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Nurturing your Broccoli

Watering freshly planted broccoli seedlings

Watering freshly planted broccoli seedlings

Water

Once your broccoli has settled in—whether it’s in a container, a raised bed, or open ground—consistency is key when it comes to watering. Broccoli likes a long drink of water once in a while. How long a while is depends on your environment and your soil. Broccoli likes soil that’s moist, but not soggy.

In general, you’ll want to water deeply about once a week; again, it depends on your specific environment. Arizona and North Carolina have radically different climates. If the top of the soil is a little dry, that’s OK. But don’t let the soil dry out.

For broccoli in the ground, a long deep watering is the way to go. It’s best to water in the morning, so your plant can soak up that deep drink of water and put it to work growing broccoli. Of course, if you fall behind in your watering and notice your broccoli is in serious need of a deep drink, don’t wait until morning. Go get the hose.

Mulch is helpful to help conserve water, keep broccoli plants cool, and deter weeds.

Weeding

Gardener weeding around broccoli in garden

Gardener weeding around broccoli in garden

If you’ve used weed-free soil and well-rotted organic matter, and laid down mulch, you shouldn’t have a big weed problem.

Properly preparing your soil is an excellent preventive measure against the emergence of weeds. When you till or cultivate the area where you’ll plant your broccoli, remove weeds and debris. You’ll likely find that the first few weeks after planting are the only time you’ll be pulling up weeds around your tree.

If weeds spring up around your broccoli during the growing season, work the soil around the base of the plants with a hoe—only deep enough to kill the weeds and not damage the plant’s roots.

Fertilizer

Broccoli feeds heavily and your plants will appreciate a hearty helping of fertilizer periodically. Start by amending the soil before you plant: for planting broccoli in the spring, start in the fall, working 2 to 4 inches of rich compost or a thin layer of manure into the soil to increase fertility.

Once your broccoli is planted, feed it with a low nitrogen fertilizer three weeks after transplanting seedlings. Fertilize again when the plants are 6 to 8 inches tall, 12 to 15 inches tall, and then when the buds first form.

How often do you have to fertilize or water your broccoli? Do you have any particular challenges growing broccoli? Please tell us about your tips for nurturing healthy broccoli.

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