DIY Network

How to Grow Broccoli

Broccoli is a slow-growing cool-season crop that yields delicious edible flower buds.

More in Outdoors

broccoli flower buds are eaten as well as stems
  • Time

    Several Months

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Purchase Broccoli Seedlings

Broccoli is a fairly slow grower, so most gardeners elect to grow the vegetable from seedlings. The other option is to start seeds indoors 3 to 4 weeks before transplanting. Popular varieties include Green Goliath, Green Comet, and Bonanza.

Step 2: Prepare Site

Broccoli requires a spot that receives full sun to do well. Use a garden fork to work a healthy dose of compost and manure into the garden bed. These materials supply a good mix of the three main elements needed for broccoli growth: nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.

broccoli needs warm soil to get started

Step 3: Plant Broccoli

Plant broccoli in spring or fall. Place seedlings in the ground at the same level they were growing in their containers. Space the seedlings 18" apart in rows 2' to 3' feet apart. To get the seedlings off to a quick start, water them in with a liquid starter fertilizer.

Step 4: Cultivate Plants

Maintain an adequate level of moisture throughout the growing season. Feed every couple of weeks with a liquid or all-purpose fertilizer. Keep the beds well weeded and be on the lookout for cabbage loopers, green inch-worm like caterpillars.

Step 5: Harvest Broccoli

It takes 60-70 days from the date of transplant for broccoli to mature. Harvest the florets before the tiny buds open up. To harvest broccoli, use a sharp knife to cut the head off of the stalk just below the floret heads. Leave the plant in the ground because it will sprout new florets at other places along the stalk.

cut broccoli just below floret heads