Ahhh, yum. Home-grown broccoli is the best! It’s been so long since I bought broccoli at the store, I almost forgot how good it is picked fresh from the garden. But recently my sister visited us, I picked a broccoli from the garden, brought it in and cooked at it. She was amazed at the tenderness and the taste, and it was a good reminder to me of how fortunate we are to have this garden.
Broccoli is one of those things that grows superbly here in our climate. It likes the cooler weather and grows from early spring until after a few light frosts have hit in the fall. I have found that those transplanted outdoors early (mid-May) matured much more quickly than those transplanted mid-June, which were harvested in the fall. Next year I plan to start some earlier, to be ready to transplant outdoors by May 1. These will be covered with plastic over the hoops until at least June 1.
Broccoli also grows very well in the greenhouse. I was hesitant to grow it there, thinking it would take a lot of space and may not like the warmer greenhouse temperatures, but broccoli grown in fall & winter in the greenhouse has been a real treat. The Fiesta F1 broccoli I’ve been growing is a bit more compact than others. Some of our prized greenhouse space is now reserved especially for broccoli.
In 2019 I decided to try some broccolini, which I’d heard about but had never grown. First, I tried Aspabroc F1 broccolini in the greenhouse starting in November. It took a while for those first plants to grow in the winter, but we first harvested some in March or April. It was a real hit for us, and we grew it again successfully in the outdoor garden. In the garden I grew 8 plants, thinking I could have a little at a time all the time–which was true. But, with all the other vegetables we were eating throughout the summer, I really didn’t need that much broccolini! Next time, fewer plants at a time.
BROCCOLI VARIETIES GROWN
Fiesta F1 (65 Days) | Compact Plants | Harvested 70 Days in Greenhouse, 76-100 Outdoors.
Aspabroc F1 (56 Days) | Upright habit that lends itself to tight planting | Harvested 70 Days in the Greenhouse, 55 Days Outdoors.
I start all broccoli & broccolini in soil blocks, even the ones headed to the greenhouse. I find that the soil blocks give them a better start (especially during winter months), and for greenhouse transplants, this allows me to get them started while other things are still growing in their eventual destination.
Generally it is recommended to start broccoli indoors 4-6 weeks before average last frost date. Here, this would mean May 1. However, since I transplant broccoli into covered beds, I usually transplant them out around May 15. Since I want these earliest plants to get a good start, I give them 6 weeks indoors before going out, which means I start them April 1. For plants that will be transplanted out June 15 or later, I give them about 4 weeks indoors. In order for broccoli to grow to full size before the fall temps get too low, they should be transplanted outdoors no later than July 1.