History and Background of Broccoli
Broccoli is another plant from the Brassica genus. In this book, all cabbage, turnips, mustards and collards are also from this genus. This means that all these vegetables are related. Before we started reviewing items from this genus, we reviewed a lot of vegetables from the nightshade family. Even if you are not familiar with these plants, you can see that humans eat a lot of domesticated plants from just a few families. Some reasons for this are taste, productivity, toxin levels, and an accumulated knowledgebase about the plant. Broccoli is no exception. Broccoli is known as a fibrous, green vegetable that sprouts from a stalk. It freezes well, and is also eaten raw.
The Turks first domesticated broccoli. The time of earliest domestication was about 8 B.C.E. Broccoli became a favorite and was spread by the Roman Empire. The vegetable was spread throughout Europe by the Italians who gave it to the French, and English. It gradually gained popularity in the United States and is rated as perhaps the number one vegetable in the US.
Broccoli varieties include:
· Green Comet, and
· Green Goliath
Broccoli Growth Needs
Broccoli should be planted ¼ to ½ inch deep in warm soil. A slightly elevated soil PH gives the broccoli an advantage. Broccoli prefers direct sunlight while young, and there is an advantage to adding a base to low PH soils. Many gardeners prefer to transplant from an indoor environment to an outside garden. You should however be warned that this should only be done when the transplant can move to a warm soil with a temperature higher than 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Plants are best put out in early spring, once weather has consistently warmed past 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Seedlings should average 18 inches apart and rows should be 3 feet apart.
Aphids and worms are the principal enemies of broccoli. Aphids can be seen as they build-up colonies on the backsides of leaves. Please watch for this. Various caterpillars and butterflies are also common pests to broccoli. These include the cutworm, cabbage worm, and diamond-backed moth larvae. Basic pesticides will repel all these pests.