Monday, January 25, 2010

Brocoli Waltham 39

Botanical name: Brassica oleracea

Bred by University of Massachusetts, Waltham Field Station, Waltham, MA around 1950. Waltham produces uniform high yields, good color, cold resistance, dwarf compact plant, and big side shoots. Main heads are 4-8" with steady side shoot production after main head is harvested. Leaves are borne on a low, compact plant having a distinctive slate-green color. Good cultivar for freezing.

Days to Maturity
74 days. Cut main head when 3"-6" across, buts are tightly closed and don't show any yellow color. Cut head with a couple of inches of stem with a sharp knife. Smaller heads on side shoots will develop for an additional harvest.

How to grow
It is the best for late summer and fall harvest. Developed to withstand the cold temperatures of fall and can survive dry spells. For a spring crop start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost and transplant outside 2 weeks before the last frost. For a fall crop direct seed in the garden in later spring or early summer. Broccoli grows best in mostly sunny locations during the cooler parts of the growing season. Prefers fairly rich soil kept fairly moist. Set plants 18 inches apart. Germination: 7-14 days. Germination temperature: 55-75F.

Tips: Give broccoli plenty of water and push it along with frequent applications of high-nitrogen plant food to develop the big, vigorous plants that are necessary to support large heads

Nutrition info
Studies suggest that broccoli may be important in preventing cancer, diabetes, and lowering cholesterol. The heads and stems are packed with vitamin C and provide calcium, potassium, and iron.

Health benefit
Broccoli provides a high amount of vitamin C, which aids iron absorption in the body, prevents the development of cataracts, and also eases the symptoms of the common cold. The folic acid in broccoli helps women sustain normal tissue growth and is often used as a supplement when taking birth control pills and during pregnancies. The potassium in broccoli aids those battling high blood pressure, while a large amount of calcium helps combat osteoporosis

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