Broccoli is one of the few vegetables we grow during the Winter months. On the occasional year our broccoli plants have bolted and gone to flower before we can pick the heads. Other than that, broccoli is so cheap to grow, fairly easy to maintain and a super food to boot.
Here are some of the tips and tricks Darren and I have learnt along the way. We hope this helps you grow a bountiful crop to enjoy.
* Broccoli is generally a Winter vegetable that tolerates colder weather. There are newer varieties that can be grown all year round but we stick to growing in Winter.
* I plant seeds in punnets during late Summer / early Autumn. If the seeds fail to germinate I have been known to buy a punnet of seedlings from Bunnings. With 8 - 10 plants per punnet, it still works out to be more economical than buying broccoli from the supermarket.
* We've found if we plant out broccoli seedlings too early in Autumn we run the risk of a cabbage moth invasion. Cabbage moths lay their eggs on the underside of the plant leaves. Once the eggs hatch you have a hungry family of caterpillars who will eat the leaves and decimate the plant.
* Daily inspection of the plants is necessary if you see white butterflies ( cabbage moth ) fluttering around the garden. Squishing the cabbage moth eggs or caterpillars is a natural way to keep them under control.
* This year we planted our first crop of broccoli plants a little too early. To combat the cabbage moth invasion, Darren made his own cabbage moths out of icecream container lids and attached them to wire. They have been placed at random heights in the garden. Cabbage moths are territorial so when they see the artificial ones they soon fly away without landing on the plants.
* Broccoli plants grow much better in well composted soil. Darren adds our own compost to the bed about a week or two before planting. Once the plants are growing I feed them with liquid seaweed fertiliser every week to top up the nutrients.
* Once the main broccoli head has been picked, smaller broccoli florets appear on the plant that can be picked and eaten.
|Smaller florets from the plant.|
|Artificial cabbage moths|
|Made from icecream container lids.|