Broccoli is an easy-to-grow, nutritious plant. Protect plants from aphids, cabbage worms and loopers by covering with a floating row cover until harvest. For an added splash of garden interest, grow purple or chartreuse varieties.

by Dani Yokhna
PHOTO: Rachael Brugger

Size: 18 to 30 inches

Sunlight requirements: Full sun (A minimum of six hours is ideal.)

Water requirements: About 1 inch per week

Soil requirements: Average, well-drained garden soil high in organic matter. Excessive nitrogen levels will result in excess foliage at the expense of broccoli flower heads.

When to plant: Plant early. Broccoli is not tolerant of heat and will flower quickly when the weather gets warm. Transplant seedlings mid-March through mid-April, or direct-seed April through mid-summer (for fall harvests).

Where to plant: Garden; containers (5-gallon minimum)

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When to harvest: 55 to 80 days after seeding, depending on variety. Harvest main head before flower buds open. Harvest small side shoots throughout the season.

Produce storage: Store in plastic bags in high humidity at 40 degrees F for two to three weeks.

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