Monday, 28 October 2013 22:48

How does Broccoli grow?

Watch how broccoli is harvested...

  • Latin Name:

    Brassica oleracea

  • Growth:

    How does broccoli grow?

    A winter crop, that begins growing in spring or fall.

    USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 10. Click here to view USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

    Broccoli is an annual that grows 2’ to 3’ tall, likes cooler temperatures and is mostly grown as either a spring or a fall crop.

    Spring: For a spring crop, seeds are started indoors, then transplanted 2 to 3 weeks before the last frost.

    Summer: Seeds are planted mid- to late summer for a late summer or fall crop.

    Fall: Summer crop is harvested; fall planting is best when living in a warm climate.

    Winter: In warmer climates, broccoli is a winter crop.

    Organic Broccoli sprouting


    Broccoli maturing


  • Propagation:

    How is broccoli propagated?

    Grown from seed, broccoli will germinate and grow in temperatures as low as 40 degrees F.

    Broccoli needs full sun, and moisture-retentive soil that is well fertilized and slightly acidic ( 6.0-7.0 pH).

    Broccoli must be mulched to keep the soil moist, cool, and free of weeds.


  • Harvest:

    How is broccoli harvested?

    When mature, a head of broccoli is 3 to 6 inches in diameter and dark green with lots of tight green buds. Any yellowing indicates it is past its prime.

    Broccoli is harvested in the morning while the soil is still cool from the previous night.

    In a home garden, 9 to 10 inches of the stalk is left in the ground to grow bite-size side shoots, which are great for eating and freezing. One plant may be harvested for several weeks as it puts out these shoots.

    Commercial growers use a harvester to pick their crops.

    Broccoli Harvesting

  • Storage:

    How long will broccoli keep?

    Fresh heads will keep for at least a week in the fridge.

    Broccoli can be cut, washed, dried, and frozen in an air tight container preserving its life for up to one year.

  • History:

    Where did broccoli come from?

    Broccoli belongs to the “cabbage family,” a cultivar of wild cabbage which originated on the northern and western Mediterranean coast, in what is now Italy.

    Broccoli was introduced to the United States by two Italian brothers, Stephano and Andrea D’Arrigo, who emigrated to San Diego, California in 1922, and started to farm it there.

  • Top Producers:

    Who are the top broccoli producers?

    China and India account for 75% of worldwide production, followed by Italy, Spain, France, and the United States.

  • Varieties:

    What are the most popular varieties of broccoli?

    Different varieties have a varying level of heat tolerance.

    The most popular varieties include Green Duke, Green Goliath, Flash, Calabrese, and Paragon.

    Green Duke and Green Goliath are heat tolerant and do well in the south.

    ‘Flash’ is heat tolerant as well, but grown more for its consistent production of side shoots.

    There are also purple and white varieties.

  • Products:

    What are some common broccoli products?

    Broccoli is eaten raw or cooked. It can be eaten raw in salads or with a dip, and it can be sautéed, steamed or grilled in stir fries, quiche, pasta, soups, omelets or as a side.

  • Top Health Benefits:

    How is broccoli good for you?

    Broccoli is a bone strengthener, high in calcium and vitamin C.

    It is high in coenzymes, a fat-soluble antioxidant.

    Broccoli is a great energy booster for our bodies.

    Broccoli is a cancer preventing, heart protecting agent, rich in folate, B vitamins, flavonoids, potassium, and vitamin K.