Broccoli is a relatively recent vegetable for Australian families, it was introduced thanks to the wonderful European migrants in the 1950s and 1960s. Broccoli is so easy to grow, and is a non-demanding plant to have in your winter vegetable garden.
From planting to harvest is 60 to 80 days.
Growing and Using Broccoli
If growing from seed, plant from late summer through to autumn. Seedlings can go in late autumn through winter.
Make sure you leave 50cm between plants, it is tempting to put seedlings closer together but these are quite big plants
|Planting Time (seeds)||Late summer to autumn|
|Seed planting guide||5mm deep|
|Time to germinate||10-14 days|
|Planting Time (seedlings)||late Autumn and Winter|
|Planting Area||Seedlings should be 50cm apart|
|Time to Harvest||6-8 weeks|
|Average Yield||Main head per plant (400gms) + edible side shoots and stems|
|Look Out For||Cabbage Moth larvae (caterpillars); Aphids|
|Tips||Give extra nitrogen feeds while the plants are growing|
Pick broccoli when the little flowers are still tight buds, and take about a thumb length of stem with it – you will need a sharp knife to cut the head, and try to leave the stem cut at a slant to prevent waterlogging and rotting of the stem.
The side shoots will form with smaller heads after the main head has been picked – so don’t lop off the whole plant!! You will get a few more feeds out of your plant.
The picture below shows the main stem after the head has been removed, and the development of a nice side shoot that is ready to harvest.
Cooking with Broccoli
Remember to use a nice open pan when cooking Broccoli, as it needs some room to steam and let some of the sulphuric acid out to remove the taste some people find objectionable.
The stems are great eating too, just start cooking the sliced stem a few minutes before the florets to ensure they are all ready at the same time. I prefer to peel the outer layer from the stems before using.
If you are overwhelmed by quantity – then I recommend making and freezing soups with your broccoli.
Broccoli tastes wonderful as a side dish, just saute the sliced stems with a little garlic and olive oil, then toss through the florets – when bright green add a dash of water and slam on the lid to quickly steam.
Serve while still firm but tender.
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