How can you tell when to harvest broccoli

drayvenMarch 24, 2009

I am growing broccoli for the first time and am not sure how to tell when it ready to harvest. I read things like "when the florets begin to swell" but don't really know what that means.

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anney(Georgia 8)

What kind of broccoli are you growing?

Some varieties produce large heads then smaller ones, some produce many smaller heads from the get-go.

The heads will look like the broccoli in the grocery store produce departments, maybe not as large, but green with tight buds (that become flowers if you wait too long).

The florets are the buds on the heads that swell as the plant grows and eventually break open into flowers.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 6:36PM
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drayven

Don't know the exact type. Got them at a nursery and at the time didn't know to ask.
The head has started to seperate and is no longer really tight. No flowers yet. Is it still good?
If I did wait until it started to bloom would it be edible?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 6:43PM
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anney(Georgia 8)

Sounds as if it would be good to pick now, as long as the heads have small green floret nubs. Sometimes a larger head will separate into smaller ones before it flowers (they'll be yellowish) as it grows since the stems below the heads are branched.

Enjoy! It's fun eating the first garden goodies each year. I'll still have to wait. All that I have out are onions and lettuce, both too small to pick.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 7:01PM
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anney(Georgia 8)

Most people don't like broccoli after the florets open, say it's tough and bitter.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 7:05PM
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drayven

So is the "proper" time to harvest the head whenever I think it is large enough but before the florets start to separate and grow out?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 7:07PM
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farmerdilla

Example here is an Early Dividend that should have been cut yesterday. Notice the hint of yellow. another day and the flowers would strat to open.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 7:21PM
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anney(Georgia 8)

Yes, you can harvest it any time after the heads develop. Maybe the "Harvest" information in the link below will be helpful. To get other or confirming information Google "broccoli harvest" and you should find several articles describing when broccoli is ready and what it looks like.

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Broccoli

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 7:23PM
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primavera_grower

I'm growing broccoli for the first time too, and just like you I wasn't really sure when it was ready to pick (this was last month, zone 8), but I think mine started to seperate a bit, sort of like your description, before it bloomed, so I picked it, and it seemed fine.
So, I'm a newbie too, so you don't have to act based on my experience, but (in my humble opinion) now seems like a good time to pick it.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 7:23PM
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susandonb(NC 7)

I harvest it when I go out to the garden with a bottle of ranch dressing and the broccoli giggles!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 8:00PM
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billinpa(6)

I guess someone should mention this. Dont cut them off at the ground. Just cut off the heads they will sprout multiple smaller heads.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 3:02PM
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daw280_yahoo_com

mine has a purpeish color to it so is it to early or to late to harverst and enjoy

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 8:38PM
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