The word broccoli means 'little sprouts' in Italian. It is part
of the Cabbage family of vegetables which also includes
cauliflower, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, turnips and many of the
The variety to the left is Green Comet, one of the most
popular varieties of calabrese. Requires frost
protection when sown.
BROCCOLI QUICK GUIDE
Brassica oleracea botrytis cymosa
Half hardy perennial vegetable grown as an annual in the UK
Site and Soil
Broccoli prefers a heavy (not pure clay though) fertile
soil in full sun or semi-shade.
Plant to Harvest Time
Calabrese - 15 weeks
Other varieties 40 weeks
Calabrese 1kg (2.2 lb) per plant
Other varieties .5kg (1lb) per plant.
The words 'broccoli' and 'calabrese' are different varieties of the same vegetable.
In general terms, Calabrese produces green heads whereas broccoli
produces purple or white heads. The most common in the UK is
'calabrese' which annoyingly, is sold in some of the super markets as
How to Grow Broccoli - Which Variety
The table below lists the broccoli varieties recommended by GardenAction (click
on the variety names below for a picture).
A firm head, quick-maturing and very reliable. Arcadia F1 is one
of the best varieties available. Sow
outside in succession from
early May onwards and expect to start harvesting two to three months later.
Comet F1 (calabrese)
A quick maturing F1 hybrid. The green heads are large and tightly formed. Sow in
giving frost protection for a month and expect to start harvesting two to three months later.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli
A hardy and prolific variety producing purple heads which can be
Sow the seeds in
White Sprouting Broccoli
hardy and prolific cropper producing heads like small
cauliflower. Sow the seeds in
and expect to harvest them
First decide if you want to grow broccoli (smaller heads) or calabrese (larger
heads). Broccoli matures in spring from sowing made the previous year, whereas calabrese
types matures in mid to late summer from sowings made earlier in the same year.
of the large differences in sowing to harvest times for different types of
broccoli, it is extra-important to examine the instructions on the seed
packets. That way you won't pick the wrong variety.
Date posted: July 29, 2011 - 06:14 am
Message: Hello I've grown purple sprouting broccoli this year and have had a huge harvest. I need advice on how to finish the plant off as it has now come into flower and any broccoli heads the plant produces are quite woody and bitter. Should I cut the plant back or should i let it be? I want to do the right thing so as to have lovely sprouting next year. Any advice would be great. Thanks Jan
Date posted: July 11, 2011 - 09:44 am
Message: Hi i have grown brocoli the last two years and both times the leaves are big and green and healthy but the heads of brocoli comr and then just seem to grow into flowers and split any reason why this happens also can you eat the leaves many thanks nigel the flours are yellow in colour
Date posted: June 30, 2011 - 06:12 am
Message: had a good crop of broccoli[monaco]question if i leave plants in will they reform new heads?
Date posted: June 28, 2011 - 01:59 pm
I'm growing Italian sprouting broccoli for the first time and I live in New Mexico where the temps are currently reaching over 90 degrees. From what I can tell my plants look healthy, the leaves are hugh but they have not started to flower or produce any broccoli. Is the norm or should I be cutting anything back. The plants have been in the ground for 30+ days. Your help would be appreciated.
Name: R Dulake
Date posted: January 02, 2011 - 03:58 am
Message: After a good harvest last year, I left the purple sprouting broccoli to keep growing; the woody stalk grew to about 4 feet; the few flowerheads that were left developed massed narrow black seedpods. Two green finches discovered them, and working downwards, stripped the seeds out, leaving the pods still attached; wonderful to watch. I have planned six different plots for them this year. So, if you love bird-watching, dont follow the advice below to prevent broccoli going to seed.
Name: Paul Gutches
Date posted: December 04, 2010 - 07:08 pm
Message: confused by these comments...
how is it that the sowing comes after the harvesting in these descriptions? Are these overwintering from the year before? Can't follow. Please clarify.
Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli
A hardy and prolific variety producing purple heads which can be harvested from mid April. Sow the seeds in mid May
Late White Sprouting Broccoli
Another hardy and prolific cropper producing heads like small cauliflower. Sow the seeds in mid May and expect to harvest them early May onwards.
Name: carmel Soraghan
Date posted: August 04, 2010 - 10:37 am
Message: how to provent broccoli from going into seed