Broccoli

A member of the cabbage family, broccoli is grown for its edible, immature flower heads. One of the most nutritious vegetables, broccoli contains high levels of antioxidants.

About This Plant

Broccoli prefers cool temperatures. In many regions it can be grown as both a spring and fall crop. Choose varieties touted for their abundant side shoots to extend the harvest; once the central head is harvested, these side shoots will continue to produce small heads for weeks.

Site Selection

Select a site with full sun and well-drained soil. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost.

Planting Instructions

Start spring transplants indoors six to eight weeks before the last spring frost date, or buy nursery transplants three weeks before the last spring frost date. Where the weather is warm, select a variety that is bolt resistant. Set out hardened off transplants two weeks before the last spring frost. Space plants 18 inches apart. Protect transplants from hard frosts with newspapers, plastic cones, paper bags, or baskets. Provide a windbreak to reduce transplant shock and moisture loss. For fall crops, direct seed the broccoli in the garden 85 to 100 days before the average first fall frost date.

Care

Mulch plants to help keep soil moist, and water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Contact your local County Extension office for controls of common broccoli pests such as flea beetles, cabbageworms, and cabbage loopers.

Harvesting

Harvest for peak quality when the buds of the head are firm and tight. If buds start to separate and the yellow petals inside start to show, harvest immediately.

Other Plant Care Guides in Vegetables
Artichokes
Asparagus
Bean
Beet
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrot
Cauliflower
Celery
Chard
Coneflower
Cucumber
Eggplant
Garlic
Kale
Kohlrabi
Leeks
Lettuce
Melon
Okra
Onion
Oriental Poppy
Parsnip
Pea
Pepper
Potato
Pumpkin
Radish
Spinach
Squash
Sweet Corn
Sweet Potato
Tomato
Turnip

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