DESCRIPTION 

Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, and is closely related to cauliflower. Its cultivation originated in Italy. Broccolo, its Italian name, means “cabbage sprout.” Broccoli’s name is derived from the Latin word brachium, which means branch or arm, a reflection of its tree-like shape that features a compact head of florets attached by small stems to a larger stalk.

HOW TO GROW 

  1. Purchase seeds. Use only organic, untreated seeds when growing sprouts. Many seeds sold for planting are treated with insecticides or fungicides. You need 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of seeds for each 5 square inches (13 cm^2) of container space.
  2. Choose a container with a hard surface that you can sterilize. Clear plastic containers with clear lids, such as those used for sprouts, berries and other produce at the store, work great for growing sprouts. You can use plastic wrap to cover containers that do not have a clear lid.
  3. The size of the container doesn’t really matter as long as it is at least 4 inches (10 cm) deep.
  4. If you want to grow your sprouts in soil, the container must have drainage.
  5. Disinfect the seeds and the containers. Fill a bucket with a solution of 0ne litre water and 1 part panchagavya. Soak the containers and the seeds in the water for 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can disinfect only the containers with the bleach solution.
  6. Put a thin layer of moist, sterilized potting soil in the clean containers.
  7. Sprinkle the wet broccoli sprout seeds in a thin layer on top of the soil.
  8. Cover the seeds with another thin layer of moist potting soil.
  9. Put the covers on the containers or cover the tops with clear plastic wrap.When growing your sprouts in soil, ventilation is not usually necessary. However, if too much moisture should build in the container, make a couple of air holes.
  10. Place the container in a place where it won’t be disturbed and is out of direct sunlight. Until leaves appear the sprouts do not require any light. Kept at a temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 to 23.8 C), the seeds should sprout in 3 to 5 days.
  11. Move the containers to an area of indirect sunlight on the 4th day or when first leaves appear. Direct sunlight will kill them, but the sprouts need some light exposure now if you want the leaves to stay green.
  12. Harvest your sprouts within 1 to 2 days after leaves appear. Use your hands to pull the sprouts from the soil and transfer them to a large bowl of cool water.
  13. Agitate the water to move the sprouts around. This cleans the dirt from the sprouts and causes the hulls from the seeds to dislodge and float to the surface of the water.
  14. Skim the seed hulls off of the water surface and discard them. The hulls retain moisture, and if stored with the sprouts may lessen their shelf life

  PLANT CARE 

  • Fertilize three weeks after transplanting.
  • Provide consistent soil moisture with regular watering, especially in drought conditions. Some varieties of broccoli are heat tolerant, but all need moisture.
  • Do not get developing heads wet when watering.
  • Roots are very shallow, do not cultivate. Suffocate weeds with mulch.
  • Mulch will also help to keep soil temperatures down

PESTS/DISEASES

  • Aphids: Curling leaves may mean that the plant’s sap is being sucked by insects. Apply soapy water to all sides of leaves whenever you see aphids.
  • Downy mildew: Yellow patches on leaves are usually caused by moist weather. Keep leaves as dry as possible with good air circulation. Buy resistant varieties.
  • Cabbage loopers: Small holes on the leaves between the veins mean small green caterpillars are present. Look at the undersides of the leaves. Hand pick if the problem is small or control with Bacillus thuringiensis. Use a floating row cover just after planting through harvest to prevent caterpillars.
  • Cabbageworms and other worm pests: Treat same as loopers.
  • Whiteflies
  • Nitrogen deficiency: If the bottom leaves turn yellow and the problem continues toward the top of the plant, the plants need a high nitrogen (but low phosphorus) fertilizer or bloodmeal. Blood meal is a quick Nitrogen fix for yellowing leaves.
  • Clubroot: Quickly wilting plants may be due to this fungus in the soil.  The entire plant, including all roots and root tendrils, must be gently dug up and removed. If the roots are gnarled and misshapen, then clubroot is the problem. Act quickly to remove the plants so that the fungus doesn’t continue to live in the soil. Do not compost the plants. Raise the pH of your soil to above 7.2. You may need to sterilize your soil, too.

HEALTH 

1.Cancer prevention: Broccoli shares these cancer fighting, immune boosting properties with other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.

2. Cholesterol reduction: Like many whole foods, broccoli is packed with soluble fiber that draws cholesterol out of your body.

3. Reducing allergic reaction and inflammation: Research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body. Broccoli even has significant amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, which are well know as an anti-inflammatory.

4. Powerful antioxidant: Of all the cruciferous vegetables, broccoli stands out as the most concentrated source of vitamin C, plus the flavonoids necessary for vitamin C to recycle effectively. Also concentrated in broccoli are the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, other powerful antioxidants.

5. Bone health: Broccoli contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.

6. Heart health: The anti-inflammatory properties of sulforaphane, one of the isothiocyanates (ITCs) in broccoli, may be able to prevent (or even reverse) some of the damage to blood vessel linings that can be caused by inflammation due to chronic blood sugar problems.

7. Diet aid: Broccoli is a good carb and is high in fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating. Plant