All About Growing Broccoli

This concise primer on growing broccoli covers varieties, how and when to plant, pest prevention, and harvesting and storage.


| August/September 2009



growing broccoli - Broccoli raab

Tasty in each of its many varieties, growing broccoli is easier than growing cauliflower or Brussels sprouts, and can produce bountiful crops for even novice gardeners.


ILLUSTRATION: KEITH WARD

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

As the most popular member of the cabbage family, broccoli is always in high demand at the table. Because it's a cool weather crop, you'll see your best results growing broccoli in the spring or fall. Florets that mature in autumn when nights turn chilly taste the sweetest. Broccoli seeds sprout best when soil temperatures range between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Broccoli Types to Try

Large-headed varieties produce the familiar domed heads that are composed of numerous clustered florets. Many large-headed varieties produce smaller side shoots after the primary head is harvested.

Sprouting varieties grow into bushier plants that produce numerous small heads. These varieties are at their best when grown from fall to spring in mild winter climates.

Romanesco varieties produce elegantly swirled heads composed of symmetrically pointed spirals. These large plants need plenty of space, excellent soil and good growing conditions to do well.

Broccoli raab is grown for its immature flower buds, which have a stronger flavor than regular broccoli. Broccoli raab (closely related to turnips) is popular in Asian and Italian cooking.

robert
8/5/2017 2:29:36 PM

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maggyjean1951
7/17/2017 1:38:21 PM

I harvested my broccoli today and it is beautiful, however, the large stem (which I love) was hollow. I have never encountered this before and would like to know what caused this. No pest problems that I am aware of. I live in southern Michigan if that helps. Thank you, Maggy


maggyjean1951
7/17/2017 1:37:39 PM

I harvested my broccoli today and it is beautiful, however, the large stem (which I love) was hollow. I have never encountered this before and would like to know what caused this. No pest problems that I am aware of. I live in southern Michigan if that helps. Thank you, Maggy


veera
6/18/2014 3:35:44 AM

Great post. This is very useful. It helps understand much better. Knowing the know-how is very important for a good harvest. Thanks for sharing. http://www.pinterest.com/seodress/rocklin-real-estate-qualified-realtor-in-the-rockl/


jorgen
6/17/2014 5:11:28 AM

This post is very informative. It helps. Thanks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_utcOWbN7E


maria
8/12/2012 3:22:37 AM

I have tiny yellow bugs on the undersides of my leaves. They are also on the kale. They are about the size of a flea. What are they and how do I get rid of them?


arthur walter
8/10/2012 1:23:13 PM

For Florida: Send instructions; what where and when.


mike vann
6/21/2012 5:45:49 PM

I have some nice size plant and they are very healthy and green when will they start to head out thanks


carmeloscalone
3/31/2012 2:20:08 PM

When it flowers is it done?


barbara pleasant_3
5/19/2011 6:52:06 AM

Laurie, you let the head go too long. Maybe you were waiting for it to size up? Once you see heads, you need to watch them and cut them before the tight beads loosen and take on a "ricey" texture -- the last stage before flowering. Try again this fall? Seed-starting time for fall broccoli is only 4-8 weeks away, depending on your climate.


backyarder1
5/18/2011 10:07:08 AM

Hi Laurie. Broccili is a cold weather crop. Usually when it bolts too quickly it is because it got too much heat.


mark urbanoski
5/13/2011 6:43:11 PM

my broccoli started to grow a nice head and then it flowered what happened and what do i do.do i cut it off or leave it. i have only grown broccoli one other time and it turned out great.






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