How to Grow Broccoli

Planting advice for how to grow broccoli, recommended varieties and broccoli recipes.

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Brassica oleracea italica

Italian immigrants brought broccoli to America in the early 1800s, and gardens haven't been the same since. And that's a good thing. Mangia!

Hardiness: Grown as an annual.

Planting advice: Plant seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and 18 inches apart; plant seedlings a little deeper than they were set indoors. Space rows 36 inches apart.

Harvest tips: Ready to harvest in about 55 to 60 days, when the central head is 4 to 6 inches in diameter. Don't wait too long, or the florets will flower.

Broccoli keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks in airtight plastic bags. To freeze, cut the head into bite-sized chunks; leave a little stem on each piece. Cut stems into 1-inch lengths. Blanch for three minutes in boiling water, then dunk in ice-cold water for three minutes. Drain; store in airtight freezer bags for up to six months.

Recommendations: Cruiser (drought-tolerant), Green Comet, Green Goliath.

Source: Birds & Blooms "Grow Veggies for Less"