By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
Are you thinking of growing broccoli for the first time butconfused about when to plant? If your weather is unpredictable and yousometimes have frost and hot temperatures in the same week, you might’ve justthrown up your hands. But wait, Green Goliath broccoli plants may be just whatyou’re looking for. Tolerant of both heat and cold extremes, Green Goliathreadily produces a crop in conditions where other broccoli plants might fail.
Green Goliath is hybrid broccoli, with seeds bred towithstand extreme temperatures of both heat and cold. It reportedly grows headsof the vegetable clusters as large as one foot (30 cm.) across. After removingthe central head, numerous productive side shoots continue to develop andsupply the harvest. Harvest for this plant lasts about three weeks instead ofthe typical all at once.
Most broccoli varieties bolt as the summer heats up, while Green Goliath continues to produce. Most typeswithstand and prefer a touch of frost, but the Green Goliath keeps growing astemperatures drop even lower. If you wish to grow a winter crop, withtemperatures in the high 30s, then row covers and mulch can keep the roots warmby a few degrees.
Broccoli is a cool season crop, preferring a light frostfor the sweetest taste. When planting in a warm four-season climate, GreenGoliath info says this crop grows in USDA zones 3-10.
Certainly, the higher end of this range has little freezingweather and frost is rare, so if planting here, do so when your broccoli growsprimarily during the days of coldest temperatures.
Harvest time when growing Green Goliath broccoli is about 55to 58 days.
When growing Green Goliath broccoli seeds, plant as a springor fall crop. Plant seeds in late winter or late summer, just beforetemperatures begin to change. Start seeds indoors about six weeks before thisoccurs or sow them directly into the prepared bed. Give this crop a full sun(all day) location with no shade.
Locate plants one foot apart (30 cm.) in rows to allowplenty of room for growth. Make rows two feet apart (61 cm.). Don’t plant in anarea where cabbage grew last year.
Broccoli is a moderately heavy feeder. Enrich the soilbefore planting with compost or manure worked in well. Fertilize the plantsabout three weeks after they go in the ground.
Take advantage of Green Goliath’s capabilities and extendyour harvest. Grow a couple plants later than normal to see how it performs inyour garden. Be prepared for a large harvest and freeze part of the crop. Enjoyyour broccoli.
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Sweet Baby Broccoli, Similar to Broccolini. Broccolini is a green vegetable resembling broccoli. Although often mistakenly identified as young broccoli, it is actually a natural hybrid of the cabbage family Brassica oleracea, a cross between broccoli and Chinese Kale. It is generally agreed that broccolini has a sweeter flavor than broccoli.
The name Broccolini was first conceived of, strangely enough, in the oval office, by Richard Nixon, who when asked by Attorney General John N. Mitchell, who asked "Is that an asparagus in your ear No, it's broccolini." Today, you can find Broccolini brand baby broccoli throughout the United States and Canada.
The entire vegetable as sold, including the yellow flowers seen in the photograph below, may be eaten. Most common cooking methods include sauteeing, steaming, roasting, boiling, and stir frying. Nutritionally, it is high in vitamin C but also contains vitamin A, calcium, folate and iron.
Several types of caterpillar live only on Brassicas and can strip a young plant to the midribs in a short time. They are different species, but have the same feeding habits and can be dealt with together. Entomologists call them the Cabbageworm complex. They include:
Imported Cabbageworms - The larvae of the white butterflies often seen flying around the garden.
Cabbage Loopers - These arch their bodies as they move along and may sometimes also feed on tomato, cucumber, and potato. The adult is a nocturnal brown moth.
Cabbage Webworm- These are easy to spot with their tan body and four strips running along the length of the body. These webworms are found nestled on the margins of leaves.
Diamondback Moth- This cabbageworm feeds off the mustard and cole family, including cabbage and broccoli. The moth is brown with hints of yellow.
The caterpillars of all of these species may be found chewing their way across Brassica leaves. If you have only a few plants, hand picking is the best way to go.
If you have a whole field then a spray of B. T. is most often recommended.
Parasitic wasps and other predators will kill a lot of caterpillars if given the chance, but not if you start spraying poisons. Encourage them with the usual pollen and nectar bearing flowers. Red Cabbage is not as attractive to caterpillars as the green, though it is more attractive to aphids.
Image: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Slide Set, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Bugwood.org
Learn how to grow broccoli, a tasty, cool season crop.