Essentially, broccoli and cauliflower are sisters… albeit sisters with different coloured heads, but sisters all the same. As such their growing conditions and nutritional requirements are pretty similar. Although not the easiest vegies to grow, they are incredibly rewarding and look great!
Warm Areas: April – July
Temperate Areas: April – August
Cool to Cold Areas: April – August
Position, Position, Position!
As these two are cool season vegetables, it’s all about position and timing. Choose a sunny position for both, protected from strong winds. When sowing seedlings, leave about 40cm between each plant.
Both these vegies can be a bit fussy about their soil, so take a bit of time to prepare the bed, about one month prior to planting. Ensure a well-drained soil, chock full of well-rotted compost and organic matter with a pH of 6.5-7. Correct soil pH should prevent a myriad of nutrient related issues, as will a light application of chook poo based fertiliser pellets when preparing the bed.
Feed both weekly with a seaweed or compost tea, especially in the month leading up to harvest. As heads appear (the bits we want to eat!), a drink of worm wee or liquid fish fertiliser will improve size and shape of the heads.
What about the Water?
Both broccoli and cauliflower will become stressed if not watered deeply and consistently. It is important to ensure water reaches the roots, so, if area is mulched, consider subsurface irrigation or pull mulch away when watering.
Pests and the Rest
The caterpillar of the cabbage white butterfly is the bane of broccoli and cauliflower growers everywhere. They can also suffer aphids, caterpillars and water stress.
Are We There Yet?
These two sisters will take anywhere from 12 weeks upwards before they are ready to harvest. Look for firm, tight, well-formed heads that have not begun to flower. Cut off heads with a sharp knife as required.
Dunking lightly cooked broccoli into cold water will halt the cooking process and keep the florets bright green and crisp!
Dill, sage, mint, nasturtium, rosemary, beetroot, beans, lettuce and cucumber.
Garlic, rue, tomatoes and strawberries.