Broccoli growing season is one of my favorite vegetable seasons. It doesn’t hurt that so many other delicious veggies are in season with broccoli. But broccoli itself is one of my favorites, although you might laugh when you find out why.
You already know there’s a vast difference between homegrown heirloom tomatoes and the out-of-season tomatoes that get shipped across the country to sit on your grocery store shelves. I feel like the same is true with broccoli. The first time I had locally-grown, fresh from the garden broccoli, I was in awe. It was the absolute best broccoli I had ever tasted. The flavors were so rich that I had to make sure it was really broccoli!
That’s why I’m so excited to share some facts and tips about the broccoli growing season with you.
Start the Broccoli Growing Season with Seeds (or Seedlings)
If you prefer seedlings, you can certainly go that route, but you can also plant broccoli seeds directly in the ground. Broccoli is a cool-season crop, so the broccoli growing season begins either in late winter or early spring for a summer harvest or mid-to late-summer for a fall crop. Check your seed packet for the ideal planting date, though. The main point is that you don’t want your broccoli hitting full maturity at the same time that summer temperatures are soaring. You can also start seeds indoors about 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost date, then transplant them.
What do they need once they’re in the ground? Not much. Broccoli is relatively easy to grow as long as it has cool temperatures, plenty of sunshine, and good drainage. Remember, though, that even though broccoli loves sunshine, it’s happy to have some shade if you’re growing it in hotter climates.
Choose Good Neighbors
I wasn’t kidding when I said broccoli growing season coincided with a lot more vegetable seasons. Swiss chard, spinach, radishes, leaf lettuce, herbs, onions, and cucumbers are just some of the veggies that can grow alongside broccoli. That’s true with timing, but also in relation to spacing. Broccoli is an easy-going neighbor for several other early and late-season plants.
Be aware, however, that since broccoli is a heavy feeder, it won’t do well near plants like asparagus or canteloupe. And other plants just don’t like broccoli: eggplant, peppers, mustard greens, strawberries, and squash are none too fond of broccoli’s nutritional superpowers.
The Pesky Thing About Broccoli
Sorry to break it to you, but there is a downside to broccoli. The plant is, like other cruciferous veggies, susceptible to several pests and diseases. Clubroot, downy mildew, cabbage loopers, aphids, and whiteflies are just some of the issues you might encounter.
The good news is that they’re generally easy to treat. And some of those broccoli neighbors, such as marigolds and herbs, can help deter many of these pests. So really, it’s not that much different than anything most garden vegetables deal with. The actual bad news is that broccoli is so tasty that you may have a hard time waiting to harvest it!
My favorite thing about broccoli growing season is when I get to harvest this beautiful vegetable. Once your broccoli develops a dense cluster, it’s time to harvest! Head out in the morning and use a clean, sharp knife to cut the head or stalk at a diagonal. That’s it. Then the magic happens. Well, lots of magic, actually.
First, broccoli will continue to produce and grow. So that’s pretty darn fantastic. Then, of course, there’s the magic that happens in the kitchen. Broccoli works as a raw addition to salads. It’s a spectacular stir-fry ingredient. You can roast it or use it to make a mouth-watering cream of broccoli soup. You literally cannot go wrong.
If you liked this article on Broccoli, we have a whole gardening guide on Broccoli that you will love. Broccoli is a versatile vegetable, with a history that dates back at least to the Roman Empire. One survey named it the most popular vegetable in America in 2020. Broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange, and it’s loaded with vitamin K1, folate, potassium, fiber, calcium, and cancer-fighting antioxidants. Get the details in the Broccoli Gardening Guide. Find out how to grow and harvest this healthy vegetable and discover delicious ways to use America’s favorite vegetable in the kitchen. The Broccoli Gardening Guide has it all!