Growing Broccoli

For the best in nutrition, look no further than broccoli. This hardy, tasty vegetable contains more nutrients than any other vegetable. It's no wonder that home garderners make an effort to include broccoli in their vegetable gardens.

stalk of broccoli
Broccoli is a cold-season crop.

In the production of broccoli, the head formation stage of development is essential. Broccoli that's held in check by severe frost, lack of moisture, or too much heat will bolt (go directly to seed without forming a head). Broccoli is frost hardy and can tolerate low 20 degree Fahrenheit temperatures. It's a cool-season crop and does best with day temperatures less than 80 degrees Fahrenheit and night temperatures 20 degrees Fahrenheit lower. Broccoli likes fertile, well-drained soil with a pH within the 6.5 to 7.5 range. Broccoli is usually grown from transplants except where there's a long cool period, in which case you can sow seed directly in the garden in fall for winter harvest. Plant transplants that are four to six weeks old with four or five true leaves. If transplants are leggy with crooked stems, plant them deeply so they won't grow top-heavy. Plant the seedlings l8 to 24 inches apart.

Harvesting Broccoli

Time planting to harvest during cold weather. Transplants can be harvested in 40 to 80 days, depending on the variety. Harvesting can continue over a relatively long period. When it is well developed, cut off the central head with five to six inches of stem. Harvest before the head begins to loosen and separate. If small yellow flowers have started to show, it's past the good eating stage.

Types of Broccoli

There are several varieties of broccoli for home gardeners to choose from. These varieties include types that perform better in warmer climates.
  • Green Comet Hybrid, harvest at 55 days, is disease resistant and heat resistant and produces 7-inch heads.
  • Premium Crop, harvest at 58 days, is an All America Selection.
  • Coronado Crown, harvest at 59 days, performs well in hot climates.
Want more information about broccoli? Try:
  • Broccoli Recipes: Check out dozens of recipes featuring this tasty vegetable.
  • Vegetable Gardens: Grow a full harvest of great vegetables this year.
  • Gardening: We answer your questions about all things that come from the garden.