Broccoli Growing Tips
- Broccoli is part of the cabbage family, and as such should be rotated in your garden accordingly. Never grow broccoli in a bed you have just grown cabbage or cauliflower. In such beds plant peas, beans, root vegetables or tomatoes. Crop rotation helps to reduce the need for sprays and chemicals which can be nasty by decreasing the occurrence of soil-borne pests and diseases.
- Try to avoid growing brassicas in the same soil for three to four years.
- High temperatures or insufficient water or nutrients may being on wary flowering. In unprotected areas, wind can also cause damage, staking may be necessary.
- Broccoli like many veggies can be susceptible to caterpillars, including cabbage white butterfly. A little trick is to place white egg shells around the base of your plants and also dust the leaves with a sprinkling of cayenne pepper to discourage caterpillars and butterflies. Alternatively you can apply Dipel, an organic pest control for caterpillars. Aphids can also be a problem, but can usually be controlled with an oil spray.
- Snails and slugs also enjoy a snack on the young seedlings, so take care early on and be vigilant!
- Mildew can be of concern in the hot humid months. Allow reasonable space between plantings (30-60cm apart) and try to avoid overhead watering at this time. Keep an eye on them and remove infected leaves early.
- Pick your broccoli regularly to stimulate further growth and shootings. When the top head is removed, side shoots are encouraged which can help extend your cropping season. Always use a sharp knife, and only remove just what you need leaving the extra stem and leaves to produce additional heads. When the plant begins to flower, pick these too! They add great spice and flavour to any salad!
Did You Know?
The broccoli we eat is the head of the plant harvested just prior to flowering, but the leaves and stem may also be eaten!
1. When broccoli seedlings reach 7-10cm, plant them out into soil with chicken manure mixed through.
2. Water regularly and fertilise monthly to promote the best heads.