Fresh broccoli from the grocery store can be expensive and doesn't taste as good as freshly harvested homegrown broccoli. This vegetable is healthy to eat and is used in many recipes. Planting the broccoli is only part of the battle. You need to know when and how to harvest the broccoli. If you wait too long, the broccoli will bolt, meaning the heads have gone to seed. Harvest time varies, depending on the variety of broccoli you are growing.
Things You'll Need
- Sharp knife
Inspect the broccoli heads. One way to tell the broccoli is ready for picking is if the head is firm and tight. Broccoli heads are made up of little edible flowers, and they should be tight against each other. Examine the outside florets of the broccoli head. If the individual buds are the size of the head on a match, they are ready to harvest. Measure the head. Most broccoli heads measure between 4 and 7 inches wide.
Examine the color of the florets. If they are dark green in color they are ready. If any florets have a touch of yellow, it means the head is about to bolt. These heads need to be harvested immediately.
Cut the broccoli head off the plant with a sharp knife. Do not cut right below the florets, but measure down 5 inches or more below the head. When cutting the head off the plant, cut it cleanly in one swift cut. Do not saw it off because this damages the plant and could cause disease to set in. Broccoli stems are cut long to encourage the side shoots to grow into good size florets.
- University of Illinois: Watch Your Garden Grow: Broccoli
- "How to Grow More Vegetables"; John Jeavons; 1979
- "Jerry Baker's Old-Time Gardening Wisdom"; Jerry Baker; 1999
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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