I found it hard to grow broccoli last year (2010). Most of the seedlings failed to take and what did manage to grow was continually attacked by garden pests. This year could not be more different, because since putting those healthy seedlings into the ground, they have really taken off – so let’s see how to grow broccoli at home.
Here is a picture of the first flower head coming through, nourished by a healthy stalk with full dark green leaves, and below that is a thick layer of coffee compost.
Just before taking these photos, I sprayed my plants with a fresh batch of worm tea, which you can see as beads on the leaves. Seems that a wasp found a nice drop to drink from, and he stayed there for long enough to get a shot off.
And this is a couple of weeks later now, with excellent growth of the broccoli, cauliflower (on the right), and snow peas (at the back). In the foreground is coriander and there is some marjoram making itself comfortable. There is also some garlic growing at the rear of the plot, but tricky to see.
Here is the main dome on a Waltham, almost there!
One of the added bonuses of growing heritage broccoli is all those side shoots that keep growing after the main dome has been removed. They grow quickly and are absolutely delicious.
Here we have the hybrid – Shogun Winter. Notice how it just has the main dome, and none of the side shoots. It also grows lower, about half the height of a heritage.
I think it is almost time….
This is a very good example to spot the differences between the hybrid (left) and heritage (right).
Great contrast below between the Shogun, broad beans, and snow peas.
Broccoli coming into flower. There were so many side shoots coming out that we couldn’t get to them in time.
But still some of those side shoots for eating!
And now the cycle is complete, with the spent plant removed from the plot (you can clearly see the coffee cup plastic liner). As a final contribution, some of this plant will go into the compost bin, and some will be used as a green manure for other growing plants.
It has been great to track the lifecycle of these broccoli over 6 months, and now heading into a Melbourne Spring, it will not be too long before it begins again. Little seeds going into little used coffee cups!
- Prepare for Winter Gardening (groundtoground.org)
- Broccoli can change the world (gardeningafterfive.wordpress.com)
- Broccoli under attack! (slightlyturquoise.wordpress.com)