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Broccoli

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Botanical name: Brassica oleracea

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Sandy

Soil pH: Slightly Acidic to Neutral

Broccoli is a cool-season crop that, like spinach, can be grown in the spring or fall. In fact, you may be able to get a continual harvest throughout both seasons if you time planting correctly. A member of the cabbage family, broccoli is rich in vitamins.

Planting

  • Broccoli can germinate in soil with temperatures as low as 40ºF.
  • Broccoli requires full sun and moist, fertile soil that's slightly acidic. Work in 2 to 4 inches of rich compost or a thin layer of manure before planting.
  • For spring plantings, seed or set transplants 2 to 3 weeks before last spring frost date. If you transplant, assume 10 less days for growth or the "days to maturity" on the seed packet.
  • For fall plantings, seed 85 to 100 days before your average first fall frost. If you live in a warm climate, a fall planting is best, as broccoli thrives in cool weather. Plant seeds in mid- to late-summer in most places.
  • Plant seeds 1/2 inch deep, or set transplants slightly deeper than they were grown originally.
  • Within a row, space your plants 12 to 24 inches apart with 36 inches between each row.
  • Space plants 12 to 24 inches apart, depending on the side heads you want to harvest.
  • If you overseed, you will need to thin seedlings to 12 inches apart to give room for the broccoli to grow.

Care

  • Fertilize three weeks after transplanting.
  • Provide consistent soil moisture with regular watering, especially in drought conditions. Some varieties of broccoli are heat tolerant, but all need moisture.
  • Do not get developing heads wet when watering.
  • Roots are very shallow, do not cultivate. Suffocate weeds with mulch.
  • Mulch will also help to keep soil temperatures down.

Pests

  • Flea Beetles
  • Aphids: Curling leaves may mean that the plant's sap is being sucked by insects. Apply soapy water to all sides of leaves whenever you see aphids.
  • Downy mildew: Yellow patches on leaves are usually caused by moist weather. Keep leaves as dry as possible with good air circulation. Buy resistant varieties.
  • Cabbage loopers: Small holes on the leaves between the veins mean small green caterpillars are present. Look at the undersides of the leaves. Hand pick if the problem is small or control with Bacillus thuringiensis. Use a floating row cover just after planting through harvest to prevent caterpillars.
  • Cabbageworms and other worm pests: Treat same as loopers.
  • Whiteflies
  • Nitrogen deficiency: If the bottom leaves turn yellow and the problem continues toward the top of the plant, the plants need a high nitrogen (but low phosphorus) fertilizer or bloodmeal. Blood meal is a quick Nitrogen fix for yellowing leaves.
  • Clubroot: Quickly wilting plants may be due to this fungus in the soil.  The entire plant, including all roots and root tendrils, must be gently dug up and removed. If the roots are gnarled and misshapen, then clubroot is the problem. Act quickly to remove the plants so that the fungus doesn't continue to live in the soil. Do not compost the plants. Raise the pH of your soil to above 7.2. You may need to sterilize your soil, too.

Harvest/Storage

  • In terms of timing: Harvest broccoli when the buds of the head are firm and tight before the heads flower. If you do see yellow petals, harvest immediately.
  • For best taste, harvest in the morning before the soil heats up.
  • Cut heads from the plant. taking at least 6 inches of stem.
  • Cut the stalk of the main head at a slant, about 5 to 8 inches below the head.
  • Most varieties have side-shoots that will continue to develop after the main head is harvested. You can harvest from one plant for many weeks, in some cases, from spring to fall, if you’re summer isn’t too hot.
  • Store broccoli in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you wash before storing, make sure to dry it thoroughly.
  • Broccoli can be blanched and frozen for up to one year.

Recommended Varieties

  • ‘Green Goliath’ is heat-tolerant and sprouts side shoots that will mature for harvesting.
  • ‘Green Duke’ is heat tolerant and an early variety that's especially good for Southern gardeners.
  • ‘Calabrese’ is a prolific Italian heirloom that sprouts side shoots that will mature for harvesting. Great for fall planting, too.
  • 'Flash' is a fast-growing heat-resistant hybrid with good side-shoot production once the central head is cut. Great for fall planting, too.
  • ‘Paragon’ is a popular variety in Canada.

Recipes

Wit & Wisdom

One ounce of broccoli has an equal amount of calcium as one ounce of milk.

Comments

Ok so I planted my broccoli

By cfisher3

Ok so I planted my broccoli seeds on August 24th outside and its still getting around the low to mid 80s where I live (on the Eastern Shore of Virginia), do you think its going to still be too hot for the broccoli to grow correctly or should I just start a completely new set of seeds indoors?

Why didn't my plant seeds

By enlal frazier

Why didn't my plant seeds didn't come up? I planted the seeds correctly and water them every day.

Hi, Enlal: There could be any

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Enlal: There could be any number of reasons. Take a look at the planting and care tips above to see if you did or didn't do something that affected your seeds' success. That's the best way to start. Good luck!

Lots of good questions, but

By sandy remenap

Lots of good questions, but no answers.
how about a frequently asked column with the answers. As in what to do after
brocolli bolts.?

Why don't you just look a

By georgewilson

Why don't you just look a question or two down--and there is your answer. Jeez. It's a free page and up to the community to comment. I see a lot of contributions actually. Why don't you make one?

I planted broccoli plants,

By Sammi_Daugh

I planted broccoli plants, not seeds, in a community garden plot during the first week of June. I chose broccoli because the season had been so cold and wet that there weren't many seedlings to choose from at the closest garden center. From what I've read here, that weather was not so bad for broccoli. I had prepared the plot by adding in a large bag of composted material before planting. About three weeks after planting I applied a 20-20-20 fertilizer. Since the 2nd week of June the weather has been a lot hotter and we've had very little rain. The plot is small so we water with watering cans filled at rain barrels. I go down to the garden almost every day and water it. I'm not used to growing vegetable plants but I didn't expect to do so poorly. The broccoli seemed to be fine, no discolouration, no wilting or curled leaves, all bright and green and happy-looking. But it's been just about 6 weeks since planting and the plants never grew more than an inch or so in height beyond what they were at planting and the heads began to develop. Now having not grown it before I had no clue what to expect. The height concerned me within a couple of weeks... and then once the heads developed, they simply didn't grown beyond the size of one small crown you'd find on a regular sized plant. The whole head was the size of one crown. Then within less than a week some burst into flower! I was astounded... and I have no idea what happened. I can tell from here that the warmer weather probably affected the quick flowering but why didn't the plants grow more? why didn't they do better before the warm weather occurred? I would have thought they'd have grown before the heads developed. Is it possible that the seedlings were waiting too long at the garden store? Would that account for the lack of growth before the weather warmed?

Hello! I work on a vegetable

By Jeff r

Hello! I work on a vegetable farm in williamsville il. We have planted and produced broccoli at a huge rate this year. I'm telling you this because we've had success due to a lot of research of different strains. The ph In the soil has to be right. At my farm we use a rich mushroom compost that has been composting for years. And give a lot of space in rows when planted. Certain bugs in the soil could also be a problem. Take notes of the things you notice and research bugs you see. Good luck and if you have any questions feel free to ask

I planted Broccoli plants

By SWVA

I planted Broccoli plants this spring. They never did head ,just kept growing leaves.Now its fall and they are still alive and huge with no broccoli. Will they eventually head this fall since they didnt die, or should I cut them to the ground and see if they will regrow?

Small broccoli heads are a

By Almanac Staff

Small broccoli heads are a common problem, we're afraid. 

Broccoli is a cool weather crop. Warm weather makes the plant flower (or bolt). However, you do need 55 to 60 days of cool weather for the plant to mature. Specifically, the temperatures need to be between 65 and 80 degrees—no cooler, no warmer. Yes, broccoli is very very picky with a narrow window for planting! (See our planting chart for dates that fit your area.)

When you plant broccoli, it's great that you added lots of organic matter. We might advise mixing in some fertilizer that's heavier on the nitrogen; this feeds a fast-growing head. It sounds as if you were supplying a constant stream of water for moist soil--also important.

Broccoli in the garden will never match what's in the grocery store, though it tastes much better.

At this point, you can cut the flowers off and the main head and see if your plant will grow some bite-size side heads.

We're impressed by your diligence. Gardening is a never-ending learning curve. If we may, we'd suggest an easier plant next year? See this article:

http://www.almanac.com/vegetable-garden-planning-for-beginners

 

is it ok to plant

By Chantelle Michael

is it ok to plant broccoli/brussel sprouts/garlic in a mini plastic green house ? im new to the whole gardening thing

There's no reason you can't

By Almanac Staff

There's no reason you can't use a greenhouse, but keep in mind that broccoli thrives in cool weather.

help! my broccoli is now at

By todd allenn

help! my broccoli is now at about 110 days. i have one plant that has formed a floret. it looks healthy, tight and compact but it is yellow, very yellow. it was yellow when i first spotted it 3 days ago when the size of a marble. it has doubled in size in the last 3 days. it still looks very healthy about the size of a tennis ball and still very compact. but it is still yellow. am i just being impatient? or do i have a problem?

Hi, Todd: You may have a

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Todd: You may have a problem or two, but we don't think that impatience is one of them. It's hard to tell what is going on here without knowing where you are, what variety you planted, and so forth, but it's probably time to think about another planting for fall. Your plants may have gotten too hot, but the fact that your first little floret was yellow from the get-go tells us that this may be a nitrogen deficiency and not just that your plant is going to seed. Make sure that your soil is neutral to slightly acidic, with plenty of nitrogen and not too much phosphorus. Use the Frost Dates calculator under Gardening above to get the probable date of your first frost, then count backward 100 days from then to plant. With the right soil, we think you'll do better in the coolness.

My broccoli seeds, direct

By Wade Hampton

My broccoli seeds, direct sow, have not come up after 14 days. I fertilized and prepared the soil and watered weekly and had one decent rain since planting. Found root fragments from a former tree when preparing soil. All of my other direct sow seeds are up and I plan to thin them soon. Any suggestions or am I just impatient?

I planted my broccoli the end

By sticks

I planted my broccoli the end of March, the leaves are huge and over 2ft tall now but still no heads. The soil is good manure compost, I fertilize with MG every 2-3 weeks and water as needed. All of my other crops are growing great just my broccoli has no heads. Is there anything I can do?

Depending on the variety you

By Almanac Staff

Depending on the variety you have, and whether you planted by seeds or transplants, it might just be that they aren't ready to form the heads yet. Some take more than 10 or 12 weeks.
 
Another possibility is that the plants are getting too much nitrogen, which encourages leaf growth over flowers (the heads). Depending on the formula of Miracle Gro that you are using, it tends to have higher nitrogen than phosphorus or potassium. Broccoli is a heavy feeder, but it's best to use a balanced organic or slow-release fertilizer if you are applying it every few weeks. Otherwise, too much nitrogen may result in hollow stems and may discourage heading. If you choose a fertilizer high in nitrogen, you might try only applying it about 3 or 4 weeks after transplanting, a smaller amount when the heads are just developing, and then after you harvest the main head (to encourage small side shoots to grow, which you can also harvest). (Before planting, the soil should be amended with composted manure or similar to provide rich nutrients.)
 
Hot temperatures may also prevent heads to develop, or encourage the plant to bolt (form a flower stalk immediately instead of first developing compact heads).

Hot temperatures have caused

By Gillian

Hot temperatures have caused my broccoli plant to bolt and grow yellow flowers instead of broccoli heads. a
At this point, what do I need to do to salvage the plant or is it a one-shot kind of thing.
Also, if your plant isn't one with side shoots- once the head is harvested , will it grow again? Or do you need to start from scratch?

Hi, a wood chuck destroyed

By chelseacannady

Hi, a wood chuck destroyed all my spring veggies here on cape cod this week. There are still healthy stalks but no leaves. The broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower had not had a chance to develop a crown or head yet soI'm wondering if i should remove plants or is there still a chance they'll come back? There was the beginnings of a crown/head before animal but now just stalks. Thanks!

Last year my broccoli head

By Robin Merrick

Last year my broccoli head grew out into tall spikes and was not really good... how can you correct or stop this from happening.

It sounds like your broccoli

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like your broccoli bolted (developed a flower stalk and went to seed). This happens when temperatures are too warm, or temperatures fluctuate from quite cool for a while to warm. Broccoli likes consistently cool weather (about 65 to 75 degrees F ideal), and in many areas is best planted in early spring or late fall. Bolting can also happen if the plant is under stress, such as diseases or insects, or weeds. To help prevent premature bolting, you can select slow-bolting varieties, plant at a good time for your area (if you live in the U.S., see your local Cooperative Extension for best times: http://www.almanac.com/content/cooperative-extension-services), keep plants watered and stress-free, and keep the soil cool by providing a thick layer of mulch.

4-6-14 how do I know how much

By Teresa L Jones

4-6-14 how do I know how much bloodmeal to buy and use on a row 3ft wide by 105 ft long? Any one know how to calculate before buying too much?

We tend to use blood meal

By Almanac Staff

We tend to use blood meal (high nitrogen) as a side dressing; blood meal won't substitute good soil that's mixed with lots of organic material. We side dress with one cup for every 10 square feet of growing area. Side dress 4 weeks after transplanting/thinning; Apply another half cup when the broccoli head is the size of a quarter; side dress a third time after the main head is harvested for continued side-shoot development. Place the fertilizer 6 inches to the side of the plant and irrigate it into the soil.

Its April here in Karachi

By Behrooz Felfeli

Its April here in Karachi with temperatures ranging from 75F to 85F. I want to sow broccoli seeds. Do you think it has a chance of survival and will it form head when it matures during June/july when the temperature reaches 100F - 104F?

Unlikely I tried in the

By David Copeman

Unlikely I tried in the phillipines and it bolted.

I planted my broccoli outside

By ambre

I planted my broccoli outside a couple weeks ago. It is not thriving. Some of the leaves have died, new ones are growing, but very slowly. The starts I still have inside are doing much better. More green and getting bigger. Am I just being impatient? Or do you think my plants need something? I am new to gardening, so I have many questions.

We'll try to help. It's very

By Almanac Staff

We'll try to help. It's very early spring do we're wondering if you are tranplanting too early but it all depends on where you live. Broccoli is temperature sensitive.  The ideal temperature for broccoli is between 65 and 80 degrees.  If it drops below 40 degrees, you'll have issues. You can check your local planting dates for both starting seeds indoors and setting plants in the ground here:

http://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-dates

 

I am looking for floating row

By Mildred Wiggins

I am looking for floating row cover. I do not order anything through internet access. I have tried the farm supplies, landscape business, Lowe's and a local hardware store and no one seems to carry it and most have no idea what I'm talking about.
Can you give me any suggestions?
Thanks.

Bought it at Tractor Supply

By Donald Crawford

Bought it at Tractor Supply Company yesterday. Great price. $10 8x20.

Hello Mildred, You can go to

By Kevin Boutte

Hello Mildred,
You can go to the web sites suggested and request their catalogs. Hope this helps. Kevin

Mildred, Floating row covers

By Almanac Staff

Mildred, Floating row covers are also called "gardening fabric." You can find examples on garden seed sites such as www.Burpee.com and www.gardeners.com.  When you get to their web sites, just type in "floating row covers." Hope this helps.

I'm not sure I understand how

By JLyfie

I'm not sure I understand how I'm supposed to plant the broccoli seeds - do I need to leave 12-24 inches space between my rows and then plant seeds 1 inch deep, 3 inches apart from one another?

Thanks for asking. We've

By Almanac Staff

Thanks for asking. We've clarified the text on this page. Plant each seed at a depth of 1/2 inch to 1 inch. Within a row, the spacing is 12 to 24 inches apart with 36 inches between each row. If you overseed, you'll just want to thin the seedlings so that they're no closer than 12 inches apart.

I planted brocolli in October

By Bonnie M.

I planted brocolli in October here in Southern California (zone 10/11). My brocolli is about knee high with stalks only about a fingers thickness. I only have one small head with loose florets. Some of my other brocolli has been eaten starting from the edge of the leaves working inward. Ive looked and looked and have found No bugs! Could mice be eating it? Other veggies have the same eating marks and my FIL caught 20mice in only a few days...
Weve also had very warm weather this winter in the 80s most of January. Could this be the cause of tall lanky broccoli with poorly formed heads?

The lanky growth on the

By Robin In The Woods

The lanky growth on the broccoli is called buttoning the plant was stressed somehow when it was a seedling. In cooler climates it is due to freezing. When I gardened in Florida (coastal zone 10) it was normally caused by dryness or too much heat.

My plants are also knee high

By Drew Becker

My plants are also knee high with full broad green leaves and .5 - 1 inch thick stems. Have these "bolted"? If so, can anything be done to promote heads to form?

I live in south Louisiana and

By Kevin Boutte

I live in south Louisiana and last night and today we had an ice storm. The heads of the broccoli are cover with a layer of ice and have gone from there normal green to a darker color. Are they still okay to eat? Thank you in advance for any help.

Broccoli is one of those

By Almanac Staff

Broccoli is one of those plants that can tolerate a light freeze if it's a short duration. If the dark green turns to black, than they have been killed, but if not, they are fine to eat. Though you can't always predict the weather, cover your plants if a frost or freeze is expected so that you can protect them.

I have a fungus that started

By Bruce Softley

I have a fungus that started on my broccoli plant I have been harvesting for weeks small bunches from four plants iam in phx az all of the sudden this fungus started it is green and very sticky I have pulled some of the bad stalk off Do not know how to treat

I have a fungus that started

By Bruce Softley

I have a fungus that started on my broccoli plant I have been harvesting for weeks small bunches from four plants iam in phx az all of the sudden this fungus started it is green and very sticky I have pulled some of the bad stalk off Do not know how to treat

Cole crops such as broccoli,

By Almanac Staff

Cole crops such as broccoli, especially plants that are not disease resistant, are commonly affected by several problems. It’s not possible to know exactly what has afflicted your plants but here is some information.
• Seeds and young transplants can be affected by the soil-borne fungus Pythium. Control recommendations include planting in raised beds, ensuring good drainage, and planting in commercial potting soil, not “earth," which is to say garden soil.
• Fusarium yellow, which has a yellow-greenish tint, can live in the soil for years without a host plant. When the opportunity presents itself, the disease enters through the plants' roots as well as any injuries caused by insects or transplanting.
By planting disease-resistant varieties and rotating your crops, you can help your plants to avoid these and other diseases and so improve your harvest.
We hope this helps!

can i grow broccoli in north

By anupam

can i grow broccoli in north indian cimate

My first try at broccoli I

By Dave Verplank

My first try at broccoli I thought was very good. My wife says it isn't any good. She sees a purplish color on the broccoli head and says it is bad. I cut the stems and have eaten the broccoli and it is excellent. What is the purplish tinge on the broccoli heads ? I keep seeing info on yellowish flowers, but I did not see anything like this. Did I harvest too soon?

This is very normal--and a

By Almanac Staff

This is very normal--and a good sign. Fresh-looking broccoli heads should be compact and dark green with some purple tinge. Obviously, it depends on the variety, but there is nothing wrong with this.

hello I bought the hybride

By mohammad

hello
I bought the hybride broccoli seeds.what is the differ between this type and other species?
another question,the seeds should be planted in outdoor or indoor conditions?what is the optimum temperature for germinate? thanks.

Could you please explain what

By Pamela Monreal

Could you please explain what a floating row is?

Floating rows are simply

By Almanac Staff

Floating rows are simply lightweight fabric covers that you drape over your plants. Here is a good article with pictures on the Burpee seed site: http://www.burpee.com/gardening-supplies/frost-protection/floating-row-c...

I used broccoli seed - it

By Heidi Gahler

I used broccoli seed - it grew nicely, i harvested one small head with yellow flowers in it. , all others bloomed, now I have a lot of seed on them. Is it worth to dry and collect the seed and sow next year. Thank you.

Broccoli isn't the best

By Almanac Staff

Broccoli isn't the best veggie for seed-saving but you can do it. First, note that you can't have any other crops from the Brassica oleracea family within a mile or they'll cross-pollinate and it won't be pure broccoli. Also, you want to seed save from heirloom veggies versus hybrids. Do not harvest heads on broccoli plants that you wish to save for seed. Carefully dig the plants and pot them in sand. Store plants between 32-40° F. Plant back out in early spring and allow to bolt. Harvest seed pods when dry and clean by hand. See more on Seed Saving: http://www.almanac.com/content/quick-seed-saving-guide-beginners

What about broccoli and

By Ryan Wissler

What about broccoli and cauliflower in the same garden. Will they cross pollinate and leave me with no pure broccoli or cauliflower?

Broccoli and Cauliflower do

By Almanac Staff

Broccoli and Cauliflower do cross-pollinate but this won't happen in your first year. It only happens if you save the seeds for a second season (and if these seeds are not hybrid).

I planted broccoli this

By Mike A.

I planted broccoli this spring and plants look great, 3' tall, huge leaves, but no broccoli. Will I get heads in the fall when it gets cooler or should I just pull them out and try for a fall crop with new seeds?

Broccoli prefers cool

By Almanac Staff

Broccoli prefers cool temperatures and an even supply of water to produce heads.Hot temperatures and/or drought can cause broccoli to stop producing heads. Overcrowding and poor soil can also cause problems. Leave the plants in the soil and see if the cooler weather will help the broccoli to set heads.

I pick the center large head,

By Diane A H

I pick the center large head, then let the plant continue to make smaller heads-pick them and dehydrate them for
soups in the winter.

I planted broccoli and

By loretta magrino

I planted broccoli and something is eating all the leaves, right to the stem. I bought slug medicine and now it seems that the plant is beginning to grow again, what can I do, besides putting medicine down to let these, I think it's slugs, keep away?
Thank you. LorettA

Slug them back with beer!! If

By Rebecca Dickson

Slug them back with beer!!

If you put beer in a shallow dish or lid and place it around your garden the slugs will go for it rather than your plants..I used this trick to keep them off my Tomatoes that I grew on my deck in straw bales!

If you have slugs you can try

By Almanac Staff

If you have slugs you can try spreading crushed egg shells around your plants. Go to almanac.com/content/slugs to see more tips about getting rid of slugs.
 

I live in kolkata

By Dr s pattnaik

I live in kolkata India.recently i got some seeds from US.can u give me some tips as to how and when i can grow in a temperate climate like India.
dr s pattnaik

Start the seedlings indoors

By FDS

Start the seedlings indoors in October and plant outside in November. Broccoli likes cool weather. You'll be able to harvest until it gets hot and the broccoli goes to seed.

Planted last spring (really

By Jim Lyons

Planted last spring (really bad season last year)and broccoli grew 3' tall with pencil thin stalks that fell over with the weight of the leaves (no head formed). I just walked away and said "so much for broccoli here". This year at the end of the long stems huge broccoli plants formed with wonderful broccoli. If it wasn't fenced around they would have fallen over. Can I cut the stems all the way back to the root this winter? will they come back? Thanks

Broccoli is usually grown as

By Almanac Staff

Broccoli is usually grown as an annual and started new each spring. You can leave your plants in the ground after you pick the main crown and harvest small shoots that grow from the sides of the stems. In late fall remove the plants.
 

My broccoli didn't do we'll

By Rick Young

My broccoli didn't do we'll this year, they bolted and I hadn't researched well enough. Now that it is hot 100 degree weather, do I pull the plants or leave them in the ground?

Yes, you need to pull the

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you need to pull the plants. Brocolli, a cool-weather plant, is a popular fall crop in most regions if you wish to try again!

When buying Broccoli at a

By Richard Ryder

When buying Broccoli at a Grocery store, or farmers market, or a stand alone farm highway
stand, how can I tell if the Broccoli is safe and good to buy and eat?

Here is a good reference page

By Almanac Staff

Here is a good reference page on food safety: http://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/farmers_market.html

I love gardening nd this is

By Pam Ely Hoyt

I love gardening nd this is the first year i actually got some broccoli to grow. I have a small head on one of the six plants but i never know when to cut it. Its prolly the size of the palm of my hand nd i have a small hand.lol maybe little smaller. I don't want to lose it

Hi, Pam, Here are tips on how

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Pam, Here are tips on how to cut broccoli from our organic gardening blogger, Celeste: http://www.almanac.com/blog/celestes-garden/broccoli

What is the safest

By Mary Tipton

What is the safest temperature that a broccoli head can stand. I want to be sure and cut mine before it freezes.
Thank you,
Mary Tipton

Broccoli can tolerate frost

By Almanac Staff

Broccoli can tolerate frost or even a light freeze. It really can't tolerate lower than 20 degrees F.

growing broccoli for the

By vickie lane

growing broccoli for the first time this year,it is doing great.I would like to know if broccoli produces more,when first head is harvested. does anyone know?

I got three heads off of two

By LisaCvC

I got three heads off of two plants this year and two heads off of the other three. Was a great year here in Washington State for Broccoli.

I live in Virginia and

By Andi Spears

I live in Virginia and planted broccoli about 2 1/2 months ago, I have big beautiful leaves on some with no heads and the others something is eating all of the leaves. Any suggestions? Thank you.

If the temperature is too

By Almanac Staff

If the temperature is too warm, the broccoli will not produce heads. Broccoli is a cool-weather crop grown in spring and fall.

I tried growing broccoli but

By Andy22

I tried growing broccoli but it flowered with very little in the way of edible flower. Is it too warm here in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay?

Broccoli is a cool season

By Almanac Staff

Broccoli is a cool season plant. Local (to you!) sources suggest that the best growing time in your area is fall, but some of the sources seem to have conflicting information. Some say start in winter for spring planting. Just as important, though, is the soil. Cole crops like a pH betw 6 .0 and 7.0 (even 7.5); rich, organic compost; plentiful, consistent moisture; and some say a shot of nitrogen at planting (but not too much; that could cause hollow stems). Finally, consider where it is planted in terms of crop rotation: Broccoli and other cole crops should not be planted in the same location more than once every three or four years. Hope this helps—

Question does anyone know how

By Rebecca Decker

Question does anyone know how high and wide I need to put mulch around my Broccoli plants to keep the soil cool so I don't continue to get flowers on my broccoli plants?

A layer of 2 to 4 inches of

By Almanac Staff

A layer of 2 to 4 inches of mulch will help cool the soil (about 4 to 6 degrees cooler). However, you need to harvest broccoli before the flowers open or show yellow. The mulch will help slow down the heat but the broccoli will keep maturing!

I tried growing broccoli for

By Kathy W.

I tried growing broccoli for the first time this year. I had some very small growths, then they grew high and got yellow flowers all over. Is it too late to do anything? I was expecting them to grow large heads from the flowers, but I guess I should've found this page before making that assumption.

It sounds like they "bolted".

By Bob Smith

It sounds like they "bolted". The broccoli heads/florets you eat are the compacted flower buds. Usually you can get the head to form and have time to harvest the main head before they open up (not as tightly clumped) then shoot up and open yellow flowers. But, sometimes if the plant is stressed due to high temp or low water they "bolt" right up to flower. You can cut this portion off (same as harvesting main head) and the plant should begin to form side shoot heads that will be smaller but edible nontheless.

Thank you for this answer. I

By Barbara Korf

Thank you for this answer. I am experiencing this problem and didn't know what I did wrong. I'll cut the "bolted" part off and see if the side shoots develop.

harvest

By Anonymous

Most varieties have side-shoots that will continue to develop after the main head is harvested. You can harvest from one plant for many weeks, in some cases, from spring to fall, if you’re summer isn’t too hot
this is the best part of this plant side shoots you could steam them and add some olive oil on it great as a side dish

1st time grower in texas

By Anonymous

the plants are average nine inches high and beautiful but no buds is this normal? I planted them about a month in a half ago.

My broccoli can get quite

By Almanac Staff

My broccoli can get quite tall before the head starts to form. Even knee-high. It can take 60 to 70 days for some varieties. If you gently push the little leaves away in the centre, can you see florets forming? It may just take some time. If the heads do not form, it's usually due to extreme temperature--usually because it's too hot. This cool-weather veggies does not like heat. Cold shock at seeding can happen, too.

yellow, dying cotyledons

By Anonymous

My broccoli seedlings have one or two true leaves and the cotyledons are turning yellow and dying. Isn't that a bit early for the cotyledons to die? They are about 4 weeks old.

After you get the true leaves

By Almanac Staff

After you get the true leaves (within a week or so), the cotyledons will start to yellow. When they start to yellow, begin fertilizing seedlings by applying a WEAK fertilizer solution each time you water. (Be careful not to "burn" with too much fertilizer.)

Long stems from seed

By Anonymous

I started by plants from seed and 4 weeks later have 3 to 4 inch stems with very small leaves at the very top. These are indoors in peat pots. Can a plant them with a good part of these long stems in the ground?

Reasons for long stems: temps

By Almanac Staff

Reasons for long stems: temps too warm (broccoli likes it 10 degrees cooler than most seedlings), not enough direct sunlight, too much nitrogen in soil. Yes, when you plant, cover the roots and stem with supplemental top soil; dissipate the nitrogen (use fertilizer high in phosphorous and low in nitrogen). Stake the long stem if needed.

Bring them back inside?

By Anonymous

I just transplanted my broccoli plants to their big containers outside. So far, the weather during the day has been in the 50s-60s, with the night temps in the 40s. The forecast calls for high of 48/low of 30 in a couple days. Should I bring the plants back inside, or leave them out? I heard too much variability can make them bolt, but not sure what constitutes "too much." If it helps, I live in right in between zones 7a and 7b. Thanks!

a broccoli chill

By Almanac Staff

Planting zone definitions are guides--good ones, but they are not infallible. Any given spot could be a micro-climate that varies from typical zonal characteristics and expectations. Broccoli is pretty hardy but, yes, it is finicky.
Cold tolerance depends on conditioning. If your plants had been in warmer conditions before transplanting and the temp drops well below freezing, it is very likely you would lose them. If you broccoli plants had experienced relatively cold weather, it is likely that they would survive.
Sometimes it is wise to err on the side of caution. You might do well to bring the containers inside, but into a space/area that mimics recent temp and light conditions. That is, don't bring them into the high heat and lamp light of the house. Perhaps a porch?? Or you could cover the plants.
Either way, return them outside or uncover them during the day.
We hope this helps.

I put mine in 4 months and

By Anonymous

I put mine in 4 months and still nothing. I live in HI so plenty of rain but warmer weather. Should I just pull them??

broccoli

By Almanac Staff

It's not just about the weather. Broccoli needs soil with a pH range of 6–7. It is a heavy feeder, so thrives where the soil is rich in aged manure or rich compost—or both. When planted and while growing it can benefit from a general garden fertilizer, such as 10-30-10, with more nitrogen after harvesting. And, if you are not practicing appropriate crop rotation, it may fail to thrive because of whatever grew in the spot before. For specific assistance, contact your local extension service. We hope this helps.

Broccoli never produced

By Anonymous

Last year my broccoli never produced anything but BIG plants. The stem itself was a big as 2 1/2 to 3 inches thick. I kept thinking okay maybe it is like the asparagus and takes a little longer. A couple did produce a few very tiny florets,but that was it. I let them go to seed as I figured the flowers were pretty.(I eventually pulled all the other ones out so I could plant other veggies)I actually let 1 plant stay over the winter and it is still living! What a waste of my garden space..Any thoughts? I tried both planting from seed and from nursery plants.

Broccoli never produced

By Almanac Staff

It's hard to know exactly what went wrong with your broccoli crop, but consider this:
• Did you amend the soil to the appropriate pH: 6.0-6.5?
• Did you apply potassium and nitrogen before planting and then again to seven weeks after the transplants (or seedings) got established?
• Did you keep the plants well watered and free from stress—such as diseases, weeds, and insects?
• Did you plant too early in spring? The larger that plants are when exposed to a late-season cold period, the higher is the likelihood that they will bolt.
• Did the plants experience a prolonged cold spell, followed by a favorable temps, then high temps? This sounds normal, but the variability may be the cause of bolting.
There is no easy answer. Consider these risks and try again this year. OH, then there's this—if you see broccoli thriving in a garden in your area, tell your tale and ask the gardener what his/her secret is. The best advice is sometimes right next door. Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

I too have gorgeous plants

By Anonymous

I too have gorgeous plants but no broccoli. Be nice if I could eat the leaves!

Yes, you can eat the leaves.

By Alissa

Yes, you can eat the leaves. Think of it as collard greens or kale. They taste like broccoli too and are super healthy!

Broccoli small

By Anonymous

I had thumb sized heads until I discovered kelp meal. It along with bone meal helped me grow wonderful tender large broccoli that was so good !

You Can

By Anonymous

You can eat the leaves

eating leaves

By Anonymous

In the blooming stage of the plant when the heads are growing It is helpful to free the plant of the leaves and stems that grow near the heads, the more mature ones taste a little bitter but the new growth ones can be as sweet as snap peas.

Cool weather crops

By Anonymous

I live in north central Arkansas and when I saw broccoli, cabbage plants etc. at my local feed store, I bought a few. They are now about 10 inches tall. I have been trying to cover them when frost is forcast but have failed to do so a couple of times and they seem to be fine. Do I need to cover them over winter?

Broccoli can be grown in

By Catherine Boeckmann

Broccoli can be grown in areas with mild winters, not severe winters. This fits central Arkansas-- zone 7b. The timing depends on the variety of broccoli. For a standard type of broccoli, you would normally start harvesting around October but may be able to stretch to January. For the Northern European varieties of broccoli, you can overwinter. Normally, you'd start seeds early summer and transplants by later summer so the broccoli has time to grow large enough to grow by January and survive low temps. The plants will thrive down to 25 degrees F without covering. Some readers say that their broccoli did well down to 10 degrees. Single digits would kill.

cutting your plant and replanting it upside down will it grow

By Anonymous

I was told to cut the top pull the plant and replant it upside down

After winter

By Anonymous

My broccoli did well this summer and now in the fall. When the weather gets colder do I need to pull the plants and replant new in late winter or will my current bud again in the spring. I live in SC if this helps

You can leave your plants in

By Almanac Staff

You can leave your plants in the ground and keep harvesting the side shoots in the winter months. In the spring you need to plant new broccoli plants to get new buds and florets.

When is a good time to plant broccoli in NW TN?

By Anonymous

When is a good time to plant broccoli in NW TN? Im not sure about my dirt either, okra did great, but tomatoes are very small. The dirt is hard packed and rust colored. My garden spot gets about 8 - 12 hours of sun, depending on which end Im on (great big tall wild cherry trees offer shade).

bad soil

By Anonymous

I would add 3 to 5 inches of strait compost u can buy it by the cubic yard from any nursery or the city dump(its cheaper)till it in before spring planting do this every year until the soil will stay loos in summer

Please see our fall planting

By Almanac Staff

Please see our fall planting chart here and look for your frost dates. It lists broccoli and more! http://www.almanac.com/content/succession-gardening-planting-dates-second-crops

First Time Planting Broccoli

By Anonymous

I live in south Louisiana and would like to grow broccoli-I don't have a green thumb and would like to know how to get started. I think now is the time to plant but should I start seeds indoors, buy seedlings and plant outdoors, or sow seeds outdoors?

For southern Louisiana,

By Almanac Staff

For southern Louisiana, August is a good time to seed broccoli in the ground. It's probably fine in September, too. Here's a good guide from LSU:
http://www.lsuagcenter.com/NR/rdonlyres/46F14CF6-CA36-44E4-95B9-6856552C94EC/43250/pub1980vegplantguide2008LOWRES.pdf

broccoli never gave florets

By Anonymous

I planted my broccoli by seed about 3 months ago. The plant grew nice but never gave me florets. Should I trim it or just pull out the whole plant and start again?

It may have been too hot for

By Almanac Staff

It may have been too hot for your broccoli. Or you may have added too much nitrogen to the soil which encourages leaf growth. Next time try a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer for better bloom growth.If you have room in your garden leave the plants and you may get some florets with cooler temps.

When do you start to plant fall garden.

By Anonymous

In Havana Florida where due I find planting dates

Click on the yellow

By Almanac Staff

Click on the yellow "Gardening" tab to the left and you'll see planting links.

harvesting seeds?

By Anonymous

How do I harvest seeds from my Broccoli plant? Ive let one plant flower but not sure when or how to harvest seeds.

Broccoli isn't the best

By Almanac Staff

Broccoli isn't the best veggie for seed-saving but you can do it. First, note that you can't have any other crops from the Brassica oleracea family within a mile or they'll cross-pollinate and it won't be pure broccoli. Also, you want to seed save from heirloom veggies versus hybrids. Do not harvest heads on broccoli plants that you wish to save for seed. Carefully dig the plants and pot them in sand. Store plants between 32-40° F. Plant back out in early spring and allow to bolt. Harvest seed pods when dry and clean by hand. See more on Seed Saving: http://www.almanac.com/content/quick-seed-saving-guide-beginners

When to pull up broccoli plant

By Anonymous

I've harvested the main head and some of the side heads have gone to seed. Should I pull up the plant now and plant something else? How do I know when to pull up a plant after it's done.

Yep, it's done. Pull out the

By Almanac Staff

Yep, it's done. Pull out the broccoli plant. It's gone to seed and will only start to taste bitter. Now you can sow a plant that fits the middle of summer in your area!

Floating row covers

By Anonymous

In the Northeast climate, can you use floating row covers during July and August?

Yes. Floating row covers is

By Almanac Staff

Yes. Floating row covers is an excellent way to prevent pests. Apply just after planting. You can keep over broccoli for the life of the plant since they do not require insects to pollinate them. However, it is important to secure the edges of the cover tightly (with landscaping pins).

it's been 30 days

By Anonymous

Its been 30 days all I have are big big leaves. Is that okay

Keep on watering and your

By Almanac Staff

Keep on watering and your broccoli should soon sprout!

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

flower stalks and heads

By Anonymous

I planted broccoli plants from a nursery about 6 weeks ago. Broccoli heads are growing nicely but I have tall stalks with flowers too. Should I cut those off? They are now so tall they are leaning over.

It seems as though your plant

By Almanac Staff

It seems as though your plant has gone to seed! Pick them off and hopefully smaller florets will grow in their place.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

Broccoli plants after harvest

By Anonymous

when do you know it's time to pull out the plant after harvesting the florets?

Harvest while buds are

By Almanac Staff

Harvest while buds are starting to swell (match-like size) or if it begins to loosen from the plant itself. If you wait to long, they'll flower.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

broccoli

By Anonymous

when YOU CUT THE HEAD TO EAT, WILL ANOTHER HEAD GROW THERE , or will it be just side shoots from there ?

It won't grow the same

By Almanac Staff

It won't grow the same central head, but it will grow more, smaller heads to enjoy.

Broccoli Help

By Anonymous

I planted my seedlings about a week and a half ago. For some reason, there is already a broccoli on some of them. It is small and the plant itself is only about 12 inches high. Can I clip this little broccoli and more will grow later, or is it a goner?

It's hard to say without a

By Almanac Staff

It's hard to say without a photo link, but does the broccoli head look like a small "button"? There are several possibilities for this: 1) Plants that remain too long in seed flats or have outgrown their container may produce "button" heads soon after planting. 2) Plants that have experienced a rapid change in temperature such as warm to cold nights without any "hardening off" and transition may button. 2) Dry spells, cold nights, or really erratic weather can affect the early broccoli growth.
If you have this issue with the main head, your broccoli can still produce great side shoots after the main head is cut.

Broccoli Help

By Anonymous

It didn't look like a button. It looked like a side shoot would look like towards the end of the season. It was tall, but small and coming out of the middle. I took it off, hoping to get the plant to produce another one. We have had weird weather her in Maine. Very hot in March and April for a week or so but now we have has lower than normal temps in the 40's and 50's. I have more broccoli and caulif. growing for the fall in the house, so if these are a loss I do still have more coming.

It sounds like the plants are

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like the plants are healthy. I think they will grow more broccoli flowers.

Late harvest

By Anonymous

I did not harvest my broccoli before the yellow flowers grew. Will the plant still grow after I cut them off?

Your plant has gone to seed,

By Almanac Staff

Your plant has gone to seed, however, you can cut off the head and let the plant develop new baby/side heads for eating!

gone to seed

By Anonymous

Does this mean you can not eat the broccoli? My first head started flowering, what should I do with the head?

If you do see yellow petals

By Catherine Boeckmann

If you do see yellow petals growing the green head of broccoli, harvest immediately.
To harvest, cut the stem below the head, taking at least 6 inches.

broccoli

By cynde129

My plants are turning white and drying up, What is the problem? We have had 85-92 degrees lately. I have been watering them also.Thanks for any help.

It might be nitrogen

By Almanac Staff

It might be nitrogen deficiency--one of the more common problems as broccoli is a heavy nitrogen feeder. Add blood meal or a high nitrogen (but low phosphorus) fertilizer.

Yellow flowers

By Anonymous

Have very young small stem planets that looked like they were heading up but..alas..it turned into a yellow flower..what going on..what can I do.

Broccoli flowering too soon

By Almanac Staff

If you have premature flowering, this is usually due to very warm temperatures at heading time. Broccoli is a cool-weather plant.

How long?

By Anonymous

How long does it usually take for broccoli and brussel sprouts to get ready to harvest? I'm using plants and not seeds.

broccoli maturity

By Almanac Staff

It depends on the variety, season, and fertilization but usually the head is as large as it's going to get when the individual buds of the broccoli are match-head size.

approx. weeks to harvest

By Almanac Staff

Broccoli seedlings will take 8 to 12 weeks from transplant until harvest time, depending on the variety. But look for the cues mentioned above! You really only have 1 week or so to do the first harvest. If you leave it too late, yellow flowers will form.

Harvesting broccoli

By Almanac Staff

Harvest the central head when the individual florets begin to enlarge and develop and before flowering begins. It depends on the variety, but central heads should grow to be at least 4 to 6 inches in diameter. Late side shoots may reach only 1 to 2 inches in diameter.

Broccoli problems

By hrfinnie

My broccoli leaves are turning purple then dying. The purple is travellng up the stem into the florets. What's going on and can my plants be saved?

Planting now in July

By dejuanar

What can I plant in Texas during July? Is it too soon to start the winter crops? Or should I plant more summer crops; such as cucumbers and squash.

Keep planting! You can still

By Almanac Staff

Keep planting! You can still put in broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cucumber, all by seed. Consult your local nursery for more information about good crops for your specific area. Remember, you have miles to go before your first fall frost! Make sure you water adequately for the hot days. You can also start some winter crops in early August too, such as winter squash and pumpkins. Good luck!

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