Monday, 03 August 2020
Back at the beginning of Lockdown, like many of you, we started down the road of sowing seeds. Now, a few months on, we are seeing the fruits (and veg!) of our labour. As well as our usual fare, Lulu decided to give broccoli a bash this year. Here’s Lulu’s guide to how to grow broccoli…
First up, get something to sow your seeds into. We used a seed tray with cover to help the seeds grow quicker but you can choose anything you have (butter tub, drinks bottle, yoghurt pot etc) as long as it has drainage holes.
Keep your seedlings in a bright area, not in direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist but not too wet or your seeds will rot. If the seedlings start to lean towards the light keep turning the tray to make them stand upright (or find a brighter spot where they will grow upright).
Once your seedlings have grown a bit bigger they will need to be potted on to their own pots. Be really careful with those fragile roots and stems. Continue to give them water and light so they can go stronger.
As your seedlings grow in their own pots they will be ready to be “hardened off”. This is getting them used to being outdoors after having been cosy indoors for so long. Take them outside during the day and take them inside at night. If you have one, you will then be able to keep them in a cold frame outdoors, closing it at night to keep them safe from any frosts.
Before you plant your precious broccoli seedlings outside you need to make sure that you have a healthy plant with a good set of leaves and strong roots; make sure it has been suitably hardened off; make sure all risk of frost has passed; that you have a suitable place to plant it.
Knowing what’s where in your garden is always important. You can of course just use an old lolly stick or a plant marker. With lots of time on our hands during lockdown we made beautiful pebble markers. If you want to know how to make your own click here.
It’s time to be brave! If you have a strong plant that is used to being outside and the risk of frost has passed (normally May in Scotland) you can make the leap to planting your brocolli in your veg patch. Brassicas really need to be covered though to protect them from pigeons and the cabbage white butterfly (its caterpillars will decimate your crop!) We made a frame which was covered in netting but you could simply net over the top of them to keep them protected.
Keep an eye on your crop as they grow. We didn’t feed ours as we had plenty of nutrients in our soil but you may need to add a feed. Keep them well watered (Mother Nature did a good job of watering ours!) You will see the florets growing up from the centre of the plant. When they get to a good size cut off a floret and enjoy!
Enjoy growing and eating your own broccoli – good luck!