Growing Broccoli

Gold Post Medal for All Time! 858 Posts
April 12, 2006
Broccoli Florets

Botanical Name:

Brassica oleracea (Botrytis group)


Broccoli have thick, upright green stalks that hold heads of multiple clusters of tiny edible flower buds. They belong to the cabbage family.

Planting Time:

Start seeds indoors 2 months before last frost date or 4 months before the first frost date if sowing seeds outdoors. Broccoli should be grown as a winter crop in warmer zones and planted in the fall for a spring harvest.


full sun (may need to provide shade during extreme heat spells).


well-drained, nutrient-rich soil with a pH of 6.7 to 7.2


Sow plants to a depth of 1/2 inch with 18 to 24 inches between plants and approximately 36 inches between rows. Set transplants 2 to 3 inches deeper than grown in pots. One plant can produce up to 2 lbs. of edible heads and side shoots.


Keep soil evenly moist (not wet).


Seedlings should be thinned to 18 to 24 inches apart once they form two true leaves to prevent plants from producing small heads.

Harvesting & Storage:

Broccoli should be harvested before the flower buds open. Cut off the main heads with a sharp knife when they reach 3 to 4 inches across. Cut the stems at an angle so water will run off the stems instead of collecting and causing stem rot. After removing the main head, smaller heads will sprout and should be cut when they are green. Soak heads in salt water for 30 minutes before cooking or storing to drive out any hidden cabbage worms lurking in the heads. Store broccoli wrapped for 1 week in the refrigerator.

Diseases and Pests:

All members of the cabbage family are subject to a variety of diseases. The best defense is crop rotation and good cultivation practices.

Tips to Success:

Start spring crops indoors to protect them from temperature fluctuations and developing premature flower heads or "buttons."
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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 239 Posts
September 7, 2015

When harvesting your brassicas, leave the root in the ground with a few leaves still attached. In a few weeks time you will find you have tiny cabbages sprouting out from the stump which can be used as spring greens in late summer!


Also baby cauliflowers and broccoli sprouts.

cooking tiny cauliflowers

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 172 Posts
May 31, 2012

If you have planted a garden and grow broccoli, once you have cut the main head off, leave the plant alone. It will produce side heads of broccoli, quite a bit smaller than the main head, but still just as edible as the main head.

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February 8, 2016

How do you keep those tiny worms out of broccoli?


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September 20, 20170 found this helpful


Worms in broccoli dont have to be a problem. Nearly all broccoli worms can be controlled by using products containing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This bacterium makes worms sick, eventually killing them; however, it is perfectly safe for plants, humans and other beneficial insects.


Bt is available at most garden centers and is best used in the afternoon. To effectively remove worms from broccoli, spray broccoli plants thoroughly using about 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid detergent per gallon of Bt

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October 3, 2015

This is a page about growing brassicas. The plants in this genus are members of the mustard family and include, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.

closeup of a cabbage

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