UACES Facebook Broccoli
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May 1, 2017


I was late planting broccoli, and the heads are beginning to form, even though the plants aren’t very large.  Should I treat them like strawberries and tomatoes, and remove the forming heads, allowing the plant to grow bigger before it bears?



No, broccoli season is coming to a close.  As warm as our spring was, many plants began to set fruit earlier than normal.   Broccoli grows best during cooler times of the year.  With warmer temperatures occurring, new growth won’t be rampant.  Harvest the smaller heads that are forming, then cut them off and fertilize.  Usually you can have a second harvest of smaller heads where you cut the tops off, but if the plants are weak, you may just harvest what you can and replant with warm season vegetables..


February 13, 2016


When is the best time to plant cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts?  I have my garden tilled up and need to know when to plant these.



As soon as you can find vegetable transplants, you can plant. They usually don’t start hitting the garden centers and nurseries until the end of February. All of the vegetables you names, are usually grown from small transplants, versus seeds.  Right now you can plant seeds for carrots, English peas, snow peas, spinach, and greens.  Just pay attention to the weather just in case we do get any more winter.


November 28, 2015


I have a small backyard garden and plant broccoli and cabbage every spring and fall. I have done this for many years, but this past spring only a few plants headed.  This fall, they are big and beautiful plants --- but no heads. What am I doing wrong or what is happening?


Do you have plenty of sunlight? At least 6-8 hours is needed to get them to head or set fruit.  This spring we had an unusually cool spring, so plants were late getting started and then it got hot and many bolted or set seeds before the heads got large, but they did try to head.  Cabbage takes longer to produce a large head than broccoli. I got a mislabeled plant this fall and have all cabbage instead of the broccoli they were supposed to be, but they are beginning to form heads now.  Be patient and protect them if it gets well below 30 degrees, and they can continue to grow this winter. If you have deciduous trees, the leaves will fall completely soon and give your plants a bit more sunlight.


October 2012

QuestionWe have been gardening at our home for the seven years we have lived in Arkansas. Last year we planted broccoli for the first time and had great success. This year, we planted three times as much. The plants are much larger and vigorous, easily 25 to 30 inches tall with large foliage, than last year. However, there is no sign of flower heads. My question: Will they eventuality produce flower heads for us to eat?


Answer With the lack of winter last year, those who planted a fall garden actually harvested all winter long. Broccoli is cold tolerant and can survive light freezes. It all depends when our first killing frost occurs, how cold it gets, and how long it lasts. There should still be time for the flower heads to form, but it all depends on the weather.

September 2012

QuestionI need to know when to plant my turnip and collard greens for fall?


AnswerNow is a great time to plant fall vegetables. We have finally gotten some good rain, and our gardens should take off and give us a wonderful fall harvest. While we grow turnips and collards by seed, vegetable transplants for broccoli, cabbage and other cool season vegetables have arrived at garden centers.

May 2010

QuestionI have planted the seeds of broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts this spring and have not had much luck with the plants maturing and growing. Once the temperatures have warmed up, they really did not grow much.  What can I do next year to have a better crop of these vegetables?


AnswerAll of the vegetables you mentioned are in the cole crop family and need to be planted from transplants not seeds. Most home gardeners have good success with broccoli, but cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are not the easiest vegetables to grow in the home garden, especially as a spring crop. You are correct that these plants don’t do well when the temperatures start to heat up. Fall planting can give you better results, but even then, we often don’t get a large number of fruits on Brussels sprouts. One thing that can help on your Brussels sprouts is to pinch or remove the growing point of the plant now. This may help in the development of some sprouts even this late. Huge fluctuations in temperature can cause an interruption in the growth of the cauliflower and Brussels sprouts which can abort the development of the edible portion. All of these plants are heavy feeders, so I hope you kept up with fertilization. Start interplanting with your summer squash now and give the cole crops until the first of June and see what happens.