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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 = Plant in the garden.

  • 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

22 Jun 17, Lyndel -- Toowoomba Qld (Australia - temperate climate)
We live in Toowoomba and would like to know the best time to plant broccoli seeds please. Also, a clarification as to whether we are a temperate or sub tropical climate please??
26 Mar 17, Diane (Australia - temperate climate)
I planted my broccoli in January it's getting big enough but it's seems to be taking awhile to fruit it gets full sun and the leaves are good maybe I planted too soon
27 Mar 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
Diane -- Temperate area - Bundaberg - I generally don't start planting until March - too hot and the chance of a down pour of heavy rain. Rain also brings out the moths. It has rained here the last 2 weeks on and off (8") and the plants can be smashed a bit if quite young. I'm planting broccoli seeds this arvo into egg cartoon (1st try). Maybe a bit shade over them for some or all of the day. Most plants grow slower and develop a better end produce when grown into the winter. When grow into the hotter months they tend to run to seed quicker.
27 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
March and April are better months to plant broccoli. Having said that you should still get heads. While you are waiting, harvest and eat some of the leaves. treat it the same as cabbage because botanically it is the same plant.
30 Mar 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
Well we have just had our rain down pour. I had a tarpaulin over our young plants to keep the rain off. The wind became too strong, so had to take it down. We have just had 3 1/4 inches of rain in just over an hour. The plants are swimming. 14 days of wet weather out of 17 days. Nearly 16 inches for the month. John I planted normal cabbage and savoy cabbage next too each other last year. The normal grew really well but the savoy would not head up - planted about early August. They were huge plants - all leaf.
21 Mar 17, Ramandeep (Canada - Zone 3a Temperate Short Summer climate)
Hi , I live in Toronto, is a broccoli farming possible in Ontario
22 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
According to my research Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cabbage can be planted in late April in Toronto. Seeds could be sown indoors now for transplanting when they are ready.
02 Jan 17, Tania hodges (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Why does our plants only produce really small main heads of broccoli, the plants appear to be really healthy.
03 Jan 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
It may be a small headed variety. Many of the large headed varieties are only available from commercial seed growers Contact Egmont Seeds (NZ) they have larger headed varieties.
31 Dec 16, Patrick Hanratty (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I bought seedlings that said they were Kale from Spar here in Centurion. So now its 31st Jan and they are as big as small bushes about 1.5 metres and certainly not Kale but obviously Broccoli. No heads yet although 5 months growing. Should i wait for cooler weather for them to head or is it better to pull em out because there will be no cool nights until end Feb.
Showing 1 - 10 of 208 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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