Broccoli (Brassica oleracea)
Ahhh Broccoli, one of the fine aristocrats of the cabbage family. Native to the Mediterranean area and Asia Minor, it was introduced to England during the 1700s as Italian asparagus.
Provide broccoli plants with plenty of water and side-dress with fertilizer about three weeks after planting. It is essential that you keep the plants weed free as they dont compete well for their nutrients. They do respond well to straw mulches.
Broccoli is susceptible to a wide variety of pest problems, specifically cabbage worms and cabbage looper. Spray broccoli to keep the larvae out of the heads. A non chemical option is to soak untreated florets in salt water, this will remove all but the smaller worms. Another non chemical option is to raise plants under a landscaping or gardening cloth. It is placed over the plant to prevent egg laying on the leaf surface. Make sure the material is real thin as to allow 90+ percent of the available sunlight through.
It is also susceptible to a number of diseases. Black rot, club root, downy mildew and alternaria leaf spot to name a few. These are fungal diseases except for black rot, which is bacterial. Careful selection of cultivars and plants, spacing and careful cultural methods help delay their occurence.
Harvest broccoli before the flowers open while the floret is still in a tight head. If the flowers open, it's to late. When the terminal head of the broccoli is remove, additional smaller heads will form as side shoot growth, increasing yields. So don't remove the plants after removing the large head.
I hope this helps. :nerd: