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Broccoli Planting Instructions for NJ Zone 6

Broccoli is a cold-weather plant that does best if planted in early spring for a June crop, or late August/September for a November-December harvest.

Broccoli seeds can germinate in as low as 40-degree soil. Your broccoli plants will do best if planted in rich, composted garden beds. After 3 weeks, fertilize by adding compost to the soil and/or spraying with a fish emulsion solution.

How to plant:

Transplant broccoli plants 1-2 feet apart, pat down soil and water well. You can also direct-sow, but this is better done 85-100 days before the first fall frost. There may not be a point to direct-sowing broccoli in spring. By the time the plants are big enough, it will be too hot and they will bolt.

Spring planting time: April 15-30

Fall planting time: Sept 1

Seed depth: 1/2 inch

Plant spacing: 12-24" apart

Days to maturity: 52

Sun: full

Watering: moderate

Best companions: nasturtium, marigolds, rosemary, sage, dill

Pests and disease:

Cabbage worms, aphids, flea beetles, cutworms. Make a "collar" for the broccoli stems by cutting out a square of cardboard. Cut a line to the center, then add a hole. Slide the cardboard square around the base of the plant, so that cutworms won't be able to climb over the ledge. Knock aphids off leaves with a spray from the garden hose. Hand-pick cabbage worms. Try Neem oil as a general deterrent. Companion plants also help deter pests.

 

Harvesting:

Plants are ready when heads are full and tightly packed. Do not wait until broccoli plants bolt (go to seed) – they will lose their sweet flavor. Use a knife to neatly cut the crown (main head) from the plant. This is the best way to ensure that side shoots will grow, which can be harvested again in a few weeks.

Storage:

Broccoli keeps in the refrigerator for a week or two. Blanch, then store in Ziploc bags in the freezer.

Other:

Do not plant broccoli near tomatoes, pole beans or strawberries.

The above copy is reprinted from our 95-page, Complete Beginner's Guide to Organic Gardening in NJ Zone 6. To order your own, emailed electronic copy of this e-book, simply click the link!

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