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Gardening with Laurie: Time to plant broccoli

By By Laurie Garretson
Sept. 6, 2012 at 4:06 a.m.


When talking to other gardeners the conversation usually starts with the weather. Sooner or later the conversation gets to the vegetable garden, if either gardener grows one.

Gardeners love to brag about plants and those who grow vegetable gardens love to brag about their crops.

When a gardener plants a vegetable seed, or transplant, feeds the plant, waters the plant and nurtures it until time of harvest, that gardener has provided food for their family and friends.

That should be something to brag about. Growing your own is so much more economical. Have you priced organic broccoli in the store?

September is the time for fall vegetable gardens. For those of us who like broccoli this is the best time of the year to grow it.

In the past few years broccoli has become the most popular member of the cabbage family. Broccoli can be planted in the spring vegetable garden, but the weather warms up so quickly during that time of year that before you know it your broccoli plants are flowering.

Planting now gives many weeks for broccoli to grow and produce. As the temperature gets cooler, broccoli and many other vegetables, will actually get tastier. Cooler temperatures bring out the sugars in the plants.

Broccoli is a relatively easy to grow even for a novice gardener. Broccoli is very nutritious and will produce multiple harvests. All that and it's suppose to help prevent cancer too.

All edible plants are so much better for us when fresh from the garden and broccoli is no exception. I think fresh broccoli straight from the garden tastes wonderful whether steamed and covered in cheese or butter, or just eaten raw.

Do not plant broccoli in the same location where cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts and members of the cabbage family were previously planted. This practice will help to prevent diseases.

Broccoli is a shallow rooted plant that likes a rich organic soil. A thick layer of mulch will help to keep the shallow root system moist. Lots of compost and organic fertilizer should be provided in the soil.

A second feeding after the first harvest will help to encourage additional harvests. Any organic fertilizer that contains alfalfa meal is a great fertilizer for broccoli.

Keep a close watch out for cabbage loopers on all fall vegetables, broccoli included. Inspect your plants often and if worms are found spray with BT (Bacillus thuringiensis). This product is safe for all living things except for worms and caterpillars.

Until next time, lets try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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