One of my favorite gardening experiences is getting that first taste of homegrown broccoli for the season. I had five Packman broccoli plants growing in my garden in 2011. Five well producing plants is enough to provide broccoli regularly for my size family to eat. I let them grow as long as I could. At the point I cut them off the florets were beginning to spread apart (which is the beginning of the end to quality broccoli). If you see this happening this is when you need to harvest, don't wait a moment longer, or you plant may end up flowering. Yellow flowers on broccoli make the broccoli taste quite bitter.
How to Harvest Broccoli
Use a sharp knife or shears to cut off the stem below the head. You can cut it between the florets and the bottom leaves.
How Long Does It Take for Side Shoots to Grow
The harvest is not over with just the central head. The beauty of growing this variety of broccoli. A series of side shoots will grow giving you even more broccoli to enjoy. If you look closer at the picture on the right, you can see tiny little florets beginning to grow in the joints of the plant. This is the beginning of a side shoot. From past experience it should take about 2-3 weeks for the side shoots to mature enough to cut off. In cool weather that time table may be shorter. You can keep this process going until the quality begins to decline or it simply becomes too cold the plant stops providing you with a harvest.
Are you growing Packman broccoli this year? I would love to hear your experience. Share your successes and struggles with all of us. Leave a comment below.
To read all my posts on Packman broccoli, click here.