The craze for growing broccoli indoors is growing at an incredible rate yet the confusion regarding its practicality is equally high. Broccoli is a nutrient dense vegetable. It is not only high in vitamins and minerals but is also a high source of vegetable protein.
One of the main reasons why broccoli is popular is owing to its easy growth. Unlike most other vegetables, broccoli does not need bright sunlight to grow. Even in shaded areas, this vegetable can blossom.
Owing to its ease of growing, broccoli is becoming a very popular indoor vegetable. Nonetheless, it needs to be seen whether it is practically possible to grow this vegetable indoors or not. Well, let’s find out:
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Growing Broccoli Indoors Write-Up Contents:
1) What is Broccoli?
2) What is the History behind Broccoli?
3) What are the Different Varieties of Broccoli?
4) What is the Cultivation & Production Statistics for Broccoli?
5) What are the Different Types of Pests found in Broccoli?
6) What are the Health Benefits of Eating Broccoli?
7) How to Grow Broccoli Indoors?
8) FAQS on Growing Broccoli Indoors
What is Broccoli?
Broccoli is a vegetable that belongs to the cruciferous family. The name is thus given owing to the shape of this vegetable. The flower and the petals are designed in the form of a cross. Broccoli is also loaded with glucosinolates. These fight cancers of various kinds and keep your body safe from chronic ailments.
The flower head of broccoli is dark green in color. This in turn is affixed to the stock, which is light green in color. Apart from the color difference, it closely resembles cauliflower. The main reason why this vegetable is so popular is owing to its high concentration of Vitamin C and Vitamin K.
Usually this vegetable is eaten in the form of salad. Nonetheless, health experts prefer steaming it in order to nullify the trace of any harsh chemical present within its confines. Microwaving is also considered a healthy way of consuming broccoli. Doing so preserves its nutrients.
What is the History behind Broccoli?
Broccoli was first grown in the Mediterranean area. The first production of this crop was cited in the later part of the fifth century. It has been stated that this crop was initiated by the Roman Empire. Italy and Greece were two areas wherein Broccoli thrived.
In the 18th century, broccoli had become famous across Europe. The eastern part of the continent was known for cultivating this vegetable in mass scale. It was during the 19th century when this vegetable was introduced to the United States of America.
The Italian migrants were responsible for introducing broccoli to the United States. Today, broccoli has become a staple diet for the Americans. Almost every other household here swears by the nutrient rich nature of this super food.
As time progressed, the variety of broccoli also witnessed an unprecedented growth. Several hybrid varieties came into existence. Enhancement in seeds meant better yield, faster growth and better quality crop. Moreover, the new variant of this cruciferous vegetable could now be grown in different parts of the globe.
What are the Different Varieties of Broccoli?
Eating broccoli (especially for a kid) is not at all an easy task. The taste and flavor of this nutrient dense vegetable is not easy to stomach for children.
An ideal veggie for the winter season, broccoli is an ideal vegetable to restore your Vitamin C and K stores. It is also dense in nutrients.
Well, here are the popular broccoli types circulating in the market today:
This is an Italian variety of broccoli. It is native to Calabria – a place in Italy. The flower head can be as large as 20 cms but is usually more than 10 cms.
The distinct feature of this broccoli variant is its thick stalk. It helps enhance the overall flavor of this dish. This variant is usually grown in the winter season.
This is usually grown in the United States of America. Also known as violet broccoli, this vegetable is not grown in South American areas. It is also grown in certain European countries as well. The uniqueness of this broccoli variant is its shape.
It comprises of several small flower heads that are spread above the thick stock. The shape resembles that of a traditional cauliflower. It also consists of numerous flowerbeds. These can be found in various colors – green, white, red, purple and many more.
This is yet another popular variant of broccoli. This version is comprised of numerous small flowers the merge into a large flower. The base is rather thin and comprises of slim stalks.
This is a young plant that consists of glucoraphanin. With the aid of this compound, your health improves dramatically. Your body automatically gets the ability to ward of free radicles. When digested, this compound converts into sulforaphane.
This is a hybrid variant that is grown in the spring season. So, this is a summer crop that is fortified with nutrients. Grown primarily in North America (with California being its base), Belstar has proven to be quite a hit amidst the masses.
Waltham 29 Broccoli:
This variant of broccoli is yet another hybrid type. It is made to withstand the cold weather conditions of the East Coast area. The stalk of this variant is tall and the flower is a mix of blue and green.
The average height of this plant is close to 50 cms. Weltham29 is also grown in the North West part of the Pacific area. The head of this vegetable is on the larger size.
This is also termed as blue broccoli. It tends to start blooming in 49 days. The stems of this variant are strong and the flowers scattered in a powdery formation.
While its texture is tender, the taste is on the milder side. It takes about 10 days for it to germinate. The soil needs to be well drained and nutrient rich. The only issue with this variant is that it requires full sunlight.
Sun King Broccoli:
This is perhaps the most widely grown broccoli plant. It can resist immense amounts of heat. The sun king variety is also quite large in size. This is perhaps the main reason why it is preferred by people from all walks of lives.
Coronado Crown Broccoli:
This is primarily a winter crop that is large in size. The average size of its head is 7 inches. People also claim that this version of broccoli is delicious. The stem of Coronado Brown broccoli is soft. Hence, it can also be used while cooking.
Green Magic Broccoli:
If you have abundance alkaline soil then green magic broccoli shall be an ideal choice to grow. This variant matures early and is delicious to cook. The soil needs to be well drained. As per LeanAndFit, it is best to grow this crop under sunlight.
The side shoots of green magic broccoli are tender. The head of this variant is also very soft. It is tasty and can be prepared in a variety of ways.
This particular variant of broccoli comprises of several powdery flowery heads. It can withstand immense heat and still thrive. It is fortified with vitamins (such as Vitamin C & A).
Green Goliath Broccoli:
This is a hybrid variant of broccoli that is resistant to excessive cold as well as heat. The head of this vegetable is formed in clusters. The entire cluster can be as large as one and a half foot across.
The green goliath broccoli has several side shoots. So, even when the head is removed, nourishment to the plant is provided via the means of these shoots.
If you are fond of European broccoli then, you should try DiCicco variant. Native to Italy, this particular variant of broccoli is suitable for being grown in cold weather conditions.
Compared to other broccoli variants, the DiCicco type is smaller. It grows in fertile, well drained soils. Three months is the time required for its maturity.
What is the Cultivation & Production Statistics for Broccoli?
Almost 28 million tonnes of broccoli is produced annually throughout the world. China tops the world’s production followed closely by India. China produces more than 10 million tonnes of broccoli annually. India produces over 9 million tonnes of broccoli annually.
The United States of America produces a little more than a 1 million tonnes followed by Spain and Mexico. Both the latter countries produce less than 1 million tonnes of Broccoli annually.
California in the United States accounts for more than 90% broccoli production. An average of 20 degree Celsius temperature is considered ideal for broccoli production.
It is a cool weather crop that requires a well-drained and nutritious soil. You need to harvest broccoli using your hand or hand held tools. You cannot make use of machines to harvest this vegetable.
What are the Different Types of Pests found in Broccoli?
There are a myriad of pests found in broccoli. You need to keep a close watch over them if you intend on growing this vegetable in your backyard or indoors.
Well, here is a quick look at the most common pests that tend to cling to your highly nutritious cruciferous vegetable.
This is a thin worm that resembles a ribbon. It has the ability to be ingested into the digestive tract of a human body. When the hatching happens, the larvae are thus distributed inside the wall of your intestinal tract.
Also known as blackfly or greenfly, the aphids worm is known to suck the nutrient supply to your broccoli. It needs to be removed with the aid of pest control using natural ingredients (such as neem oil).
Popularly known as the cabbage looper, this worm belongs to the noctuidae family. This worm loops backwards when it walks. This is why it is termed as a looper worm.
Usually found in the United States, the Harlequin Bug is a pest that tends to damage broccoli crops. Its shell is dotted with red, yellow, white and orange colors.
This pest belongs to the pentatomidae family of worms. This bug affixes itself to the vegetable and sucks its nutrients. The end result is a damaged broccoli crop.
Popularly known as the cabbage webworm, the hellua undalis is found in the European region. It damages the broccoli crop by sapping into its nutrients & killing the terminal bud.
These worms belong to the Pieridae family. They are found in the form of butterflies. Found mostly in Europe and Northern part of America, these worms tend to adversely affect the broccoli crop.
Also known as cabbageworm with cross-stripes, this pest tends to feed on broccoli as well as cabbage. They chew the leaves of the vegetable thereby spoiling it instantly.
Diamondback Moth Caterpillars:
Another pest that tends to spoil broccoli is the moth caterpillar. Shaped like a diamond (in the rear area) this pest tends to damage the crop.
Belonging to the Plutellidae family of pests, the diamondback moth caterpillar is a moth that is brownish in color. It also has a band onto its back that is creamy in color.
What are the Health Benefits of Eating Broccoli?
If you take a careful look at broccoli, it resembles a pygmy tree. Never take its shape lightly. This small greenish vegetable backed with thick stalks and a large powdery flower head, is packed with nutrients.
Here are some of the health benefits of consuming broccoli:
Loaded with Nutrients:
Broccoli is packed with proteins, carbohydrates and very few yet super-healthy fats. It is rich in selenium, phosphorous, potassium, Vitamins, C/A/K and is a rich source of fiber. You also get high amounts of folate.
Safe from Ultraviolet Rays:
When you consume broccoli regularly, you tend to get saved from the harsh ultraviolet rays. These rays emit from sun and can cause myriad of issues (including skin cancer). This is owing to the high levels of bioactive compounds found in broccoli.
Glucoraphanin helps Create Healthy Cells:
Broccoli contains high amounts of anti-oxidants that helps flush out free radicles from your body. The presence of sulforaphane in digested broccoli helps regenerate damaged cells.
This in turn helps lower blood cholesterol, reduce stress, improve heart health and steer you clear of chronic ailments. Lutein in this vegetable improves eyesight and zeaxanthin helps reduce oxidative stress.
Improves Health of Expecting Mothers:
The high nutrient profile of broccoli helps improve the overall health of pregnant ladies. The presence of Vitamin B-9 in broccoli enables the expecting mother to provide nourishment to the foetus. Folate also helps in developing cognitive skills in new-born babies.
Flavonoids are in Abundance:
Inflammation is a major cause for chronic illnesses in human beings. Broccoli contains flavonoids that help reduce inflammation. Kaempferol is a classic example of an anti-inflammatory bioactive compound found in broccoli.
Fortified with Vitamin K:
Broccoli is fortified with Vitamin K, which is known for the development of healthy bones, it also contains calcium. These compounds help in developing healthy teeth, connective tissues and bones.
The presence of zinc and phosphorous helps in strengthening bones. Minerals such as zinc make bones strong. Vitamin C and Vitamin A help in delaying bone and cartilage decay.
The Cancer Prevention Claim:
Cancers of various kinds tend to affect human beings periodically. Nonetheless, broccoli has certain bioactive compounds that inhibit the spread of cancer cells in the human body.
So, whether the cancer is of the bladder, kidney, liver, prostate or stomach, these compounds help reduce the risk factor.
Reduction in Periodontal Diseases:
Ailments of the tooth and gum are high in people lacking adequate nutrient intake. Broccoli helps bridge this nutrient gap to a certain extent.
The vitamin and mineral profile present in this cruciferous vegetable helps in strengthening your oral health. So, your gums and teeth are protected against bacterial invasion.
Insulin Resistance Decreases:
If you suffer from Type 2 diabetes then, chances are that you need to watch your diet. Even the slightest deviation from a healthy diet can spike your insulin.
Broccoli is one such vegetable that helps keep your insulin spike in control. This is owing to the rich antioxidant profile present in this vegetable.
Keeps You Away from Diseases:
Your immune system is dependent (to quite an extent) on your diet. Vitamin C is the main ingredient in Broccoli that builds a robust immune system. B and K vitamins further assist in flushing out free radicles thereby strengthening your immunity.
Increases HDL Cholesterol Levels:
Popularly known as good cholesterol, HDL helps improve your cardiovascular health. Broccoli contains compounds that help improve your good cholesterol levels and reduce bad cholesterol levels.
The antioxidant profile in broccoli helps reduce oxidative stress in human beings. This in turn ensures that your cardiac health is automatically improved.
Helps You Retain Your Youth:
The presence of sulforaphane in broccoli helps reduce the natural aging process in the human body. By pushing the brakes on the natural biomechanical process of aging, broccoli helps keep you feeling and looking youthful.
Proper Bowel Movement:
The fiber present in broccoli helps you with your digestive process. This is vital for aiding optimal digestive process. When your gut health improves, your chances of warding off ailments also increase several folds over.
You Become Mentally Alert:
Several bio-compounds found in broccoli enable you to maintain a sharp mind set. The presence of sulforaphane helps improve cognitive skills and enhances brain functionality.
Neural inflammation is also reduced significantly when you consume broccoli on a regular basis. Broccoli also helps speed up the supply of oxygen to the human brain.
How to Grow Broccoli Indoors?
Complete nutrition is what broccoli offers you at each step. When the need of the hour is to look good and remain healthy then, broccoli plays an important role to get you there.
Growing this vegetable at home is a daunting task indeed. Well, this is what the general perception is. Nonetheless, it is not at all true.
Well, here is how you can grow this vegetable at home without any hiccups:
Understand the Variants that Love Indoors:
There are numerous breeds of broccoli. Not all of these can be grown indoors. Most require direct sunlight. Nonetheless, there are a few that thrive inside your home as well.
Dicicco and Waltham29 are a classic example of such broccoli types. These are decent sized vegetables that offer ample servings to a large sized family.
The Soil & Planters:
After having made the selection on the type of broccoli seed that you need, the next action is to choose a suitable planter. Pick a planter that is 6 inches tall and about 3 feet in width.
As far as the soil is concerned, opt for organic potting variant. Doing so shall ensure that your broccoli seeds get the best possible nutrients for their growth.
Sunlight is Required:
Despite the chosen broccoli variants needing less sunlight, the plants still need sun rays. So, try and place them at a location within your home that receives ample sunlight.
Seven to eight hours a day of sunlight shall do wonders for the plant. So, try and place it in a balcony or a room that has access to ample natural light.
Providing Nutrients to the Crop
The next step is to use natural fertilizers in order to make the soil nutrient dense. Once that is taken care off, you also need to water the soil. This needs to be done on periodic basis.
Proper drainage should be made in pots. This helps excess water to escape the pot thereby reducing the damage on the plant.
Maintaining Ambient Temperature Levels:
If you want your broccoli to grow indoors, you need to maintain the temperature as well. You cannot hope to grow broccoli when it is too hot or too cold inside the room.
The ideal temperature range for the broccoli plant is in between 12 degree Celsius to 22 degree Celsius. Try and not exceed this range for the betterment of the vegetable.
Taking Home the Ripe Broccoli:
The last and final step is to snip the ripe plant and taking it to the kitchen. In order to do so, you need to take a close look at the stalk and stems of the plant.
If they feel ripe and full then, you can snip them and vice versa. The color of the flower should be green and not yellow. The stem should be cut by no more than 7 inches.
Any more and the plant shall refuse to grow again. Leave half the leaves and snip the remainder. This helps the plant to continue growing.
FAQS on Growing Broccoli Indoors
Q-1: Can I Grow Broccoli Indoors?
A-1: Yes, you can grow this vegetable indoors. Nonetheless, do maintain optimal sunlight. You also need to choose your broccoli seeds carefully. The soil should be nutritious and the plant needs to be placed in a well-drained pot.
Q-2: Which are the Best Broccoli Types for Growing them Indoors?
A-2: The best broccoli types for indoor plantations include Belstar, Waltham 29, Calabrese, Sun King, Destiny, Romanesco and DiCicco. You may also try and grow Green Magic and Purple Sprouting indoors.
Q-3: Which Broccoli Type is Easiest to Grow Indoors?
A-3: The easiest broccoli type is Waltham 29 and Belstar to be grown indoors. These broccoli types do not require direct sunlight for long hours. Hence, they can thrive indoors.
Q-4: How can I Grow Broccoli Indoors?
A-4: You need to simply plant it in a wide mouthed pot. The soil needs to be organic and nutrient rich. You need to place the plant in a sunlight area. Ensure that the plant gets 7 to 8 hours of sunlight each and every day.
Q-5: How Many Broccoli Plants do I need to Plant per Person in the Family?
A-5: You would not require more than 2 plants of broccoli per individual. So, if you are a family of four people then, you need 8 broccoli plants to feed an entire family.
Q-6: When Should I Grow Broccoli?
A-6: The ideal time to grow broccoli is during the winter months. Even spring season is considered ideal for growing this vegetable.
Q-7: What is the ideal PH Level of the Soil for Growing Broccoli?
A-7: The soil needs to be nutritious and well drained for growing broccoli. Try and ensure that the Ph level of the soil is 6.5. It should not exceed 7 and be less than 6.
Q-8: Can My Indoor Broccoli be Harvested Every Year?
A-8: No, it cannot be harvested each and every year. It bears the vegetable on the first year and flowers the year after. So, you need to wait for a year for the plant to bear results.
Q-9: How do I Keep Pests Away from My Broccoli Plants?
A-9: In order to maintain pest free broccoli, you need to use organic fertilizers regularly. You may pick pests using your hands. Wood ash could be sprayed regularly. You can also use sprays filled with anti-pest control solution.
Q-10: How can I Keep Worms from Eating My Indoor Broccoli Plant?
A-10: You may place insect free mesh cover. Alternatively, spray organic pesticides. You may pick bugs and insects using your hand on a regular basis. Doing these simple things can keep your broccoli free from unwanted pests.
Q-11: Can Animals Eat my Indoor Broccoli Plants?
A-11: Numerous animals and rodents can eat your precious broccoli plant. Some of the common animals you need to steer clear of include squirrel, chipmunk, voles and rabbits.
Q-12: Can Bugs Eat My Broccoli Leaves?
A-12: Yes, bugs such as flea beetles, aphids, caterpillars, loopers, maggots and webworms can eat the leaves of your broccoli plant.
Q-13: How can I Remove Worms from My Broccoli before Eating it?
A-13: You can put a tablespoon of common salt in lukewarm water. Place the broccoli florets within this mixture for 20 minutes. This should remove worms and dirt present within the plant.
Q-14: Can I Sell Broccoli Grown Indoors?
A-14: Yes you can sell extra broccoli grown indoors. You simply need a lot of space to grow that many planters. Only then shall you be able to sell the extra produce and make money.
Growing broccoli indoors is a great option for ensuring that your family’s nutritional intake is well taken care of. You need to ensure that you follow the above mentioned steps to avoid jeopardizing your goals.
Not only is broccoli an easy plant to grow, it is also an ideal way to maintain a healthy mind and a functional body. The crunchy texture and the delicious bite delivered by broccoli makes this vegetable a delicacy indeed.
If you have ample plants growing indoors then, you can easily hope to sell the extra produce and make some money. This is how you can hope to earn a living selling broccoli grown indoors.