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How To Grow Broccoli From Stem And Seed: Ultimate Guide

How To Grow Broccoli From Stem And Seed: Ultimate Guide

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You wouldn’t believe how many interesting things there are about broccoli! This article brings you not only the most important things about growing this green veg, but will also teach you how to grow broccoli from stem. We’ll even give you some instructions for growing this tasty veggie from seeds.

However, before we get too carried away, here’s some basic info:

Scientific name:Brassica oleracea var. italica
Native habitat:Mediterranean
Time of ripening:80-100 days from seed to harvest
Size:It can reach a height of 18-30 inches (45-76 cm) and a width of 12-24 inches (30-60 cm)

Now we’ve got that out of the way, we can look a little deeper at beautiful broccoli. You’ll learn how to grow broccoli, how to care for it, when to plant it, and which variety to use.

Maybe it’s not so simple after all… Read on to find out!

How To Grow Broccoli From Stem

Broccoli in garden

Growing broccoli from the stem has probably never crossed your mind, but you’re almost certainly tired of throwing away a part of something you put so much time and effort into growing.

Maybe you make compost instead of throwing it away, but you get the point!

We wanted to use the broccoli stem in the best way possible, so we did some research and realized you can actually grow broccoli, head and all, from its stalk!

We have decided to share our knowledge, so if you’re sick of throwing away viable veggies, check out our step by step guide to the entire process.

7 Tips For Growing Broccoli From The Stem

broccoli Stalk on table

Growing broccoli from stems is an excellent way of recycling veggies.

Here are the steps you need to follow in order to get a new broccoli head from the stem.

1. Choose And Cut The Stalk

The main thing you need to do is choose a suitable stem. It needs to be healthy and with no damage such as cuts and tears.

You can also use stems from live broccoli. The only requirement is that they are healthy and with no signs of pest attacks and/or diseases.

2. Prepare The Stalk For Planting

That’s not the only important thing to take care of!

The stalk needs to be around 5 inches (12.5 cm) long. You need to remove the heads of broccoli, but ensure you leave some of the branches.

3. Place The Cutting In Water

The next step is to submerge the cutting in clean water. We always use glass jars as they are tall enough and you can see when the roots start to appear.

Fill the glass jar or some other container with water, and make sure that the lower half is in the water. Remember to change the water if you notice it has started to change color and put the jar in a bright spot.

4. Wait To See New Growth

broccoli Stalk

After a few days, you should start seeing the development of a new root system. However, don’t take the stem out of the water just yet.

Wait some time until the roots and leaves have grown large enough as this can help the broccoli adjust to the soil more quickly. Don’t wait so long that the true leaves and roots start developing, however, because at that point the broccoli needs more nutrients than the water and sun can provide.

Allow the roots to grow a bit bigger, and plant the broccoli when they are still transparent.

5. Prepare The Planting Area

As soon as you notice new root growth, start preparing the planting area. Get a container large enough to fit the broccoli plant and fill it with well-draining soil. Also, ensure that the pot has drainage holes to prevent root rot.

If you want to grow broccoli outside, you should prepare the garden bed and amend the soil. Adding some compost made of loam is a great way of doing this, and you can mix it with some sand and shredded wood too.

6. Plant The Broccoli Sprouts

The next step is to plant the broccoli sprouts in a container or a vegetable garden once the root system has developed.

If you have grown more than one broccoli from the stem, you can plant them together, but ensure that there are only two plants per container so that they have room to grow.

Ideally, you should leave 3-5 inches (7.5-12.5 cm) between plants if you plant them in containers, and around 2 feet (60 cm) between rows if you wish to grow them in a vegetable garden.

7. Post-transplant Care

The final stage is all about nurturing your new broccoli plants, and one of the first things you need to do is water them. Keep the soil moist to reduce transplant shock and help your new vegetables develop more extensive roots.

Don’t drown them in water as it can lead to root rot, which can spell the end of your precious plant. Remember to water your broccoli regularly and you’ll have an ideal side dish for your meals before you know it.

You should also place your new plants in a sunny spot. Broccoli loves partial shade, so a few hours of direct sunlight can do it lots of good.

Finally, you can fertilize broccoli with a low-nitrogen fertilizer, or if you want a more organic solution, you can add compost tea or poultry manure.

Here’s a video that will help you regrow your broccoli!

6 Steps Of Growing Broccoli From Seeds

You can also grow this amazing vegetable of the Brassica family from seeds, and the process is quite similar to the previous one.

We love to do everything by the book, so check out our in-depth guide to growing broccoli from seeds.

1. Choose The Right Variety For Your Climate

Choosing the right variety of broccoli is as important as choosing the right time for planting. Different types handle hot and cold temperatures differently, so you should choose a variety that is the best fit for your climate.

For instance, calabrese broccoli prefers moderate climate conditions with temperatures around 65°F (18°C), so you can plant it from March to June to get a never ending supply of this vegetable to enjoy with brussels sprouts!

On the other hand, if you live in a hotter region, you might want to grow the cultivar ‘Destiny’ as it is extremely heat-tolerant, so you won’t have to deal with any yellow flowers.

2. Time Of Planting

Once you’ve chosen the variety ideal for your regional climate, you can decide when you want to plant the broccoli. This vegetable loves plenty of sunlight, but it is still a cool-season crop so you should plant it in spring or fall if you want a large yield.

However, there are some varieties that don’t open their green flower buds in higher temperatures, so you can plant them in late summer instead.

We usually plant broccoli seeds in fall as the temperatures in Orlando, Florida, can be up to 90°F (32°C), which often leads to bolting.

However, if you live in a cooler region, you should start your broccoli seeds indoors approximately seven weeks before the last frost date.

Then, transplant the broccoli seedlings outside where they can get a few hours of direct sunlight.

3. Pick A Suitable Location

small garden

Speaking of sunlight, it is crucial to choose the ideal location for your broccoli, which would be somewhere they can get direct light in the morning and are protected from the scorching afternoon sun.

This plant loves fertile soil, so you should ensure that your garden soil is rich in nutrients and organic content before planting this veggie. The safest way of adding more nutrients to the soil is mixing compost into it, so you can do that if the soil could use more minerals.

But, don’t forget about drainage! Soil that retains too much moisture can lead to overwatering, but if you add compost and even some wood shavings and pay attention to your watering schedule you should be ok.

4. Prepare The Planting Area

If you want to grow broccoli seeds in a pot, you simply have to fill it with fertile and well-draining soil. You should also choose a pot with drainage holes to reduce the risk of root rot.

If you want to sow seeds straight outside it’s a whole different story. You have to choose the ideal location, which would be a place where there’s enough sunlight, but also where the midday sun cannot burn the broccoli leaves or cause bolting.

You probably need to enrich the garden soil with nutrients and organic matter, so you should add some compost or an organic fertilizer to give your plants the boost they need.

Remove all the debris you can find, such as plant roots, rocks, and stones, and make rows about 2 feet (60 cm) apart so that your vegetables have space to develop.

5. Plant The Seeds

Now we come to the seed planting. The depth of and distance between the holes are important if you want to give your broccoli the best growing conditions. The holes should be around half an inch (1.25 cm) deep and around 18 inches (45 cm) apart.

Place two or three seeds in each hole and cover them with soil.

6. Aftermath Care

watering broccoli in garden

Now, all that’s left is to water the seeds, which speeds up the process of germination. But, be careful not to overwater the seeds as it will only hinder their growth.

It takes about 5-14 days for the seeds to germinate, and once you notice broccoli sprouts protruding from the soil you should thin them and feed them with low-nitrogen fertilizer once a month.

Remove the weeds as they grow so they don’t suffocate your young vegetables, and if the temperature gets too hot you can always mulch the veggies to protect them from the sun.

On the other hand, if the temperatures drop unexpectedly you can protect your broccoli using row covers.

When To Plant Broccoli

Knowing when to plant broccoli is extremely important as you don’t want it to freeze to death or bolt before it’s time. This is why it’s equally important in not killing your plant and delaying the blooming of broccoli as much as possible.

The best time to start broccoli indoors is in early spring, 7-9 weeks before the last frost date. Once it matures and all danger of frost has passed, you can move it outside.

If you have a large garden, you don’t have to mess around with transplanting as you can start the broccoli outside and be done with it. In that case, however, you should plant the broccoli two weeks before the last frost date.

Even though this vegetable is a cool-season crop, it cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. Some frost won’t hurt it, however.

You can also plant broccoli in fall as it is a cool-weather crop, but plant it 80-100 days before the last frost or grow it indoors and forget about the low temperatures.

Care Guide For Successful Broccoli Growth

big Broccoli in garden

Now we come to the most exciting part: the broccoli care guide. You’ll be glad to hear that caring for broccoli is so simple, you literally only need to read this once and you can start producing broccoli to supply all your friends and family almost immediately.

This section brings you some great gardening tips for growing broccoli.

Broccoli needs full sun or partial shade depending on the region where you live. The soil should be moist, but never wet, and the planting substrate needs to be fertile and well-draining; piece of cake, right?

Of course, there are some more details that we’ll talk about shortly, but these are the most important things to remember if you want to harvest broccoli. Without meeting these requirements you won’t even get to reap the main head, let alone any side shoots.

Light Requirements

Broccoli thrives in full sun, and if the plant doesn’t get at least 6-8 hours of sunlight a day it can get leggy and produce below-average heads.

However, if you live in Florida or some other sunny country, your broccoli will be quite happy if you grow it in partial shade. Too much heat can result in premature flowering, and the sun can scorch your plant.

For that reason, we love growing broccoli in containers on an east-facing windowsill. The morning sun is gentle and helps this tasty vegetable grow, whereas the afternoon sun indirectly lights the plant and keeps it safe and healthy.

Water And Humidity

close photo of Broccoli

If you want to get lots of tasty florets, you should give your broccoli 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) of water to maintain the proper soil moisture level.

Overwatering is your plant’s arch-enemy, so if you live in a rainy region you shouldn’t water broccoli grown outside – let Mother nature take care of that!

Humidity

The good news is that this vegetable thrives in moderate humidity conditions quite well.

If you keep the soil moist and mulch it, there’s no need to increase humidity levels! High humidity can only lead to more problems if you regularly water the plant.

The best tip I got for watering broccoli is to irrigate it in the morning so the leaves are dry before the night comes. This prevents fungal infections and makes your job a lot easier.

Temperature

Generally speaking, broccoli flourishes when the temperatures are between 60 and 70°F (15-21°C), but it can handle temperatures as low as 26°F (-3°C) and up to 95°F (35°C), although it greatly depends on the variety.

In most cases, temperatures above 80°F (27°C) lead to bolting, so it’s best to plant your broccoli earlier in the spring or fall for the largest possible harvest.

Soil And Fertilizer

When growing broccoli, ensure that the soil pH is slightly acidic to neutral, between 6.0-7.0.

We have mentioned this quite a few times, but it’s so important that we want to repeat it: this vegetable needs a fertile and well-draining planting medium. Always add compost to enrich the soil with nutrients and improve drainage.

Good drainage is essential, so you can even add some sand or other material to increase it. The key is to get the soil consistency between sandy soil and clay loam.

Fertilizer

Broccoli doesn’t require too much nitrogen, so the 5-10-10 formula works great because it contains enough phosphorus and potassium.

You can also use well-balanced fertilizers, but knowing how and when to use triple 14 fertilizer, for instance, is vital as you don’t want to over-fertilize your veggies.

We usually use slow-release 14-14-14 once at the beginning of the season, and in the middle of the season we feed the plant once again, but this time we switch to liquid fertilizer.

You should always follow the instructions on the package, and you’ll be harvesting those central heads in no time!

Transplanting

hands holding Broccoli

You don’t want to transplant broccoli either too early or too late, and the best thing to help you decide when it’s ready for harvesting is its foliage. Once you notice that the broccoli has two sets of true leaves, you can go ahead and transplant it outside.

Ensure you plant it around two weeks before the last expected frost date for the best chances of success.

Plant this vegetable in a nutrient-rich medium with good drainage in a place where it can get plenty of sun.

You don’t want to let your broccoli plant get too big as its root system will grow too extensive, which makes the transplant somewhat less likely to take.

You should also fertilize the soil to give it more nutrients and help your vegetables acclimate more quickly. We often use super seaweed for this purpose, and our veggie gardens keep getting bigger and bigger!

Pests And Diseases

The most common pests that attack broccoli are cabbage worms, cabbage loopers, and aphids. Sometimes worms and loopers can eat the entire plant and leave you with nothing!

Luckily, they are easy to get rid of, and spraying insecticidal soap over them can get you a long way. However, if the infestation isn’t too big or you simply don’t like using pesticides, you can always handpick any pests you notice.

Also, introducing some natural predators such as ladybugs and yellowjackets can do the job for you.

Diseases

Some of the most common diseases that attack this vegetable are Alternaria leaf spot and black rot. In this section, we’ll discuss the causes of these diseases and how to treat them.

Of course, you should always do everything you can to avoid this disease as prevention is the best cure.

Alternaria Leaf Spot

Alternaria leaf spot is not life-threatening, but your broccoli will produce smaller heads (or even no heads) if infected with this disease.

The cause is usually high humidity, so your plant will be safe as long as you avoid that. You can recognize it by small black spots that expand and turn yellow with a black circle that surrounds them.

Aphids are another reason this disease may attack your crop, but they cannot take all the blame. The fungus that causes this disease can be found in water, seed packs, tools, and can even linger on your clothes, so ensure you take all the precautionary measures when heading to your vegetable garden.

The good news is that you can save your plants with a good copper fungicide.

Black Rot

This disease has a terrifying name, and it is malicious. It manifests as a yellow splotch at the beginning, but it gets more prominent as time passes by so it’s not uncommon for it to go unnoticed until it’s too late.

Eventually, these spots become brown, the tissue becomes necrotic, and the plant withers and dies. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for this disease, but you can slow its growth with a copper fungicide.

If the heads aren’t infected they are perfectly good to eat, so you should harvest them as soon as possible.

The bacteria that causes this disease can be transferred by insects, water, tools, or your hands, and it flourishes in humid environments.

Can you grow broccoli from the head?

close shot of Broccoli

Actually, you can’t, but that’s not a bad thing. You can eat the broccoli head and plant the remaining stems in a pot to grow a whole new plant.

You simply have to give it enough water and sunlight, and when it grows roots you can replant this vegetable into a pot and continue caring for it until the harvesting time arrives.

Conclusion

All in all, broccoli is an amazing vegetable! What makes it so fantastic is the fact that you can grow it from both stems and seeds.

The two processes don’t differ that much. The only real difference is the growing medium; broccoli stems need to be put in water, whereas broccoli seeds should be planted in the soil right away.

Their care guide is virtually the same, and you just need to ensure that they have enough sunlight and are planted in a fertile substrate with good drainage, and that’s it.

You can also fertilize this veggie to increase the yield and make sure there isn’t too much humidity around to keep diseases at bay.

Finally, we can only wish you good luck and ask you to send us updates on your broccoli in the comments below, whether you grow it from seeds or stems.

Until next time!

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