Broccoli is an edible plant that belongs to the mustard family, Brassicaceae. It is a form of cabbage. The plant has two main parts. One is the stalk, and the other is the flower bud. The flower bud is the edible part. They are small leaves grown on the stem, which are used as a vegetable by people. The flower bud is a tree-like structure and dark green. The stalk is light green and thick. The flower bud appears as branching out from the stem. Many small leaves surround the whole flower head.
Broccoli is a crop of the winter season. It is an annual plant with a fast-growing ability. The branches and the central axis of plant bear the bunches of flower heads, dense and dark green. The plants grow in an upright position and have components with leaves.
Broccoli is a nutritious vegetable with high dietary fiber content, a fair number of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, C, A, folic acid, and potassium. There is 89 percent of the water with little fats in raw Broccoli.
We can use Broccoli in multiple ways. It can either be eaten as fresh or cooked. While buying fresh Broccoli, keep in mind that it should be a darker green. The clusters of flower beds should be compact and confined with strong stalks. Broccoli resembles with cabbage and cauliflower. Both belong to the different cultivator groups of the same species, brassica.
How to farm Broccoli
The broccoli plants are best to be grown in the fall or spring seasons. They are incredibly nutritious and healthy. The broccoli crop is worth growing due to its nutrition. Owing to its benefits, Broccoli has given a nickname of “Jewel of Nutrition.” The side shoots of broccoli plants will keep producing flower buds even after harvesting the main heads. So, you can enjoy the delicious Broccoli for months.
Every crop grows well and gives impressive yield if optimum conditions are providing it for growth. A brief detail of the necessary conditions for increasing broccoli plants is as follows:
The ideal temperature for planting broccoli plants is 45 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Broccoli plants grow best in spring or fall or late in summer. Germination of broccoli seeds takes place at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmer the soil, the better is the seed germination.
Full exposure to the sun for almost six to eight hours per day is mandatory for excellent results. Broccoli is a sun-loving crop. The place for planting the broccoli seeds must have direct sunlight.
Broccoli plants love water as much as they love the sun. Watering the broccoli plants to a more profound context helps the roots grow much deeper into the soil. Shallow and brief watering the plants each day is not as effective as watering the plants deeply for about two to three times a week.
The soil pH level is a crucial element that plays an essential role in growth. The soil pH must be slightly acidic for broccoli plants. It ranges from 6.0 to 6.8. broccoli plants grow better in the soil, which is rich in organic matter, well-drained and fertile. The right and adequate amount of moisture in the soil helps to ensure the availability of nutrients.
The compost and fertilizers are the boosters of any crop. The Broccoli is a substantial feeder. The nitrogen-rich organic fertilizers are used for broccoli plants. These fertilizers give the best results when it comes to a yielding point. The weekly dose of organic manure is beneficial for broccoli crops.
A step-by-step procedure of farming the broccoli plant includes the following steps:
The planting process of broccoli plants is related to seeds and its germination etc. This stage consists of the following main points:
Ø When to plant Broccoli
Ø Preparation of planting site
Ø How to plant Broccoli
The brief description of the points as mentioned earlier is as below:
When to plant Broccoli:
The best seasoning should be kept in mind for outstanding results. The Broccoli is a crop of cool season, so fall is the best season for planting. The high temperature of summer will cause the wilting of plants. Therefore, to achieve the full mature buds and flower heads of broccoli plants is a goal.
The two planting seasons are best for broccoli plants. One is spring plantings, and the other is fall planting. However, fall planting is preferable and gives better results compared to spring planting because the temperature in the spring season may vary.
The spring planting should be done a few weeks before the last spring frost. Fall planting should be considered before the first fall frost. Indoors planting must be done 3 to 4 weeks before frost. And for outdoors, planting seeds 5 to 6 weeks before the glaze is fruitful.
Preparation of planting site:
Prepare the planting site for broccoli seeds. Check the basic parameters of soil. The pH should be acidic, and the bed of soil should be well-drained and moist. There should be direct exposure to sunlight. Lack of enough sunlight will produce thin and leggy plants. Add organic and nitrogen fertilizers to increase the fertility of the soil.
How to Plant Seeds:
Sow the broccoli seeds ½ inch deep and with a spacing of about 3 inches. Thin the plants when they once reach the height of 3 inches to have a spacing of 12 to 20 inches among each plant. These measurements are for outdoor planting.
For indoor planting, transplant the plants when they have 4 to 5 leaves or four weeks old. The depth for transplanting the plants outdoors must be greater than that of the container.
The row spacing must be 3 feet apart. Small heads are the results of close spacing. Water the plants regularly.
Maintain the optimum temperature and water the plants well. While watering, do not wet the developing heads of broccoli plants as it will provide the habitat for disease, and the plants will rot. Use organic fertilizers after three weeks of planting or transplantation. The roots of broccoli plants are very delicate and shallow, so do not disturb them. Add mulch. Mulch helps in weed protection, and it keeps the temperature low. An active feeding schedule should be maintained after the second harvest to promote plant growth. Add blood meal if the leaves start to turn yellow following from bottom to top order.
The protection of broccoli plants from pests and diseases is significant. Use floating covers and plastic bags to avoid problems attack. If you see aphids, then spray water on the leaves. Remove the loopers by hand. Add the nitrogen fertilizers in case of yellowing of leaves. This yellowing is due to nitrogen deficiency.
Harvest the plants right before the flower head when the stalk is firm, and the bud is compact. Yellowing petals is an alarming sign of damage, so in this condition, immediately harvest the crop. Side shoots of most varieties will continue to produce flower buds even after the harvest period has ended.
Broccoli can be store in a refrigerator for five days. Dry them entirely if you wash the plants before storing them. It can be frozen and blanched for almost one year.
Cost for Growing Broccoli
The broccoli plant costs a cheap amount of 1.50 USD or 250 PKR. For one-pound weight. Each broccoli plant produces 2 pounds of the flower head. With a worth of 10 USD or 1600 PKR soil amendment cost for every ten plants, farmers can return 30 USD or 5000 PKR. This profit or the saved money, is not the only thing to get excited about. The side shoots of the broccoli plant continue to produce flower heads for about 6 to 8 months quickly. It is the bonus amount you can enjoy for months conveniently.
Research shows that to plant and harvest the broccoli plants is pretty much straightforward, and the process is cost-effective. The figures used here are not exact but approximate because each broccoli flower can’t weigh. However, profit is mouth-watering. The continuous production of flower buds even after secondary harvest is a reward for the gardener. So, it is concluded that with numerous health benefits, Broccoli is a profitable crop.