We have all heard about the numerous health benefits of broccoli. You can grow this vegetable in containers as well. With the right amount of nutrition, sunlight, and moisture, container-grown broccoli can grow as well those planted in the ground.
Step 1 – Start the Broccoli Seedlings
Broccoli is a cool weather crop, and the seeds germinate best at temperatures around 24ºC. Start the broccoli seedlings in a seed tray. You can use a soilless potting mix, which provides the best environment for germination. Sow the seeds at a depth of half an inch, or sprinkle the seeds on the potting mix and cover with a light layer of the mix. Water well, so that the soil is moist. Keep the seed tray in a sunny area in your home, but ensure that temperatures do not get too high. This will inhibit seed germination. You can also move the seed tray to a shaded area during the hottest part of the day. Broccoli seedlings germinate in less than 2 weeks, during which time the seeds must be kept consistently moist. When the seedlings appear, thin them to a distance of 1 foot between each plant.
Step 2 – Ready the Containers
Broccoli containers must be large and deep enough to accommodate the plant when it is fully grown. Use a container that has an inner diameter of 12 to 14 inches. For growing multiple plants, use larger containers, and plant seedlings at least a foot apart from each other. Also ensure that the seedlings are not too close to the edge, so that they have enough space to grow. The container must have holes for adequate drainage, either on the bottom or the sides close to the bottom of the container. The depth of the container must be 9 to 10 inches. Broccoli grows best in well drained soil. Fill the container with a good quality potting mix.
Step 3 – Transplant the Seedlings
Broccoli seedlings are ready to transplant when they are more than a couple of inches tall. This usually takes less than 6 weeks. To transplant the seedlings, loosen the soil underneath and then tug gently at the leaves. Lift the seedlings with the soil around its roots. Plant the seedling at the same depth in the container. Water thoroughly. Before moving the container outdoors, harden off the seedlings by placing them outside for a few hours every day. Do this for about a week, and then move the container outdoors.
Step 4 – Watering and Fertilization
If the container is made of a porous material, it will absorb moisture from the soil. Check the plant regularly and make sure the soil is always adequately moist. Applying a general purpose fertilizer every month is beneficial to the growth of broccoli. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers, as they will cause spindly growth and weakening of the stems.