Scientifically called Brassica oleracea, variety Italica, the Broccoli is a non-toxic cabbage green plant in the mustard family of the Brassicaceae genus.
It has a large flowering head, stalk, and little leaves that can be eaten as a vegetable, as they contain fiber, minerals like Potassium and Folic acid, and Vitamins A, C, and K.
It is a fast-growing annual plant that grows 60 to 90cm (24 to 35 inches) tall. When buying broccoli seeds, you should know how long it will take them to grow, as it'd help you decide when to plant them and their growing stages.
There is basically 4 broccoli plant growing stages: Germination, Seedling, Vegetative, and Flowering stages.
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Different Broccoli Plant Growing Stages
Being a cold-weather crop, Broccoli requires cooler air and soil temperatures to sprout and develop properly.
Several gardeners grow Broccoli during the late winter or early spring to harvest during the summer. You can start planting their seeds indoors during early spring (app. 6-8 weeks before the final frost date).
You can also plant their seeds in the soil between mid to late summer, when temperatures are at the season high, to enable plants to mature during the cold weather of the fall.
After you plant them, ensure the soil stays moist always, as it stimulates internal cells to start respiration and metabolizes the food reserves in the soil.
After planting your Broccoli seeds, be it indoors or inside the soil, you can expect the smooth growing processes of the stages below, starting with the germination stage (which will take around 10 to 14 days after seed sowing).
Here are the 4 essential broccoli growing stages:
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Stage 1: Germination
Broccoli is grown as an annual plant; in other words, you can grow and harvest them in just one year. The germination stage is a period when the first developmental stage in its life cycle occurs.
Here, Broccoli seeds begin their life in the presence of moisture, nutrients, sunlight, and temperature.
You can start Broccoli seeds in-house six weeks before the final spring frost. You can make use of a seed-starting tray to plant the seeds. Apart from a seed tray, you can use any well-drained container, ideal for starting seeds in-house.
Note that the best temperature for planting Broccoli ranges from 65 to 85°F. Under normal conditions, the Broccoli seeds will start to sprout between 5 to 10 days.
Stage 2: Seedling Stage
The second growing stage of the Broccoli plant is the seedling stage. Meanwhile, this stage endures for almost four weeks, at which period every necessary structure needed for water and nutrients absorption and food synthesis has grown.
When we talk about seedling of Broccoli, we are simply referring to a young embryonic broccoli plant that has begun to grow leaf-like and root-like structures.
Contrary to the germination stage, in the seedling stage of Broccoli, you should endeavor to keep the temperature between the ranges of 60 - 65°F.
You can also feed them if need be, but it must be a slow-releasing fertilizer that contains a small amount of nitrogen.
You are required to allow your Broccoli seedlings in-house until they tale at least 3 to 4 weeks old after which, you're free to transplant them to a bigger container or garden soil.
It would be best if you also considered its regular watering, as it is another important routine of the Broccoli.
Using a germinating tray, you won't find it difficult because everything comes pre-installed, the watering stuff inclusive. However, the best principle of thumb is to moisten the top inches of the soil. But, be careful to prevent excessive watering.
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Stage 3: Vegetative Stage
The next stage is the vegetative stage, where all Broccoli seeds start differentiating, elongating, and expanding to give rise to a whole set of leaves, roots, and stems.
At this stage, the Broccoli plant is old enough to absorb nutrients and water from the soil and synthesize food with sunlight's help through photosynthesis.
This stage often lasts for only a short period before the flowering routine begins. You can also feed the plants with fertilizer, but it should contain a low amount of nitrogen.
In other words, abstain from any fertilizer containing a high amount of nitrogen, as it can cause your Broccoli not to produce heads. Aside from that, feed them with compost that has a high amount of carbon components.
Stage 4: Flowering Stage
The flowering period is the final growing stage of the Broccoli life cycle. The flowering stage often begins between 45 to 65 days after planting.
Depending on the variety, endeavor to harvest the Broccoli heads before they start forming flowers, especially if growing for vegetable purposes.
Note that, immediately a Broccoli plant begins to grow flowers, you can no longer harvest them, as you will have to be patient until it starts to form seeds.
You can then collect their seeds and preserve them for future uses. You can harvest Broccoli seeds when the color has turned brown and the seeds become dry.
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