How does Broccoli grow?

kristimamaMay 9, 2008

OK, I am NOT having a blonde moment. I promise. LOL

I'm wondering if broccoli is one of the crops that I should stagger plantings of, like carrots or lettuce, to get a steady ongoing crop. Or do you just stick one plant in and it harvests over a long time period.

I am new to this and have NO idea how much broccoli a single plant will yield, but all the descriptions say it'll grow 1 head, then provide a second smaller crop of some side shoots.

We eat broccoli almost every single day (the only veg my kids will eat, practically) and I'm not sure how much to plant and how to space them if we need to. But if 1 plant provides 1 head, and we eat about 1 head a day, I'm going to need a new garden. LOL

Thanks!

-kristi

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flatlander(z6KS)

i think it depends on the climate. in kansas, the season is limited by the heat, until you can put in a fall crop. you might check with the local folks...in your climate it might be even a year round plant. if you eat one a day, you're sure going to need a bunch. there are 2 of us and i grow 8 plants in the spring and fall.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 9:03PM
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kristimama

Thanks Flatlander. I guess what I'm wondering is, when you say that it might be a year round plant, do you mean someone would stagger their planting to spread out the harvest. Or just that the plant continues to produce side shoots. I got the impression from Mel's book that broccoli will only produces side shoots only once.

Thanks for helping me understand this,
-Kristi

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 9:37PM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

My experience has been you get the one bunch (head) the rest are sooo much smaller and you can't really count on them. So a staggered planting would prob be a good idea.

Like anything grown in the garden - you will love the taste, nothing like it. So much fresher.

Good Luck,
Gumby_CT

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 9:46PM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

How does broccoli grow? In my garden the answer is "Slow" hehe. I succession planted in my garden and I'm hoping just one turns out. Flatlander's right though, they don't like high heat. In my area I'm hoping they don't mind early summer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's garden adventure!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 10:55PM
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flatlander(z6KS)

it depends somewhat on the variety. some produce more side shoots than others. check with your local extension people and find out what varieties work for your area. by year round, i meant that you can put in transplants at any time of the year. if that is the case, staggering the planting to keep up with your demand is a reasonable plan.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 11:08PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

I can tell you how it went for me...one year I planted 16 brocolli plants in a single 4X4. They all grew. I started just a little late. I could have done much better if I planted about 3 weeks earlier. Well, all of a sudden, just when I start getting some decent size brocolli, I started to get an infestation of some pest. It ate all my leaves and ruined everything. I spoke to Mel after experiencing brocolli SFG failure! He said that when you put all that brocolli so close together in one box and plant it all at the same time, its like an airport landing strip for butterflies, or whatever lays those eggs that produce those almost impossible to see fat worms. He told me I should have staggered them. I do grow brocolli, but, I do it much more sparingly, like 4 plants in total, and I do it all over the garden so it makes it harder for those invaders to hurt the plant.....

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 11:09PM
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dcunn48

How do you know when the broccoli is ready to be harvested?
Do you cut it off at the surface of the soil, or just the base of the 'vegetable' part?
If the florets are 'buggy' what do you soak them in to rid the insects before bringing them into the house?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 4:10PM
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momma_s(9b, SZ14)

Hey Kristi! Broccoli is a cool weather plant, and we're starting to get into warm/hot weather (finally--most of my heat lovers have stalled), so wait to plant the broccoli until September (indoors--maybe even August?) or Oct.

I started mine late, and have yet to get a head of broccoli from my last remaining plant. IMO, the plant also takes up a lot of space for the end result, and if you eat a lot, you'll definitely need some space. My plant is overflowing it's square.

If you eat 7 heads of broccoli a week, and each plant produces one head at a time, you should consider staggering each set of 7 heads by a week or two, and planting 1 head per 1.5 squares to help avoid the issues snibb mentioned. That's assuming they all grow at the same rate.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening With Care

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 5:03PM
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