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Growing Broccoli

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
  S T             S T T

(Best months for growing Broccoli in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays. T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings.

  • Easy to grow. Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 45°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 14 - 20 inches apart
  • Harvest in 10-16 weeks. Cut flowerhead off with a knife..
  • Compatible with (can grow in same bed): Dwarf (bush) beans, beets, celery, cucumber, onions, marigold, nasturtium, rhubarb, aromatic herbs (sage, dill, chamomile, oregano)
  • Avoid growing in same bed: Climbing (pole) beans, tomato, peppers (chilli, capsicum), eggplant (aubergine), strawberry, mustard
  • Early stage
    Early stage
  • Nearly ready for harvest
    Nearly ready for harvest
  • Side shoot regrowth after main head cut
    Side shoot regrowth after main head cut

Keep well-watered as seedlings. If left without water they will bolt to seed and be inedible. The plants should grow to develop plenty of large healthy leaves, then the green flowerheads follow, which are cut for eating. Leave the plant growing after cutting the main flowerhead, and get additional crops from the sideshoots which will develop.

Watch for cabbage white butterflies and remove the eggs and caterpillars as soon as possible.

There are two main types of broccoli. The purple sprouting is hardier. The heading varieties cope well with warmer weather.

Once a plant opens its yellow flowers then it is generally past eating as the flavour gets a bit overpowering and the plant gets very woody. Harvest them sooner rather than later.

'Broccolini' is a variety grown for the edible stalks. Grow fast with plenty of water and food, and pick as soon as possible.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Broccoli

The stem (peeled), leaves, and flowerhead are all edible.

Steam for best flavour. Peel large stalks, slice and steam.
Goes well with blue cheese sauce.

Your comments and tips

21 Mar 17, Ramandeep (Canada - Zone 3a Temperate Short Summer climate)
Hi , I live in Toronto, is a broccoli farming possible in Ontario
22 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
According to my research Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cabbage can be planted in late April in Toronto. Seeds could be sown indoors now for transplanting when they are ready.
02 Jan 17, Tania hodges (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Why does our plants only produce really small main heads of broccoli, the plants appear to be really healthy.
03 Jan 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
It may be a small headed variety. Many of the large headed varieties are only available from commercial seed growers Contact Egmont Seeds (NZ) they have larger headed varieties.
31 Dec 16, Patrick Hanratty (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I bought seedlings that said they were Kale from Spar here in Centurion. So now its 31st Jan and they are as big as small bushes about 1.5 metres and certainly not Kale but obviously Broccoli. No heads yet although 5 months growing. Should i wait for cooler weather for them to head or is it better to pull em out because there will be no cool nights until end Feb.
01 Nov 16, Lyn (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Why should broccoli not be planted in the same bed as capsicum? Too late for me this time, although both seem to be doing well.
02 Aug 16, Ron (Australia - temperate climate)
We just bought broccoli seedlings from our local hardware's nursery, but your info says plant in spring or autumn. Should we return them or is there somewhere they might grow, under the back patio in a pot with winter sun on them perhaps? Please help.
09 Aug 16, Ann-Marie (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Broccoli need cold to grow. Put them in the coldest spot in the garden. My broccoli is already going to flower but as flowers are edible i dont mind. You may find that you get very little from them this late in the season. Try approx 4 hrs of sunlight per day then the coldest part of garden for the rest of the day. Broccolini might be a better choice this time of year as you pick much earlier.
25 May 16, Karan Rai (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Greetings , I want to plant broccoli,being a novice , i need some help on how to grow them we are approaching winter ,we will have tempreture ,20/25 deg not very cold and no snow. Can you advise please Regards Karan rai
24 Apr 16, Otuwose Agyeno (Australia - tropical climate)
I have sown broccoli seeds about a week ago and the rainy season is about to set in here in Nigeria. Can you kindly advice on how I should take care of them until harvest during this season?
Showing 1 - 10 of 203 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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