Broccoli is a good source of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folic acid and fiber. Learn how to plant and harvest this super veggie for healthy eating!
Broccoli is a cool-weather crop that prefers nitrogen-rich soil. For a first crop, sow the seeds directly outdoors 4-6 weeks before the last spring frost. For a fall crop, sow the seeds in late spring in cool regions and in summer in warmer regions.
Sow the seeds about ¼” deep 16” apart in a staggered or zigzagged formation and cover the seeds with soil. The seeds will germinate in 4-7 days at which point you can thin the seedlings so that one seedling remains in each location.
You can also sow the seeds indoors about 6-8 weeks before the last frost and transplant outside once the seedlings are about 3” tall. If you prefer this method, be gentle with the roots during transplant and plant the seedlings about 1” deeper outside than they were inside.
Broccoli prefers full sun and nutrient-rich soil. You can purchase an inexpensive soil kit to test the pH balance, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in your soil. Broccoli prefers soil high in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium with a pH range from 6.5-7.5.
Based on the results of your soil test, you can determine what needs to happen to your soil so that it provides your broccoli exactly what it needs to grow, whether it be the addition of compost to increase the nitrogen or adding lime to raise the soil’s pH.
Because broccoli also requires a large amount of boron, it will be necessary to fertilize your soil every 3-4 weeks with an organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion. And when it comes to water, broccoli prefers moderate and even watering.
When choosing where in the garden to plant your broccoli, be sure not to plant it anywhere near pole and snap beans or strawberries. Broccoli loves growing next to bush beans, beets, carrots, celery, chard, cucumbers, dill, lettuce, mint, nasturtium, anyone in the onion family, oregano, potato, rosemary, sage, spinach and tomato. And when considering which plants to rotate in after the broccoli harvest has finished, be sure to stay away from any plants in the cabbage family.
Your hard work has paid off! The broccoli has a full, dark green head of hair and looks ripe for the picking. You want to avoid any yellowing in the buds because that is an indicator that the broccoli is overripe. With a knife, cut the broccoli head from its stalk. This is the bulk of your harvest, however, over the next few weeks little heads will begin forming at the stalk base and you can continue to harvest these for a little extra treat.