Broccoli belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which also contains cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Large, blue-gray, leathery, oblong leaves are grouped around a stem-like structure that supports a blooming head. The edible portion of broccoli is, in fact, the flower buds.
The broccoli head would produce little greenish-yellow blooms if left unharvested. Although the majority of broccoli is green, there are also excellent and attractive purple types. Broccoli has a moderate rate of development. Typically, it is planted in early to mid-spring for a harvest in early summer.
In warm climes, a late summer planting might produce a crop in the fall.
|Botanical Name||Brassica oleracea var. italica|
|Plant Type||Biennial, annual, vegetable|
|Size||18–30 in. tall, 12–24 in. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Moist, loamy, well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, neutral|
|Hardiness Zones||2–11 (USDA)|
|Native Area||Mediterranean, Asia|
How long does broccoli require to mature?
Fast facts – Grow where you have not grown similar crops for the prior four years, such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, mustard, turnip, or rutabaga. In early to mid-April, start seeds inside for spring plantings. Early to late July is the time to plant seeds indoors or outdoors for an autumn harvest.
Northeastern Minnesota gardeners may cultivate broccoli all summer long. After the primary head has been harvested, tiny side shoots will emerge for a second harvest. After the first mild frosts of September, broccoli will continue to develop. Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) is an important green vegetable in Minnesota.
The crown of a broccoli plant consists of edible flower buds. The soft, brilliant green flower stems and developing blossoms can be consumed raw as part of a veggie plate, or sliced and combined with a salad or slaw. Some individuals choose broccoli prepared in a soup or sauté, as well as stir-fried or steamed as a side dish. Conduct a soil test. Grow broccoli in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil with a pH between 6 and 7. Apply phosphate (P) and potassium (K) as recommended by a soil test. Numerous Minnesota soils contain sufficient phosphorus. Utilize a low-phosphorus or phosphorus-free fertilizer unless your soil test report advises extra phosphorus.
It is not worthwhile to cultivate broccoli unless the plants consistently absorb water and nutrients throughout their growth. In the spring or fall, amend your soil by adding well-rotted manure or compost. Fresh manure may carry pathogenic microorganisms and may exacerbate weed issues. Side-dress the plants when they are around four inches tall.
Do not use any fertilizer that contains a weed killer (also known as “Weed and Feed”), since it might damage your vegetable plants. “Sprouting” or “Calabrese” broccoli is a green vegetable with a big, tree-like head that grows on a plant with enormous, erect, blue-green leaves. Chinese broccoli (kailaan, choy sum) and broccoli raab are further types of broccoli (cima di rapa, rapini).
Plant of Windsor broccoli Some broccoli cultivars are suitable for planting in the spring because they develop rapidly and produce heads before the summer heat. Choose a broccoli cultivar with heat tolerance and a short growth cycle for planting in the spring (50 to 60 days to harvest). Most thrive best when planted in midsummer for fall harvest.
Choose types with a longer growth cycle of 60 to 85 days for the fall harvest so that the heads may mature in lower conditions. While summer heat degrades the quality of the emerging head, green broccoli can tolerate heat while it is growing. By the time plant heads develop on July-planted seeds, the weather will have begun to chill.
Due to the cooler summer temperatures, gardeners in the extreme northeastern region of Minnesota, from Duluth to the north, may cultivate broccoli of superior quality throughout the whole season. For broccoli grown in the spring, start seeds indoors between early and mid-April. In early to late July, you can start seeds indoors or outdoors for an autumn yield.
Whether you plant in the spring or summer, a row cover will protect the young plants from wind and insects throughout their initial few weeks of development. Utilize a material that provides cold protection in the spring. Use a lightweight material in the summer to prevent the cover from becoming too warm.
- If severe winds dislodge a floating row cover, it might do greater harm to the plants than if it were not present.
- At the edges, secure the row cover with dirt and/or pins.
- The row cover can alternatively be supported with wire hoops.
- Start broccoli seedlings indoors at the beginning of April or July.
- Use sterile, soilless seedling mix.
Press the seeds to a depth of one-fourth to one-half inch. Avoid using bottom heat. Normal summer temperatures will allow the seeds to germinate and the plants to flourish. The seeds should germinate in around two weeks. Once the seedlings emerge, install grow lights directly above them.
When the first genuine leaf develops on growing seedlings, fertilizer should be applied. Once each week, use a half-strength starting solution. When there are two genuine leaves, fertilize twice every week. After around four weeks, when the plants have four or five genuine leaves, discontinue watering.
Place plants outside where they will be shielded from the wind and will receive a few hours of sunshine. Over the next week, gradually expose them to more sunshine and wind. Keep them well hydrated. Dig tiny holes using a trowel, or use a shovel to dig a long, narrow trench.
- Place the seedlings eight to ten inches apart and fill the soil around them to the same level as in the container.
- Water the plants or use a liquid starting solution with a high phosphorus content and a low nitrogen and potassium content.
- Implement a row cover.
- In July, direct seed broccoli.
- Every eight to ten inches, scatter three seeds at a shallow depth of one-fourth to one-half inch.
Maintain a wet soil during emergence. Once the seedlings have emerged, thin them so that one seedling per eight to ten inches survives. Take care of the seedlings, since they are particularly sensitive to excessive heat, wind, drought, and insects. As necessary, water them.
Broccoli is a hardy biennial that is cultivated as a cool-season annual. It attains a height of 18 to 36 inches (45-91cm) and has broad, thick leaves and a large main stem. Broccoli produces either a single or several flower “heads” composed of small blue-green blossom buds.
- The flower heads are consumed before they bloom, and little yellow flowers emerge from their buds.
- Broccoli will bolt and go to seed in warm temperatures or as the length of the day increases.
- Common term.
- Broccoli, Italian broccoli, Calabrese (British), brocks.
- Botanical name.
- Brassica oleracea italica Family: Brassicaceae (Cruciferae); cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are other brassica plants.
Origin. Mediterranean Additional advice: Planting Broccoli. Learn how to cultivate 80 delicious vegetables: THE KITCHEN GARDEN GROWERS’ GUIDE See Garden Products Advised by the Harvest to Table Stephen Albert is a horticulture, master gardener, and licensed nurseryman with over 25 years of teaching experience at the University of California.
The University of California and the University of Iowa awarded him graduate degrees. His works include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His masterclass on vegetable gardening is accessible online. Each year, Harvesttotable.com receives more than 10 million visitors.
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What do the real leaves of broccoli look like?
How Do Broccoli Seedlings Appear? Baby broccoli seedlings will only have two leaves when they first emerge. These are referred to as “seed leaves,” and they resemble two large hearts on either side of the stalk. All subsequent leaves are referred to as “genuine leaves,” and they resemble miniature broccoli leaves.
How many broccoli heads does one plant produce?
How many broccoli heads does one plant produce? Each plant will produce one huge head. In the following weeks after harvesting, it will develop a number of tiny side flower heads.