Broccoli is great to grow in your square foot garden and it requires cool weather to thrive. It is a Spring and Fall crop, frost hardy and although it requires some attention it is well worth it! It typically grows to 18-24 inches. It is delicious in so many things in the kitchen!
Veggies trays, salads, casseroles, soups and stir fry! Try this perfect savory Autumn recipe, Acorn Squash Chicken Cashew Stir Fry! It is full of delicious Fall veggies and a great way to use some of that broccoli in the garden!
Broccoli is typically planted in the Spring and Fall. It doesn’t do well in the hot summer heat. It is recommended to start your broccoli seeds indoors 12 weeks before your last frost. If you’re not starting from seedlings you can always purchase your plants from a garden store. It is not recommended to start seedlings outdoors because the hot weather arrives to quickly. Four to five weeks before your last frost it is safe to transplant your broccoli outdoors. It requires full sun to produce (6 hours plus) and you can plant 1 broccoli plant per square foot.
Just like anything in your square foot garden broccoli needs to be watered. It doesn’t like to be dried out. Do not allow it to wilt and keep your soil moist. You can mulch in warmer temperature to keep in moister but if your broccoli begins to flower it means conditions are to warm and you should harvest your broccoli or it will end up bitter.
Broccoli usually takes about 15-17 weeks from seed to harvest.When harvesting your broccoli it is best to cut the main large stem with a knife or clippers. Keeping all the rest of the leafs remaining on your plant. Within a 2-3 weeks your broccoli will reproduce little side shoots of broccoli, perfect for veggies trays or soups. Unfortunately, each broccoli plant only produces one large head. Make sure to harvest before the flowers begin to open.
A good indication your broccoli is ready to be picked is when the head is tight and dense. After harvesting I recommend soaking your broccoli head for 1-2 hours in a sink of cold water and a tbsp of salt, this allows for the cabbage worms to fall off. I ALWAYS do this. Cabbage worms are the color of the broccoli head and blend in VERY well. If you don’t use pesticide on your broccoli which I do not you will be shocked at the cabbage worms that end up in the sink! EWW!
Harvest your broccoli in the early hours in the morning for best tasting heads. If you see your broccoli starting to flower harvest it immediately! Check your broccoli leafs often for cabbage worms and remove by hand. Cabbage worms can quickly ruin your harvest. A good indication you have cabbage worms are small holes in the leaves and the white small butterflies hovering in your garden. Check the undersides of the leaves. If leaves of broccoli turn yellow this typical indicates a nitrogen deficiency and can be corrected quickly with blood meal.
Happy Gardening Friends!
Grow it. Pick it. Cook. it. Eat it.