Caring for Broccoli

by Debra Wyatt
(last updated November 5, 2011)

Broccoli may seem like it is a hard vegetable to grow, but in reality it is one of the easiest for a home gardener. Whether you are going to grow this vegetable in the spring or the fall, this is one vegetable that gives beyond the first harvest. There are some things that can be done to help with the success of caring for your broccoli. With a little thought and planning you are well on your way to having some great-tasting broccoli.

Broccoli is considered to be a "cool" vegetable, meaning that it needs the cooler weather to blossom and grow. One of the interesting things about broccoli is that you want to plant either in early springtime or in the fall. However, don't plan on growing broccoli in the hot summer months. That's because broccoli doesn't do well when temperatures are above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since there are two different growing seasons for broccoli, starting the seedlings will vary slightly depending on which season you choose for your growing.

  • A summer harvest: start the seeds indoors about six weeks before what is usually considered to be the time for the last spring frost. (You can find out when this will be by going to the Climate Prediction Center at http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/forecasts/.) When the seedlings are about three weeks old start to hardened-off the seedling; which is done by setting the seedling out a little each day. Start with fifteen minutes outside and then add a bit more time each day. When the seedlings are about four weeks old transplant them into your garden.
  • Fall harvest: Broccoli is also a good vegetable for the fall harvest. By going to the Climate Prediction Center you can determine about when the first fall frost will be. Plan back twelve to fourteen weeks and begin to start the seeds indoors. When the seedlings are between four to six weeks old, transplant the hardened seedlings into the garden.

When it comes to watering your broccoli you will want to keep the watering to a minimum of one inch of water per week and no more than 1-1/2 inches of water. The plants also need to be watered on a regular basis.

When it comes to fertilizing your plant, start out with a slow-release fertilizer, usually an organic fertilizer is best. Then about once a month you will want to add a little more fertilizer. Just be careful as to not over fertilize your broccoli. Broccoli does not require a lot of fertilizer.

Consider using mulch once the temperatures start getting to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help keep the plants cooler.

You will want to start to harvest your broccoli when the main head is about four to six inches in diameter. The broccoli will be in clusters that look like flower buds that haven't opened. After you have harvested the main head the shoots will grow faster. The shoots will be smaller than the main head was, but they have a great taste.

Author Bio

Debra Wyatt

Deb has a communications degree and applies her talents to her position as Marketing Specialist at Sharon Parq Associates. In her spare time she spends time with her children and grandchildren and devotes time to her church. ...

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