Growing Tips: Broccoli

Quick Reference:

Plant seed 1/8 inch deep spaced 1 to 2 inches apart. Germination: 10 to 14 days. Space between plants in the garden, 16 to 24 inches. Shallow planting provides warmer soil for better germination but soil must be kept moist at all times until plants emerge.

When and where to plant:

Broccoli grows exceptionally well during Alaska's cool summers, will withstand a light frost and will mature a crop in the warmer areas of the state when the seed is planted directly in the garden. In the cooler areas and for an earlier crop and start seed indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. Fill containers that have drainage holes with sterilized soil, sprinkle seed on the surface then cover lightly with fine soil. Water the container well for good seed-soil contact and keep soil moist until seedlings emerge. Grow seedlings in a sunny, cool area that is 55 degrees or less at night. When seedlings are 1 to 1 ½ inches tall and have their first true leaves transplant them to individual plastic pots, water as needed and apply a half strength solution of liquid plant food weekly until transplanted to the garden. Choose a sunny garden location with good soil, cultivate, enrich with plant food and transplant seedlings in the garden after the last frost. Broccoli transplants easily. When planting seed outdoors plant as soon as the garden can be prepared and the soil has warmed in the spring. Seed can be planted in the garden before the danger of frost has passed.

Care:

Plants MUST be protected from root maggots. Water regularly and apply plant food once a month to promote rapid growth and top quality heads. Thin directly seeded plants and transplant excess seedlings as soon as their first true leaves appear.

Harvest: Cut 4 to 6 inches below central head while the buds are tight and before yellow begins to show. Cutting the central head will promote production of smaller lateral heads over a long season.