When and how should I plant broccoli in Georgia?

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) is one of the most famous and nutritious vegetables and can be used as a part of your daily diet in multiple ways. Use it in your salads, cook it or make delicious soups out of it! Due to its high nutritional and health values, broccoli is also known as the “Crown jewel of Nutrition”

Power-packed with vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, etc., you can add to your daily diet in many creative ways to reap its multiple health benefits, and what can be better than growing your broccoli at home, organically, rather than consuming the store-bought ones!

Broccoli is a very easy-to-grow vegetable and does not have a very specific growing requirement. Growing broccoli by yourself at home is usually a very hassle-free process, as compared to many other vegetables which require extremely specific growing conditions.

But having said that it is also important to remember that there are certain conditions under which broccoli thrives the best, so it is necessary to keep in mind these conditions while growing broccoli to make sure that you have the best quality of broccoli growing in your house or garden.

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For example, broccoli is a cool season and fast-growing crop and thus if you are living in a place that has long hot summers, then you have to be careful of certain things while growing your broccoli!

Georgia, is one such country, having a humid subtropical climate and long and hot summers with only mild winters in most of its states.

When and how should I plant broccoli in Georgia?

If you are living in the beautiful country of Georgia, here are a few of the things that you need to keep in mind before you start growing your broccoli!

1. Hot subtropical climate with long summers

Georgia is a Eurasian country, situated between Asia and Europe. Most of the states in Georgia have long and hot summers with mild winters.

Now, this might not be the most ideal condition to grow your broccoli but you can still very conveniently grow them by keeping a few things in mind.

There are two ideal times to start growing broccoli:

  1. The first will be in late winter or early spring
  2. The second will be in late summer or early fall

If you have started planting your broccoli in early spring or late winter then you can expect a summer harvest, and you can also plant them in the late summer for a fall harvest.

It is advisable that you plant your broccoli early so that you can harvest it before the hot summer in Georgia. As broccoli is a cool-season crop, it should be ideally planted during the cooler months of the year.

You can start sowing or planting the broccoli seeds indoors during the mid-summer and by the time it germinates you can transplant them to a suitable location where they will get sufficient sunlight for their growth.

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A good time to start sowing your seeds (which you can do indoors) is 7 to 8 weeks or about 60 days before the last frost date.

Once the seeds germinate, which takes approximately 28 days, you can transplant them in your garden about 3 weeks before the frost-free date.

After 45 to 50 days of showing the broccoli seeds, you can transplant them into a bigger area for example in your garden bed or a huge pot.

Make sure that you transplant them in time and do not delay because, once the roots of the broccoli plant start to grow longer, then it will be difficult to transplant them.

For transplanting your broccoli plant from your pot to a bigger area such as a garden bed or a large container you need to dig holes of about 6 inches deep in the soil.

Now you need to very carefully bury your broccoli seedlings here. Make sure that while you take your broccoli seedlings out from your pot, you are being very careful and not damaging the delicate roots of the plant.

There should be a distance of at least 15 to 20 inches between two broccoli plants. It is important to space them properly because broccolis grow into huge plants and take up a lot of space once fully grown.

In Georgia, the best time to transplant your broccoli plant is from mid-February till the end of March, for spring transplanting. You can also go for fall transplanting from the beginning of August till the mid of September.

During this time you have to make sure that you are watering your broccoli plant sufficiently.

Broccoli requires a lot of water to grow properly. If you want to ensure whether you are watering your broccoli plant sufficiently or not, you can simply check the soil present a few centimeters beneath.

If the soil does not feel damp or moist and feels dry instead, then it means that you need to water them more often.

Read How can I grow broccoli by using its stem in water?

2. Soil requirements for growing broccoli

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Broccolis grow best in slightly acidic soil. An ideal soil pH to grow broccoli is between 6.1 to 6.8 pH. If the pH of the soil is less than 6.0 then you can add some acid compost to it to increase its pH level.

Similarly, if the pH level of the soil is above 7.0 then you can mix some granular sulphur in it to decrease its pH level.

Broccoli grows best in soil whose texture is between sandy soil and clayey loam and thankfully enough Georgia is known for its red clay soil.

Apart from this, for growing broccoli the soil needs to be able to drain well. If the soil does not drain well then you can add some organic matter to it such as compost or manure in order to improve soil drainage.

This process is known as mulching. Mulching helps to improve soil aeration and soil structure thus improving soil drainage. Mulching can also help prevent your broccoli plant from bolting.

The broccoli plant requires a good amount of nitrogen for its optimum growth, so you can add nitrogen-rich fertilizer to the soil in which you will be growing your broccoli. You can add fertilizer to your soil every 20 days after transplanting.

Some natural fertilizers which are rich in nitrogen are blood meal, sodium nitrate, feather meal, etc. After adding the fertilizer make sure to water your broccoli plant.

Broccoli requires a good amount of water for its proper growth. An ideal amount would be about 1 inch to 1/4 inches of water every week.

The soil should constantly feel damp and moist. If the soil feels dry then it is a sign for you to water your broccoli plant.

Read How long does broccoli take to grow from seed?

3. Sunlight

Broccolis are sun-loving vegetables. They require a good amount of sunlight for their proper growth. Ideally, broccoli requires about 7 to 8 hours of sunlight for their optimum growth as they cannot grow properly in lack of sunlight and eventually will end up producing poor quality and unhealthy-looking plants.

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4. Ideal temperature for growing broccoli

It is important to remember that even though broccoli is a cool-season crop still it cannot grow or survive in very cold weather conditions or frost.

Broccoli plants cannot survive in weather conditions with a temperature below 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The ideal temperature to grow broccoli is 18° to 21°C or 65°F to 70°F. However, if the temperature is too high then this could result in the bolting of the broccoli plant.

Bolting is the process in which your broccoli plant will directly start to flower. It is basically a survival mechanism in which the plant tries to produce the next generation as quickly as possible.

Bolting takes place when the soil gets too warm and stars to heat up. So just like too low temperature can cause the broccoli plant to die, similarly, too much heat could cause the plant to start bolting.

In the hot weather of Georgia, bolting could usually take place. In order to prevent bolting, you can add a thick layer of mulch to the top layer of the soil after you have transplanted your broccoli plant.

Adding mulch to the topsoil basically prevents the roots of the broccoli plant from getting heated up, and thus prevents bolting.

The Sun King Broccoli is a heat-tolerant variety of broccoli that is ideal for growing in places like Georgia, which have long and hot summers.

In about 100 to 120 days, the broccolis will be ready for harvest. You can tell that your broccoli head is ready for harvest when you find the florets of the broccoli head to be deep green in color.

They usually grow up to a size of 4 to 7 inches. If you see any signs of yellowness in the florets of the broccoli head then immediately how is them as yellowness is a sign that the florets are starting to bolt or flower.

You should always harvest your broccoli early in the morning before the soil has started to heat up. Using a sharp knife cut the broccoli head of the plant about 5 inches below the broccoli head stem. Try to cut it in one swift motion in order to prevent damaging the plant. Improperly cutting them can reduce the chances of a further harvest.

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