What we love about planting heirloom broccoli
- 7 heirloom broccoli varieties
- Thrives in full sun conditions
- Great for container gardens
- A cool-season, heirloom vegetable with numerous nutritional benefits
Plant heirloom broccoli for good health
Heirloom broccoli is a robust cool-season vegetable that can germinate in temperatures as low as 40°F and is a strong source of vitamins A and K, while also offering cholesterol-lowering benefits. Plant heirloom broccoli seeds two to three weeks before the last spring frost in cooler zones. Seeds can be planted in the fall in warmer climates and harvested 50 to 200 days later, depending on the type and planting zone.
Ideal growing conditions for heirloom broccoli
Heirloom broccoli grows best in full light with moist but well-drained soil. Seeds should be planted 1/2 inch deep and 12 to 24 inches apart. Keep seedlings well watered, but avoid getting broccoli heads wet. When the head buds of heirloom broccoli are firm, it's time to harvest it. Cut the stem of the main head at a slant. Smaller shoots will develop from where you've cut. Remember that this fast-growing crop matures to a height of 24 to 35 inches. The buds yield silique fruits, or dry capsules, if left unharvested. After harvesting the heirloom broccoli, store it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to one week.
Cook delicious heirloom broccoli or eat it raw
Broccoli is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean and has since been used in a variety of dishes. When broccoli was first introduced in England in the mid-18th century, it was known as "Italian asparagus," as it had been considered a very prized food by the Italians since the Roman Empire. Southern Italian immigrants introduced it to the United States, although it did not become wildly popular until the 1920s. It's frequently cooked and served in salads, soups, and side dishes, or boiled, steamed, and stir-fried. Heirloom broccoli is also a widely consumed raw vegetable. Remember that all parts of the heirloom broccoli plant are edible, no matter how you prepare this tasty, green vegetable. Heirloom broccoli crowns, stems, and leaves can all be eaten. The seeds are the sole non-edible portion of this plant, and they can be toxic if eaten.
Companion plants for heirloom broccoli
For more information about planting, growing, and caring for heirloom broccoli seeds, see the Broccoli Seeds Planting Guide.