Encouraged by my success with growing sugar snap peas and tomatoes in our outdoor raised bed garden, I set my goals for growing broccoli in containers in the early spring. Now, I might be getting a little bit ahead of myself, but it looks like the plants are thriving so far. And the first broccoli heads are now visible. If you are also contemplating growing broccoli in an outdoor (or indoor) container garden, here are our tips for getting started.
Does Broccoli Need Pollination?
No. The broccoli sprouts and heads that we typically eat are actually considered flower buds, so they do not require pollinators to grow. This makes them ideal for indoor and outdoor growing because you do not need bees or other insets to get edible broccoli. You only need to set the plants out for pollination if you want the flowers to produce seeds for more broccoli down the road.
Can You Grow Broccoli In Indoor Container Gardens?
Yes! Because you don’t need pollination, broccoli can be grown using an indoor container garden. But be warned – the leafy green plants that host the broccoli sprouts and heads can grow quite large, so you will want to be sure that the container can handle their expansion once the early leaves have formed.
How Much Light Do Broccoli Plants Need?
Broccoli plants need about 6 hours of sun every day. If you are growing them inside, you might want to have them close to a supplement light source, like a full-spectrum grow light. To cover our bases, we placed ours near the window and near the grow lamp from the AeroGarden.
When Can You Plant Broccoli Outside in Zone 10?
We planted our broccoli seedlings outside in early February in Los Angeles because even when the nights dip into the 40s, broccoli thrives. In fact, these plants do better in cooler temps than in hot ones. The seedlings themselves, which we started in small pots inside in January, were already pretty sturdy. Still, we wanted to get them into their permanent location before they got too leggy from reaching toward their light source.
What is the Best Soil Temperature for Growing Broccoli in Containers?
We waited until the soil in our outdoor container garden consistently was around 60-65 degrees (F). While broccoli can survive in temperatures in the 90s, we planted early so that the plants could take advantage of our spring and early summer temperatures as they matured.
Why Did We Decide to Use Raised Beds Instead of Planting In The Ground?
We wanted to control the richness and acidity of the soil more easily. Plus, the ground here isn’t well-suited for growing much at the moment. We live in an apartment building, and while Andy took on the task of removing an old above-ground swimming pool, removing the sand, and breaking up the soil, the soil isn’t great for planting. It’s compacted and probably damaged from years of having sand on it. So, we’ve built a raised bed container garden. Plus, in theory, if we ever move, the garden can come with us.
How Do You Harvest Broccoli Heads and Sprouts?
Each plant will develop a large head in the center of the leafy growth. We should be able to cut the head off once it is fully matured with a sharp knife by targeting an area that is a few inches below the crown. Even after the main head is cut, broccoli sprouts should still develop from the sides of the then-cut stem.
We’ll update you once we have successfully begun harvesting. So excited!
For more articles on our container garden adventures, click here.