Broccoli are a rewarding vegetable to grow at home and an excellent addition to any garden. Below we share the basics of growing broccoli in a home garden, as well as common mistakes and considerations.
Broccoli are a frost tolerant vegetable. This means the best time to plant them is mid to early spring, and mid to late summer for a fall harvest. If you’re expecting a late or early frost after planting, protect your broccoli with a blanket of straw or cover them with plastic buckets.
Plant your broccoli seeds directly in the soil of your garden or container at a depth of 0.5 inches (1 centimetre). Seeds can be planted outside or you can germinate them indoors and transplant them later. Typically, broccoli seeds take about 1 - 2 weeks to fully germinate.
If transplanting, the best time to move broccoli plants outside is when they reach 3 - 4 inches (7 - 10 centimetres) tall or have at least 3 - 4 true leaves.
When planting broccoli in the garden, it’s best to space them 1 - 2 feet (30 - 60 centimetres) away from the nearest plant.
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The key to caring for broccoli in containers is well draining soil and a pot big enough for their root system. Aim for a pot that is roughly 577 cubic inches (9,455 cubic centimetres) in size. A typical 10 or 12 inch flower pot is a great container option for broccoli.
For more in depth information, check out our full guide on growing broccoli in containers.
On average, it takes about 55 - 65 days for planted broccoli seeds to develop into a fully mature plant.
Typically, broccoli plants reach about 2 - 3 feet (or 75 centimetres) in height. Though this can fluctuate depending on the variety.
Broccoli need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day in order to thrive. Be careful to place your plants in an area that receives adequate sunlight. Otherwise, they may not mature properly.
Broccoli like well draining soil that is kept consistently moist, but not wet or soggy. The amount of water it takes to achieve this effect will differ depending on the type of soil available to you.
Be sure to water your broccoli on a consistent, steady schedule. This will ensure the plant yields a healthy, uniform crop.
If growing your broccoli in pots, they will need to be watered more frequently than broccoli planted directly in the garden.
You will know your broccoli are in need of more water when their leaves wilt, yellow, and/or the plant begins to droop. But be careful, this can also happen if the plant receives too much water. This is a difficult balance for most novice gardeners. But the more time you spend with your broccoli, the better you’ll be able to gauge how thirsty they are.
The best time to harvest broccoli is when the heads are fully developed and have tight buds. To harvest, use a sharp knife or scissors and cut the stem of the head at it’s base.