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Broccoli, so easy to grow and so good for you

Broccoli is an easy to grow powerhouse of nutrition. One cup of chopped broccoli delivers 135 % of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, 116 % of Vitamin K and is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.With all these benefits and its delicious taste, it makes sense to grow broccoli in your home garden. Here are some easy tips on growing broccoli.

This broccoli is surrounded with mulch which helps keep moisture in the soil.
This broccoli is surrounded with mulch which helps keep moisture in the soil. public domain
Broccoli is one of the easier plants to grow in your home garden.
Broccoli is one of the easier plants to grow in your home garden. public domain

Sow your broccoli seeds indoors 7 to 9 weeks before the last expected frost. Seeds should germinate in 4 to 5 days, once the seeds germinate, place pots in a sunny area and maintain the temperature at 60° to 65°F.

Transplant the broccoli seedlings into the garden when they are about 6 inches tall, with 2 to 4 true leaves. Beforehand, be sure to harden them off for at least a week. Set the young plants 1 to 2 inches deeper in the garden than they grew in the pots or flats. Space them 1 to 2 feet apart in rows 2 to 3 feet apart. Closer spacing will produce smaller heads. Firm the soil and water well.

Two to three weeks after transplanting, add some compost around the plants and water deeply. Be sure to keep weeds down by cultivating lightly around the plants.

Harvest before the florets start to open and turn yellow. Cut just below the point where the stems begin to separate. Once you’ve harvested the main head, side shoots will form in the leaf axils all along the lower stalk. Though smaller, these florets will taste just as good as the main head. Keep cutting, and broccoli will keep producing until the weather turns too hot or too cold.

This is a delicious recipe that uses leftover cooked chicken and broccoli. Enjoy!

Chicken Broccoli Bake

4 large potatoes
1 medium head of broccoli
1 can of cream of chicken soup
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1 cup water
3 cups cooked chopped chicken
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Peel potatoes and cut into quarters. Place in medium-sized saucepan, cover with cold water.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes until soft.
  • Drain and slice the potatoes.
  • Prepare broccoli - break into florets and wash.
  • Place in a medium-sized saucepan, cover with boiling water and cook for eight minutes or until stalks are soft.
  • Drain the broccoli and chop.
  • Mix mayonnaise, soup and water together, then season.
  • Pour half the soup mix into a shallow casserole dish - arrange the broccoli and chicken over the top.
  • Finish with a layer of sliced potatoes.
  • Pour the remaining soup mix over the potatoes and sprinkle with grated cheese.
  • Make sure the potatoes are well covered.
  • Bake for 40 or 45 minutes until golden brown.
  • Check after 30 minutes, as overcooking will dry it out.