Broccoli plants like the sun, yet they are cool-season; thus, it is a perfect crop for spring and the fall.
You will find growing broccoli is super healthy and classed as a superfood by modern standards, or the crown jewel of nutrition, for the older generations. Growing a broccoli plant is worth growing for its nutritional content.
It is a cabbage crop that is part of the mustard family packed full of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, potassium, folic acid, iron, and fiber.
The great thing with broccoli is that you can continue producing smaller side shoots you can enjoy for months once you harvest the main head.
Here you can find out how was broccoli created and how you can plant, grow, and harvest broccoli in your vegetable garden.
How is Broccoli Produced?
It may be hard to believe, yet broccoli was, in fact, a human invention. It was first grown from the Brassica Oleracea or wild cabbage plant and was first cultivated to deliver a particular taste and flavor.
Wild cabbage delivers small flower buds and is biennial, so it only flowers every other year. In controlled environments, the plant was made to reproduce numerous times, and as the offspring were delivering more significant and tastier buds, the plants with less taste were discarded.
Now, we have the broccoli plant we know and love.
Broccoli is a cool-season vegetable, so ideal for spring or fall. The seed will germinate in the range of 40-95 degrees Fahrenheit though optimal temperatures are 60-65°F. It also takes 75-140 days to grow from seed to maturity.
Broccoli seed can be planted, or you have transplanting, with the industry using seed most often.
You can start transplanted seedlings in hotbeds or a greenhouse. Once in your garden, broccoli suits double rows in your raised beds. Common broccoli pests include caterpillars such as the Looper Caterpillar. (Read Best Outdoor Gardening Bench)
How Do You Grow Broccoli from Seed?
When to Plant
- Broccoli is a cool-weather crop, so plant your seed early spring or late summer toward the fall. High summer temperatures stunt the plant’s growth.
- You can start your broccoli seed indoors or outdoors for spring planting with a few weeks to go before the last spring frost date. Indoors start your seeds 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. For outdoors, sow 2 to 3 weeks before the last frost date, or you can work your soil.
- For fall, sow seeds outdoors 85 to 100 days from your first fall frost, or start seeds in late May.
Preparation of Site
- Broccoli needs full sun exposure of 6 to 8 hours per day. Lack of sunlight produces thin, leggy plants and smaller quality heads.
- Plant in moist, fertile soil with good drainage and a pH of around 6.0 and 7.0.
- To increase success, work in 2 to 4 inches of rich compost or a thin layer of manure; drop your email address for more tips.
- When planting outdoors, sow your seeds 1/2-inch deep with 3 inches spacing. As your seedlings reach 2 to 3 inches in height, thin them out, so your plants are 12 to 20 inches apart.
- Suppose starting seeds indoors, planting broccoli sprouts transplants at 4 to 6 weeks old with 4 to 5 leaves. Once outside, give broccoli plants around 20 inches apart and a hole slightly deeper than the pot or container.
- Space your broccoli rows 3 feet apart. If less than this, you will get smaller heads yet more secondary heads.
- Water sufficiently.
Will Broccoli Reseed Itself?
Biennials are plants that can produce food during the first year and will produce seeds in the second. Broccoli is part of the Brassica Oleracea family, such as cauliflower and cabbage, among others.
If you can protect your plants during the cold months, they will go to seed once warm weather arrives. You can find this in US hardiness zones of 8 to 10.
Because of this, you may want to make use of this and start saving seeds. To save broccoli seeds isn’t a new practice, though it may be new for some gardeners.
How Do You Grow Broccoli Without Seeds?
Once your plants go to seed, they are not much use, so seed saving means you can get the most from your crops.
You may find that to save broccoli seeds is a bit different from other plants. The key reason here is that your plants are cross pollinators and require other broccoli plants to pollinate. (Read Best Vertical Tower Garden)
Because we relate broccoli to other mustard family members, cross-pollination can happen with plants of this same species, and thus you end up with a hybrid. Therefore, you need to be cautious of which Brassica crops you try to grow.
- To save broccoli seeds, you need to select the plants, which show traits you wish to carry over into your next growing seasons. The part of the broccoli plant we eat is the unopened flower buds. These then turn into your seeds.
- This means you may need to sacrifice a couple of broccoli heads for seed saving rather than for eating.
- What you do here is to let the head mature, and it will begin to turn from green to yellow. It is here the flowers start blooming, and you get the forming of seed pods.
- Once you can see the seed pods are dry, you can remove your plant from the growing area and hang it to dry for 2-weeks.
- Once this time is up, you can start to remove the dry seed pods from your plants and carefully crush them between the palms of your hands. It is a matter of removing the seeds from the broken seed pods.
- If you do this, as long as you store your broccoli seeds dry and in the right way, they have 5-year viability.
- Once you know the answer to can you eat flowering broccoli, you will have a hard decision. However, once you see you can grow more broccoli in the following year than just having enough flowers for a special meal, it makes sense to start seed saving.
You then have a steady supply for a few years, depending on how much you have been saving seeds. No matter, you have lots of healthy veggies to look forward to, and we would like to hear about your broccoli success, so comment below or on our Facebook page.