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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

01 Apr 18, Heather curtis (Canada - Zone 3a Temperate Short Summer climate)
It is the beginning of April, can I plant my seeds for Broccoli now.
23 Feb 18, Marjorie (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, one of my broccoli plants have a head already and we had cut the head off. Should I remove the plant now? thanks!
26 Feb 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You can let it develop small side shoots. Depends when you want to replant that area with new seeds/plants.
15 Feb 18, Mike L (Australia - arid climate)
I am going to try planting broccoli in late Feb, its extremely hot here at the moment 42C. I just want to start early and plant every two weeks or so , semi commercial. Once spring comes, the diamond back moth comes out of the drying crops and is almost impossible to control. Any comments? any pointers?
19 Feb 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I tried to grow broccoli from seed last year - 1st, late Feb and then from Aug. Both times I ended up with craggy big plants and no head developed. I won't try the spring time planting again. It takes about 4-5 weeks to go from seed to good transplantable seedlings. A lot of time and effort - too much shade you have tall leggy seedlings. A lot of attention to watering and fertilizing also. I use to buy good seedlings from nursery and had good success that way. That is my plan in the future for broccoli and cabbage and even maybe lettuce. A real pain trying to grow these from seeds.
16 Feb 18, Mike (Australia - tropical climate)
The guide here is just that a guide but it says plant seeds April and transplant May to Jul. You can try seeds undercover to start with and plant out when it cools off a bit. Good luck.
16 Feb 18, Darren (Australia - arid climate)
Hi Mike, I live on the edge of arid and temperate, and was thinking about planting broccoli in late Feb as well. I would suggest sowing the seeds under cover if possible, and planting the seedlings out in early March. Even then, depending on your circumstances, you still might need to put shadecloth over them. Can't help with the moth, other than spraying with eco oil if you see any caterpillars in the winter months.
08 Dec 17, Kenneth Chagunda (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
what type of pesticides are used on the plants and what type of fertilizer should be applied too.thanks
03 Dec 17, carol (New Zealand - temperate climate)
growing broccoli do you cut any outer leaves?pls
24 Nov 17, Julie Baglin (Australia - tropical climate)
Hi, I live in Maitland. My broccoli plant has heaps of large, healthy leaves, but no broccoli yet. Is this normal?
Showing 1 - 10 of 238 comments

The thing to do to stop it going to seed is to get and eat it fast or freeze it.

- Anonymous

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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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