Growing broccoli every year has become a tradition for many backyard vegetable gardeners. Broccoli is an easy vegetable to plant, maintain and harvest. Because it is a cool season crop, it is very common to grow two broccoli crops per year - one in the early spring and another in the fall. It can be grown in both traditional gardens and container gardens.
Like tomatoes and peppers, broccoli does best when seedlings are transplanted into the garden or container. The seeds can be started indoors about a month before the last expected frost in your area. If you don't have much room indoors or find that growing broccoli from seed takes too much time, you can also purchase broccoli seedlings at your local garden center.
Broccoli plants should be planted where they can get 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. They thrive when daytime temperatures are in the 65-80 degree range, although established plants will tolerate short stretches of warmer or cooler weather. Broccoli plants are thirsty and do well with regular watering. It is very common for folks to plant a crop of broccoli in the early spring and have it harvested and out of the way in time to plant summer vegetables. When some of the summer vegetables die back in the late summer, you can pull them up and plant another crop of broccoli that will be ready for harvest in the fall. This is a great way to maximize garden space and production.
An average broccoli plant will reach about 2 feet tall and 18 inches wide. A typical broccoli plant will produce one large head of broccoli. After this head is harvested, the plant generally produces a couple of smaller heads that off-shoot from the main stem. These too can be harvested and eaten. Once the seedlings have been transplanted, most broccoli varieties are ready to harvest in 50-60 days.
Once harvested, broccoli can easily be stored in the freezer for several months. It can be eaten raw or boiled, steamed, sauteed, roasted, grilled and even fried. Broccoli is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber.
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