UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Broccoli

Garden Help > Vegetables

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Photo: UC, by Evett Kilmartin
Photo: UC, by Evett Kilmartin
How to grow: Broccoli

Pest management: Broccoli cultural tips, pests, and diseases

The Basics

When to plant: Feb–Apr, Aug–Sept (maybe October)

Harvest window

  • Broccoli matures in 60 to 90 days, depending on the time of year and the variety planted.
  • Harvest broccoli heads as soon as they reach maturity. Ideally the buds on the heads should still be small and firm, not swelling or starting to open, but are still edible even when blooming.
  • Do not pull the plant after harvesting the first, main head. Sideshoots (small broccoli heads) will form at the points where the leaves join the stems. One plant may produce for as long as 3 months in the late fall or winter thanks to ongoing production from side shoots.

Care overview

  • It is best not to plant Brassica family crops (cole crops, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnips, collard, and mustard greens) in the same spot year after year since diseases and insect pests will build up
  • For larger heads, provide generous spacing. Planting closer together will produce smaller central heads.
  • Warm weather, especially in the spring, may encourage bolting (going to flower).

Recommended Varieties for Santa Clara County*

Batavia, Hybrid Four-pack. Large 6–8" main head plus side shoots on this very early broccoli. 18–24" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.
Belstar, Hybrid Four-pack. Large 6–8" main head followed by plentiful side shoots which will continue all winter long. Later than Packman. 18–24" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.
Bonanza, Hybrid Four-pack. Large 9" main head followed by a generous crop of large (5" across) side shoots. Productive and flavorful. 24–36" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.
Broccolini (Aspabroc), Hybrid Four-pack. Easy-to-grow baby broccoli produces dozens of tender, tasty heads with an asparagus-like flavor. 20–24" tall. Plant 24" apart.
Calabrese, OP Four-pack. Medium-sized 3–6" main head followed by numerous side shoots for months afterward. 24–30" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.
Packman, Hybrid Four-pack. Tasty large (10-inch) light blue-green main head followed by lots of side shoots which will continue through the winter. 18–24" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.
Waltham 29, OP Four-pack. Delicious heirloom variety with plentiful side shoots. 18–24" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.

* Many other varieties may also do well here in Santa Clara County. This list is based on UC Master Gardener trials, taste tests, and feedback from local growers.

 
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