When to Plant Your Broccoli

When to Plant Broccoli - Paint Covered Overalls - Durham North Carolina

If you’re like me, you like your broccoli fresh. Growing it yourself can be an easy way to have fresh broccoli on hand. However, broccoli only grows well in certain conditions. And, this veggie takes up a lot of space.

Key Facts

Broccoli is super easy to sprout. The harder part is getting your kids to eat it!

When to Plant Seeds Late January Late Summer
Transplant Date Last Frost Highs under 80
Time to Sprout from Seeds 10-14 Days 10-14 Days
Time Until First Harvest 45-60 Days 45-60 Days
Temperature to Keep Seeds 70 Degrees 70 Degrees
Moisture of Seeds Damp Damp

The first thing you’ll notice is there are two sets of columns in this table. In Durham, NC, we get two separate growing seasons for many plants! That includes broccoli!

However, the better approach is the constant seeding approach. Instead of having 20 broccolis ready at the same time, if you start another set of seeds every 2 weeks, you’ll have regular broccoli harvests.

The downside is that broccoli does not like the mid-summer heat that much. If you can, get a sun shade for them for the hottest part of the summer. Consistently hot days will kill them though.

I should also note that all of my broccoli sprouted in 4 days of planting this year. Don’t be discouraged if yours takes the whole two weeks.

My Progress

I planted my broccoli seeds in 3 and 4 inch plastic planters on Saturday, January 23rd. I planted them the same time I planted my peppers.

Each planter had 3-6 seeds in it. I wet the soil and bottom watered them so that the soil would stay damp. Unlike with peppers and tomatoes, broccoli seeds don’t need to be that warm to sprout. I keep mine around 60-70 degrees.

Additionally, I keep mine uncovered, but only because I don’t have another cover. Some people use plastic wrap. The cover helps keep moisture in longer, pests out, and a warmer temperature.

As I said earlier, all of my broccoli seeds sprouted in 4 days. They sprouted faster than any peppers. As of today, I have 50 broccoli sprouts. In a week or so, I’ll be thinning them down to 1-2 per planter.

What You’ll Need

If you want to repeat exactly what I did, you will need the following:

  • Plant Growing Trays (needed for bottom watering)
  • Plastic 3-4 inch planters with holes in the bottom.
  • Full Spectrum Grow Lights (affiliate link)
  • Soil (I used MiracleGro garden mix, but any type with nutrients and few wood chips will work great.)
  • Seeds

Things I’ve Learned

I think late January is too early planting for my situation. I won’t be transplanting until last frost. At the rate they’re growing, they will be fairly large plants by then. I could be wrong, but it is something I’m watching.

I need to plant a second crop 2-3 weeks after my first one, but the first one was so successful, I don’t have room for them.

Saving broccoli seeds is hard! I tried last year and was incredibly unsuccessful.

Broccoli takes up a lot of space. You need to plant each broccoli plant at least 2 feet apart. Their leaves and roots will take up a lot of space. If you want full vegetables, you’ll need to give them the room they need.

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Author Details

Richard Bobholz is a full time lawyer and part time amateur carpenter. As a homeowner, he likes to take care of as many home repair, maintenance, and improvement aspects as he can while ensuring things are done the right way the first time. With no real carpentry credentials, his articles focus a lot more on the broad aspects of home care and less on the proper way to do things.


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