Based in Manchester, New Hampshire, Dr. David Heimbinder provides anesthesiology care for patients at the Catholic Medical Center. With a love of the outdoors, Dr. David Heimbinder enjoys gardening in his free time. One of the common spring and fall vegetables grown by home gardeners is broccoli, a cole crop that offers a wide range of nutritional benefits, including vitamin A, fiber, folic acid, and potassium.
The hardy biennial can be started indoors from seed as early as six weeks prior to the last expected frost. It should come to harvest from seed in about two to three months. As a cool weather plant, make sure to harvest broccoli before the daily temperatures consistently reach the mid-70s. If the weather is too warm, the broccoli will go to seed before it forms a head. Similarly, in cold winter regions, broccoli needs to be started in mid to late summer to ensure a fall harvest before the weather turns and the plant simply goes to seed without properly developing.
Broccoli thrives in soil that is well-drained and enriched with compost, particularly in sandy soil regions or those with heavy rains. Throughout the growing season, the soil should be kept moist, with the watering frequency reduced as maturity approaches. Once the main head is harvested, small side shoots will continue to provide edible broccoli for several weeks.