Organic Broccoli 'Green Sprouting' (Calabrese) from Thompson & Morgan

Calabrese broccoli is a nutritious summer crop
Image: Organic Broccoli ‘Green Sprouting’ (Calabrese) from Thompson & Morgan

Growing your own vitamin-packed calabrese and sprouting broccoli is easier than you might think. To help you succeed, we’ve rounded up some top tips on sowing, planting, feeding and harvesting your broccoli. Produced by independent garden bloggers and experienced vegetable growers, these nuggets of wisdom will ensure you get the most from your crops. 

Ready to get started? Visit our online range of brassica & leafy green seeds to check out our new hybrid and classic broccoli varieties. And if you’re short for time, simply order a few brassica & leafy green plants to get a bit of a head start.

Ben Vanheems – GrowVeg.com

Gardener holding up different broccoli

Get familiar with the different broccoli types available
Image: GrowVeg.com

The main difference between calabrese broccoli and sprouting broccoli is the time of harvest, says Ben Vanheems at GrowVeg.com’s YouTube channel. Sprouting broccoli is much more tolerant to cold temperatures and crops at the end of winter, whereas calabrese is a tender crop to harvest in summer, he explains. Find out Ben’s favourite varieties and pick up some helpful broccoli growing tips in his excellent video.

Kristina Mathew – Thompson and Morgan blog

Broccoli 'Belstar' F1 Hybrid (Calabrese) from T&M

Calabrese broccoli varieties, like ‘Belstar‘, produces a large leading floret
Customer image: Harry Cook

Extend the summer cropping season by sowing a few calabrese broccoli seeds every month between April and July, says Kristina Mathew writing for Thompson and Morgan’s blog. The plants don’t like to have their roots disturbed, so use a modular tray to keep disturbance to a minimum, she adds. Still deciding whether to have a go? Find out why broccoli is so good for you in this fascinating article written by T&M’s own Rebecca Tute.

Rebecca – @noah_and_emilias_allotment

Healthy broccoli seedling in pot

Healthy broccoli seedlings are a lovely green colour
Image: @noah_and_emilias_allotment

If your broccoli seedlings are a bit leggy, then now is the time to repot them and add more soil up the stem,” says Instagrammer Rebecca from @noah_and_emilias_allotment. Don’t water too much at this stage because you don’t want the stems to rot, she adds. See how Rebecca prepares her healthy seedlings for life outdoors in her productive allotment.

Pete – Real Men Sow

Healthy broccoli seedlings in cell trays

Broccoli seedlings should be ready to transplant four weeks after sowing
Image: Shutterstock/Mont592

You’ll have to go through hardening off because it helps your plants get used to outside conditions,” says Pete at popular blog Real Men Sow. He recommends placing your calabrese broccoli plantlets outside on mild spring days, eventually progressing to leaving them out overnight. Use a cold frame or cloche to easily regulate the temperature around your broccoli plant, he says.

Barbara Pleasant – GrowVeg.com

Larger broccoli seedlings potted on

Healthy young broccoli plants appreciate nutrient rich compost
Image: GrowVeg.com

Make sure you keep your plants stress-free, says Barbara Pleasant in her blog post for GrowVeg.com. The most common stressor for young broccoli plants is pot bound roots. “If you can’t plant out rootbound seedlings, do take a few minutes to pot them up into larger containers,” she says. Find her top seven tips for an optimum broccoli harvest in this expert post.

Charles Dowding

Gardener standing in front of purple sprouting broccoli

Charles nets his overwintering purple sprouting broccoli
Image: Charles Dowding

To get a bigger harvest, no-dig pioneer Charles Dowding recommends de-leafing your mature sprouting broccoli plants. Removing the diseased or yellowing leaves at the bottom of the stem allows the plant to focus all the photosynthesis in the top healthy leaves, he explains. Watch Charles’ excellent video for top tips on how to grow healthy plants.

Terry King’s Allotment Gardening On A Budget

Harvesting purple sprouting broccoli

Harvest your purple sprouting broccoli right to prolong the season
Image: Terry King’s Allotment Gardening On A Budget

Broccoli plants are hungry feeders, says YouTuber Terry. He likes to make his own homemade fertilisers and shows us the direct results of an experiment where he tried three different feeds (nettle, comfrey and manure run-off) on his purple sprouting broccoli plants. To discover the winner, visit Terry King’s Allotment Gardening On A Budget to watch his video: How To Get The Best From Your Purple Sprouting Broccoli.

Naturally JB

Gardener sitting overlooking brocooli harvest

Use piping to support the nets that protect your broccoli from pests
Image: Naturally JB

Check the size of your netting, warns YouTuber Naturally JB. Unfortunately the net he bought lets cabbage white butterflies through, and they love laying eggs on broccoli plants. His plants are coming to the end of their season and are large enough to cope, but you’ll need to protect small plants more carefully, he says. Watch his video to see how he deals with a tasty glut of purple sprouting broccoli.

Adam – The Grey Gardener

Harvesting calabrese broccoli

Use a sharp knife to harvest your calabrese broccoli heads
Image: The Grey Gardener

Do you want to get multiple heads from your calabrese plant? Leave it in the ground after cutting the main head, says Adam over at The Grey Gardener. Smaller florets at the base of the leaves develop into larger florets which you can harvest later, he says. Check out this experienced gardener’s YouTube channel for plenty of gardening wisdom.

Joanna – @joanna__elizabeth__

Broccoli and sweet peas harvest

Be proud of your first broccoli harvest
Image: @joanna__elizabeth__

It’s such an achievement to get your first heads of summer broccoli, exclaims Joanna at her Instagram page @joanna__elizabeth__.Our FIRST broccoli plants!! I’m in shock that we’ve managed to get to this stage with the growing,” she says. Celebrate your first crop of broccoli just like Joanna, it’s definitely worth the wait!

Danielle – @danielles_allotment

Freshly harvested broccoli

Pick your broccoli florets well before they start to flower
Image: Umar Bisa/Shutterstock

There’s nothing like frying homegrown broccoli in butter to inspire you to sow next year’s crops. Instagrammer Danielle got to her crop just in time before they went to flower, and the flavour blew her away. “Safe to say I think it’s back on my growing list,” she says. Follow Danielle’s allotment journey at her Instagram page @danielles_allotment.

Gemma – @bridges_gemma

Broccoli stalks recipe

The stalks of your broccoli florets can be eaten too
Image: @bridges_gemma

Want to get the most out of your broccoli harvest? This top Oxford chef uses the stems to make a tasty broccoli stalk slaw. “Use the stalks to make a slaw, tasty, nutritious – a simple way to use the whole plant instead of waste,” she says. Check out her Instagram page @bridges_gemma for plenty of recipe inspiration.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our roundup of the best online content for growing broccoli. Share your crop with us, and a recipe or two, by tagging us using #YourTMGarden!

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