I was just wondering what I should do when broccoli starts flowering. It’s quite a small head and I’ve been reading up a bit on the Net and it says to let it go to seed. Is it still possible to eat the broccoli with a few flowers on it? If not, how should I go about letting it seed because these things are really new to me and I would love to have more seeds to plant. Should I cut off the head of broccoli and what do I do with the head to make it seed? And what would be the process to get the seeds out? I look forward to your reply. Regards, Abby
Answer: What we generally think of as broccoli is really a bunch of developing flower buds, so when growing broccoli you should cut the main center stalk as soon as it looks like a bunch you would eat. There will be lots of shoots developing off the side branches. Each of these “heads” will produce a number of flowers and if pollinated will produce a number of seeds. Once the seed pods have developed and ripened, and turned brown, you can harvest the seeds and save in a cool location for early spring planting next year. If the plants you are harvesting are from a hybrid variety and if you are growing other plants of the brassic family, such as cauliflower or cabbage, you might get some unexpected results next season because they are prone to cross-pollination. For this reason you might consider just purchasing seed or starter plants and harvesting your broccoli for eating. As for eating the flowers, apparently they are editable and there are even recipes for broccoli flower soup.
Good luck with your broccoli harvesting.