How to grow broccoli

How to grow broccoli is really simple in a bit of compost and full sun; they need plenty of water.

How to grow broccoli seedlings

Some veggies are tricky to grow, others very straightforward; the queen is one of the easy ones. Plant the seed in a box in early spring and keep them in a warm spot; drill out the seedlings, water and wait for two months. That's it; oh, and bit of watering and weeding.

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 27th July, 2019.

Yesterday it took me about two hours to prepare the ground, fetch two barrows of compost, plant and water 25 seedlings. Today is cool and misty and they look fantastic.


By Bernard Preston



The seeds are quite fine and small but they sprout without difficulty. Plant them thinly in a seed box, and cover with fine earth, gently patted down.

Choose your hybrid carefully. Traditionally broccoli grows in the cooler weather, so we plant them at the end of summer, reaping them in winter and early spring. However today there are hybrids that tolerate some heat. Talk to your nurseryman.

The seed should sprout within a week. These are about three weeks old.

If you want super sweet tasty broccoli then your long term planning should include making a compost pile; it takes about three months for garden and kitchen refuse to break down to a nutritious humus for planting seedlings.

Dig a trench at least 12" deep and fill it with about 6" of your compost, if you have enough and really want to enrich your garden for years; otherwise just a spadeful in each hole will do. Cover with the top soil from your trench, heaping it up slightly allowing for subsidence.

Planting broccoli trench

How to grow broccoli

Plant the young seedlings about 18" apart, possibly covering them with little hats for the first week. Closer together if you have problems with cutworms and other bugs. Keep a few plants back to replace any that don't thrive. The good wife inspects every morning, searching for the pest who usually lurks nearby, waiting for the new seedling to be planted.

Water daily if there is no rain until they start to thrive.

Grow broccoli seedling

Growing broccoli

They are a bit untidy looking at this stage and, because of the abundant compost and water, the weeds flourish too. Later, the coverage will increase, crowding out the weeds; at this stage there's quite a lot of work for the hoe.

How to grow broccoli small plants

Planting broccoli

The most difficult part of planting broccoli is simply the decision to make a start; oh, and getting the compost in. That's pretty back-breaking stuff.

Always start your gardening day with our lower back exercises; digging trenches and bringing out wheelbarrows of compost is all hard work.


On the plus side, gardening is the very best for the soul, and it's excellent prevention of osteoporosis. It is hard physical work that causes your bones to demand calcium from the gut; otherwise it just passes straight through unused and your skeleton slowly become weaker.

An osteoporotic fracture is not just painful; it's extremely debilitating. And quite scary when, for the first time, you have to use a walker and a stick; a substantial number of people die within a year.

The cure is prevention; planting broccoli.

Growing broccoli is certainly not difficult. At this stage the leaves are large and they will starting shading out the opposition. Nevertheless keep weeding, and watering if the soil dries out. We find two watering cans a day is ample, but then we get plenty of summer rain.

In the winter, harvested rainwater makes ample provision from our large reservoir.

How to grow broccoli medium sized plants

Broccoli facts - osteoarthritis

We don't just eat broccoli 'cause it tastes so good. It's also one of the most important anti-cancer vegetables. You might like to consider these broccoli facts ...

In addition, broccoli has scientifically proven broccoli osteoarthritis prevention properties; anti-arthritis that is.

All in all, it's a win-win veg. Broccoli tastes great and, if you follow this How to grow Broccoli, you find it very easy to grow; plus it's anti-cancer and anti-arthritis properties certainly make it a winner.

There are lots of ways to enjoy broccoli, like this BROCCOLI WALNUT SALAD for example.

Incidentally, don't pull the plant out once you've cut the main head. The small florets that will keep coming for months are where the richest anti-cancer compounds are to be found. The flowers are lovely on a salad too.


Anti tumour broccoli

Broccoli is rich in plant compounds that reduce the formation of tumours; that's why I call her the queen of the vegetable garden. Read more at what are phytosterols?

Find the links to those topics highlighted in bold by copying and pasting into the Site Search function in the navigation bar on your left. 

Despite a severe hailstorm the broccoli is doing great. Small heads are starting to form.

Weather is always a factor in the veggie garden; hot spells, drought and hail storms. Despite the apparent devastation of this weather we had one of our best broccoli crops ever.


Hail and lightning bring in a large amount of nitrogen, which just what the growing plants need; not unlike our bones require calcium, right?

Far more than from hail and lightening though, nitrogen fixation bacteria in the roots of legumes like pole beans provide most of this essential element to our growing broccoli plants.

Provision of water for your vegetable garden is a vital part of gardening; perhaps you have a abundant, cheap municipal water supply. If not, building a reservoir to collect rainwater is an option.

It needs a pump unless you have a sloping property to give you a good head of water; irrigating from a trickling hose is an unnecessary and dull chore.

Perhaps this rainwater harvesting model that I used may interest you.

Broccoli head


How to steam broccoli

Much of the nutrients are leached out in the water used to cook your broccoli; either make a rich broccoli soup, or steam it with a minimum of water.

Oops, I don't have a photo of how to steam broccoli, despite doing it so often; here's the broccoli soup instead. And homemade bread; it takes me five minutes every other day using our bread machine to make the finest low GI bread. You'll note that butter is back. Enjoy this kind of food on a regular basis and you'll have no difficulty with your cholesterol. It's the hydrogenated fats in margarine that we need to be terrified of.


Broccoli soup garden

Flowering broccoli

Don't turn your head for too long, or you'll have a field of flowering broccoli. We've just come back from a three week holiday and, low and behold... the honeybees are having a field day.

Flowering broccoli
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HOW TO GROW BROCCOLI

Did you find this page useful? Then perhaps forward HOW TO GROW BROCCOLI to a fellow bookworm. It's in the quiet of the garden that many of the characters in my Bernard Preston books come to life. Have you met Janet and Santie? If you too find the anomalous fascinating in life, this may be a book for you. It took me ten years to write and publish A Family Affair; there was much scrathing of the pate! It's a trilogy.

Sample chapter one from A Family Affair, my forth book. Jan Jansen ...

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