I have always been a big fan of brassicas. Nothing lifts my spirits like a stack of fresh tender greens and crunchy florets.
While kale, collards, and broccoli are long-time staples in my garden, I’m always looking for something new to try.
How long does it take broccoli to grow?
Your broccoli should be ready to harvest about 8 to 12 weeks after planting.
However, be sure to check the plant itself because you don’t want to harvest too late (when the leaves start to turn yellow) because the stems will be woody and the plant will lose its flavor.
What is Broccolini?
Broccoli is a hybrid variety of broccoli with small broccoli-like flowers. It is a mix between American broccoli and Chinese cabbage called Gai Lan.
In case you are wondering, it is naturally occurring and is a successful product of horticultural research and innovation between Brassica oleracea cultivars.
Avoid signs of nitrogen insufficiency. The most common symptom of this is the yellowing of the leaves. When you notice that, be sure to feed the plants regularly every few weeks to give the plants an extra boost of nitrogen.
Push the soil up the stems when the height of the broccoli plants reaches about 8 to 10 inches. This will help new side shoots to form, especially when you have just removed the fully grown flowers.
How to Grow and Care for Broccolini
Broccolini, like other cole crops, prefers cool temperatures, relatively low acidity (soil pH 6.0 to 7.0), and plenty of water and nitrogen. Add a few inches of compost or well-rotted manure to your soil. If your soil is acidic, add a small handful of wood ash around each broccolini transplant. Start seeds indoors and set them outdoors when they are 4-6 weeks old. Space transplants 24″ apart and plant them 1/2″ deeper in the soil than they were in their pots. Scatter grass clippings (from a lawn that has not been treated with herbicides) or direct clover seeds after transplanting to shade and enrich the soil and discourage weeds.
Since broccoli is a relatively new vegetable, the best planting time is still being established. Some recommend planting as soon as the land can be worked in the spring. Others say that broccolini is cold sensitive and should not be set outside until after the last spring frost. You might want to try it out and see what works in your area. Broccoli can also be grown as a fall crop. Some people say that broccoli does not do so well when exposed to ‘extreme cold’ or temperatures above 80 F.