Friday, May 21, 2010

Growing Broccoli in your Vegtable garden...Trials & Tribulations!

Growing Broccoli has become a challenge! For me, discovering the first quarter size Broccoli head is always exciting to me! Since I have only been veggie gardening for a few years now. Growing Broccoli has all been trial and error for me! Knowing the difference of when to harvest and when it's too late is an easy call.

The center heads must be cut before it blossoms! How do you know when this is about to occur? Did you know a head of Broccoli is a cluster of flower buds?

When the head is very young, it's individual buds are packed super tight. Take your thumb and rub over the Broccoli head and you will feel the tightness! If the buds stay tight let it grow. Pictured below is a tight Broccoli head.

If the buds loosen and spread out, most likely it is about to produce little yellow flowers. If your buds are loose, you might want to harvest it before it flowers. Even if the buds are very small, harvest anyway. Below is a picture of the buds spreading and loosing their tightness.

Sometimes with hot weather, lack of water or some kind of other stress the plant will still be determined to send up flowers and go to seed. Once this happens your Broccoli will stop producing.

After cutting the center head, you will start to get "side shoots" these form on other parts of the stem. They dont get very big, but a bunch of little ones will start to add up. Here is a picture of a side shoot!

It is important once the hot weather starts, to check your plants every other day or so for side shoots. Snip all the little bite size pieces before they flower. You will have a non-stop harvest. They may be small, but depending on how many plants you grow you will have plenty of little florettes.

Happy Gardening!!!


  1. Is that this year's broccoli? About a month ahead of mine, I'd guess. Piques the anticipation: my broccoli and cauliflower plants are looking very healthy, but no sign yet of buds.

  2. Thanks for the advice, Jenn. I'm trying broccoli from seed for the first time this year, and I would've had no clue when to harvest it. Now I know, and I'll do it right, at least if the rabbits don't eat all of my vegetables first. :( Any advice about that?

  3. Cityslipper,
    These are from this years garden! My Broccoli went in the ground around the end of march!

    Try getting some chicken wire and making little crop row covers to help keep em out! If you can make a chicken wire fence a few feet high all around your garden. It might help. But since your garden is in the front yard, it may not look to pretty!

  4. I guess we're a tad ahead. Venus had six or seven good plants going -- until a gust of wind came in one day and knocked all but two flat on the ground -- killing them in the process. We let those two grow and got two very tasty heads off of them before Venus pulled them up and planted the bed with pepper plant starters and bush bean seed after recharging. I didn't think it possible -- but we've run out of room Jenn! Enjoy the home-grown brocc. It truly is tasty stuff!

  5. Bill,
    I am out of room too! Diggin out some more grass today to add just a few more things! I cant wait to start seeing pics of your bounty!

  6. Melissa,

    Goodluck keeping the rabbits out. I plant my brocolli plants inside old tires, but a wire enclosure would work better if you have a small area.


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