How to grow Broccoli
A favourite winter vegetable in Australia growing broccoli in the home garden is increasingly popular. Broccoli can be grown for the vegetable or can be grown for broccoli sprouts. Broccoli grow best in the cooler climates, they do not do that well in tropical or sub tropical areas. Broccoli can be planted progressively over 6 weeks to help ensure a more continuous supply
Growing Broccoli in Australia
Broccoli can be sown late summer to mid spring in many of the cooler areas in Australia. Try staggering the plantings to prevent an over supply. A humus rich well drained soil is best.
The easiest way to grow broccoli is from seedlings , plant them in early spring for a winter crop 2-3 months later. Seedlings can be planted directly into the garden.
Broccoli can also be grown from seed, from seed plants will take up to 4 months to mature. Seed should be planted into seedling trays in late summer, after 1 month look for the seedlings that have developed some strong leaves and gently lift them out and plant them in the garden. ( Use the rest for a salad). Mulch around seedlings to help retain moisture.
Broccoli being a leafy vegetable responds well to fertilizers such as seaweed fertilizer and chicken manure. As this is a heavy feeding plant we suggest a regular application of blood and bone and well as a high nitrogen fertilizer.
Sometimes broccoli does not seem to want to set a head, if your plants are not heading first take a look in the centre of the plant to see if any signs of a head are evident. The problem could be the weather, to warm, or sometimes just to wet and cold, in some conditions broccoli just seems to grow leaf.
Remember that it can take from 10 weeks to 16 weeks to form a head, depending on variety and weather conditions.
Broccoli performs best when planted in a new position each year, a three year rotation in suitable.
Did you know that there are two type of Broccoli, ‘Sprouting Broccoli’ and’ Heading Broccoli’. Sprouting Broccoli produces lots of side shoots and is great for the home garden as you can pick it as you need it rather than picking the whole head. Broccoli ramoso calabrese (Cavolo Broccolo) is one sprouting variety we can recommend
Broccoli has the reputation of ‘ not tasting and smelling that good’ however over the years supermarkets have changed this by looking for varieties that has lower levels of the chemicals that leave the bitter taste.
Broccoli varieties include:
- De Cicco
- Kailaan (Chinese Brocoli)
- Broccoli Raab (not really a broccoli but similar)
- Green Goliath
- Romanesco (Italian heirloom broccoli)
- Italian Green Sprouting (Calabrese)
- Purple sprouting
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