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Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) is a member of the cabbage family, along with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and collard greens. It is an excellent plant to grow, because not only is it one of the most nutritious of all vegetables, but it is fairly easy to maintain. A cool-season vegetable, broccoli fully matures in 55 to 80 days from transplants, 100-150 days from seed. The variety is very important to success. Some have degenerated to the point that the main head is smaller than other varieties side shoots.

Broccoli dislikes temperatures higher than 23 C, so midsummer is not the time for broccoli for many areas (however Tasmania is often fine). It likes temperatures between 7 and 23 degrees, but it is frost tolerant and will even survive occasional temperatures down to minus 6 degrees C. Although it likes full sun, broccoli is one of the few vegetables that will produce decently in partial shade. It prefers soil that’s slightly acidic, with a pH of 6.0 6 to 6.8, and needs consistently moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter filled with micronutrients. Broccoli is the perfect season-extender for early and late garden harvests.

Some plants actually help improve the flavor of broccoli when planted nearby and those plants are celery, potatoes, and onions.

Other plants that are an aromatic help to repel common garden pests that feed on broccoli include:

  • Dill
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Garlic
  • Thyme

Because broccoli is a notorious calcium-hog, plants that require little calcium are good companions, such as beets, nasturtiums, and marigolds.


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