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University of Minnesota Extension

Growing broccoli in home gardens

Quick facts

  • Grow where you have not grown related crops—cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, mustard, turnip or rutabaga—for the past four years.
  • For spring plantings, start seeds indoors in early to mid-April.
  • For the fall crop, start seeds indoors or out, in early to late July.
  • Gardeners in northeastern Minnesota can grow broccoli all summer long.
  • After you harvest the main head, smaller side shoots will grow for another harvest.
  • Broccoli will continue to grow after the first light frosts in the fall.

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) is an important green vegetable in Minnesota. Small, edible floral shoots make up a broccoli plant’s head.

You can eat the tender, bright green flower stalks and undeveloped flowers raw as part of a vegetable platter, or chopped and mixed into a salad or slaw. Some prefer broccoli cooked in a soup or in a savory sauté, as well as stir-fried or steamed as a side dish.

The leaves of broccoli plants are edible. Use them as you would kale or collards. Some varieties have purple coloring when raw. This coloring usually fades, leaving a bright green hue after cooking.

Soil pH and fertility


Selecting plants




How to keep your broccoli plants healthy and productive


Managing pests, diseases, and disorders

Many things can affect broccoli leaves and crowns. Changes in physical appearance and plant health can be caused by the environment, plant diseases, insects and wildlife. In order to address what you’re seeing, it is important to make a correct diagnosis.

You can find additional help identifying common pest problems by using the online diagnostic tools or by sending a sample to the UMN Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic. You can use Ask a Master Gardener to share pictures and get input.


Authors: Marissa Schuh, IPM Extension educator, and Jill MacKenzie

Reviewed in 2022

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