Broccoli is part of the cabbage or Brassicaceae. It is an easy vegetable to grow in Phoenix and like all vegetables so much tastier when it is home grown.
Phoenix Gardening Steps: Grow Broccoli in the Desert
- When and how to plant Broccoli
- What grows well near broccoli and what doesn’t?
- How to care for broccoli plants
- Harvesting broccoli-when is the ideal time to pick broccoli?
How and When to Plant Broccoli
As one of the cool season vegetables broccoli should be planted at the end of summer, so the plant has time to mature and be ready for harvest before it gets too hot out again.
Seeds can be planted from the end of August through the beginning of January. Transplants can be planted from late September through the end of January. Allow 18 inches of space between plants.
When planting broccoli remember the plant needs time to mature and be ready to harvest before day temperatures exceed 75 degrees.
Companion Plants for Broccoli
To make gardening easier plant some of broccoli’s relatives nearby. They will have the same growing requirements. Broccoli is part of the cabbage family, so kale, cauliflower, turnips, cabbage and brussel sprouts make good companions.
If you want to make your broccoli even happier plant some potatoes or onions nearby. Fill in the spaces with aromatic plants such as sage, rosemary, and dill. If you have pesky rabbits eating your cabbage plants planting onions nearby will deter them.
How to Care for Broccoli
Light Requirements: Broccoli needs full sun or about 6 hours of sun a day.
Soil Requirements: Prefers loamy well-drained soil, but broccoli can also grow well in amended clay or sandy soils as well. Broccoli likes slightly acidic to slightly alkaline pH. The soil pH range of 6.8-7.4 is ideal.
Water Requirements: Broccoli likes consistent moisture. Water several times per week.
Fertilization Requirements: Broccoli is a heavy feeder. Like all plants broccoli appreciates soil that is amended with compost. Supplemental fertilizer should have high nitrogen. Alfalfa meal can provide nitrogen requirements.
When to Harvest Broccoli
Broccoli takes longer to mature than a lot of other cool season vegetables. On average, broccoli is ready to harvest anywhere from 90-130 days from being planted. In Phoenix this means harvest times are December through May depending on when it is planted.
Harvest broccoli when the head is dark green and before it goes to seed. Cut the head off at an angle about six inches from the plant. The plant should produce more broccoli after the initial harvest.