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IF YOU PLANT THESE CABBAGE-FAMILY COUSINS NOW, YOU'LL EAT PESTICIDE-FREE PRODUCE LATER
Here's an irony for our times: The same glorious agri-business that has made vegetables bigger, more beautiful and more widely available is spoiling it all by spraying poisons on them. So we scrub and peel, trying to get rid of those nasty chemicals. But we know it's impossible to remove all the pesticide residues, especially from a plant with a surface as rough as that of broccoli.
It comes as no surprise to the home gardener that commercial growers douse broccoli with pesticides. The bugs love broccoli. Some organic gardeners forget about broccoli altogether. But it's one of my favorites, so I was bound and determined to outwit the pests organically.
Organic pest control is a process that begins with making a garden bed and choosing the seed or seedlings that will grow in it, and doesn't end until the harvest is over and you clean up your garden for winter. So let's go step-by-step through the stages of growing poison-free broccoli. The same organic principles apply to most other vegetables and plants.
Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, the genus Brassica. Its cousins include brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga and turnips. They are cool-weather crops--they prefer growing in spring and fall, and especially dislike hot summers (over 90 degrees). They tolerate several degrees of frost; in fact, the flavors of brussels …