Vegetables are being consumed at a steadily increasing rate all over the world as more people are now prioritizing their health and well being. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, have become more popular over the past years, and recent data reveals that broccoli sales grew by 12 % in 2020. Moreover, 46% of consumers said that they purchased broccoli in the past year, and it ranks 6th in popularity in 2022.
According to various studies, eating cruciferous vegetables can help prevent cancer. Moreover, they are low-calorie vegetables rich in vitamins C, E, and K, folate, and fiber. Because they are great for health and can also promote weight loss, it’s no wonder that more people are choosing to grow them at home. Though they are among the most demanding vegetables to grow, there are things that you can do to have healthy crops which you and your family can enjoy.
Preparing the Soil
The first thing to know about growing cruciferous vegetables is that they are heavy plants that need a solid soil bed as a support base. Also, they need a healthy balance of potassium, phosphor, and nitrogen in overall alkaline soil. Since they need a solid base, using manure as fertilizer would be out of the question since you would have to dig the bed to mix it with the soil. Therefore, the perfect approach to getting the soil ready is to plant legumes first. This is because the legumes’ roots will clear up the bacteria in the soil.
Once your legumes are ready for harvest, cut them off, making sure to leave the roots to rot inside the soil. These roots will then feed the soil with nitrogen. Next, dust the soil with bone meal. The bone dust adds to the phosphorous levels. Also, by adding wood ash, you can raise potassium levels to make the soil more alkaline. Finally, make sure the space gets at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.
Setting Up the Garden
Once the soil is ready for planting, you need to plan how you’re going to set up your crops. Indeed, deciding what plants go next to which plants make a big difference in the resulting size and taste. For example, if you plan on planting broccoli, you need to set up broccoli square foot gardening so it can grow to its maximum potential. Since broccoli grows better if it has access to calcium, having other calcium consuming plants nearby is not a good idea. Plus, you’ll also need some physical room for broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts to grow since they occupy a rather large space. On the other hand, other cruciferous veggies such as kale, arugula, bok choy, and mustard greens can be grown closer to other plants.
Don’t Forget to Rotate the Crops
Vegetable rotation should be done regularly each season. Doing so can help to break the pest cycle, which can benefit all of your crops. Indeed, pests are a potential hazard to any crop, including the ones in our backyard. By moving the crops from season to season, you can have a shot at breaking the pest cycle and eradicating them. This is because similar vegetables not only feed on similar nutrients, but also get infested by the same pests. Hence, rotating them physically is a great way to get rid of pests and prevent them from feeding on the new vegetables.
Cruciferous vegetables are great for health in many ways. They are packed with vitamins, promote weight loss because of the high fiber content, and may help prevent some cancer types. That being said, they are among the most demanding vegetables to grow. But worry not, because by following the tips above, you’ll be able to grow them successfully and have healthy crops year after year.