Broccoli is one of the most popular vegetables grown worldwide. It’s popularity comes from its high nutritional value, low cost and easy growing conditions. Broccoli is very nutritious, especially when compared with other leafy green vegetables such as spinach or kale. Broccoli contains vitamins A, C and K which are essential nutrients for human health. There are many different types of broccoli varieties including red, white, yellow and even purple varieties! Some varieties have a milder taste than others. However, there are some varieties that are considered “bad” tasting. These include baby bok choy, Chinese broccoli and Swiss chard.
Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family (Brassicaceae) along with Brussels sprouts and kale. It belongs to the same plant family as cabbage, cauliflower and turnips! The name ‘broccolo’ means ‘little broccolini’.
Broccoli is often used in salads and soups. It’s great source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and folate. Broccoli is also rich in antioxidants called glucosinolates. They protect against cancer and heart disease!
Broccoli is also a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium and manganese. One cup of raw broccoli contains only 9 calories!
What Are The Symptoms Of Broccoli Disease?
Broccoli is very healthy and beneficial to our diet and health. In fact, it’s been often called a “superfood”. Broccoli is rich in many nutrients and considered an essential part of a healthy diet. Broccoli contains high amounts of bioavailable nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and calcium. The vegetable is also low in calories and fat. Broccoli acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It also helps in blood sugar regulation. Broccoli is high in vitamin K, a very important nutrient for bone and heart health. One serving of broccoli provides about 60% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K. It may also help in preventing several types of cancer such as colon cancer or prostate cancer. Broccoli is one vegetable that should be incorporated into everyone’s diet on a regular basis.
Like most other plants, broccoli does suffer from its own set of diseases and pests. One common disease that affects broccoli is downy mildew. Downy mildew is a fungal disease that mainly attacks the leaves of plants, although it may affect the stems and flowers as well. The disease is spread through airborne spores that can be carried by water droplets.
The disease starts off by producing small yellowish spots on the leaves. Eventually, these spots enlarge and grow into one another. The leaves will then turn yellow and wilt. If the disease is left untreated, it can easily kill the plant.
Another common disease that affects broccoli is black rot. Black rot attacks the flowering parts of the plant (shoots, florets and stems) causing them to decay and rot. When this disease attacks, the plant begins to weaken and wilt. The root system can also be affected and this can cause the entire plant to die as a result.
Black rot is a very contagious disease that is spread through physical contact with an infected plant or by infected tools and equipment.
Powdery mildew is another fungal disease that mainly affects plants that are already weakened by other diseases. The fungi produce a white, powdery covering on the leaves and stems. These fungi thrive in hot and humid conditions which is why they are more common in tropical and subtropical regions.
Other common pests that affect broccoli include aphids, cabbage loopers, and imported cabbageworms. Aphids are small insects that suck the juices out of plants. They are known to attack the stems, leaves and flowers of broccoli plants. Cabbage loopers are yellowish-white caterpillars with dark stripes.
They eat the leaves of plants, leaving behind large holes in the foliage. Imported cabbageworms also eat the leaves of plants, but they also eat the flowers and buds as well.
How Is It Treated?
There are many ways to treat this disease. The first thing you must do is remove the affected plant from your garden. Since most of the diseases and pests that affect broccoli thrive in hot and humid conditions, your best bet is to avoid planting your broccoli plants in such conditions.
You can also prevent black rot and white rust from infecting your plants by ensuring there is good air flow around the leaves. That means you shouldn’t overcrowd your plants.
You can prevent aphids, cabbage loopers and imported cabbageworms by introducing natural predators to your garden such as bats, birds and frogs.
There are also several organic and natural ways to treat fungal diseases. One of the most effective is to introduce beneficial bacteria into your garden. There are many products available in nurseries. You can also use milk or water that has been enriched with lemon juice.
If you notice any diseased leaves, you can clip them off and destroy them. Make sure you do this as soon as possible to prevent the spread of disease to other plants. You should also remove and destroy plants that have succumbed completely to disease.
Broccoli is generally ready for harvest 90 to 135 days after it has been transplanted into your garden. You should only harvest the heads when they are fully mature. If you harvest them before they are mature, they won’t taste good. If you leave them too long, they will become tough and woody.
You can tell when a head of broccoli is mature because it will have a tight head with dark green, glossy looking leaves. The stem will also begin to lean towards the ground.
You should harvest the heads before the flowers start to open because they will become bitter tasting. You should also avoid harvesting in the rain because this will cause the heads to become limp and spoil more quickly.
To harvest, simply cut the flower stem at the base with some scissors or a knife. It is a good idea to do this in the morning so the heads have plenty of time to dry out before nightfall.
Once you have harvested all of your broccoli, you should then take the time to remove any pests that remain. If you don’t do this, then you are just going to have to harvest all over again the next day. This is a tedious process, so many gardeners prefer to simply start fresh with a new set of plants rather than deal with removing pests from their old ones.
Can I Plant My Broccoli Seeds in Water?
You can, but it’s better if you plant them in soil. Broccoli seeds need to be kept moist so that they don’t dry out and die. If you are having difficulty growing plants in your soil, then it might be easier for you to start your seeds in water rather than trying to fix the problem with your soil. After the seeds have sprouted, you should transplant them into dirt.
How Can I Tell If My Broccoli Heads Are Good or Bad?
Ideally, you should harvest your broccoli before it flowers. Once the flowers bloom, the heads will become tough and woody and lose a lot of their flavor. It is still edible, but it won’t taste as good. You can also judge the quality by its color. Broccoli should have a rich green color, but aging causes it to fade to a yellow or even white shade. You can also tell its age by the thickness of the stalk. A younger head of broccoli will have a thicker stalk than one that is older.
Broccoli is delicious and nutritious. In fact, it ranks number one in nutritional value for vegetables. It is a great source of vitamins C and K, as well as dietary fiber. Broccoli is also low in calories and has no fat or cholesterol.
The best way to get the most out of this wonderful vegetable is to eat it raw. You can also eat the flowers, but make sure that you remove the stamen before you do.
Whether you want to grow it yourself or buy it fresh from the store, growing or buying broccoli will liven up a lot of different recipes and is excellent for your health. Not many people know how easy it is to grow at home, so start today!
Sources & references used in this article:
Broccoli Production in Caifornia by ME Le Strange, M Cahn, S Koike, R Smith – 2010 – books.google.com
The need to breed crop varieties suitable for organic farming, using wheat, tomato and broccoli as examples: a review by ETL Van Bueren, SS Jones, L Tamm… – … -Wageningen Journal of …, 2011 – Elsevier
Potential losses of pesticides in California and identification of alternative pest management practices in broccoli by ML Flint, NA Davidson, FG Zalom… – American …, 1992 – academic.oup.com
A Mosaic Disease of Broccoli. by J Caldwell, IW Prentice – Annals of Applied Biology, 1942 – cabdirect.org