Sep 112009

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!

Planting Schedule

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.

Talking Dirty

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 Me!

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.

Hot Tip

Dunking lightly cooked broccoli into cold water will halt the cooking process and keep the florets bright green and crisp!

Good friends

Dill, sage, mint, nasturtium, rosemary, beetroot, beans, lettuce and cucumber.

Bad friends

Garlic, rue, tomatoes and strawberries.

  7 Responses to “Broccoli and Cauliflower”

  1. I am new to growing cauliflower ,Broccoli and cabbage all are very heathy and green but no heads as yet,I am south of Hobart can you advice me on the next step to rectify . Planted in Late sept.

    Also have never been able to grow Brussel Sprouts can you help.

    Many Thanks

    • Cauliflower is a cool season crop and it is best to plant seedlings in autumn but you might get flower heads if you wait. The broccoli should be OK. Keep water up to both and they like a balanced fertiliser.

      Many people have difficulty with Brussels sprouts. They won’t form proper sprouts if the weather is too warm – they will open and get floppy. Like cauliflower they are a cool season crop and but should be planted in your area even earllier i.e. in summer or autumn. They too need to be well-fed with balanced fertiliser and kept moist.

  2. Good day, This is my first gardening experience of planting vegetables in raised garden beds after retiring.
    The leaves of cauliflower and broccoli are being eaten. What is best way to prevent this and what type of fertilizer I should be using? Any helpful information will be apprecaited.

  3. Hi am new to gardening and am gardening in pots. I placed broccoli and cauliflower in pots in June but they have yet to form heads or grow to any reasonable size. They are positioned for morning sun and it usually only a few hours in winter and till nearly midday now. My question is will they still produce this late or should I abandon for this year?

    • Cauliflower heading times vary a lot depending on the variety with some taking quite a few months to head up. We don’t know the climate in your area, but it could be that the combination of cooler weather and sun only until mid-day might be slowing their growth. Since you are growing them in pots, it could be that they are not getting sufficient water – our article above points out that they need deep watering. If they never flower, you could use the leaves in soup, coleslaw or torn up and made into chips.

  4. Thank you for taking the time to compile and write this most helpful information

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