Do you have plans of growing broccoli in your own garden and native soil? Then take note that it can be classified as a cool-weather or cool-season vegetable that you can plant during the spring. This means it tends to thrive well in cooler temperatures.
What’s great about having your own broccoli and growing it in your vegetable garden is that it helps you take a hold of delicious and tender spears from the plant known for being highly nutritious.
Learn about how you can grow broccoli through this article.
In This Article
Quick Facts About the Broccoli Plants
- Botanical name: Brassica Oleracea var. Italica
- Type of plant: Annual, biennial, vegetable
- Family: Brassicaceae
- Size: 12 to 24 inches wide, 18 to 30 inches tall
- Type of soil: Loamy, moist, and well-drained
- Sunlight exposure: Full sun
- Soil pH level: Slightly acidic and neutral
- Native area: Asia and the Mediterranean
- Hardiness zones: USDA 2 to 11
Broccoli refers to a dark green vegetable that came from Minnesota. It features a head composed of tiny floral shoots that are safe to eat. Broccoli also has edible leaves that you can use similar to how you use collards and kale.
It is also possible for you to eat this plant’s bright-green and tender flower stalks as well as their undeveloped flowers even when raw. In that case, you can make them part of your veggie platter or chop and mix them into a slaw or salad.
You can also use broccoli when cooking soup, stir-frying, and preparing a savory sauté. It is also possible to steam it first for use in the form of a side dish.
One thing to note about broccoli is that it has varieties that feature purple coloring if they are still raw. You can expect this coloring to fade, which can leave a bright green hue after you cook it.
Broccoli is also worthwhile to grow in your garden because of its high nutritional value. Similar to cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and Brussels sprouts, broccoli is famous for being a great source of vitamins and minerals. Among the nutrients in this vegetable are Vitamin A, fiber, iron, folic acid, and potassium.
Note, though, that growing broccoli requires some patience because it takes quite long for it to mature. Upon harvesting broccoli, specifically the primary broccoli head or its central head, expect it to continue providing smaller side shoots and you can enjoy those for several months.
Common Broccoli Plant Varieties
Broccoli has several varieties ranging in growth rate, look, and a lot more factors. Among the most well-known broccoli varieties are the following:
- Calabrese – Calabrese broccoli is classified as the most common variety or type of broccoli offered in grocery stores. Expect it to have thick stalks that hold its large green broccoli heads. There is a high chance for it to grow well if you do fall plantings.
- Flash – Many refer to it as the flash because of its relatively rapid rate of growth.
- Green Goliath – This particular variety has an impressive heat-tolerance. Aside from being heat-tolerant, it is also capable of growing large broccoli heads.
- Green Magic – This type of broccoli is famous for being a heat-tolerant variety, which increases its ability to survive in various conditions.
Where Should You Plant Broccoli?
Plant broccoli in a place where it receives full sun for around six to eight hours every day. The reason is that it needs sunlight to grow and flourish. Inadequate sunlight may only result in it producing leggy and thin plants, as well as subpar heads.
You should also plant and grow it in a garden bed containing fertile and moist soil capable of draining well. Boost fertility prior to planting during the early spring by working in one thin layer of manure or around two to four inches of humus or rich compost. Ensure that the pH level is a bit acidic, too, around 6.0 to 7.0.
When Should You Plant Broccoli?
As a cool-weather or cool-season crop, broccoli has a high chance of growing better if you begin growing it during the early spring to mid-spring. This will let you enjoy its crops during the early summer.
You can also plant this vegetable during the middle to late summer, so you can harvest fall crop. When deciding when to plant broccoli, keep in mind that high soil temperatures can hamper the broccoli head development, which is the part that can be harvested.
With that said, ensure that it matures prior to or after the expected or anticipated high temperatures. If you intend to do spring plantings, start to grow young plants outdoors or indoors several weeks from the last frost date of the last spring.
When it comes to fall plantings that are ideal in areas with warm climates, it is advisable to sow seeds outdoors, specifically around eighty-five to one hundred days prior to the first frost in the fall. The reason is that this expected fall frost is the time when there is high ambient and soil temperature.
Depth, Spacing, and Support
When planning to grow broccoli, note that you need to plant seeds at the right depth. Basically, you need to plant broccoli seeds at around one-half-inch deep and several inches apart.
Space broccoli plants properly, too. Each row should have a space of around 12 to 20 inches. In addition, there should be a spacing of 12 to 20 inches for every thin seedling. As to whether or not there is a need for a support structure, the answer is no.
How to Plant and Grow Broccoli Outdoors?
To give you an idea of the common steps you should take when planting and growing broccoli, here is the whole process based on whether you start seeds indoors or outdoors.
If you wish to start the broccoli seeds outdoors, sow them at around half an inch deep. Each seed should also be around three inches apart. Wait for the sown seedlings to grow to around two to three inches, after which, you should thin them, making it possible for the plants to have a space of around twelve to twenty inches in between each one.
Are you planning to start plant seeds indoors? Then you can do that if you cultivate and plant transplants, specifically those around four to six weeks old, outdoors. Make it a point to plant transplants that already hold around four to five leaves.
When transplanting outdoors, ensure that each one has a space of 12 to 20 inches in between. Plant them in holes that are a bit deeper compared to the depth when planted in containers.
Also, ensure that you are spacing each row of broccoli at around three feet apart. The reason is to prevent the spacing to become too close, which may only result in tinier primary heads and higher amounts of secondary heads.
Proper spacing is also important whether you plant the seeds indoors or outdoors. After planting the transplants, water them sufficiently.
Growing Broccoli in Containers or Pots
You can also grow broccoli in a pot or container, which is actually helpful in gaining more control in terms of light, soil, and moisture. What’s even better about growing broccoli in pots or containers is that it can help protect plants from various diseases and garden pests, including cabbage loopers and black rot.
Pick a pot or container, which has a minimum width and depth of around one foot for each broccoli. Ensure that the plant comes with drainage holes.
The best material is unglazed clay as it lets excess soil moisture evaporate via the walls, thereby lowering the risk of overwatering. Also, choose a container that has a light color since dark colors tend to result in the soil as well as the roots getting too warm.
Growing Broccoli from Seeds
In order to make broccoli grow from seeds, take note that the seeds require a minimum soil temperature of 40 degrees F for them to germinate. Start the seeds in a pot or container. You can prepare a shallow tray by adding moist seed-starter mix into it first.
After that, put this tray or container in bright yet indirect light. It should be at a spot, which ideally stays at around 45 to 85 degrees F. Maintain the moistness of the soil while ensuring that it does not get too soggy.
Once done, you can expect to notice germination after about a week. Once that happens, it is advisable to harden the seedlings off prior to planting and growing them outdoors.
Caring for Broccoli
Now that you know how to plant and cultivate broccoli, it is time to give this vegetable some care and attention so it can grow well and healthily. When caring for your broccoli plants, ensure that your main focus is on the following areas:
As you may have probably known by now, broccoli is capable of reaching its full growth potential when planted in an area where it receives full sunlight. This means broccoli prefers receiving a good supply of direct sunlight, a minimum of 6 hours most days of the week.
Note, though, that during extremely hot weather, partial shade from the afternoon soon may be essential to ensure that the plants do not bolt. It also helps in making your plants flower and seed.
It is also advisable to water the plants but make sure that your goal is to keep on adding enough moisture to the soil without it becoming soggy. When watering, make it a point to do it from the plant’s base instead of overhead since the latter may only result in rotting.
Also, note that providing your plants with around one inch to one and a half inch of water weekly is often enough. You can also keep the soil moist by adding one layer of mulch.
As for the soil, broccoli seems to find a rich and loamy one that is rich in organic matter better for growth. Make sure that the rich soil has proper drainage. In addition, the best soil pH for this would be a bit acidic to neutral.
Humidity and Temperature
Broccoli seems to do well when grown in areas with temperatures that are around 65 to 70 degrees F. Ensure that the temperature is not too hot to the point that it already reaches over 80 degrees F. The reason is that too much head may lead to bolting.
In terms of humidity, it is not a major factor in the growth of broccoli, provided you were able to provide the plants with the ideal soil moisture and proper or good air circulation.
Fertilizers may also be necessary for improving the ability of your broccoli to grow. What you should do is mix compost before you plant in the soil. This is helpful in boosting the soil’s nutrient content as well as its drainage.
After that, use an organic fertilizer, one that has low amounts of nitrogen. Do this several weeks after you noticed the seedlings starting to emerge. Continue the fertilization for the entire growing season.
You can often harvest broccoli prior to it blooming. This particular capacity of broccoli is beneficial as it ensures that there will be no problems with pollination. It is advisable to use bees and other related beneficial insects in pollinating flowers once you see them blooming.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the trick to growing broccoli?
The best trick when it comes to growing broccoli successfully is to provide it with the right environment. Ensure that it receives its required direct sunlight, water, fertilizer, and temperature.
Use rich and fertile soil for broccoli, too. By doing all that, you can harvest broccoli bountifully pretty soon. Giving it the right environment also ensures that you can prevent various plant diseases that may affect it.
How long does broccoli take to grow?
Broccoli requires around 80 to 100 days to achieve complete growth. This is the time it takes for you to be able to harvest broccoli from the time you planted its seed.
What month do you plant broccoli?
Plant broccoli during the spring or fall. Make sure that it grows in an area with well-drained soil and receives full sunlight. Also, decide whether you wish to do a spring or fall harvest as such can help you decide the perfect time/season to plant broccoli.
Is broccoli difficult to grow?
No, it is not difficult to grow broccoli, especially if you already understand the conditions that are crucial for its healthy growth. You have to be patient, though, as it may take some time for you to finally harvest broccoli.