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Broccoli: How to Grow and When to Plant in Your Backyard or Patio Garden!

Broccoli is one of our favorite plants to grow in the spring and fall. Not only are the heads delicious, but the leaves add a wonderful dimension to stir fries and provide a lot of valuable nutrients. We like to plant broccoli densely directly by seed in the spring and fall then we thin them down as they grow until only the largest is left. We love to use the thinned down plants in stir-fries! Cabbage worms also love broccoli, but they’re easy to manage.

How to Grow:

Broccoli is a cool season crop that can be planted in both the spring and fall. You can plant it outdoors 4-6 weeks before your last spring frost and 12 weeks before first fall frost. You can start broccoli indoors 8-10 weeks before your last spring frost to get a head start on your growing season! You can see specific dates for your location using our FREE iOS, Android, and Universal Web App.

Broccoli seeds are planted 1/4 inch deep, 1 per square foot, in full sun. Take care to notice what plants are around the area as well, see the companion plant section below. Broccoli will need consistent moderate watering and will sprout in approximately 4-10 days.

Companion Plants:

Companion planting is a vital part of organic gardening. Companion plants assist in the growth of others by attracting beneficial insects, repelling pests, or providing nutrients, shade, or support. There are also plants that do not like being next to each other. Some plants get too tall and can provide too much shade for your plant. Sometimes certain plants attract the same pests, so it is important to try and separate these.

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Pests can be one of the most difficult challenges you face in the garden. We strive to grow food without the use of pesticides and luckily there are natural solutions for most of these nasty pests! The pests listed below are common ones for broccoli:

Learn more about how to manage pests and attract beneficial insects in our FREE iOS, Android, and Universal Web App!


Full-sized broccoli heads will be ready to harvest in 80-90 days, but you can harvest younger plants whenever you’d like and stir-fry it all. Harvest by cutting off the main head as soon as the it forms, and be sure to harvest before the flower heads begin to open. New side shoots will develop within a few weeks and should continue to do so as long as you keep up with harvesting. We also love to harvest some of the leaves to use in stir-fries.

Cooking & Eating!

Wash the heads and soak in ice cold water for a couple of hours. Refrigerate if not using immediately. You can eat it raw, boiled. steamed, stir-fried, or our kids’ favorite: with shredded cheddar cheese melted on top.

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