Can Broccoli Be Grown In Containers?

Absolutely! And we can tell you how.

Ideally, you will plant the seeds between mid August and mid September. The seeds will germinate in temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees, so keep them in direct sunlight and allow them to grow two to three inches tall before moving them outside. These first steps are quite important, as broccoli given careful attention can provide a yield that will go beyond the harvesting period. The best way to introduce your broccoli to the great outdoors is to harden off your seedlings. Leave them out on a table that is directly in the sunlight and take them out early in the morning for no more than three hours. Broccoli prefers partial shade and the soil should never reach more than 80 degrees. An environment that is too warm will cause your buds to bolt early and can produce a woody and tasteless harvest.

After two weeks, you can begin to get the pots ready for transporting the seedlings. Your best bet is to have five gallons available for each seedling, and to use containers that are lightly colored and porous, with drainage holes at the bottom. If you prefer to use a pot that doesn’t have holes, you can always drill holes in the bottom. To help prevent soil erosion, you can place small pieces of terra cotta pots, fiber glass or small pebbles in the bottom of the pot.

Regarding soil, your best bet is to obtain some from a nearby garden store. This soil is already mixed to absorb water but it will still drain well. Even so, you should keep an eye on the water content of your soil. You don’t want it to be too wet or too dry. And commercial fertilizers are ok, but it is quite possible to use too much, over-fertilizing your soil and thereby harming your crops. And then there are insects – another potential threat to your crop. Many can be kept away by placing pots of rosemary, thyme, or sage near your broccoli. This will also contribute to keeping things organic, as pesticides may not be necessary. If, however, any pests are discovered, you should remove them immediately. Keeping the containers 24 to 36 inches away from each other can also help prevent an infestation.

It’s time to harvest after 100-150 days if you started from seeds and 55-80 days if you started from seedlings. Harvest the central head first as it will be the first to mature, but be aware that side heads will continue to grow even in cooler weather. You can tell that a plant is ready to be harvested when it is tightly together and dark green in color. And if you leave a base with outer leaves remaining in tact, you can use this to begin a second harvesting season.

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