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Broccoli flowers (flashback!)

Broccoli going to seed

No real farming action today, but here’s an alternate entry from 2-Oct-2007—never let a perfectly serviceable post go to waste!: On my way to seed saving, I tend to let things go to seed! Here, the secondary shoots in a bed of Early Dividend broccoli have exploded, the tiny green beads turning into a gently rolling sea of miniature flowers on long thin stems. Unfortunately, the eventual seed from this hybrid variety wouldn’t be reliable…but it’s a step in the right direction! Also going to seed around the field: lettuce, radish, cauliflower… There’s some cleaning up to do. :)

Update: As mentioned in the comments below, these little guys are delicious as edible flowers, slightly sweet, tasting mildly of broccoli. We take them to market to offer as a free garnish for salad mix.



  1. We like to leave a few things go to flower just for the bees, and the chef who likes to use the buds and blooms. It’s interesting how most of the flowers from these vegetables, like cauliflower, taste really good. I also had a half bed of purple cauliflower go quickly from harvest-size to flowering before I had a chance to cut it all. That was a really hot couple of weeks in mid October for us here in California. Gardening in climates that easily change from cold to hot can be a challenge. My winter crops sometimes don’t know what to do when we have 80 degree temps in January, and then the next week we don’t get above 50 (during the day, of course). Love the photo.

  2. Cynthia, that was…entertaining! Afterwards, I went to the veggie orchestra’s web site and read through the whole Q&A section—yet another unusual thing you can do with your life! :) I also checked out your blog. It sounds like an incredibly cool set-up with the restaurant. You know what I’d really like to read about? How you manage all the tomato varieties for the stand. I mean, on one hand, it’s common sense, but in the middle of the main season, it seems to me like an incredibly big task to harvest even a dozen varieties, make a separate info card for them, keep them sorted, and talk about them in any reasonable amount of time. I’ve grown at least 50 varieties every season (tops was I think around 70), though only 6-12 each of most, but never actually harvested more than half a dozen for separate presentation. Mostly I mix ’em, or sort by general type, and list all the varieties together… But thinking about that can wait for a while. :) Oh, and biodynamics is still largely a mystery to me, I think I get the general principles, but the day-to-day I’m not clear on…

  3. I feel so selfish every time I visit this blog. Leave broccoli to the bees!? NEVER! Broccoli in the south only lasts until May, but every side sprig gets eaten. The bees shall have none of it!

    To be fair, they are getting fed on the flowers of squash, beans, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon and possibly even possibly okra by that time. They’re not starving :).

    Hey, do bees swarm corn tassels up north too? Or is that just a southern thing?

    • Delores

      I don’t blame you. I just cut my head of flowering broccoli and came to this site to see if I had the right to enjoy it, I will! No bee food here.

  4. Hey, Kevin: Hmmm, I don’t grow much corn, but I haven’t noticed bees on the corn. And there’s a beekeeper (sells honey) less than half a mile away (he’s the red barn and buildings in the distance you see in all of the long shots). I’ll keep an eye out next year when I try again

  5. Adam

    My Broccoli looks just like that, about 8FT tall and full of flowers, think i planted it too close to summer for the tropical conditions of QLD, Aus.

    I have a few of the next generation started from seeds of this plant, should I leave it to flower??, rip it out??, or Prune all the flowers off and see if it keeps going??

    Never grown broccoli before, need ur advice..

  6. Stollie

    My broccoli has grown so quickly, the heads are now separating, and have little yellow flowers.
    Does anyone know if you can eat the broccoli with the flowers???? Cooked or raw???
    I am assuming it wont kill you!!!

  7. Stollie: I’ve had broccoli flower a few times and I’ve probably tasted them (I taste just about everything), but I’ve never used them in a meal. So I looked it up for you. Here’s a blog post with a nice big picture of broccoli flowers in a salad, and here’s a handy list of edible flowers (broccoli is on it). They do look pretty. I’ll be sure to try ’em in a salad this season!

  8. Stollie

    Mike – thanks very much!  Shall try this tonight!

  9. Dee

    Stollie & Mike:  We just made broccoli flower soup  it was delicious. broccoli flower soup (best ever). It was good!

  10. EtienneG

    The bees on the corn tassels … they where probably harvesting pollen.  Apparently, corn produce a lot of wind-born pollen.  Usually, bees harvest pollen at the same time they forage for nectar; maybe they where running short and needed some for the brood.

    Bees are awesome creatures.  I wish I could raise a few colonies one day.

  11. Jon

    We planted some broccoli at the beginning of April.  It produced small to medium size heads about a week ago.  We went out of town and now the head has separated and there are small yellow flowers.   Should we have harvested already?  or is this normal?  Or is it too late?

    This is our first garden and need some advice


  12. John Rowicki jr.


  13. John Rowicki jr.



  14. Jon: The little beads/buds that make up the broccoli head are what turn into the flowers, so at that point, it’s over for regular broccoli. See the comments above for what to do with broccoli flowers. Some varieties put out good side shoots, mini-heads that you harvest, so you can cut off the main head and wait and see what happens.

    John: I don’t tie up broccoli or cauliflower. I’ve heard of tying up cauliflower to blanche it, keep the heads white by keeping them out of the sunlight, but I think a lot of the varieties now are self-blanching, the leaves stay wrapped close around the head. And you wouldn’t need to do that for broccoli.

  15. chrisry

    What happens to the flowers on the broccoli? does it turn to seed?

  16. crumb

    I love broccoli flowers! When mine goes to seed (it’s Early Dividend too) I love to cut a few shoots and put them in some water on my dining room table. The shoot is hardy and lasts a long time while all the flowers come out and I find it so nice to look at even if it isn’t a “real” flower!

  17. dave ciechanowski

    how or were you tie up broccoli

  18. Catherine

    Hi all,

    When we planted our vege patch we overestimated the amount of broccoli to go in, so I have been having fresh broccoli from my garden everynight for the last few weeks (in South West Sydney, Aus). However with all the rain this week I haven;t gone to the patch for fresh veges. Today I went out and heaps of my brocolli side stems are in bloom/starting to bloom.

    Thanks for your info here re being able to eat them – they will be the main vegetable in my chicken and broccoli flower green curry for dinner tonight.

    just quickly though – can you eat the leaves of the broccoli plant as well? or are they best for my wormfarm/compost?

  19. Catherine

    and another thing….. (sorry)

    I read above about using the seeds for next generation crop???

    How do you “capture” the seeds to store for next year? or am I just being silly thinking you can do that?


  20. Wow, amazing blog format! How lengthy have you been running a blog for? you made blogging glance easy. The entire look of your website is fantastic, as well as the content!

  21. Sharron B.

    Here in Central Florida, I plant broccoli in early October, start harvesting before Christmas. Prior to harvesting the heads, we took a few leaves from each plant a couple of times a week and used them like lettuce in salad. Very tasty. I’m now harvesting endless florets and flowered heads for soup, salad, and green smoothies. The flowered heads can also be dipped in tempura batter and fried. I put in a second crop the first week of January and that harvest is coming in this week. All brassicas (members of the cabbage family) produce flowers, as do all angiosperms. Once the flower is fertilized, a seed is usually produced. You should be able to to collect seeds once the flowers are dried and shriveled. I love the idea of putting broccoli blooms in a vase and you can rest assured that they are “real flowers”.

  22. Ranette

    What can be done with the bean looking seeds from the broccoli plant. Can I eat them?

  23. BeginnerGardenerQld

    Planted Baby Broccoli about a month or two ago. I started to get the little “broccoli” about 3 weeks ago and they flowered two days ago. I picked the broccoli today after reading the about questions and comments.

    I was just wondering if the broccoli will get bigger as the plant gets bigger as they were quite tiny? It was probably enough to feed my baby cousin. Bummer!

    Wil they growth of the crop be affected greatly by the temperature of where I live? Eastern Australia Qld.

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