Kath's Gardening Notebook
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How and When to Harvest Broccoli

Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables. Not only is it one of the most nutrient dense veggies, it’s also easy to grow. So how do you know when your broccoli is ready to harvest?

The broccoli head should be deep dark green with tight florets. Broccoli heads are actually closed flowers or florets. The tiniest hint of yellow means your plant is starting to flower, or bolt, so cut the head before that happens. When you’re ready to cut the broccoli from the plant, use a sharp knife and slice the stem a few inches below the head. Make one clean cut instead of “sawing” the stem. This will leave the plant healthy, the leaves green, and allow side shoots to form.


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About a week after harvesting, small side shoots will begin to grow. They’ll never develop into a large head of broccoli, but 3 or 4 plants full of side shoots is enough for another one of your favorite broccoli dishes. Keep an eye on them though, they can bolt and flower quickly.

Did you know you can eat the leaves off the plant as well? They’re full of nutrients with a mild taste. Harvest a few at a time. The leaves feed the plant and picking too many at one time will prevent the broccoli from forming side shoots.


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