Are you curious how long it takes for broccoli to grow from a seed? Wonder no more! In this blog post, we’ll break down the steps you need to take to get a broccoli crop started in your vegetable garden, and give you an estimate on how long it will take for those little plants to start producing those delicious heads of broccoli. So read on for all you need to know about how long does broccoli take to grow from seed.
Packed with vitamins and minerals, broccoli is a great option to grow in your garden. Broccoli just like other vegetables from the cabbage family requires a good amount of sunlight, chillier weather, and soil that is slightly acidic.
Broccoli is a cool-season and slow-growing crop and on average, it takes about 48 to 115 days to mature depending on what variety of broccoli you are growing and what time of the year it is. The maturity rate is different for different varieties of broccoli. For example one of the fast-growing varieties of broccoli is – “Broccoli rabe”.
It is always a good idea and a better and healthier option to grow your broccolis yourself rather than eating the store-bought broccolis.
If you want to grow your broccoli, there are certain things that you would want to keep in mind, including – in what season or time of the year should the broccoli seeds be sown, when would the seeds start germinating into saplings, how long would the broccoli take to form into a fully grown broccoli head and finally, when is it a good time to harvest your broccoli.
California, Arizona, Texas, and Oregon have the ideal temperature to grow broccoli, and California is the leading producer of broccoli amongst all.
How long does broccoli take to grow from seed?
Here are the steps and stages of broccoli seeds germinating and growing into an edible broccoli head:
1. Sowing the broccoli seeds
One of the most important questions that may arise while you are planning to grow your broccoli is- when is the right time of the year to sow your broccoli seeds? Broccoli is a cool-season crop and it can be planted at two different times throughout the year. An ideal time to start growing your broccoli is either in –
- late winter or early spring, or
- late summer or early fall.
It is preferable to start planting your broccoli in early spring for a summer harvest. In some areas, you can also plant your broccoli in late summer for a fall harvest.
If you are living in Southern California you can start planting your broccoli seeds in late September or early October for their optimal growth.
The ideal temperature that broccoli requires for its optimum growth is between 18-22°C (65-70°F). In temperatures a lot higher than that, broccolis start to bolt.
Broccoli requires well-fertilized and moist soil for its growth. The texture of the soil should be preferably between sandy and clay loam. The pH of the soil should be between 6.0 to 6.8, that is, it should be slightly acidic. You would want to ensure that your soil is rich in organic matter and it drains well.
Start by sowing your broccoli seeds about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch below the soil. If you are sowing it in a container or pot, then make sure that the pot is at least 4 to 6 inches deep.
While sowing the broccoli seeds, try to avoid overlapping the seeds for a higher germination rate.
Now water them thoroughly. It is very important to ensure that the soil is kept moist evenly, especially during the first two weeks of sowing your broccoli seeds. Broccolis are sun-loving vegetables and thus require 6 to 7 hours of sunlight every day for early germination.
2. Germination of the broccoli
The broccoli seeds start to germinate within 5 to 10 days of the sowing. After about 28 to 35 days, or in about a month, you can see the seedling grow about 5 to 7 inches in height.
Around this time it is extremely important to make sure that the soil is sufficiently moist. It is a good idea to keep checking the soil moisture and water them properly if the soil feels dry.
Now, this is the right time to transplant your seedlings into a larger container or garden bed.
For this, you need to very carefully take the seedlings out of the container, using a gardening tool or any tool you find convenient to use. Make sure that you don’t damage the delicate roots of your broccoli seedlings in the process.
In the bigger container or garden bed, dig holes of about 4 to 6 inches deep. Now bury your broccoli seedlings here. Space your seedlings at about 10 to 20 inches apart from each other. Now water them thoroughly.
Broccolis need 6 to 7 hours of sunlight. Without sufficient sunlight, broccolis cant grow properly and will end up producing thin and leggy plants.
Now as your plant grows bigger in size you can remove the leaves from the bottom part so that the plant can concentrate its nutrients to the upper part of the plant which will eventually produce the broccoli heads.
It is important to fertilize your soil regularly, preferably every 20 days or 3 weeks. It is preferred to use a nitrogen-rich, organic fertilizer for the growth of your broccoli plant, as broccolis require a good amount of nitrogen for their optimum growth.
Now after you are done adding the fertilizer to the soil, water them properly and dampen them well.
Make sure that there is no standing water on your broccoli plants. Adding compost to the soil helps in water drainage.
Yet another thing that you have to keep in mind while growing your broccoli is that too much heat can cause your broccoli to bolt.
Bolting is a process in which the broccoli plant will start to produce flowers directly, and this bolted broccoli is not suitable for consumption. Broccolis start bolting in hot and dry weather.
Certain varieties of broccoli, however, can tolerate heat better than the other varieties.
The Sun King broccoli, for example, can tolerate heat well and is specially bred to be grown in areas such as Southern California, where the winters can sometimes get a little warm or hot.
3. Growth of the broccoli heads and harvesting your broccolis
After 90 – 100 days or about 3 months, you can see your broccoli heads grown nice and big.
There are some signs that you can look into in order to tell if your broccoli head is ready for the harvest.
Firstly, you need to check for the color of the florets of the broccoli heads. Fully grown broccoli heads have florets that are deep green in color.
If you find any yellowness in the florets, this means that the florets are starting to flower or bolt. In such a case, you need to harvest your broccoli immediately.
The next thing you can check is the size of the broccoli head. Now even though this might vary but usually their size is between 10 to 18 cm or 4 to 7 inches.
Now once you have checked for the signs and are sure that your broccoli head is ready, the next step is to harvest them. An ideal time to harvest your broccoli is early in the morning before the soil has heated up.
For harvesting, you can take a sharp knife and cut the broccoli head off the plant. Make a cut at least 5 inches below the broccoli head stem. It is advisable to use one swift cutting motion to cut the broccoli head, otherwise, you can end up damaging the plant which can reduce the chances of a further harvest.
Apart from harvesting broccoli, it is also important to get rid of the flowers. If you notice these flowers then remove them, as they can attract moths and butterflies which can lay eggs on them.
Now, once you are done with the first harvest of your broccoli heads, you can follow the same steps for the second harvest, and so on.
Related vegetable garden articles:
- Can you grow broccoli in a pot
- Okra square foot gardening
- Growing cucumbers on black plastic
- 10 easy tips for growing turnips in containers
- Grow Corn in Square Foot Gardening
So, how long does broccoli take to grow from seed? The answer is anywhere from 55-70 days. This means that if you start planting broccoli seeds today, you could have a harvest by the end of July! Of course, this assumes ideal conditions and regular care for your plants; so be sure to keep an eye on them and water/fertilize as needed. Are you planning on growing broccoli this summer?
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.