How to Harvest Broccoli? When to Pick

harvesting broccoli

Broccoli is a cool-season crop that’s loaded with vitamins and nutrients. Harvesting Broccoli is easy to do, but there are a couple of things you need to know. Harvesting broccoli is a little different than harvesting other vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, or radishes. Each part of the plant has a different growth pattern. The best thing to do is to grow it organically. This way, you are able to harvest your crop at its peak flavor and nutritional value.

Follow these steps to harvest broccoli, when to pick broccoli, and prevention tips for a healthy harvest.

When to Harvest Broccoli?

Harvest when the flower buds appear to be tight and closed. Cut stems off with sharp pruning shears or a knife, leaving an inch of stem still attached to the head.

Frost Tolerant: If you live in a frost-prone area, it is best to harvest your broccoli before the first frost of fall. By harvesting early, you will not have to worry about your broccoli freezing or being damaged by frost.

If you are growing in a greenhouse or indoors, then you can harvest whenever you like, as long as it is at least ten weeks after transplanting.

When to Pick Broccoli?

  • The best time to pick broccoli is when the stalks have reached a height of six inches. The heads should also be tight, firm, deep green, and compact.
  • Pick broccoli as soon as it reaches this height or firmness, but don’t wait until it gets woody and yellowed.
Close up of a young fresh organic broccoli plant

How to Harvest Broccoli plant?

Harvest broccoli when the flower buds first open. Ideally, broccoli should be picked before it begins to form buds that are green or have begun to turn yellow. But harvesting too early means less time for the plant to develop its delicious heads of florets since ahead takes about 60 days to mature.

This is best done with a sharp knife. The top buds should be cut just above the point where they attach to the main branch of the plant. This should be about an inch from the bud itself. The bottom buds should be cut off at an angle, leaving about half an inch of stem below the bud. Cutting too close to the bud will cause it to rot.

After cutting, place all cuttings in ice water for half an hour and rinse them well under running water before storing them.

Harvesting Tips

  • Broccoli is a cool-season crop and will survive light frosts if harvested before they occur.
  • Ensure that the soil is moist when harvesting broccoli. It’s best to harvest after a rainy spell so that you don’t disturb the plants during collection. If you must harvest during dry weather, water first so that the roots are moist.
  • Broccoli is quite hardy, but if a heavy frost is forecasted, covers plants with a thick layer of mulch or hay to protect against any damage to tender stems and leaves.

How often can you cut a broccoli plant?

 The first harvest is generally at 70 days after planting. You can harvest approximately 2 more times before harvesting again in 3 weeks when the plants have produced another set of larger heads. The final harvest is approximately 6 weeks after the initial planting date.

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