Broccoli and cauliflower belong to the same vegetable family, which also includes brussel sprouts, turnips and cabbage. Because these vegetables are in the same family, they require the same growing conditions and care. Both vegetables, but especially broccoli, can be temperamental in the hot summer weather, often flowering and going to seed early. There are many different broccoli and cauliflower varieties that require different planting tecniques and mature at different times, so you’ll need to choose your varieties according to when you’d like to harvest the vegetables. Under the right growing conditions, you can enjoy weeks of harvesting your own broccoli and cauliflower heads.
Plant your broccoli and cauliflower plants in the spring, right after the last frost. Grow your plants about two feet apart in rows spaced three feet apart.
Water your cauliflower and broccoli plants deeply and evenly twice each week in the absence of rainfall. Don’t allow the soil to dry out, especially during the hottest part of the summer.
Remove weeds from around your cauliflower and broccoli plants by hoeing the weeds shallowly or pulling them by hand. Try not to loosen the soil too much or too deeply if you’re using a hoe.
Feed your newly planted broccoli and cauliflower plants with a starter fertilizer. Follow the dosage instructions on the label for vegetables. Then, spread a granular nitrogen fertilizer beside the rows of broccoli and cauliflower when the plants are about halfway grown.
Feed your plants with a foliar applied fertilizer during the summer. Follow the dosage instructions on the label for these vegetables.
Harvest your broccoli when the head develops completely but before the yellow flowers begin to open and the head starts to separate from the main stem. Begin harvesting your cauliflowers when they’re still smaller and the heads are still firm and the florets aren’t separating. Cut the broccoli and cauliflower heads with a sharp knife, leaving about 5 inches of stem attached to the heads.