Broccoli, Waltham 29

The “Waltham 29” is a lovely and adaptable broccoli that can be successfully planted in both spring and fall.  Developed by the University of Massachusetts in the 1950’s.   A delicious tasting broccoli with a pleasing dark green – sometimes even bluish – color.

Broccoli, Waltham 29 Plant Info

  • PLANT TYPE: Annual
  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Brassica oleracea var.  italica
  • LIGHT: Full Sun
  • SOIL TYPE: light, dry, well-drained soil
  • pH RANGE: 6.0 – 6.8
  • MOISTURE/WATERING: Keep moist, not waterlogged
  • MATURITY IN DAYS: 65   -70
  • KNOWN PESTS: Cabbage worms and loopers
  • KNOWN DISEASES: Head rot and downy mildew

OVERVIEW:

Broccoli is a rewarding vegetable to grow and is best planted in soil rich with organic matter.   Broccoli seed should be sown early in spring so the heads mature before hot weather.

Broccoli is high in Vitamins A and C and is also considered to be a cancer-fighting food.   For best flavor, cook broccoli only until tender/crips or use raw with dips or in salads.   Broccoli freezes very well, maintaining its color, texture and taste.

PROPAGATION / SOWING:

Plant broccoli seeds 1/4 – 1/2″ deep.   Transplant or thin small broccoli plants to 15-18″ apart in rows 32-36″ apart.   Broccoli transplants can be started in April for May planting.  Transplant after 4-6 weeks.   Use a starter fertilizer, soaking the root ball thoroughly prior to transplanting.   Direct seed broccoli in late spring, as seedlings can tolerate a light frost.   Broccoli can be direct seeded up until mid-late June for a continuous harvest.   Soil temperature should be 21-26 degrees C (70-80 degrees F) for optimal germination in 4-7 days.

COMPANION PLANTING:

Bush bean, beet, carrot, celery, chard, cucumber, dill, lettuce, onion family, potato, spinach, tomato.

CARE & GROWING OF BROCCOLI:

Broccoli prefers full sun, but will tolerate part shade.   Prepare a rich, loose soil that holds moisture well and has a pH level of 6.0-6.5.   Broccoli is a heavy feeder and will also benefit from applications of Boron, calcium and magnesium, particularly during the early stages of growth.  Hollow stem in broccoli is related to boron deficiency.

HARVESTING BROCCOLI:

Harvest when the broccoli buds of the head are firm and tight, cutting 5 to 10 inches down on the stalk.   This will promote the growth of side shoots which will provide an abundance of smaller broccoli heads over a long period.

BROCCOLI PESTS & DISEASES:

Broccoli can and often does get attacked by Cabbage worms and loopers (white and yellow butterflies) which can be controlled using BTK, Rotenone or Pyrethrum (however, inspecting your broccoli plants daily and simply picking off these worms and loopers is very effective – and natural).   Use row covers to block out all insects including root maggots, aphids and Diamondback moths.   Maintaining a soil pH of 6.8 and higher will discourage club root.  Fungal and bacteria diseases such as head rot and downy mildew can be prevented by allowing good air circulation and avoiding a mid August maturity when the air humidity is higher.  Strong healthy broccoli plants growing in an organically rich soil will be better able to fight disease.

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