How to harvest the most Broccoli from your plants

This is the first year I have planted Broccoli and it has been quite the learning experience. Here are a few important things you should know about planting Broccoli.

#1 Space it correctly. Give at least 18-24 inches between plants. They will start out small and spindly like this:

Within a few weeks - 2 months, they will look like this:

#2 Check the leaves for bugs/worms. Once the broccoli head starts to form (right in the middle of the leaves) you can cover it with thin mesh to keep cabbage worms out. I didn't do this, but did check the leaves almost every day. We didn't get any bugs.

#3 A Broccoli head will form right in the middle of the plant. Pick it as soon as it's ready. When is that? When the little buds on the head are about the size of a match head. And before it turns yellow. Do not let it turn yellow. Then it will turn into a huge bunch of little yellow flowers, it will be bitter, and inedible.

If you let the flowers open or start to yellow, you will miss out on the awesome freshness of "just right" broccoli picked fresh from your own garden.

#4 Fertilize regularly with an organic seaweed or fish fertilizer. Every other week or weekly is fine. Broccoli are heavy feeders.

Note the small broccoli heads forming around where the original head was removed
#5 After you harvest the initial head, leave the broccoli alone and within a week or two, new "little" broccoli heads will form on the side branches just under the main head.

#6 Harvest the side heads before their flowers open (just like the main head)

#7 After the side heads have been harvested, pull the plant out. It's over and the big lush greenery can be composted. Or you can eat the leaves - like you would eat cabbage, though broccoli leaves are much more bitter.

Broccoli takes a lot of space but it is a wonderful plant to grow - just for the tastiness. Fresh broccoli is so much tastier than the broccoli you get in the store. Try it and you'll see!


JDaniel4's Mom said...

Your plants look wonderful! I don't think I have ever seen broccoli on the plant!

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!


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