Broccoli (60 to 85 days )
Buy plants from your nursery or garden center soon as they are available in the spring. Choose plants firmly rooted in the pots and not too tall. They should remain steady when you lightly shake the pot. Plant as early as possible to extend the harvest and cover if severe cold is predicted.
Plants get quite large so plant on eight to twelve inch centers. Pick off lower leaves that turn yellow or look faded. Hill the rows and plant on top of the hills. The plants can then be watered by flooding between the hills preventing soil from splashing and making the harvest gritty. Firm plants well down in the soil and water with a mixture of 2 oz of Nature's Guide Root Stimulator per gallon of water.
To prevent cut worm,snail and sowbug damage dust liberally around the base of each plant with Nature's Guide Diatomaceous Earth and apply an inch of Nature's Guide Organic Compost to hold in moisture and keep the roots cool. Apply more of each as the plants continue to grow.
The major pest of cole crops like broccoli is the cabbage worm. They show up when the weather becomes warm and harvest approaches. Lightly dust the plant with Nature's Guide Diatomaceous Earth. They are big eaters and grow rapidly along with their appetites. Nature's GuideTomato and Pepper Spray is also effective.
Cut mature buds to the base of the stalk with a sharp knife before the flowers begin to open. Warm weather will accelerate plant growth and cut often to extend the harvest.
NOTE: With most cole crops like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage some leaves will inevitably turn yellow for a number of reasons. These unhealthy leaves should be pinched back as far as possible to the stalk and discarded or thrown into the compost pile. Insects and pests like sowbugs, snails, and cabbage worms are creatures of opportunity. They can sense weakness in plants and are drawn to them. Good hygiene is important in the garden and goes a long way towards preventing insects and disease.