In San Antonio at Rainbow Gardens, broccoli is a fall garden staple. We bring in multiple varieties to choose from and our selection is the best in the city. If you’ve only grown it during springtime, you will be surprised how much the taste differs when you plant it in fall. Since you can find it our nursery in 6-packs or single 4″ pots, trying it for the first time in your garden is easy. Read on to see why we think broccoli is the star of fall vegetable gardens.
There are many varities of broccoli that you can find in the nursery. This one’s called Romanesco!
There are a ton of ways to prepare broccoli, so it never gets boring! Plant some this fall!
5 Reasons You Should Grow Broccoli In The Fall
1. The flavor of broccoli is best when grown in the fall. Plant cells work to convert starches into sugars to protect the plant from upcoming cold weather and this in turn creates sweeter, flavor-filled broccoli when planted in fall.
2. Broccoli is a cole crop. Cole crops are cruciferous vegetables like: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc… These crops are made for the cooler temperatures in fall. when planted in spring (especially if planted late) these veggies tend to bolt and go to seed too soon because of the heat. (While you can still plant broccoli in spring, you MUST pay attention to planting dates to make sure you plant early enough.)
3. Broccoli can tolerate frost. Even if we do get a few light frosts, broccoli can shake it off its leaves and keep on growing. (if a hard freeze is predicted, best to cover up.)
4. Broccoli rarely has disease issues. There aren’t many disease that plague broccoli. Heavy soils that don’t drain well can contribute to bacteria, and powdery mildew can develop with extended wet periods. However, with the proper soil (listed below) and great air circulation with properly spaced plants, disease rarely affects broccoli plants.
5. Broccoli tastes great and is full of goodness! You get a great does of vitamin A, C, ptassium, magnesium and iron with broccoli. And let’s face it, as we go into the winter months, we all could use all the healthy eating we can get! With all the ways you can prepare broccoli, you can eat healthy all winter! Try it roasted with just olive oil and salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar. Yum!
Protect your young broccoli transplants from late summer sun. They are tender and can get scorched while getting established.
Cutworms are pests that can skeletonize broccoli leaves quickly; but good observation in the garden keeps these at bay.
5 Things You Need To Know To Grow Broccoli Successfully
1. Give your broccoli the best soil. While broccoli can grow in just about any soil, it prefers soil that is rich in organic matter, with a pH balance between 6.0 – 7.0. Well-draining soil is a must for most vegetables as this helps to prevent root rot.
2. Protect your early broccoli transplants from late summer sun. The ideal time to plant broccoli in San Antonio is late summer. But as you know, the sumer sun is blazing hot, so use some shade cloth to protect your young broccoli transplants while they are getting established in the heat of summer.
3. Offer your broccoli food. Start your broccoli transplants off on the righ foot by adding some root stimulator or growing solution into the hole you’ll be planting in. Then, throughout it’s growing period, offer your broccoli occasional feedings of nitrogen-heavy fertilizer.
4. Even moisture is best for broccoli. Most vegetables do not like to be gasping for water, or drowning in it either. Making sure your garden bed is mulched with plenty of organic matter helps to retain soil moisture. (Grass clippings are great as they also add nitrogen to help feed broccoli.)
5. Be diligent about watching for pests who want your broccoli. While broccoli is one of our favorite veggies, it is also a favorite for cutworms and cabbage loopers which can wipe out your crop overnight.
- Protect broccoli from cutworms by placing a stick next to them, or use our favorite protective device, a toilet paper roll. Slice the roll vertically, and wrap it around your plant like a collar, burying part of the collar into the soil to make a barrier against these pests that crawl across the top of the soil to get to your broccoli.
- Bt (Bacillus thuringenisis) is an organic spray that tackles cabbage loopers. Cabbage loopers attack the foliage of cole crops and can skeletonize them in a heartbeat. Be on the watch for them on the undersides of your broccoli leaves and be quick about treating them.
Broccoli is a fairly easy fall vegetable to grow. How about giving it a try this year? We sure hope you do!
The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy