What’s Growing On: Broccoli is an easy winter crop for new gardeners

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 6:28 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 6:02 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Broccoli is an easy plant to grow through the cooler months across North Central Florida, and after you harvest it, it’s quite versatile in the kitchen.

The United States ranks third in the world for broccoli production according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. The word broccoli comes from an Italian word, ‘broccolo’, which means the flowering top of cabbage.

“They originated in the Middle East and Asia and has been known since Roman times. Since being exported, it’s one of the most popular vegetables,” explained Colin Burrows, a master gardener for Alachua County.

The best time to plant broccoli is in the early fall. This plant has a quick turnaround time of three months under the right growing conditions.

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The key component to a successful broccoli plant is maintaining the soil and watering properly.

“You need to keep the soil moist, they’ll do well in almost any soil other than very sandy soils that some of us have. I grow mine in raised beds with lots of compost. They virtually look after themselves and they’re quite resistant to disease,” explained Burrows.

Broccoli is the Alachua County Plant of the Month because of how easy it is for new gardeners to grow this time of year.

The plant of the month program will continue through 2022.

Commissioner Mary Alford started this program to open up North Central Florida to plants and gardening.

This is a collaborative effort with the help of Alachua County Commissioners, UF IFAS, Master Gardener volunteers, the Alachua County Public Library, and Working Food.

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