Broccoli is a great crop to grow hydroponically. It’s not too finicky so it’s the perfect beginner crop. On top of that, hydroponic broccoli grows back after being cut down so you’ll have a continuous supply of broccoli all year round! It’s best to start hydroponic broccoli from seed, and it does well in multiple kinds of hydroponic setups.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about growing delicious broccoli hydroponically!
Can Broccoli Be Grown Hydroponically?
Broccoli can be grown hydroponically, and is in fact one of the best hydroponic crops to grow!
Let’s talk about some specifics related to growing broccoli hydroponically.
Recommended Broccoli Varieties for Hydroponics
All varieties of broccoli thrive in hydroponic environments, so you have lots of different options when choosing what to grow.
Broccoli varieties vary by harvest time, temperature needs, size, flavor, and more.
Calabrese broccoli is the most common variety and is likely what you see in stores. If you want, you can explore growing more exciting broccoli like purple or white varieties.
Other varieties include sprouting broccoli, raab, and Chinese broccoli.
Should you Grow Hydroponic Broccoli?
You should definitely grow hydroponic broccoli! There are plenty of different benefits to growing broccoli hydroponically.
For starters, hydroponic broccoli is one of the fastest-growing hydroponic crops out there.
It’s also not very finicky. While other plants require very specific growing conditions, broccoli doesn’t need to be as warm or have as much light as other hydroponic plants.
You have the option of growing broccoli from clones or growing broccoli from seed. It will also regrow after you cut it, so you don’t have to continuously replant in order to have a year-round supply.
Hydroponic gardening makes better use of resources than traditional gardening, and you can grow fresh broccoli crops regardless of how much space you have or your soil quality.
How to Get Hydroponic Broccoli Started
Start your hydroponic broccoli seeds in rooter plugs using coco peat. Plant a couple seeds in each plug in case some don’t germinate.
Use 1/4 strength nutrient solution until your seeds germinate. Once they sprout, use half strength.
When your seedlings start growing, thin them out and leave only the strongest one in each plug.
Once roots show up, your seedlings are a couple inches tall, and they have a couple true leaves- they’re ready to be transferred into your hydroponic setup.
Should you start with Seeds or Clones?
Starting from seed is the best way to grow hydroponic broccoli. Your seeds will take anywhere from one to two weeks to germinate.
Because broccoli is a cold season crop, chill the seeds in the fridge for a couple days before you plant.
What Are The Different Hydroponic Systems For Growing Broccoli?
The different hydroponic systems for growing broccoli include aeroponics, ebb and flow, deep water culture, wick system, drip system, and nutrient film technique.
Aeroponics is a revolutionary hydroponic system that involves suspending your plants in the air.
High-pressure water pumps deliver the nutrient solution to the root zone in a fine mist. Nutrient uptake is increased because of the high amount of oxygenation, leading to larger yields and faster growth.
Aeroponic systems are quite complex and aren’t traditionally used by amateur growers.
Ebb and Flow
Ebb and flow systems- also known as flood and drain- are incredibly common. They’re simple to operate and are great for beginners.
Ebb and flow systems involve a flood table that holds your plants in place along with a reservoir below that contains your nutrient solution. Your flood table gets flooded periodically throughout the day and then the water drains back into the reservoir.
Deep Water Culture
Deep water culture grows broccoli incredibly efficiently. With DWC you directly suspend plant roots into your nutrient solution.
The plant roots stay suspended in the reservoir indefinitely. They’re oxygenated by an air stone and air pump.
Deep water culture systems don’t require much maintenance because there are few moving parts.
Wick systems utilize a wick- a soft fabric string- to absorb water and nutrients from the reservoir below and deliver it to the trays of plants.
When the wick dries out, it absorbs more nutrient solution and repeats the process.
The wick system is an incredibly low-maintenance system.
A hydroponic drip system uses water pumps to directly deliver your nutrient solution to individual plants.
It was originally developed for traditional agriculture to improve water efficiency, but was later adopted by the hydroponic community.
Rather than spraying or running water onto your hydroponic plants, there are emitters that release your water slowly via a drip.
Nutrient Film Technology (NFT)
Nutrient film technique involves a shallow nutrient solution recirculating in channels, passing through the plants’ bare roots.
The Ideal Temperature For Hydroponic Broccoli.
Broccoli enjoys cool temperatures ranging from 55 to 65 degrees F. When the temperature rises about 70 degrees F, the broccoli bolts and develops a bitter taste.
Hydroponic Broccoli Spacing and Yield.
Hydroponic broccoli needs anywhere from a foot to a foot and a half between each plant. Broccoli needs a good amount of space so it can spread out.
The leaves tend to get very large, so trim them back to avoid them from blocking the light to other broccoli plants.
Does Hydroponic Broccoli Need A Lot Of Light?
Hydroponic broccoli doesn’t need very strong light. You can grow it under LED lights or T5 fluorescents. HID lights give off too much heat to use with broccoli crops.
Hydroponic broccoli needs about 15 hours of sufficient light per day for optimal growth. If you’re growing outdoors using natural light, be sure to put your hydroponic setup somewhere that gets that many hours of light!
Nutrient Requirements for Hydroponic Broccoli
Your hydroponic broccoli crop will require a lot of hydroponic nutrient solution. All-purpose hydroponic fertilizers are a good start. An NPK value of 4-18-38 is ideal.
Here are some good guidelines to follow:
For every five gallons of water:
- Add 1g of calcium nitrate. Stir thoroughly.
- Add 5g of magnesium sulfate. Stir thoroughly.
- Add 10g of your 4-18-38 fertilizer. Stir thoroughly.
Hydroponic broccoli requires a pH ranging from 5.8 to 6.3. Monitor the pH carefully, as it easily gets too high.
Monitor the EC as well. As the plants grow there will be increase nutrient uptake and nutrient absorption. When the EC gets too low, it’s time to add more nutrients!
Harvesting Hydroponic Broccoli
You will know that your hydroponic broccoli is ready to be harvested once the head of broccoli is developed fully. This can take a little less than three months, although it varies based on the variety you’re growing.
Simply cut the stem a few inches below the broccoli head. The cutting will continue to grow new heads for multiple rounds.
How Long Before Hydroponic Broccoli Is Ready To Harvest?
Hydroponic broccoli usually has about 80 days until harvest.
Can you grow broccoli, Kratky?
You can grow broccoli using the kratky method, although you’ll get higher yields using other common systems such as DWC or NFT.
Now you’re ready to grow your own hydroponic broccoli! With a little bit of knowledge, this crop is quite simple. You have plenty of varieties to choose from and it grows well in multiple kinds of hydroponic systems.
Check out our other posts to learn how to grow even more hydroponic crops!