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Red, White and Broccoli

By on July 03, 2014

When summer is in full swing and Independence Day is right around the corner, believe it or not, it’s time to turn your thoughts towards fall gardening. If you’re already missing those crunchy heads of broccoli, you can ensure a supply during the fall by sowing some broccoli directly or in trays. Plant broccoli for a fall crop in July, for short season areas, and September, for long season areas. If you’re wondering when, exactly, is a good time to plant your broccoli our Fall Planting Calculator is a great resource. Plug in your first frost date, whether you plan to use row covers, and the calculator will give you a planting date for all of our cool season seeds.

There are several types of broccoli: large head, sprouting, romanesco, raab and Chinese broccoli. Tricia shows you how to plant, grow, and fend off common pests in our latest video on growing broccoli.

Large Head

Large Head Broccoli
Like the name implies, these are the varieties to plant if you want one, big, tight central head. Large head broccoli is most likely what comes to your mind when someone says “broccoli”. These types need a lot of elbow room, or else they form smaller heads. After you’ve harvested the central head, don’t uproot the plant, keep it going and harvest the leaves and any possible side shoots that may form. Broccoli leaves can be used just like kale. Large head varieties include: ‘Arcadia’, ‘Belstar’, ‘Munchkin’, ‘Nutri-Bud’ and ‘Packman’. If you want a good blend try this mix from Renee’s Garden Seeds.


Spouting Broccoli
This type of broccoli forms a smaller, looser central head than the large head types, but it also forms numerous smaller side shoots after the central head has been cut. Harvest the side shoots often to to keep the plant producing. Sprouting broccoli varieties are the favorites for growing in the fall. They typically preform much better in fall than in spring. Some delicious sprouting varieties are: ‘Calabrese’, ‘De Cicco’, ‘Purple Peacock’, and ‘Purple Sprouting’.


Romanesco is the super model of broccoli types. Grow it for striking chartreuse heads that form mathematical spirals and mild, nutty taste. Romanesco requires a bit more fertilizer than other types of broccoli and benefits from a mid-growth side dressing of an organic vegetable fertilizer. Some delicious romanesco varieties are: ‘Natalino’, ‘Romanesco Italia’, and‘Veronica’

Raab and Chinese Broccoli

These types form a multitude of small, loose, shoots and are enjoyed as much for the florets as for the tender stalks. Chinese broccoli is sometimes called “broccolini” and can be enjoyed like asparagus. Raab is not actually a broccoli, but a type of turnip grown for it’s shoots and stalks. Some raab varieties are bred specifically for either fall or spring performance, so read seed descriptions carefully. Try varieties such as: ‘Early Fall Rapini’, ‘Raab Spring Rapini’, ‘Sessantina’, ‘Sorrento’, ‘Zamboni’ and ‘Te You.’

  Comments (7)


What about broccoli worms… no matter what… they are always present… and are not pleasent to clean out… my wife avoids planting broc for this reason alone.

Posted by Todd Reece on Jul. 05, 2014 at 1:30:54 PM

Hello Todd,

“Broccoli worms” are actually caterpillars, usually the larva of cabbage loopers or diamondback moth. There are several good strategies such as covering the crop with a light rowcover, like Agribon AG-19, hand picking, or a bacillus therengensis product labeled to control cabbage loopers.

Posted by on Jul. 07, 2014 at 9:15:44 AM


Be sure to soak your broccoli in salt water Todd. That’ll kill them all, then a good rinse.

Posted by Jason Doll on Jul. 08, 2014 at 4:40:58 AM


I wish i could clearly print these articles as I am a fairly new and aspiring gardener. However, whenever I print, I get super-imposed urls galore (like 100+ lines) over the article. I have tried every trick I know to rid my printout of these, but to no avail. Could you possibly put a print this page version at the end of the artlcle?

Posted by Pauline on Jul. 09, 2014 at 11:34:31 AM

Hello Pauline,

A lot of our staff have the same wish. Unfortunately, the code that makes the website scale properly for viewing on mobile devices screws up printing. We did find a work around which is to take screenshots and print the screenshots. I like the idea of a printable version, I’ll ask our web team if that’s possible.

Posted by on Jul. 09, 2014 at 1:10:55 PM


Try selecting the text and pictures of the article, copy and then paste into a new text document.  Using Text Edit, I got both text and pictures.  When I pasted into a Word document I got only the text with spaces where the pictures had been.  But it is readable:-)

Posted by Bonnie Toy on Jul. 13, 2014 at 12:26:49 PM

Hello Bonnie,

Thanks for the tip! I’m glad you figured out a good way to do it, I’ll share that one with the staff.

Posted by on Jul. 14, 2014 at 2:44:07 PM

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