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broccoli questions

Posted by njitgrad 6A/6B New Jersey (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 12, 14 at 14:01

I am making good progress so far with my 12 broccoli seedlings (Belstar variety) that I started in my basement about three weeks ago. Today the seedlings were large enough to transplant from my cell packs into 3.5" durapots.

Since this is my first season growing broccoli (and second season overall for growing from seed) I have a bunch of questions:

1) The snow in my raised beds has finally melted (I live in Northern NJ Zone 6A/6B). When should I transplant them into the beds? Should I wait until April? The long range forecast is showing nighttime lows in the upper 20s through the end of March.

2) How long should I expect broccoli to be productive? Since my raised bed space is limited, my plan is to grow something in it's place after they've bolted. I plant my maters around May 15th but I will be direct sowing cukes, zukes, beans, and others before that date.

3) Would it be better to instead transplant them into 5 gallon grow bags (GeoPots) and place them in my fenced in garden (in between the raised beds) to avoid overlapping growing seasons with the veggies I mentioned above? I used those grow bags for parsley last season. This would give me the ability to put them in my should should we get a really cold night in April.

4) How do you know when it's time to harvest broccoli?

5) After harvesting, is that it? Or will another stalk grow in its place?

6) Any kind of common pests or diseases I should be prepared to deal with?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: broccoli questions

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 14, 14 at 12:16

1) broccoli can go into the ground now IF you keep it covered/protected from hard freeze. Otherwise wait until there are no more nights below 34 and pray that the heat doesn't arrive too soon and it has time to grow.

2) it can remain productive even after the main head it harvested which averages 60 days from transplanting so don't plan on replacing it in May, more like late June/early July.

3) yes

4) it is a game of chicken - you want it as large as possible but before it flowers. Check several times a day as it gets close and cut it off before any yellowing - first sign of blooming - of the surface color appears. Once it begins to yellow it bolts very fast.

5) Small side stalks will develop on some varieties.

6) Yes of course. Cabbage loopers the most common so dust with Bt.

All you have to do is Google 'how to grow broccoli' for all this information.


RE: broccoli questions

I will be following this with interest, as broccoli seems to be the plant that I have the most trouble with in my zone 6.

Spinach and lettuce grow great. Tomatoes and peppers vary a lot year to year. Carrots and onions are so-so, but I often ignore them so I can't complain. But broccoli -- never got a single bite of anything in the four year I tried it in my 14 years of gardening.

Maybe I should treat it like spinach and plant it a number of different times to increase the chances of success.

RE: broccoli questions

Some followup questions now that my seedlings have really gotten big since I transplanted them into my 3.5 durapots. Another week or so and I will probably take them outside.

1) Is there a hardening process for broccoli?

2) Is the root system of broccoli very large? Will a 5 gallon grow bag be large enough?

3) For the 5-1-1 mix that I'll be using for the broccoli, after adding the dolomitic lime, would I use the same amount of Dynamite 15-5-9 CRF that I would for tomatoes?

4) Does broccoli need a lot of sun like tomatoes do?

5) Do I need to protect the broccoli from animals of any sort? If not, then I may not need to put the grow bags in my fenced in garden.

6) Should I dust with Bt as a preventative or only at the first signs of cabbage loopers?

Here's what the seedlings look now (inter-mixed with Dahlias):

Along with some pics of my new basement setup this year:

This post was edited by njitgrad on Tue, Mar 18, 14 at 13:32

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