Broccoli Fertilizing, Watering and Care

There are three basic things you can do so you can make sure of an excellent broccoli harvest – fertilize your crops, water them regularly and give sufficient care for your broccoli crops.

Fertilizing

Broccoli is known to be a heavy feeder. If they cannot get enough nutrients from the soil, they are bound to produce very small heads. Adding a dose of fertilizer to the soil every couple of weeks will certainly help in the growth of your broccoli.

Which sort of fertilizer should you use and which stage of their growth should you apply it?

You can mix a slow-acting granular fertilizer to the soil when you are still preparing it for planting. This would ensure a continuous supply of nutrition during the first few weeks of your crop’s life. A well-balanced fertilizer should give your plants ample energy to support growth of full broccoli heads.

Granular fertilizer should work such as 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 (the amount of nitrogen, potassium and phosphate). Sprinkle the granules around the plant but make sure it doesn’t touch the plants itself as it can burn them. Water the soil down after fertilizing. You can begin using this type of fertilizer when your broccoli crops are about five inches tall.

If you want to organic broccoli, use soil with plenty of organic matter, well-rotted compost or manure. Fish emulsions will provide them with sufficient nutrients until harvest time.

Watering

For broccoli to grow excellent heads, they need at least an inch of rain a week. This can either be achieved through rainfall or watering.

If they are not given ample water and you allow the soil to dry out, their stems will get tough and stringy. Water broccoli crops to a depth of about six inches. To avoid soil erosion, keep the pressure of the water down. It’s also best to water at the base of the plant instead of focusing at the foliage so as not to encourage the development of diseases.

If the soil has sufficient mulch, your crop can go as long as ten days in between watering as the mulch will successfully retain enough moisture for your broccoli.

Caring

Broccoli is a cool-weather crop. Too much heat and your broccoli will surely bolt or produce flowers too soon.

When you feel the temperature will reach 80 degrees before you can begin your harvest, you can protect your crops by spreading a shade cloth over your plants.

You can also use mulch to keep the soil cool and keep its temperature four to six degrees lower. Prepare the mulch by adding at least two inches of chopped hay, grass clippings, leaves or straw over the base of the broccoli and in between plants.

The mulch will also prevent weeds from growing near your crops avoiding competition for nutrients and disturbing the roots of your broccoli because of weeding.

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