Growing Broccoli

Romanesco Broccoli.
Latest Update 18th July 2018.

Broccoli (Calabrese)
  • Waltham broccoli produces a firm tasty head followed by smaller floret side shoots extending harvest beyond a month, and Romanesco broccoli produces a large spiraling cone shaped lime green head.
  • Broccoli is a healthy vegetable containing lots of dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins.
  • We don't grow many in our garden as its a seasonal vegetable and occupies a lot of limited space.
  • Normally I would grow just 2 Waltham in an Ecobed and 4 Romanesco (in an Ecobin) each year.  The Romanesco broccoli hang over the rim of the bin they are grown in looking for their share of sunshine.
  • I have frozen surplus broccoli in the past, but we prefer it fresh and steamed for 10 minutes with a nice dressing of a herb and vegetable or cheese based sauce. 
 
Waltham Broccoli.

Details.
  • Binomial Name:                                       Brassica oleracea.
  • Family:                                                    Brassicaceae.
  • Variety:                                                    Waltham and Romanesco (main head only). 
  • Crop rotation group:                                  Heavy feeders.
  • Garden bed type:                                      Garden Ecobed. Garden Ecobin
  • Minimum sun per day:                               4 hours.
  • Plant spacings (centres x rows):                500x500 mm.  200x200mm in the Ecobin.
  • Weeks to harvest:                                     12-20 weeks.
  • Climate:                                                   Warm temperate.
  • Geography:                                              Southern hemisphere.
Nutrition.  
  • This food is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. 
  • It is a good source of protein, vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, Iron, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, potassium and manganese
  • More from nutrition data.self.com.
Maintaining Ecobed Productivity. 

  • Check out my blogpage which explains how I maintain productivity in my Ecobeds.  It describes how soil is prepared prior to planting, the importance of rainwater in Ecobeds, how to regulate the sun's intensity and how to feed plants through their leaves.
Propagating Seedlings. 

  • Check out my blogpage which explains how I propagate seeds.
Propagation Plan.

  • Check out my blogpage which tells you when to sow seeds.
Growing Instructions.
  • Sow Broccoli seeds in a seed tray cell in an EcoPropagator, and when the seedlings are big enough, transplant them individually in vacant cells in a seed tray.  Plant them out still in the plug of soil from the seed tray into prepared beds when ready.
  • Plant the 2 Waltham broccoli 500mm apart in an Ecobed, and plant the 4 Romanesco broccoli seedlings in an Ecobin (in the corners of a 200mm x 200mm square)
  • Sow them deeply in the soil using a large dibber to reduce wind damage and water them in well with dilute seaweed extract (in rainwater) 
  • Mulch around the base of the plant with sugar cane straw (or similar) so that all exposed soil above the roots is covered.
Harvesting and Storage.
  • Harvest broccoli from July onwards.
  • Waltham broccoli produce large firm heads.  It pays to pick the larger one early and pick the other before it starts to flower.  They keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks especially if kept sealed in jumbo sized resealable plastic bags as they are being used.
  • Allow Waltham broccoli to continue growing after initial harvest and it will reward you with a succession of edible side shoots over several months.  
  • Harvest the Romanesco broccoli one large head at a time.  They don't usually send out florettes, but I have known them to do so occasionally.
Organic Pest Control.