Growing Broccoli -Tips and Advice on How to Grow Broccoli Successfully

growing broccoli

Tips and advice on growing broccoli successfully. Learn how to grow broccoli with the right climate, soil conditions, when to harvest and how to store. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, protein, fiber and flavor and has many uses in the kitchen. We will show you how to grow broccoli successfully with this step-by-step guide.

Know when to plant vegetables, as well as during the month for planting by the moon.

Introduction to Growing Broccoli

Broccoli is a super food that is grown as an annual and can be purchased either as seed or as seedlings from your local nursery. When growing broccoli from seed, expect the seedlings to emerge within 6-10 day of planting. Broccoli should be ready for harvesting within 8-10 weeks of planting, depending of course on the climatic conditions at the time and the variety of what you have chosen.

Best Climate for Growing Broccoli

Growing broccoli successfully means that the plants need to mature during the cooler times of the year and is not very suitable for hot, tropical areas that don't get a cold winter. In temperate areas broccoli needs to be planted out by mid-autumn. Therefore, the planting of broccoli seed should be done in February, in the Southern Hemisphere and by August in the Northern Hemisphere.

Soil Conditions for Growing Broccoli

The broccoli plant likes to be grown in full sun, in a soil that is light, rich in organic matter and moist but not wet. So when growing broccoli dig the soil over well so that it is dug down to a depth of 25 cm. The add generous amounts of farmyard manure, compost, and blood and bone.

Like most leaf vegetables broccoli plants like to have an alkaline soil, with a pH of 6.5. This can be achieved by adding lime at the suggested rate given on the bag. Dig the lime in well, water in well and leave the bed for at least a week before planting out your seedlings.

Growing Broccoli from Seed

Although broccoli seeds can be planted directly into the prepared bed, I prefer to use seed trays, although this is just personal choice. When thinking about your family needs, 10 broccoli plants would be more than enough for the average-sized family.

Broccoli seeds should be sown in seed trays to a depth of 6mm and covered lightly with seed raising mix or sand and vermiculite, or sand mixed with a light soil. Mist well, with water, and place some sheets of wet newspaper on the top. Keep wet and remove once the seeds start germinating.

Once the broccoli seedlings have grown to a height of 10 cm it is time to transplant them. Before planting your broccoli plants out however, just check to see if they have a growing tip, or central bud. If they don't, discard these as these plants are 'blind' and won't come to anything.

Growing Broccoli from Seedlings

Broccoli seedlings growing for later transplanting

Broccoli seedlings growing for later transplanting

Growing broccoli can also be done directly using seedlings. Using something to make a depression in the soil to a depth of 1.5 cm and place 2-3 seed in each hole, at 50 cm apart. Cover the hole with soil and water well with a fine spray so as not to dislodge your seeds. When the seedlings emerge and are 10 cm in height, choose the strongest of the plants and discard the rest, leaving just one plant per hole.

Cultivation of Broccoli Plants

Once a fortnight feed your broccoli with a liquid fertilizer; seaweed, manure tea, nettle tea etc. And make sure that the beds are free from competitive weeds by removing by hand. These can be added to the compost heap as long as they haven't seeded.

 Knowing when to Harvest Your Growing Broccoli

Harvest your broccoli before the head of the plant starts to be broken by leafy points. The heads should be firm and compact, not open and loose. Cut the head, taking approximately 10 cm of stalk and few leaves with it. After this harvest, smaller heads will sprout in its place. These can be harvested too. They will be smaller than the first harvest, but very tender.

Broccoli ready to be harvested

Broccoli more than ready to be harvested

How Much Broccoli do you get from each Plant?

You can expect a crop yield of about 750 g  of broccoli, per plant.

Pests and Diseases when Growing Broccoli

Of all the Brassicas broccoli is by far the most resistant to insects and diseases. However, you still need to be on the lookout for harmful insects when growing broccoli.

white cabbage butterfly

A white cabbage butterfly on some lavender

The cabbage white butterfly caterpillar is its main enemy, being green in color and difficult to detect. Use the herb dill for companion planting to distract the butterflies so that they don't get a chance to lay their eggs. See our page on natural pesticides for getting rid of aphids with organic pest control recipes, as aphids can be another problem to broccoli.

Questions & Answers on Growing Broccoli

Q. How large should the central head of broccoli grow before cutting?

A. Harvest the central head when the individual florets begin to enlarge and develop and before flowering begins. Size varies with variety, growing conditions and season of growth; but central heads should grow to be 4 to 6 inches in diameter, or even larger. Late side shoots may reach only 1 to 2 inches in diameter.

Q. What causes small plants, poor heading and early flowering?

A. Yellow flowers may appear before the heads are ready to harvest during periods of high temperatures. Planting too late in the spring or failing to give the plants a good start contributes to this condition. Premature flower development also may be caused by interrupted growth resulting from extended chilling of young plants, extremely early planting, holding plants in a garden center until they are too old or too dry, and severe drought conditions. 

Small broccoli heads that form soon after plants are set in the garden are called "buttons" and usually result from mistreated seedlings being held too long or improperly before sale or planting. Applying a starter fertilizer at transplanting gets the broccoli plants off to a good start but cannot correct all the difficulties mentioned.

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Is Broccoli a Perennial or an Annual? 
Do broccoli plants grow from spring through fall/early winter or do you have to pull them up in July/August and plant new ones? **** Broccoli …

A problem I faced while growing Broccoli 
I have planted a few brocoli plants On Jan 10,2011. The growth was quite nice till date. But recently since a week, now the head or the central compact …

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