants grow best in your zone. Many seed companies can help you discern what species of brassicas will grow best in your area.