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How To Grow Broccolini The Best Way

If you know how to grow broccolini from preparation, planting, and maintenance, you might be amazed. You are familiar with broccoli, but do you know its healthy look-alike? You can grow it in the greenhouse with other disease-fighting vegetables and impress buyers with a unique crop. Broccolini is not broccoli, but it is just as worthy of being part of your garden and plate. 

Did you know that instead of broccoli, the broccolini is from the same family with turnips? And despite the name, broccolini is not the mini version of broccoli, but it started as a hybrid of Chinese kale and broccoli. If so far, you’re interested in this healthy and tasty unique veggie, read down below how to grow your broccolini.

How To Grow Broccolini The Best Way

How To Grow Broccolini For Beginners

Broccolini is an excellent substitute for broccoli, especially if you’re planning on introducing vegetables to a picky eater. Its small florets, thin, long tender stems, and curly green leaves make the whole crop edible, either raw, steamed, or stir-fried. Therefore, you want to grow quality broccolini to make the most out of this vegetable. 

 

Preparation

Before everything else, check your state’s hardiness zone since broccolini would be great for zones 2 to 10. This gives you a general idea with the ideal growing conditions for this crop, so you can use a greenhouse to adjust according to your climate if needed. Broccolini, like most vegetables, won’t tolerate frost, so the ground has to finish thawing, which means you must gauge if you should plant outdoors or start in the greenhouse. 

Overall, check your growing zone to know when your last frost date and use it to start planting. However, you can always test what timing works best for your area because broccolini is still entirely new. Therefore, some gardeners plant in springtime, while others start their season at fall. 

Afterwards, prepare your site by choosing an area that receives full sun and has fertile, well-draining soil with a 6.0 to 7.0 pH level. Test your soil first, and if its acidic, wood ashes should help, and you can even incorporate compost to the ground to improve its quality.

 

Planting

You can sow broccolini seeds directly or in a pot with potting soil in the greenhouse. Add a growing light, and they should germinate around seven days. You’ll have more chances of success with planting transplants rather than direct sowing, so starting indoors in pots would be safer. 

If you start seeds in the greenhouse for transplanting, make sure that you do so six weeks before the last frost date. You can then thin the seedlings so that all remains are the healthiest broccolini for each pot. Then, let the best plants harden off before transplanting by increasing their outdoor time for a week. 

You can transplant the broccolini seedlings 24 inches apart when you noticed six true leaves from them around 4 to 6 weeks of growth. Assuming you start indoors in late summer, you can transplant in fall.  You can then plant them half an inch deeper than their depth in the pots and give each plant a space of 2 feet from each other. 

 

Maintenance

For maintenance, you must remember that they require water of around 2 inches per week. Maintain the soil’s moisture without overwatering, and you can also add a mulch of shredded leaves to improve its quality, soil temperature, moisture, and keep weeds at bay. Broccolini will also show signs of leaves yellowing when it needs fertilizer, but you can also feed them every few weeks since they love nitrogen.

The best time to harvest broccolini is before the crops begin flowering. The heads should be fully formed so you could cut their well-known long stems. Make sure to leave some leaves so that new heads will develop for the next harvest, and it’s possible to get up to 5 sets of shoots per plant. 

 

What Are The Common Problems In Growing Broccolini?

Pests like aphids, whiteflies, flea beetles, cabbage loopers, slugs, and fungal diseases such as downy mildew and blackleg are common in broccolini. You should always check for insects and handpick them or add a predator in the garden like ladybugs. You can also use insecticides, and slugs are manageable with a yeast and water mixture. 

You can use an organic fungicide and remove infected plants immediately for down milder and blackleg. Using a greenhouse and maintaining sanitation should prevent these common problems, so always be diligent with your gardening practices. Overall, prevention is still better and be one step ahead to solve problems early on. 

 

Conclusion

If you want something healthy yet unique on your plate, you can check out hybrid vegetables. Learn how to grow broccolini, and you might appreciate this broccoli look-alike more. This crop is a cross between Chinese kale and broccoli, and its edible structure makes perfect food raw or cooked even for picky eaters. 

Being fairly new, there is not much information for growing broccolini. However, you can simplify its cultivation into preparation, planting, and maintenance. Know the growing zone of your area and avoid extreme conditions. 

You can also start indoors instead of directly sowing broccolini for a higher success rate. More than a place to start, you might also want to consider the greenhouse to avoid potential problems from fluctuating conditions outside. 

 

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How To Prevent Root Rot In Hydroponics: 3 Useful Tips

If you’re a newbie gardener who’s looking to find ways to hone your skills, you’d want to learn how to prevent root rot in hydroponics even before this problem affects your plants.

Hydroponics can be advantageous to crops in more ways than one. However, it also comes with risks of diseases, such as root rot, which can be destructive or even lethal to your plants.

Unfortunately, there are no effective methods to recover the wilted parts that were affected by the root rot once it hits your plants. The only thing you can do if you do not want this catastrophe to befall your crops is to prevent it before it happens. Read on to learn more about this subject.

 

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that attacks the plant roots and causes them to suffer decay. This usually happens when a lack of oxygen supply occurs in the substrate.

To give you an idea, think about plant roots that are submerged in water that only has a little oxygen in it. Over time, the plant suffocates and dies.

Aside from rot and decay, this disease also leads to the proliferation of fungi that are naturally present in the soil. These include Rhizoctonia, Alternaria, Pythium, Botrytis, Fusarium, or Phytophthora. As soon as fungi colonies start to grow, they tend to target the weakened roots and infect your precious plant babies.

Once the plant becomes infected, they won’t be able to take in what they need to grow – water, oxygen, and other nutrients. When this happens, it won’t be long before the plant dies.

 

What is Hydroponics?

In case you’re not aware, the term hydroponic is derived from a Latin word that means “working water”. To put it simply, hydroponics is an art that involves growing various types of plants without soil. If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody talks about hydroponics would be a picture of plants with roots suspended into the water without using any type of growing medium.

 

Avoiding Root Rot in Hydroponic Systems

Detecting and identifying root rot can be tricky. When your plants get infected, their leaves and roots gradually wither until the whole crop itself dies from the lack of nutrients, which is a common symptom of many diseases.

 

What causes root rot in hydroponics?

One of the requirements in hydroponics systems is oxygen. Without it, your plants are basically on the road to death. On the other hand, lack of such is one of the major triggers for root rot, and it must be avoided at all costs.

Just like when planting in soil, you loosen up the ground so that your plants’ roots can have their required intake of oxygen. That is the case for crops grown in aqueous solutions as well. If they cannot breathe, they would not be able to grow.

Another agent for root rot is the temperature. The last thing you would want in your system are parasites that leech nutrients intended for your plants and infect the water during the process. In common terms, these fungi are called molds.

One of the best breeding grounds for these is warm and moist areas. For this reason, if the water temperature inside your reservoir is high, then you are susceptible to it. Something as minor as letting the solutions exposed to sunlight can already be a risk factor.

 

3 Useful Tips on How to prevent root rot in hydroponics

There is good news! Root rot in hydroponics can be prevented! Just follow these tips:

Tip#1: Use the right air pump

If you do not want root rot to affect your plants, you merely have to avoid its causes. If you need oxygen, keep the water bubbling by providing an air pump of appropriate size, and also give importance to proper ventilation in the room.

 

Tip #2: Maintain the temperature

The temperature should be maintained within the 70 to 80 degrees F range. Get rid of any materials that can make your system vulnerable to infections, and make sure not to disturb your crops while they are trying to grow.

 

Tip #3: Get rid of the rotten parts

However, if you failed in preventing the disease, then the rotten parts should be removed immediately. Cut them off as there is no chance of reviving them, and focus on the potential new growth instead. Fix your hydroponics system and eliminate the risks.

 

Why Give Greenhouse Gardening a Try?

Greenhouse gardening offers numerous benefits to greens aficionados who dare to take their gardening experience to the next level. Aside from acting as a shield against the effects of inclement weather, a mini, hobby, or semi-pro greenhouse can also serve as a protective layer that keeps harmful bugs and critters at bay.

What’s more, its enclosed structure allows you to control your plants’ growing conditions including the temperature, light, moisture, and ventilation of the greenhouse’s internal environment. With a controlled environment, you’ll be able to extend growing seasons and grow plants that aren’t native to your area.

 

Conclusion

No matter how well-informed you are about how to prevent root rot in hydroponics, you cannot completely eradicate the risks. Therefore, to avoid the worst-case scenario, you should be prepared to sacrifice the infected for the sake of others. While you’re at it, consider trying your hand at greenhouse gardening as well.

 

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