Broccoli, like cabbage and cauliflower is a brassica. It’s sometimes referred to as ‘calabrese’, being its Italian name and generally crops in the summer and autumn. It has tight clusters of deep green buds and thick edible stems. The more old fashioned ‘cut and come again’ sprouting broccolis crops in the spring and tend to be more hardy. Both are delicious and well worth growing. They have similar nutritional values and are often referred to as ‘superfoods’.
How to Sow and Grow Broccoli
Broccoli does best in an open, sunny position and on soil which is well-fed, well-drained but moisture-retentive. The cropping position does not need to be forked over prior to planting, as undisturbed soil offers a firm roothold to brassica, which is important to their development.
Sow outdoors thinly in a seed bed, 1.5cm(1/2in) deep directly into finely prepared soil which has already been watered. Seedlings usually appear in 14-28 days. Water well until plants are established. Transplant 42cm(18in) between rows. Plant firmly and water well.
Or sow indoors 0.5cm(1/4in) deep, in a tray of compost and cover with a thin layer of compost or vermiculite. Water well and place in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse. Keep moist. Transplant 5cm(2in) apart to other trays when large enough to handle. Gradually accustom young plants to outside conditions (avoid frost), before planting out.