The Q&A Archives: Broccoli Flowers

Question: Last year, all my broccoli matured and flowered before I had a chance to harvest. Is there anything I can do to prevent my plants from flowering so that I can harvest good heads?

Answer: Broccoli is a cool-season plant; as you have seen, in warm weather it grows and flowers quickly. First of all, choose early-maturing varieties. Start your seeds indoors about 8 weeks before your last frost date. Then transplant the hardened-off seedlingsto your garden about 2 weeks before your last frost date--they can withstand some light frost. Keep an eye on developing heads, and harvest when they are still tight and green. It's better to harvest early than to be faced with a head of yellow flowers! Many types of broccoli will continue to send up side shoots even after the main head is harvested. When choosing varieties, you might look for this feature.<br><br>You can also try planting a crop in late summer, so it will be ready to harvest in the fall. Plan your crop to mature about 2 weeks after your first fall frost date. You may have much better luck with a fall crop, since the heads will be maturing after cooler weather has arrived.

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