Broccoli is a delicious a nutritious veggie that is perfect for a variety of meals. Broccoli is also fairly interesting in that it requires less sunlight than many of the vegetables. This makes them a great option when you have a location that doesn’t get quite enough light and indoor growing in general. Let’s jump into it, and look at how to grow broccoli indoors.
Choosing The Right Variety
One thing to keep in mind is that are a large variety of different broccoli plants. Different varieties have different characteristics like time to harvest and size.
Two great varieties for indoor growing are:
Waltham 29: This variety is very fast growing which is great for impatient grower. It can often be ready to harvest up to 30 days earlier than many other varieties. If you’re looking to harvest sooner rather than later this variety is a great choice.
Dicicco: This variety grows smaller than many others. It’s by no means a “small” plant, but it’s certainly smaller than other broccoli varieties. This also means it has a relatively quick harvest time as it has less growing to do until it’s ready to pick.
There are tons of other great choice, but both of these are a good place to start. Either one is an excellent choice for growing broccoli indoors.
Planting and Container Choice
Container choice is very important for broccoli as it does require a decent amount of space to grow. Choosing too small a container will stunt your plant’s growth.
You’ll want to start with roughly a 3 gallon pot. Most varieties grow to be about 1 1/2′ wide and up to 2-3′ tall. You’ll want to make sure that you provide at least that much space for them to grow. Even smaller varieties are comparatively big next to other plants, so plan accordingly.
As with any vegetable you’ll want to use a high quality potting soil. Any kind you can get at a nursery or hardware store is going to work great. Make sure you pick up potting soil for containers and not garden soil as it won’t drain properly.
Broccoli’s Light Needs
As far as vegetables go, broccoli has low light needs. Look to give your plant at least 6 hours of light per day. It’s better to aim for 8, but when other care needs are met 6 is enough for proper growth.
If you’re having trouble hitting this, feel free to supplement with a grow light. As you’ll see below too much heat can cause problems for broccoli, so select a light that gives off no extra heat.
While we call broccoli a “low light” vegetable that can be a bit misleading. Broccoli still needs a decent amount of light as noted above, and getting more indirect light won’t hurt the plant.
Watering and Feeding
For watering you’ll want to keep the soil moist. Check the top inch or so and if it’s dry give your plant some water. A general rule of thumb is to watch the drainage holes of your chosen container and when these begin to leak stop watering. This will ensure that the soil is thoroughly saturated without adding too much water that won’t drain properly.
Fertilizing can be done relatively infrequently, roughly every other month. Use a half strength fertilizer diluted with water, or look for specific vegetable fertilizers .
Broccoli is a relatively cold weather plant looking for temperatures in the 55-75°F range. Indoors this is generally not an issue, but if you’re planting outdoors look to plant in early spring or into the fall. Many gardeners plant broccoli outside their normal schedule of other veggies due to its temperature needs.
One issue that will crop up in warmer temperatures is broccoli will begin to bolt. Bolting is simply flowering, and this will ruin any future harvests. Bolting in broccoli is generally brought on by too warm of temperatures. Specifically, if the soil gets and stays too warm.
The best way to prevent bolting is then simply to make sure your plant doesn’t get too hot. Moving to indirect light can help with this, just make sure it still gets enough hours of light per day to grow. If it’s getting completely indirect light you may need to give it an extra hours or two extra.
Harvesting is very easy, and can be done once the broccoli reaches the desired size. Look for broccoli stalks that are firm and look full. Simply cut the broccoli and about 6″ of the stem. This will help ensure that the plant isn’t damaged and continues growing.
If you notice that the broccoli is beginning to yellow you’ll want to pick it right away. This means the broccoli is about to go bad soon.
It’s also possible to harvest and eat the leaves, and you can do this while the main part of the plant is still growing. This can give you a quick and nutritious snack while the main plant is still growing. They also make great additions to salads. Try to never pick more than 1/3 or so of the leaves or you risk harming the plant while it’s still growing.
Growing Broccoli Indoors
Growing broccoli indoors is a great way to get more veggies in your diet. Broccoli is a relatively easy plant to grow, and one of my favorite veggies to grow indoors. It’s also perfect for lower light conditions and can help you maximize space where other plants might have a hard time growing. Try it out and let us know how it goes!
If you’re looking to get started here are some seeds from Amazon that are perfect to start with. You can also check your local nursery or hardware store and see if they have any seedlings available.