One of my (and my husband’s!) favorite vegetables is broccoli. We get some every time that we go to the grocery store and always find ways to need more. We use it in pastas, omelets, side dishes and of course, we eat it on its own too!
I found out that growing broccoli in containers (especially the GreenStalk) is not hard at all. So needless to say, broccoli was on the top of my list of things to grow this spring. As I talked about in a previous post, the broccoli I started indoors from seed never really took off, but rather they got really leggy. I didn’t have enough light for them to grow and develop in a healthy way. They never really recovered, so instead of starting from scratch I chose to pick up some starter plants. Aren’t they pretty!?
They looked too good to pass up. I waited a couple of weeks to plant my first set because I needed to get my GreenStalks first! I planted a wide variety of plants in my GreenStalks – which you can see here. I filled each tier with Happy Frog Potting Soil (which is the brand we are testing this season – this is NOT a sponsored message). I also have occasionally fertilized with Fox Farm Grow Big liquid fertilizer. I use 2-3 tsp per gallon about once every other week. Below is a photo just after planting and another just a couple of days ago:
I ended up having 2 five tier GreenStalks with broccoli. In total I have 4 broccoli plants. I originally had 5 but the 5th one I planted later than the others and it didn’t do so well. I just took the broccoli plant out and planted an herb instead.
One of the things I learned about growing broccoli is that the head will be smaller than what you see at the grocery store. Because of this, I purchased a variety that is more likely to produce a lot of “side shoots.” So I harvested the main head of broccoli early on so that the plant could put more energy into producing the side shoots. That’s what you can see in the photo above. However, I waited with one plant to see how big the main head would grow. It’s getting pretty big so far (maybe 5 inches?) and with no signs of flowering:
Broccoli plants can get quite big. Because of this, I planted it around plants that would be ok with that. First of all, I always plant my bigger vegetables toward the bottom or in a spot that they won’t harm the plants above or below. The main thing you need to keep in mind when growing small and large plants in the same tower is that the bigger plants may shade some of the smaller plants. This hasn’t been a big problem for me because all plants have access to equal sun because of where my GreenStalks are located, but it’s just something to keep in mind.
I have heard that you can’t grow strawberries near broccoli. I did it anyway, and I think it’s a total myth. I have 9 strawberry plants growing all around 2 of my broccoli plants and everything growing great. My strawberries are producing strawberries and my broccoli is producing broccoli. What more can you ask for?
I believe one of the reasons I have been so successful growing broccoli is because the Tennessee weather has been cooperating. Last year, we didn’t have a spring. We just went straight from freezing temps to 90 degree weather. This is terrible for cool weather crops! Thankfully, this year we have had a slow warming. I think that has kept my leafy greens and broccoli pretty happy and helped them put on more growth than they would have if the weather hadn’t been so perfect for them.
A final tip for growing broccoli is to never let it flower. If you see little yellow buds forming, cut the main head off immediately. The flowers don’t have a very appealing texture and cutting it off will allow the plant to start producing those side shoots – which are great too!
Thanks for reading this post about my favorite veggie. Stay tuned for more posts about growing in the GreenStalk container garden!
Cody Catherine Thomas
P.S. I know I said that homegrown broccoli doesn’t produce a head as big as you would find in the grocery store, but I was wrong! One of my broccoli plants has produced a head 7 inches in diameter and it is still growing!