When To Harvest Broccoli Rabe

People often wonder as to when the best time is to harvest Broccoli rabe. Harvesting at the perfect time is necessary for some reason. Knowing how to harvest broccoli rabe at the perfect time is also of utmost importance to persons who grow the plant.

This is a short guide that should be followed if you plant Broccoli rabe to ensure that it is harvested at the right time. So, if you are interested in planting this very nutritious vegetable, this is the perfect guide on how to plant, nurture and harvest the plant.

There are some benefits that you will definitely get from growing and harvesting this plant at the most appropriate time.

What Is Broccoli Rabe?

Before we get into learning all there is to know about harvesting this highly nutritious vegetable, let’s deal briefly with what Broccoli rabe really is. Now let’s get into it.

If you are interested in eating very green cruciferous and highly nutritious vegetables or including some in your meal schedule, then there’s no better option than the Broccoli rabe. It is a green vegetable with very edible broad leaves, buds, and stems.

The plant is one that will continue to grow even after it has been pruned. You don’t need to worry about having just one harvest.

All that is required is that you don’t prone the vegetable to the root. After pruning from the stem, the plant will in no distant time begin to grow small shoot again.

The vegetable is very rich in iron, potassium, vitamins, magnesium, energy, and dietary fiber. So, for this reason, it is generally considered to be of huge nutritional benefits.

It also has huge economic benefits as virtually every part of the plant can be sold for money from the stalks to leaves and blossoms.

How To Grow Broccoli Rabe

Before we get into the harvesting stage for Broccoli rabe, it is very important to discuss how to grow this plant. Generally, the plant performs best in cool weather conditions.

Although the plant will grow in hot temperatures, the flavor is hugely affected under such conditions.

harvesting broccoli rabe

To achieve the best possible result, make sure to do the following when growing this vegetable:

Prepare the soil bed

Before you begin planting Broccoli rabe, you must take out time to prepare the soil where it is to be planted. The soil should be loamy, and one that holds water reasonably. There is no need for huge fertilization application as the plant can blossom with little fertilization addition. The soil should be also properly exposed to sunlight during the day for better taste and improved nutritional value.

Read more about The Step By Step Process Of Growing Broccoli From Seed

Sow the seeds properly

It is very important you sow the seeds properly if you wish to attain the best possible result.  Research has shown that the seeds of Broccoli rabe should not be planted too deep or too shallow. One-quarter of an inch deep should be just perfect.

Also, to ensure that there is no risk of over-crowding in the future, the vegetable should be planted in rows of about eight inches apart. 

Continuous application of water

This plant requires continuous application of water for it to blossom properly at the right time. It is therefore imperative to have and observe a strict watering routine to help keep the soil moist.

Watering is most important immediately after planting, before germination to help the seed break dormancy.

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Thinning and Pruning

Thinning is a process by which sufficient space is maintained between the seedlings after it has begun to sprout. Once the seedlings are about two inches high, you should use shears to thin the seedlings out. This is so that the seedlings become about four inches apart.

Pruning on the other hand is essential to reduce the presence of weeds that compete with the vegetable for available nutrients. You must do all within your power to reduce the presence of weeds from around the vegetable to get the best possible result with the vegetable.

Reduce the presence of pesticides

Broccoli rabe can very easily be a target for garden pests and insects. These can very easily harm the vegetable and affect the quality of its growth. Pests such as cabbage worms, aphids, cutworms should therefore be watched out for.

The use of pesticides, whether natural or artificial can help sort out this problem.

Harvesting Broccoli Rabe

Now you understand how much benefit you are likely to get from this vegetable and how to grow it, let’s delve into when is the best time to harvest the Broccoli Rabe plant.

Harvesting at the right time is a huge determining factor in how the vegetable turns out. Look out for these tips:

  • Height: The best time to harvest the Broccoli rabe plant is when the plant is about 1 to 2 feet (about 31-61cm) tall. Once the flower has attained this height, be sure to know that the harvesting period is nearby.
  • Flower: When the broccoli rabe flowers begin to sprout on the vegetable, this is another sign that they are mature for harvesting. The flowers need not blossom before harvesting. Once they begin to appear, that is the sign that the vegetable is ripe for harvesting.

How to Harvest Broccoli Rabe

Harvesting Broccoli rabe is relatively easy. All you need to do is confirm that the vegetable is matured enough for harvesting as explained above.

For harvesting, use a pair of clean and sharp garden shears, cut the stem 5 inches (13cm) below the bud.

When trimming the broccoli rabe, make sure not to trim it down to the ground so as to encourage fresh sprouting. You should also know that when the first shoot is removed, the plant will grow other smaller shoots that are also edible.

Learn more about When To Harvest Broccoli – How To Know When It’s Ready

Conclusion On When To Harvest Broccoli Rabe

Now you have learned about the nutritional value of Broccoli rabe, and how the vegetable can be grown. It is very imperative to know when is the best time to harvest the vegetable. This has also been covered in this article.

Do well to put to practice the above when you are harvesting this highly nutritious vegetable.