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Winterizing your Broccoli Plants

Broccoli plant covered in snow

Broccoli plant covered in snow

Broccoli is a cold-hardy plant that can often survive the winter, depending on the variety and harshness of the weather. Gardeners who plant broccoli in late summer often harvest into December, and with a bit of effort and luck, you can keep your plants going until spring.

The first step is to have chosen a broccoli variety suited to your growing zone. The next step is to help your broccoli plants get ready for winter—if you’re in an area where the temperature can drop below freezing.

Here’s how to get your outdoor-planted broccoli ready for a potential freeze.

Final Harvest

Pick any mature broccoli still on the plant before the first frost. Broccoli can survive temperatures as low as 26 degrees F—below that and your broccoli may not make it without protection.

Water

Water your plants regularly if there is no snow cover and a lack of rainfall. It’s easier for them to deal with freezing temperatures if they already have moist soil; moist soil will freeze but it won’t hurt the roots.

Mulch

Broccoli plants in straw bedding

Broccoli plants in straw bedding

Apply an organic mulch such as shredded leaves, grass clippings, straw or wood shavings around your broccoli plants. This will help keep the soil warm and the decaying material will provide nutrients.

Wrap/Cover

If winter temps regularly drop below 26 degrees F in your area, consider covering your broccoli. Wrap in burlap, cheesecloth, or frost cloths to create a breathable dome to insulate the plant.

If you live in an area where the temperature drops below freezing for an extended time, you might want to consider growing your broccoli in a container, so you can bring it indoors when the weather turns cold.

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