When To Harvest Broccoli – How To Know When It’s Ready

Last Updated on April 5, 2022 by Maria B.

Most farmers in their early days of farming find it tricky to know when to harvest broccoli or what stage they are grown.

Growing and harvesting broccoli is a rewarding experience that most farmers enjoy. When you grow your broccoli and see the heads forming, you start wondering when the right time to harvest is. And what signs you should watch for.

Growing broccoli and obtaining a good harvest of large heads that are ripe takes patience and practice. So if you fail in your first and second attempt, don’t stop, rather keep practicing.

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How Do You Know When to Harvest Broccoli?

The answer to this question lies at your fingertips. You can know when to harvest your broccoli by touching the head and squeezing it gently. If the head is firm and tightly packed, then it’s ready for harvest. If the head is soft and has spaces between the florets with flowers opening, it is past harvest time. All broccoli farmers should avoid overgrowing these edible flowers.

The moment you notice the flowering heads starting to develop, it is a good idea to check on them often. Did you know broccoli gives you an extra treat as you wait for the main head to get ready for harvest? You can harvest the outer young leaves when they are about 4 to 6 inches long before the heads are ready. These young leaves have the same tasty flavor as the heads, very delicious when sautéed in oil or butter.

You can start harvesting these young leaves when the main head is small. This is before it protrudes above the leaves. These small young leaves are best eaten at that time. When the head begins to grow fuller and protrude, the leaves become tougher and lose their flavor.

Remember to pick only a few leaves at a time so as not to harm the plant. Keep harvesting new leaves throughout the season until the heads are ready for picking.

Signs that Show your Broccoli are Ready

It can be tricky for new farmers to tell if their broccoli is ready or not. Here are a few signs to look out for:

  • The broccoli has a head. This is the most obvious sign to check out for. The ready to harvest broccoli must have a firm and tight head.
  • Broccoli’s head size. The ready head should measure between 4 to 7 inches wide. Size alone is not an indicator that it is ready; remember the rule of the thumb to check if it’s firm enough.
  • Individual floret size. The size of the individual flower buds is the most reliable indicator. Check the florets on the outside edge of the head; they must be the size of the match stick head. This tells you they are ready for picking.
  • Florets color. Ready to harvest florets are deep green in color. Any hint of yellow color means the florets are starting to bloom because they are overgrown. Harvest them immediately if you notice either of the colors.

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when to harvest broccoli - Tarvol

What are the signs that broccoli is ready to be picked?

Broccoli is a cool season vegetable that is best harvested in the fall. The plants are very tough and will bolt to flower if not harvested. To know when broccoli should be harvested, you need to know when it is at its prime and ready to be picked. In order to know when to harvest broccoli, you must have a good idea of the growth stages of this plant.

Here is a basic description of how broccoli grows.

Broccoli is ready to harvest once it has reached its full maturity. This can be determined by looking for the following signs:

Broccoli Heads – When broccoli heads are formed, they are ready to harvest. The heads are the same size and shape as mature broccoli florets.

Broccoli Leaves – You can tell when broccoli is ready to harvest by looking for leaves that are beginning to yellow. Once broccoli has reached its maturity stage, the yellowing of the leaves should begin.

Broccoli Stems – You can harvest broccoli when the stems are at least 10 inches long. The stem should be straight and firm. If you are picking broccoli in the summer, the stems should be less than 10 inches long.

Broccoli Heads – You can tell when broccoli heads are ready to harvest by looking for the heads that are the same size and shape as mature broccoli florets.

How many times can you harvest broccoli?

You can harvest broccoli up to three times every three months, which is good news if you like the idea of growing your own food and saving money on your grocery bills.

Where can yo grow broccoli?

Broccoli is a cool-season crop, meaning it will start growing in the spring and fall. It can be grown from seed, transplanted, or started indoors. If you are starting from seed, it takes about four weeks to germinate. Transplants can be planted in early spring as soon as the ground thaws. To get your plants started indoors, purchase bare root plants, or start seedlings in flats in a propagator.

How big does broccoli need to be in order to harvest it?

It’s an easy-to-grow crop. Broccoli will grow in the spring and fall. It can be harvested as a young crop once the plant is about 3 inches tall. When the plant is ready to harvest, cut off the head. The stalk will begin to grow again, so you may want to wait a few weeks before harvesting again. The plant can be left in the ground for another harvest.

How do you harvest broccoli so it keeps growing?

You can either cut the stem off or just leave the head of broccoli alone. You won't be able to harvest broccoli for a long time after you cut the stem. But if you leave it alone, it will keep growing and producing more heads.


The best way to know when to harvest broccoli is to consult your seed packet for 2 important things. The expected day of maturity and the expected size of the broccoli head. Each variety grows to a different size in about 100 days from the date of planting.

Always mark your calendar when you plant your broccoli to give you an estimated date of harvest. That’s the easiest way for any farmer to know when the broccoli is ready for harvest.