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How to Plant Broccoli in Containers

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How to Plant Broccoli in Containers

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Overview

Limited space is no reason for not growing your favorite vegetables, and broccoli is no exception. Almost any vegetable hardy in your region will thrive in a container. Broccoli presents the same additional requirements for successful cultivation as other containerized vegetables. Select a variety that grows well in your area and a pot that's large enough for broccoli to grow in without being crowded. Provide a minimum of five hours of full sun daily, appropriate potting mix and fertilizer, and a convenient watering source. This cool-season plant will prove to be an outstanding performer in your container garden. You can plant seeds, but nursery-grown seedlings will mature much more rapidly for you. Broccoli seedlings are typically available from local suppliers just in time for spring planting.

Step 1

Prepare the container for planting your broccoli in early spring, right after the final predicted frost for your area. Broccoli is winter hardy in USDA Zones 3 through 10, with a preferred daytime temperature range between 55 and 75 degrees F. Use a large drill bit to put holes in the sides of a 5-gallon bucket. The holes should be two inches apart and about one to two inches from the bottom of the container. This container will provide plenty of room for your broccoli plant to flourish rapidly.

Step 2

Fill the bucket with premium all-purpose potting soil to about three inches from the top. Broccoli plants require a soil depth of at least 12 to 14 inches.

Step 3

Plant the broccoli seedling in the center of the soil at the same depth that it occupied in the growing container. If the plant looks leggy or spindly, bury it all the way up to the bottom set of leaves.

Step 4

Water the broccoli thoroughly to evenly moisten the soil. Avoid getting any water on the foliage. Don't let this plant dry out. The soil should remain moist -- but not soggy or wet -- until harvest.

Step 5

Apply a 1/2-inch layer of well-rotted manure or compost. Repeat this application once midway through the growing season. You can use a balanced, water-soluble 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 liquid fertilizer instead of compost or manure, if you would prefer. Follow the packaging instructions carefully. Your broccoli seedling will be ready to harvest 55 to 85 days from planting time.

Step 6

Move heat-sensitive broccoli into the shade when midday sun is hot and brutal.

Step 7

Cut the main broccoli head from the plant with a clean, sharp knife. Remove it with about six inches of the stem. Trim off any small buds while they're still tightly closed and bright green. Leave as many outer leaves as possible intact with the base of the plant to encourage new heads and shoots.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Premium all-purpose potting soil
  • Well-rotted manure or compost
  • Balanced, water-soluble 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 liquid fertilizer

References

  • Harvest Wizard: How to Grow Broccoli
  • University of California: Grow Vegetables in Containers
  • My Great Home: Growing Your Own Vegetables
  • North Carolina State University: Container Vegetable Gardening
  • Backyard Vegetable Gardening: Fertilizing and Watering Broccoli Plants

Who Can Help

  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
  • University of Illinois: Watch Your Garden Grow -- Broccoli
Keywords: growing broccoli, container broccoli, broccoli in containers

About this Author

Axl J. Amistaadt began as a part-time amateur freelance writer in 1985, turned professional in 2005, and became a full-time writer in 2007. Amistaadt’s major focus is publishing material for GardenGuides. Areas of expertise include home gardening, horticulture, alternative and home remedies, pets, wildlife, handcrafts, cooking, and juvenile science experiments.