With its reputation of being a superfood, broccoli is one of our favorite vegetables. It’s also a great addition to the garden, even if you do not have the space. Learn how to grow broccoli in a container with the proper growing conditions and care for your veggies as they produce broccoli heads.
A common misconception is that you need a large backyard to grow your own food. Many vegetable and fruit plants are happy to grow in a container on a patio or porch, including broccoli plants, even if you live in an urban setting.
Fortunately, broccoli growing is easy, and container gardening is a great way to produce organic food in small spaces. Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) is a low-calorie and nutritious cool weather veggie packed with antioxidants.
It is a cruciferous veggie, like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower, and there are many cultivars to choose from when growing broccoli in containers. The key is to choose the right pot size for your plants and know when to plant broccoli seeds for a summer or fall crop.
Growing Broccoli in Containers
While it takes a little work and patience, growing broccoli in containers is relatively easy with the right amount of sunshine and TLC. Can you grow cabbage in a pot, too? Yes, it’s even possible to plant these veggies if you live in an apartment, as long as you have a sun-facing patio.
Learn how to grow broccoli in containers or growing lettuce in a pot or container by starting them from seeds indoors and transplanting them into an outside container garden.
Find out what these vegetables require for healthy growth and how to use your fresh broccoli in a tasty recipe.
Steps to Take before Growing Broccoli in Containers
Like other container plants, broccoli needs the correct type of soil and pot size to flourish, along with plenty of sunshine. Here is how to prepare for growing broccoli in containers or plant cauliflower in pots to ensure you get the most out of your crop.
Broccoli plants want a minimum of six hours of full sun each day to grow healthy so it’s vital to pick an area of your patio with enough sunshine.
This veggie also enjoys growing in fertile, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0 to prevent clubroot disease.
Fill the container with potting soil rather than garden soil to avoid spreading diseases and pests, and keep the soil moist after planting.
Container size is vital when planting broccoli since this plant has a wide spread. Grow one plant per five gallon container or two to three plants in a fifteen gallon pot.
Avoid growing broccoli in black-colored containers since the color attracts heat, leading to bolting.
Start the seeds a month before the first frost date for fall planting. For spring planting, sow seeds indoors five to six weeks before the last frost.
How to Grow Broccoli in Containers by Starting Them from Seed
Depending on the type, broccoli plants take about 55 to 85 days to reach maturity. To grow broccoli from seed, it’s a good idea to start them indoors in early spring to get a head start on the season. Here is how to grow broccoli in containers by starting them from seeds.
To start growing broccoli in pots, fill a peat pot with potting mix and sow a seed a quarter to a half-inch deep in the dirt. Keep the dirt moist but not soggy, and place it in a warm area of your home where the temperature is about 77°F to encourage germination and sprouting.
Once the seedlings reach four to six inches tall and have two to four leaves, they are ready to transplant outside.
However, it’s vital to acclimate them first. Take them outdoors for a week for a couple of hours each day by starting in a shady location and gradually moving to an area with direct sunlight.
How to Grow Broccoli in a Container Outdoors
After broccoli seed germination and the plants reach the proper height, they are ready to be moved outside. Here is how to transplant broccoli seedlings outside and care for your plants while growing broccoli in a container.
After acclimating your seedlings to the outside weather, it’s time to transplant them into a larger container. Fill a five-gallon container with a potting mix and make a hole in the center that is slightly larger than the peat pot.
Set the seedling in the hole and push the dirt around the plant’s base. Water the broccoli seedling right after planting and spread mulch over the dirt to retain moisture and prevent weed growth.
If you are growing more than one broccoli plant, use a fifteen gallon container and space them evenly and from the sides of the pot.
If the weather calls for a temperature drop, cover your plants with a sheet of plastic to protect them from frost.
The different types of broccoli are heavy feeders. The plants prefer high nitrogen organic fertilizer every few weeks and an inch of water each week.
Water the broccoli at the bottom to avoid splashing the foliage and veggies with soil which spreads powdery mildew and other fungal diseases.
Broccoli plants deal with various garden pests, so keep an eye out for aphids, cabbage worms, cutworms, and cabbage loopers as they grow.
Remove the insects by hand, spray them off with a garden hose, or apply insecticidal soap to prevent broccoli aphids and other pests.
Space the containers two to three feet apart if you grow more than one plant and wrap the central head in a wax paper cone to deter cutworms.
Your broccoli is ready for harvesting when the main head is four to seven inches wide, firm, and tight, and the flower buds on the outside are the size of a match head.
To harvest broccoli, use a knife to slice the broccoli head off the plant by cutting the stem five inches or more below the head.
After removing the head, the plant continues to produce side shoots, which you harvest using the same technique.
Making a Cheesy Garlic Recipe with Fresh Garden Broccoli
After planting broccoli in containers and harvesting fresh broccoli heads, it’s time to enjoy their healthy deliciousness in recipes.
One of our favorites is a garlic Parmesan roasted broccoli dish. It serves six and only takes fifteen minutes to prepare.
Spread the broccoli florets on a lightly oiled baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over the top. Sprinkle the minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste and gently toss to combine.
Set the pan in a preheated 425°F oven and bake the florets for ten to twelve minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the heat, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and the juice of one lemon, and serve immediately.
Broccoli is a cool weather crop that enjoys growing in full sun, and a garden bed is not required.
These plants happily grow in a large container to accommodate their spread, and they reward your efforts with healthy flower heads for harvesting at the end of the season.
Knowing how to grow broccoli in a container means that you get to harvest fresh florets each year even if you have limited space, so why not share our broccoli container gardening guide with the veggie-lovers in your life on Facebook and Pinterest?