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Growing Broccoli

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
  S P P                

(Best months for growing Broccoli in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays P = Sow seed

  • Easy to grow. Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 45°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 14 - 20 inches apart
  • Harvest in 10-16 weeks. Cut flowerhead off with a knife..
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Dwarf (bush) beans, beets, celery, cucumber, onions, marigold, nasturtium, rhubarb, aromatic herbs (sage, dill, chamomile, oregano)
  • Avoid growing close to: Climbing (pole) beans, tomato, peppers (chilli, capsicum), eggplant (aubergine), strawberry, mustard
  • Early stage
    Early stage
  • Nearly ready for harvest
    Nearly ready for harvest
  • Side shoot regrowth after main head cut
    Side shoot regrowth after main head cut

Keep well-watered as seedlings. If left without water they will bolt to seed and be inedible. The plants should grow to develop plenty of large healthy leaves, then the green flowerheads follow, which are cut for eating. Leave the plant growing after cutting the main flowerhead, and get additional crops from the sideshoots which will develop.

Watch for cabbage white butterflies and remove the eggs and caterpillars as soon as possible.

There are two main types of broccoli. The purple sprouting is hardier. The heading varieties cope well with warmer weather.

Once a plant opens its yellow flowers then it is generally past eating as the flavour gets a bit overpowering and the plant gets very woody. Harvest them sooner rather than later.

'Broccolini' is a variety grown for the edible stalks. Grow fast with plenty of water and food, and pick as soon as possible.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Broccoli

The stem (peeled), leaves, and flowerhead are all edible.

Steam for best flavour. Peel large stalks, slice and steam.
Goes well with blue cheese sauce.

Your comments and tips

09 Feb 08, Phoebe (Unknown climate)
Did you know that the leaves are delicious cooked?
05 Jul 08, ~Mands! :o) (Australia - temperate climate)
I have several re-cropping broccoli - been in the ground for just over a year and still producing (although getting a bit woody!!). I have a black/brown/tan type bug beetle throughout. Zillions. What would it be? How can it be eradicated? Prefer natural solutions - soap? Chilli? What are good companions to deter? I've pulled up any plant inflicted but stupidly composted - hoping chooks will enjoy>> not a regular chook play area. Hoping advice is out there!!
29 Jul 08, Barbara in Lane Cove (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I heard tomato foliage helps deter pests from broccoli. I spread tomato leaves amongst my broccoli plus stalks of rosemary for good measure, plus I had added fresh compost to the soil and mulch heavily with alfalfa. These are the healthiest broccoli I've ever grown and no bugs. Question: are the bugs eating the broccoli, or are the bugs eating something else that's on the broccoli?
03 Aug 08, ~Mands! :o) (Australia - temperate climate)
Barbara ~ thanks for responding. They don't look like they are eating the broccoli head - more nestled in the leaves, stalks and florets in a web. I had a suggestion of using soapy water, which I have done to a few but they didn't seem to just 'fall off' and might need a flush and brush approach. The broc is now at 18 months of cutting, in with tomatoes actually so there might be something in the deterrent there as this started as the tomato all died back (I have injured my back, not in the garden as much) Chooks were more interested in the worms in the dirt, than the bugs.
06 Aug 08, josie (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
My broccoli have gone from juvenile heads to spreading out and flowering in a week. What have I done wrong?
13 Aug 08, Helen (Australia - tropical climate)
I've planted some broccoli from seedling 2 months ago. The stems were growing strong and healthy but there is no broccoli even they reach 1 meter high. What did I do wrong?
19 Aug 08, Jan (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I'm a first time broccoli grower. Planted seedlings 10 weeks ago. Very healthy. Have 2" single heads at present. How do I cut them and at what size is best? Nothing attacking....yet. Planted next to parsley,shallots, same age eggplant, garlic chives and silverbeet. Oregano not far away. Saw 1 cabbage moth fly around them yesterday. Sprinkled Blood and Bone over garden a week ago and a small amount of watered down old horse manure ( from the nearby Pony Club. Is there anything more I should do? Buying mushroom compost this Thursday.
26 Aug 08, Jen (Australia - temperate climate)
Just planted broccoli seedlings 1st time. If they are successful, can I take new seeds from them for a future crop?
05 Jul 14, Dave (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi there,can I grow broccoli in Perth during winter?Though it's quite cold this winter we are still getting lots of sunny days.The frost hasn't seemed bad as yet and I was thinking of putting some clear plastic over them also.
27 Aug 08, Addy (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Mands, interesting to read that you have been picking broc for 18 mths! Guess that's due to your temperate weather. Here in Brisbane, I've been picking my broccolini stems for about 2 months now, wonder how long they'll last?
Showing 1 - 10 of 223 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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