7 steps to plant broccoli from seed to harvest [A complete guide]

plant broccoli seeds

In this article, I will guide you 7 steps to plant broccoli from seed to harvest. So the variety of broccoli we are growing is called the Sun king hybrid. This is a great variety to plant and we’re starting our seeds indoors. Broccoli is a cool-season crop, so can grow it in the fall thru the winter and even in early spring.

7 steps to plant broccoli from seed to harvest

1. First step to plant broccoli: Seed starting mix recipe

First step to plant broccoli: Seed starting mix recipe

So we are starting our seeds indoors in the seed starting kit; the potting mix or the seed starting mix that I’ve used is a combination of coconut coir, vermiculite and compost. And in my opinion, this makes a great seed starting mix and you can even use peat moss instead of the coconut coir.

Now about thirty-four days after sowing what I’m doing is I’m transplanting the seedlings into slightly larger containers. Now, why am I doing this? Because my raised beds are not yet ready and the seedlings have grown pretty big.

By transplanting these broccoli seedlings into these slightly larger containers I can grow them for a few weeks till my raised beds are ready.

Also read How long does it take for potatoes to grow [Complete Guide]

2. Potting mix for transplants

Potting mix for transplants

For the potting mix here I’m using a potting mix that comprises 30% peat moss, 30% vermiculite and 30% compost. Now for the remaining 10%, you can use any kind of manure or a different type of compost or even use some organic fertilizer.

In this method of growing broccoli, we’re starting seeds indoors and transplanting them and we will eventually plant them in our raised beds but if you want you can direct sow the broccoli in the raised beds or in containers.

method of growing broccoli

Broccoli is a cool-season crop and the seeds will sprout and the broccoli plants will grow even if you sow them directly and the variety of broccoli the Sun King hybrid was specifically bred for growing in places like Southern California where the temperatures can get a little warm or even a little hot sometimes and they claim that the plant doesn’t bolt very easily.

Bolting is a process when broccoli doesn’t produce the broccoli heads but goes into the flowering stage so that’s what they claim.

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3. let’s look at how broccoli grows

let's look at how broccoli grows

So the transplants are ready and you can leave them for 4-8 weeks to grow in the containers but I’m gonna wait till my raised beds are ready and then I’m gonna go out and transplant them in mid-November which is 45 days after sowing.

I’m gonna start transplanting the seedlings. My seedlings have grown pretty well quite bigger in the smaller containers. This time this season I have planted a little less plants spaced out. So we have exactly eight plants in this 4×4 foot raised bed. This layout in my opinion is better than planting nine plants for example but we’ll see how this goes.

My whole idea of planting this way was that the corner plants get a little bit more space and so the two plants in the center row and hopefully this design should work out well for these plants.

4. Steps for raised bed soil to plant broccoli

Steps for raised bed soil to plant broccoli

Now make sure that you give enough spacing between your broccoli plants if you crowd them together they’re gonna bolt and they’re not going to produce as many heads of broccoli as you expect. So make sure you space them out well. What you see here is at least the minimum spacing to use.

So 81 days since sowing, the plants have grown quite well now. I had to replenish some of the soil in the raised beds and I added some more peat moss and some perlite to the raised bed mix.

This raised bed mix is working out pretty well for these broccoli plants. The heads are being formed and these head should mature into larger broccoli heads very soon. So you can wait till the heads get a little larger. All these plans are producing great heads now.

5. Fertilizer Schedule

Fertilizer Schedule

So let’s talk a little bit about the fertilizer schedule.

Now the organic matter in the soil should be able to supply most nutrients. But you can side-dress your raised beds with some compost, some perlite, vermiculite and some organic fertilizers. So that should supply adequate nutrients.

Now if you are using a liquid fertilizer like fish or seaweed you make sure that you use it every three weeks or so because liquid fertilizers are absorbed very quickly by the plants and you need to do a fertilizer schedule again every three weeks.

6. Organic Pest Control

Organic Pest Control

Now to avoid pests like caterpillars on your broccoli plant you can use one of the solutions:

  1. BT (bacillus thuringiensis)
  2. Spinosad

Both of these are organic, they don’t contain any chemicals, they’re safe for you and by using these you can avoid most pests and I never had to use any of these pesticides because I washed my plant and I made sure that it was free of any pests.

broccoli has now grown quite big

So we are now in January and as you can see here this broccoli has now grown quite big and it might grow bigger as well but you want to harvest your broccoli before they start flowering.

So at this stage you can still wait for a little longer till the head becomes slightly larger.

7. Harvest your broccoli

Harvest your broccoli

Now at what stage do you harvest your broccoli head?

We can notice the head and it is pretty firm and we’re gonna harvest it because we’re not gonna let it go into flower so that you can use your broccoli very well at this stage.

Once you harvest the main head of the broccoli, you will get a lot of side shoots or side broccoli florets that you can harvest as well and that’s the real benefit of growing a broccoli plant.

You can harvest these fresh broccoli florets as long as the plant grows, you’re not gonna be limited by 1 broccoli head.

Now in the case of cauliflower, for example, you can get one large head but with broccoli, you get all these mini florets right throughout the growing season. So you always have a supply of fresh broccoli right in your backyard.

Now while you’re harvesting your broccoli you might notice that some broccoli florets are going to flower and you might want to remove these because it attracts butterflies and moths that will lay eggs on your broccoli which you do not want.


So this is the broccoli harvest for a single day. All these lovely broccoli florets and I was able to do repeated harvests. I used to just come in my backyard harvest a few florets and that was a good harvest for that day.

So there we have it, folks. Broccoli is my favorite vegetable, my number one favorite vegetable and I’d like to know from you do you like broccoli? do you like growing broccoli? and what varieties of broccoli have you tried and what are some of the challenges you faced. I’ll see you again soon. Happy gardening!

I am Fenil Kalal. Professionally I have done Engineering in Information and Technology. Gardening is my passion/love/favorite hobby and I have 5+ years of experience in Gardening.

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