Need Some Broccoli Growing Advice

broccoli-seeds-001-mediumI was so excited when 2 days after planting my broccoli seeds they were already coming up! I couldn’t believe how fast that was. And by day 5 they were really growing tall. I thought they were doing really well, but after reading a gardening forum tonight I kept coming across the term “leggy”, referring to the plant growing too tall and thin due to lack of sunlight. Now I’m wondering if my little broccolis are not doing so good after all.

Can anybody who knows about growing broccoli give me any advice??

I’ve also noted that the seeds I planted in the egg shells are not growing much at all. Next time I won’t do the egg shells with broccoli seeds.

Thanks for any suggestions you may have for me!

About Kendra 1103 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.


  1. Just transplant them sideways burying the stock right up to the bottom leaves…. It will make a stronger thicker plant… Running a fan when the light is off helps too…

  2. I plant all my seeds in eggshells, for many reasons: the calcium is great for the plants, no plastic required, and when you’re ready to plant them outside, you just crack the shell and plant the whole thing, so the roots aren’t disturbed in transplanting. I started my tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower and bell peppers this way and they’re all doing great. Some reasons it might not be working for you: you need to crack off just the top of the shell so you have a deeper container for your seed. You should boil the empty shells before using them, to eliminate the risk of salmonella contamination, and so that they won’t attract carrion eaters into your garden later. Also, you need to punch a hole for drainage in the bottom of your shells, so they don’t get over-watered. You can continue saving eggshells after all your seedlings are in the garden… boil them, crush them, and put them around your plants to keep the slugs away. They don’t like crawling over them.

  3. Our cabbage was started under a light (grow light set low to plant) and they did the same thing. I think the plants have been nurtured too much under light and no wind. They will root down more and slow upward growth if you put an oscillating fan on them as well as the light for 12-14 hours.

  4. These seeds look very young. The only problem I see is that your seeds are way too close together. These plants are fighting each other for the same nutrients from the ground. repot them so that they have there own room. Also 12 to 14 hours of light is best. We keep ours under grow lights until we can set them outside to harden during the day while still bringing them in at night. I think you can make most of these survive and produce for you… they just need some room to grow and sun.

  5. The direct or diffused sunlight may very well be a factor. Tell me about what is in the growing medium you’re using, fertilizer etc. There shouldn’t be any need for fertilizer or related products yet, no matter what your source preferences are (organic or conventional).
    Let them spend some time outside when the conditions aren’t terrible.

    • Scott,

      I just planted the seeds in potting soil. I didn’t add anything else. Is there something that I should add at all?? Hopefully it will warm up a little and I can put them outside soon during the day! If you have any more advice, I’d love to hear it. Thanks so much!!!

  6. I wait until they are a little taller then pinch back 1/3 of the plant. (hurts my heart) When I plant outside I put all the plant up to the first leaves in the hole. This has worked out just fine for the past 2 years. I also read that you should put a fan on them after a few weeks to strengthen them. (mimicks (sp) the wind or something)I haven’t honestly tried this but sounds good. I have had pretty good luck with starting plants from seed but it does take extra time and attention. Good luck!
    Last year we did all out tomatoes from seed and had a great crop.

  7. …one more thing…..

    We get cabbage moths in this area…look like little white or pale yellow moths flittering all over the place. Nothing is more disgusting than broccoli with cabbage moth larva. Bleah.

    If you have the same problem in your part of the country, if you can afford it, get some floating row covers–lightweight fabric that floats over your plants. It lets in light but keeps out the bugs. It’s been a while since i have had a garden but I think I just made hoops out of hangers, fastening the row cover with the hoop when I put it into the ground.

    I think I ordered from a company called Gardens Alive.

  8. Kendra, I usually purchase my broccoli as plants so I have no real experience in this area. However, my guess would be not enough light.

    Are you using grow lights? you need to place the sprouts right under the light, almost so that it touches the leaves. Not sure about your leggy ones, but your plants in the shells may be salvagable. you want them to be short and stocky at this point.

    Just an FYI–if you are growing tomatoes and they get leggy like this, you can actally plant the stem underground. Depending on how leggy they are, you either just plant them deeper or plant the stem (laying down) in a trench. The stem actually sends out roots. You can’t do this with many other types of plants, however.

    Good luck!

  9. If they are indeed leggy, you might be out of luck. I have some lettuce seeds the same way. I pinched some of the longer ones back since I had more than one seed per pot. The rest seem to be doing ok, though I am a little concerned that the tomato plants are a bit tall. None of them are leaning over yet, and I saw my first set of second leaves, so they are probably fine.

    The best solution is to set them up under a flourescent light for 12-14 hours a day. And the light has to be within 3 inches of the leaves for the best results.

    Oh and the problem with the eggshell ones is that there isn’t as much space for the rootball.

  10. Someone told me that this was because they are not getting enough sun. I am trying one last time to start from seed this month using a combination of incandescent and flourescent lights in the basement. We’ll see!

    Good luck. I am going to be curious how these make out. Post an update please…

  11. you might be watering them too much and most likely they may not be getting enough light. Do you have a local Master Gardeners group in your area ? They are usually more than happy to put you in touch with someone to help you out with a new gardening project.

  12. I am anxious to see what advice you get with seeds. I never had any luck starting seeds early indoors, I always just wait until planting time and use plats when possible and seeds for things like beans, peas, corn etc. also I live in the south, and one year I tried broccoli and brussel sprouts with no luck. The plants grew, but did not produce. maybe they are more suited to cooler weather? I dont know.

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