Broccoli is very high in the master antioxidant glutathione and other important nutrients. Like all amino acids glutathione is very heat sensitive and on average is seventy-five percent destroyed by the cooking process. Therefore, broccoli is best eaten raw.
Broccoli is a cool weather plant and does best in zones 3-7. Plant in the early spring, late summer or, in warmer climates, over the winter. Here is how to grow broccoli right in your own yard:
- Start your spring crop indoors 7 to 9 weeks before the last expected frost. Fill 4” round Fertile pots with 100% organic potting mix and place in a drain pan. Plant two seeds per pot. Water and keep the soil moist but not wet. Seeds should germinate in 4 to 5 days. After the seeds germinate, place pots in a sunny area or under lights
- Once the seedlings are about 6 inches tall, with 2 to 4 true leaves it is time to harden the plants. Harden by putting the young plants outdoors in a protected area (out of direct sun and wind) for one hour the first day adding two hours to the time spent outside each subsequent day for a week. Keep well-watered.
- Choose a place in the yard that receives full sun. If you live in a warmer climate partial shade can help prevent the plants from bolting (going to seed.) Prepare a bed of rich, well-drained soil, with plenty of compost.
- Set the young plants 1 to 2 inches deeper in the garden than they grew in the pots or flats. Space them 2 feet apart in rows 3 feet apart. Firm the soil and water well.
- Water regularly. At least once every three days if it is not raining.
- Two weeks after planting fertilize with compost tea or side dress with compost. Repeat once a month.
- Spray once a week alternating between insecticidal soap and home-made plant pepper spray.
- It is time to harvest before the florets start to open and turn yellow. Cut just below the point where the stems begin to separate. Once you’ve harvested the main head, tender side shoots will form in the leaf axils all along the lower stalk. Keep cutting, and broccoli will keep producing until the weather turns too hot or too cold.
Fresh-picked garden broccoli tastes much better and is more nutritious than store bought. Enjoy!