Friday, August 22, 2008


Did you ever stop to think about what you're actually eating when you have broccoli for supper? All those little green things are actually flower buds. If you are raising broccoli in your garden and you happen to wait too long to pick them, they will start to flower. (And by the way, that brown thing on the broccoli head shown above is a dried up basil leaf. We found that basil really does repel cabbage worms.)The flowers are actually quite pretty. Bees like them too.
The other night for supper we had some broccoli that was flowered out some. We ate it anyway. Broccoli flowers are actually quite good when raw, and would be a nice spicy addition to salads. Cooked they taste like--broccoli.
Once you cut off the main head of broccoli, even if it has flowered, just be patient. It will send up secondary shoots. They won't get as big, but they will taste just as good (or bad, depending on your opinion of broccoli.) I've had friends who have pulled out their broccoli plants once they start to flower. I also just read an article that said that once broccoli flowers there is nothing you can do, but that's a shame because you can keep harvesting broccoli for a long, long time in warm or cool weather.


Jill said...

Broccoli, yum! :o)

Adam Bale said...

I have this growing at home, seems I planted it too close to summer as it flowered before producing florets of decent size.

Can i cut the flowers off and will it continue to grow into winter?

Its about 6ft Tall, growing very well in soil and fertilised on 1/2 strength hydroponic liquid.

It has already produced a second stem with flowers as i cut off the first.

Kathey said...

Hi Adam,

I wonder if your fertilizer might be too strong for the broccoli plants. They like it so well that they go to flower right away, and grow really tall instead of forming heads.

Also, you might try keeping a closer watch on them, and cut them sooner--before they flower. Last year we kept cutting and harvesting all summer, but I've never tried growing broccoli in the winter. I guess it depends on how severe your winters are.

I hope this message reaches you. I don't have an e-mail address for you, but I will post it on your blog as well as here. Good luck.

Maryah said...

I am a first time grower and learned a lot by reading this, thank-you. I have some broccoli that is flowering. SHould I cut off the shoots? How can harvest the seeds that the flowers are responsible for creating? Any ideas ? Thanks!

Kathey said...

Hi Maryah,

If you want your broccoli plants to produce more shoots and not go to seed, then cut off the flowers now. It will take a little while for new buds to form, but they will within two weeks. I've never really paid attention as to how long it takes, but that would be my guess.

I've never tried harvesting broccoli seeds, but I don't see why you couldn't. It would depend if the broccoli plants are hybrids or purebred. If they are purebred you will get broccoli seeds that will produce plants just like the ones you have. Broccoli is easy to grow from seed as well as from plants. It just takes longer. Many people start theirs inside, although I have never done that.

I hope this helps.--K

Daniel said...

That is awesome... I don't think I've ever knowingly seen broccoli flowered like that. Thanks for sharing. :)

Rachel said...

My seven year old was just wondering about broccoli last night. So when we googled it this morning, we found your lovely blog post. You told him exactly what he was wanting to know, thanks!

Kathey said...

Hi Rachel,

I'm so glad your son got his questions answered by looking at my blog post. That's really fun! Thanks for letting me know.

Kathey said...

We have broccoli in our garden this year but we had to plant it twice. The first plants went to flower almost immediately without forming broccoli heads first. It was really weird. It might be because we had lots of rain this spring. It rained every day literally for weeks. So far (June 14, 2011) the second planting is doing better.

Chad Voller said...

First year growing broccoli here. I just harvested two heads. I was not sure when to harvest, and found that they were starting to flower, while still not looking done. They were not consistent buds, meaning that the inner buds were purplish and very immature (tiny), while the outer ones were flowering, and it was never really dense. I'm wondering if it was the rainy spring we had (MN), or if it is too much nitrogen (I use blood meal). I'm think the latter, since they were gorgeous plants with massive leaves, but poor flowers and heads at max of 5", and not very dense. Are my assumptions correct?