The Harvesting of Broccoli: Finally!

clockAll Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

is an apt truism when it comes to growing and harvesting broccoli. Broccoli is not the type of vegetable to give you instant gratification.  Broccoli makes you wait. . . and wait. . . and wait.

There are many who give up thinking that their crop is a bust because the leaves get big, but no florets are seen. But, that’s just broccoli taking it’s own sweet time. You can’t hurry love, you can’t hurry a kettle to boil, and you can’t hurry broccoli to harvest.

While doing my research for this post, I found a wonderful entry at, that does a great job at explaining – far better than I can – when and how to harvest broccoli. It has great photos showing what the broccoli should look like at different stages of growth. (very cool). Click here for the blog post →

For those not wanting to click at the moment, here is quick rundown of how to harvest broccoli:

Broccoli past its harvest date

Broccoli past its harvest date

  • Harvest broccoli when the buds of the head are firm and tight before the heads flower.  You’ll know if the heads are starting to flower, because you’ll notice some yellow beginning to peek through.
  • For best taste, harvest in the morning before the soil heats up.
  • Most varieties have side-shoots that will continue to develop after the main head is harvested. You can harvest from one plant for many weeks, in some cases, from spring to fall, if you’re summer isn’t too hot.
Side shoots

Side shoots

  • Cut heads from the plant, taking at least 6 inches of stem. Make sure to leave some stem so side-shoots form.
  • Cut the stalk of the main head at a slant, about 5 to 8 inches below the head. Why? Because it helps the rain to run off the stalk and lessen the chance of rot or pest infestation in the plant.
  • Store broccoli in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you wash before storing, make sure to dry it thoroughly.

Broccoli can be blanched and frozen for up to one year.

 Up next, a rant on pests. . .