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Growing Good Food at Home

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Curator’s Corner: Broccoli: America’s Favorite Vegetable: The Complete Guide to Growing, Cooking, and Eating Broccoli

Get a glimpse inside our Broccoli Collection, where our Editorial Director Norann Oleson reviews everything you need to know about growing your own broccoli.

Norann Oleson, Editorial Director of Food Gardening Network

Norann Oleson, Editorial Director of Food Gardening Network

Welcome to the healthful, delicious world of broccoli!

When Mom said, “Eat your broccoli, it’s good for you,” she wasn’t kidding. Broccoli is often called the ‘Crown Jewel of Nutrition.’ Just a half cup of steamed broccoli contains 70% of your daily vitamin C requirement—more than an orange! Broccoli also contains high amounts of vitamin K1 (important for blood and bone health) and folate (essential for tissue growth and cell function), plus potassium, fiber, calcium, and cancer-fighting antioxidants.
But broccoli also tastes great, and Americans are enjoying healthy, delicious broccoli more than ever. According to Agricultural Facts, in the United States, the average annual per capita consumption is 5.8 pounds, and over the last 25 years, broccoli consumption has increased over 940%. In fact, in a 2020 survey of all 50 states, broccoli was named America’s favorite vegetable!

Broccoli is an annual cold weather crop that can be sown in spring or fall. In many areas, you can harvest broccoli into December. If you’d like to join the ranks of home broccoli growers, this is the time to start!

First is the collection’s Introduction, where you’ll learn some of the basics about broccoli and how to choose the right variety to grow. You’ll also get the history of this cruciferous crop! Did you know you can thank Italian immigrants, who brought broccoli to the States in the early part of the 20th century, for this powerful plant’s popularity in America?

Next, in the Feature Articles, you’ll get specifics about broccoli growing—from the three types of broccoli to the best way to start growing (seed? seedling? cutting?) to watering, fertilizing, and harvesting.

There’s a lot to know about broccoli growing, so even if you’re a veteran, you might learn something new. We aim to gather everything there is to know about broccoli growing into this single collection!

We have six fun Plant Profiles with the more popular varieties listed, including options for gardeners around the country and those who want to grow broccoli in containers.

We’ve chosen these six broccoli profiles because these are some of the most commonly grown. If you’d like us to include another broccoli variety that appeals to you, please let me know by commenting below.

After all, this is Food Gardening Network, and we want to include the knowledge of all our gardening readers in everything we do. Your input is just as important to us as anything we come up with on our own!

We do think you’ll love the broccoli Recipes we’ve compiled for enjoying the fruits of your labor. They cover many traditional uses of broccoli, plus some variations on classic broccoli recipes you might want to try.

Make a savory soup flavored with your own homegrown broccoli. Or serve up a no-cook broccoli hors d’oeuvres that will have your guests raving and asking for more. Friends and family will love the wide variety of ways you can put your broccoli to use—ways that go way beyond basic sides.

After that, you’ll be interested to learn how broccoli can benefit your health in Nutrition Facts about Broccoli. The little broccoli plant is a vitamin C and antioxidant superhero!

Then there are the Home Remedies & Health Benefits of Broccoli where you’ll learn how broccoli is thought to help heart health, prevent cancer, and contribute to better digestive health.

Because we want you to have everything there is to know about broccoli at your fingertips, we’ve included a Resources section that’s complementary to this collection. Learn more about tools specific to broccoli growing, and kitchen tools that will come in handy after you’ve harvested your broccoli.

As always, we’ve included a brief Glossary in case you need a deeper explanation of any key terms. Be sure to let us know if there’s something else you need explained!

I’m off to make a Creamy Broccoli Walnut Salad right now, but I hope you’re ready to dive in and become a master broccoli grower!

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