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Garden Club - Grow Your Own Broccoli

In this week, the first day for the spring falls. So, it is time to check out what we have and what we need for the garden. In the past, I have plant my seeds too early, which resulted in stringy seedlings. I have learnt now to hold off until April before planting my seeds.

But I am thinking about which brassicas to grow. Why? Well because yesterday was National Brassica Day and why not! So here is what I am doing – I am choosing a patch of ground where other brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, turnips and mustard) have not been growing for at least two years. And looking at the seed catalogue to see what I fancy growing. This year I am going to Give Broccoli a try, (only I don't have a broccoli pictures so you have a picture of a cabbage instead).


(With thanks to my NVQ learners who work in the local garden centres and helped put this guild together.)

When to Grow Broccoli

Broccoli can be planted from April to August in small batches so we don't get a glut. It takes the plants about 4 months to be ready so harvesting will start in June and go on to October. This is a KS3 level challenge.

Where to Start?

Dig the ground well, remove any weeds, then from the grown down well before planting.

We had seeds in the seed swop this year and these were shared out.

Seeds are sown thinly in to modules. Then you will need to think the seedlings to one song plant and grow on until large enough to plant out.

As the summer warms up make sure you water the broccoli in dry spells. Once the plants are about 20cm high you will need to add some high nitrogen fertiliser.

Once they are large enough, then it is just as the Red Queen says in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll "Off with their heads!" - you can simply cut the heads off.

What to Look Out For

Caterpillars are the biggest pests for your broccoli, they lay their eggs under the leaves through the summer and early autumn so check here regularly. If you find them, you will need to pick them off and feed them to the chickens if you have them.

Birds are also a problem, particularly the pigeon! The fat pigeons in my garden love all the broccoli they can get at. So, I have to hide them well in with the flowers, and on the whole they do well. If you are doing them allotment style in lines then you will need to net them.

Pick and cook on the same day and they look this good!

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