For any gardener who doubles as a broccoli lover, growing your own broccoli has likely crossed your mind. Perhaps you don’t know where to start, or you admittedly don’t know the first thing about growing broccoli at home. The gardening experts at Garden Savvy are here to help!
Broccoli is in the cabbage, Brussel sprout, collards, kale and cauliflower family, belonging to the plant species known as Brassica oleracea. Broccoli contains many nutrients needed for a healthy diet, such as fiber, protein, iron, potassium, vitamin K and vitamin C.
Health Benefits of Broccoli
If you’re reading this, you appreciate the unique taste of broccoli and the various ways to cook and eat it. It can be consumed raw, sautéed and even steamed, used as a side dish or a complement to any stir fry, pasta or rice-based meal.
As an added bonus to its flavorful addition to meals, broccoli also provides various health benefits.
Health benefits include an excellent source of antioxidants, which can prevent cell damage that causes cancer, improving bone and skin health, reducing inflammation, promoting a healthy digestive track and cardiovascular health, as well as reducing the risk of diabetes. Because of these various health benefits, many would consider broccoli a superfood.
The Basics of Growing Broccoli
Broccoli is a cool season plant that should be harvested when temperatures are no greater than 75°F daily. Some basic rules of thumb for planting broccoli are to start seeds indoors about 6 weeks before the last frost of spring and wait to transfer them to the garden until frost is completely gone.
To grow a late fall or early winter crop, start your seeds outdoors in the middle of summer. Getting the timing right will produce healthier heads that are sweet to the taste.
Broccoli Growing Conditions
There are several specific growing conditions for broccoli to produce a healthy crop. Below are guidelines to follow to grow delicious broccoli you can share with family and friends right from your own garden.
- Space broccoli plants 18-24 inches apart and space your rows 24-36 inches apart
- Broccoli plants need full sunlight; or a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight each day
- Broccoli should be grown in acidic soil with a pH between 6 and 7
- Grow in well-drained, compost-rich and moist soil
- Use row covers to prevent from freezing and protect against pests
Caring for Broccoli Plants
Water your broccoli plant regularly to keep the soil moist by watering at the base of the plant. Strive to keep the emerging heads of the broccoli dry to avoid rotting. Mulching regularly will help keep the soil cool and moist as well, which broccoli plants need to thrive during their growing season.
Broccoli plants should always be weed-free, with the garden free of debris as well to prevent the risk of diseases like clubroot and downy mildew.
Signs Broccoli is Ready for Harvest
On average, broccoli plants grown from seed will harvest within 150 days. Broccoli that was transplanted will harvest in less time, about 60-80 days. For the best-tasting broccoli plants, harvest before the yellow flower petals start to show. When the head grows to be about 5 inches and contains healthy looking flower buds that are beginning to open, it’s time to harvest.
Use a knife to remove the central broccoli head with about 5-8 inches of stem. To encourage new broccoli heads to grow, leave the bottom of the broccoli plant in the ground. Cut the broccoli head on a slant.
Finding Broccoli Garden Suppliers
Finding the right broccoli garden suppliers is key to planting a healthy broccoli crop. Garden Savvy is a gardening database that allows you to find and compare the best garden suppliers for any specific plant or flower of your choice.
According to the region you live, we can provide you with a comprehensive list of broccoli garden suppliers so that you can start growing broccoli at home in your own garden. Choose from reputable suppliers like Annie’s Heirloom Seeds, Irish Eyes Garden Seeds, Sustainable Seed Company & many more.