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2011

Mike Leck
Organic Field School at Gardens of Eagan
1/1/2011
Satellite Farms Broccoli
Production Manual
Satellite Farms Broccoli Production Manual 2011

2

Broccoli Varieties
Gypsy (5!"
Seed so#rce $ %ohnny&s' Sno( Seed (#s#ally the )est price"' *arris
+his has )een o#r go,to -ariety e-er since (e started s#..er prod#ction
+ends to )e 2 (eeks earlier than /.perial at the start of the season
0ea#tif#l' delicio#s' easily cleaned heads especially in Fall
!oes prod#ce so.e side,shoots after cro(n har-est
*as less #nifor.ity in the s#..er especially in -ery hot' dry (eather1
/.perial (20!"
Seed so#rce$ Sno( Seed
3e&-e trialed this for the past 4 years and this year it (ill )e o#r only -ariety
planted for s#..er har-est (Mid %#ly thr# 5#g#st"
S#perior #nifor.ity and heat resistance
First planting is at least 2 (eeks )ehind Gypsy )#t as the season progresses this
delay decreases
More diffic#lt to clean d#e to si6e and to#ghness of stalks and ste.s1

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Greenhouse Transplant Production
Sched#le
Generally seed to transplant is 45,70 days
/ error on ha-ing yo#nger plants especially in spring in case the fields aren&t
ready1 5lso if planted in pl#g trays n#trient le-els can decrease )y the ti.e the
transplants are ready ca#sing the plants to sho( signs of stress (p#rpling" and
lose .o.ent#.1
/.perial is a little slo(er so / seed it a fe( days earlier1
3e seed e-ery (eek for (eeks in the greenho#se
Seeding and 8otting #p
First 4 8lantings
400 seeds per 1020 open flat
Ger.inate in cha.)er 7 ho#rs at 25,09
:eady to pot #p in 2 (eeks
8ot #p to 1020 open flat 22 plants per flat (; < 12"1 /t is essential to plant
these in a straight grid as they are c#t prior to field transplanting1
8lantings 7,
3e direct seed these plants into an 1020 open flat #sing a -ac##.
seeder (*and seeding (o#ld (ork as (ell as 22 pl#g trays"
3e ha-e a di))le )oard that indents the soil slightly and seeds drop into
these indents1 +hen seeds are co-ered (ith thin layer of soil
5gain the seeds need to )e in a precise grid patter (hich facilitates
c#tting flats prior to field transplant (open flats only"
Flats ger.inate directly in the greenho#se #s#ally in 4 days1 !o not let
the flats dry o#t d#ring ger.ination1
Fertility
/f seeded into 22 pl#g trays e<tra n#trients are re=#ired1 Generally fertili6ing
)egins (hen plants are hardened off o#tdoors1
3e&-e #sed fish e.#lsion in the past in>ected into greenho#se hose
+his year (e are s#pple.enting (ith ?er.ont @o.post 8l#s1 +his (ill )e
sprinkled on the flats and (atered in1
/f open flats are #sed .ore n#trients are a-aila)le to each plant and e<tra
n#trients .ay not )e re=#ired1 *o(e-er hea-y (atering in hot s#nny (eather
leaches n#trients o#t1
/f plants )egin to t#rn p#rple the plants are stressed and need .ore n#trients1 /t
is )est' o)-io#sly' to fertili6e )efore plants e<hi)it stress1

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8reparing for Field +ransplant
*arden off transplants )y e<posing to o#tside ele.ents for 1 (eek )efore
transplanting1 5-oid e<cessi-e (ind especially on first e<pos#re1
/f #sing pl#g trays skip the c#tting steps1
2,4 days in ad-ance of transplanting open flats sho#ld )e c#t1
@#t (idth,(ise so plants p#ll o#t in si< packs d#ring transplanting1 +his is (hy
the plants need to )e in a precise grid pattern to facilitate this c#tting process1
@#tting length,(ise is not necessary as plants p#ll apart easily fro. the si<
packs1
@#tting da.ages roots and sho#ld )e done in ad-ance to red#ce transplant
shock1
3ater all flats thoro#ghly i..ediately )efore transplanting to the field1

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Seedbed Transplant Production
8lanting AB,A15 are done in the seed)ed )eca#se the n#.)er of plants increases
dra.atically' soil te.perat#re increases (ena)ling ger.ination o#tdoors"' and
greenho#se space is #na-aila)le1
Stale 0ed 8reparation (Ce( .ethod for 2011"
Entire seed)ed field is (orked 5S58 in the spring1
2 (eeks prior to 1
st
planting (ork field again then co-er 1
st
)ed (ith ree.ay to
enco#rage (eed seed ger.ination
1 (eek prior to 1
st
planting re.o-e ree.ay (hen (eeds are in thread stage to
half inch in height kill the. )y shallo( )asket (eeder' fla.e (eeder' or )y
hand1 +hen reco-er (ith ree.ay and co-er 2
nd
)ed1
!o not (ork soil deep as this (ill )ring #p .ore (eed seeds1
/ generally a-oid #sing a rototiller as this can lead to cr#sted soil and diffic#lt
ger.ination
@ontin#e adding a )ed each (eek
On the day of seeding
:e.o-e ree.ay
Dill yo#ng (eeds as in prior (eek (shallo( )asket (eeder"
Fertili6e )ed (ith fine grade S#stane1 Ese )asket (eeder 170 on lo( creeper
gear1
Ese %ang seeder or other direct seeder (ith appropriate roller/plate si6e1
8lant 4<&s as .any seeds as yo# (ant transplants1
:o(s are ; inches apart
@o-er (ith :ee.ay to keep o#t flea )eetles #ntil plants are 7,; inches tall
/rrigation
+he critical stage for .oist#re is d#ring ger.ination1 !on&t allo( soil to )eco.e
dry1
+he :ee.ay helps retain .oist#re along (ith keeping o#t pests1
+his year (e (ill try #sing Mini,(o))lers attached to o#r (ater tank and p#.p
to e-enly (ater seed)eds as needed1
Transplanting Broccoli to the field
+ransplants fro. the Greenho#se
3ater transplants thoro#ghly
Spacing 15F )et(een plants1 4;F )et(een ro(s
8lants sho#ld )e (atered d#ring or soon after transplanting1 5-oid #sing hea-y
o-erhead irrigation for 1 (eek after planting1

Satellite Farms Broccoli Production Manual 2011

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+ransplants fro. Seed)ed
0are :oot transplants are p#lled the sa.e day as they are planted1
/f there e<ists an e<tended ti.e )et(een p#lling plants and transplanting' plants
can )e placed in cooler1
/deally transplanting is done after 2p. especially if te.perat#res e<ceed 0
degrees1
/deally the roots re.ain (et )#t this can ca#se a .#ddy .ess (hile
transplanting1
O#r .echanical tranplanter pro-ides (ater directly to the roots d#ring planting1
!o Cot Ese o-erhead irrigation #ntil after shock period
Spacing 15F )et(een plants and 4;F )et(een ro(s1
0are :oot shock period
/..ediately after planting' transplants appear (ilted and lay flat on the
gro#nd1 !o not )e alar.ed1
5s the roots de-elop the plants regain t#rgidity and (ill )e f#lly #pright
2,7 days after transplanting1
!o not #se o-erhead irrigation for 1 (eek after transplanting as this can
.at the. do(n d#ring shock ti.e1

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After Planting Care
Deep (eeds #nder control )y c#lti-ating or hand (eeding (hen needed
Sidedress plants one ti.e #sing S#stane no earlier than 2 (eek and no later than 5
(eeks after transplanting
/rrigate (hen needed especially d#ring hot (eather and )efore the plants )egin
heading1
!isease
0acterial Soft :ot G @a#sed )y (ar. (et conditions (ith no drying for prolonged
periods1
+his can also occ#r in the fall and can )e identified )y its rotten odor1
!o Cot har-est

0lack :ot G ca#sed )y )acteria
?ery destr#cti-e and contagio#s
5-oid fields (ith )lack rot1 3ash e=#ip.ent and clothes to a-oid
spreading to other fields1
!on&t plant )rassica in field for at least 2 years1

!o(ny Milde(
0ro(n discolored )eads on head
Especially pre-alent in late fall plantings
!o Cot *ar-est1

Satellite Farms Broccoli Production Manual 2011



Pests
@a))age 3or.s and @a))age Loopers
+hese generally eat the lea-es and rarely do eno#gh da.age to kill the
plant
*o(e-er tolerance for (or.s in (holesale )roccoli prod#ction is
-irt#ally 6ero1
3hen (hite or yello( )#tterflies are present inspect for (or.s and
deter.ine if spray is necessary
3e control (or.s and loopers .ainly (ith !ipel1 Entr#st also (orks )#t
is .ore e<pensi-e and sho#ld )e #sed if .#ltiple pests are present1

Flea 0eetles
+hese do the .ost da.age (hen the plants are yo#ng1 @o-er seed)ed
(ith floating ro( co-er1
8lants in the field can )e sprayed (ith !ipel' 8yganic' or Entr#st to
red#ce press#re1 /f the plants are e<ceedingly stressed it .ay ca#se the
plant to )olt rendering the head #nhar-esta)le1

:oot Maggots
3e had o#r first enco#nter (ith root .aggots in 2010
!eci.ated o#r first t(o plantings )#t only the first t(o plantings1
Maggots eat the root hairs effecti-ely c#tting off (ater1 +he plants (ilt
and die1
3e ha-e no control for this and are hoping 2010 (as >#st a partic#larly
)ad year for pests d#e to strong so#therly (inds early in the season1


Satellite Farms Broccoli Production Manual 2011

B


Forecasting,Harvest and Packing
Forecasting depends greatly on the (eather and ti.e of year
Forecasting %#ne,5#g#st
+o a-oid losing )roccoli )#t .a<i.i6ing each plant&s potential (e
har-est 4<&s per (eek d#ring the s#..er .onths1
Generally if the head is =#arter,si6ed it is a)o#t 10 days to har-est1
0ase)all si6ed is 7 days o#t
Soft)all si6ed (ill )e picked the ne<t ti.e thro#gh (2 day #s#ally"
Forecasting Sept,Octo)er
!aylight and te.perat#res are rapidly decreasing (hich .akes
forecasting different than in the s#..er .onths and te.perat#re
fl#ct#ations affect gro(th rates s#)stantially1
0ase)all si6ed is no( 10 days o#t
Soft)all is a (eek fro. har-est
3e ad>#st o#r har-est to go thro#gh only t(ice per (eek and to(ard
the end of the season (e .ay only go thro#gh once a (eek1
*eads that look ready to pick can stay in the field for a (eek and not
gro( .#ch (hen the te.perat#res stay )elo( 50degrees1
Esti.ating *ar-est
Look at (eather forecast to help #nderstand ho( fast heads )eco.e
.at#re1
@o#nt at least 2 ro(s per planting and a-erage the.1
@hoose ro(s that gi-e an acc#rate sa.ple1 (!on&t choose t(o that are
ne<t to each other #nless there are only t(o ro(s in the entire planting"
!i-ide total n#.)er of heads )y 22 for Gypsy and 1 for /.perial to get
the total n#.)er of forecasted )o<es1
Forecast for the ne<t 2 picks and keep those records in order to ad>#st
yo#r forecasts1
+his is a diffic#lt task and re=#ires a lot of patience' practice and
attention1

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*ar-est
/n s#..er har-est is cond#cted in the .orning )efore the heat of the day1
Fall *ar-est can )e done anyti.e as long as the plants are f#lly tha(ed1
*eads are ready to har-est (hen they are 5,; inches in dia.eter1
+he head is c#t so that the entire length of the head and stalk is inches1
5ll large lea-es are re.o-ed #s#ally )y si.ply )reaking the. off )y hand
(tri..ing (ith a knife takes .ore ti.e and can res#lt in stalk da.age1 /.perial
has to#gher lea-es and ste.s and therefore .ay re=#ire so.e knife tri..ing"
@leaned heads are placed gently on the con-eyor )elt or directly into shipping
)o<1 0o<es sho#ld )e (eighed at the )eginning of the season so har-esters can
get #sed to (hat an 1,po#nd )o< feels and looks like1 0o<es sho#ld )e checked
periodically )y s#per-isor thro#gho#t the season to ens#re =#ality1
/f a con-eyor )elt is #sed the packer can ens#re #nifor.ity and =#ality1
H#ality
H#ality .#st )e .aintained especially if har-ester is packing his/her o(n )o<1
*eads sho#ld )e nicely do.ed (ith tight )eads1 /f )eads are loose and starting
to open the head is passed and sho#ld not )e picked1 +his can happen -ery
=#ickly in the s#..er1
*eads sho(ing signs of disease or rot sho#ld not )e picked as they deteriorate
=#ickly after har-est1
8acking
+he first layer of )roccoli is packed (ith the stalks to(ard the center of each
)o<1 Fit the rest of the 1l)s as )est yo# can ens#ring no )roccoli (ill )e
da.aged (hen the )o< is closed1
0roccoli .#st )e packed (ith care to ens#re no da.age is ca#sed )y packer1
1l)s are in one )o<1 (Generally 22 heads of Gypsy and 1 heads of /.perial
.ake one f#ll )o<1
Store filled )o<es in shaded area and transport to packing area as soon as
possi)le
/n packing area open each f#ll )roccoli )o< and p#t t(o ice scoops or one sho-el
(orth of ice in each )o<1
Stack )o<es on pallet
La)el each )o< (ith 0roccoli' 1 A' and Lot n#.)er1
8lace pallet of )roccoli in the cooler and (rite do(n har-ested )o<es on *ar-est
:ecord Sheet1