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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
  • Nearly ready for harvest
  • 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

15 Sep 19, Kathleen Foxwell (Australia - tropical climate)
I live in Hervey Bay. I have planted Broccoli seeds. They never form a head for me to harvest. They are just leaves. How can I get them to grow the edible broccoli head?
16 Sep 19, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Broccoli is best grow in your/my area, autumn into the winter - plant seedlings or seeds early March to May. DO NOT have super rich soil. SOIL high in N will just produce a lot of leaf. I had this problem last year with cabbage and broccoli coming out of winter into spring. I won't do that again. I have tried seeds the last 2 years. For broccoli I think the best is to just buy seedlings from Bunnings.
14 Jun 19, Patricia Foster (USA - Zone 9b climate)
Here in central Florida, we grew enormous broccoli plants but they never produced anything, even after six months growing. We put the seedlings in the ground in October in a marl soil that retains moisture and also used plenty of compost and some 10-10-10. Any ideas what went wrong or what we should do to amend the soil?
11 Oct 19, Patty Kipps (USA - Zone 7a climate)
Does it get cold enough for long enough where you are? Broccoli needs cool weather.
12 Aug 19, Roland (USA - Zone 9b climate)
Patricia, I experienced the same last year in zone 9b. Not a single head or side shoots. After six months I pulled the plants and put them in the compost. Nothing goes to waste in my garden.
29 Apr 19, Lawrence Umba (Australia - tropical climate)
I am a farmer from Papua New Guinea at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level. I am trying to produce Broccoli in my farm and wonder is it going to be like growing Broccoli at Australia -Tropical, or do I have to do my own trials. Thank you
29 Jul 19, Rachael (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You can plant anything using the tropical guide on this site. You get good rain and should look into companion plantings to avoid pests, Good luck
27 Apr 19, Katherine (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
We live on Norfolk Island and have just bought a house with a market garden and planted our first crop of broccoli 2 weeks ago. We have noticed the leaves have white squiggly lines on them and have small holes in them. We are planning on continuing the organic gardening of the previous owners.
12 May 19, Danielle (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Katherine, the squiggly lines are from leaf miner and the holes in the leaves are from cabbage moth caterpillars. Check under the leaves for yellow eggs, and also pick off any caterpillars, i'd reccomend netting your broccoli.
06 Mar 19, Terry (Australia - temperate climate)
In a 4 bed crop rotation is it safe to plant crops like brassicas in the same bed in both Autumn and Spring in the same year.
Showing 1 - 10 of 265 comments

Here in central Florida, we grew enormous broccoli plants but they never produced anything, even after six months growing. We put the seedlings in the ground in October in a marl soil that retains moisture and also used plenty of compost and some 10-10-10. Any ideas what went wrong or what we should do to amend the soil?

- Patricia Foster

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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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