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Sprouting Broccoli - Green Purple and White


In this section we are dealing only with the Sprouting Broccoli. Heading Broccoli is now known as Winter Cauliflower, and has been for about the past 3 decades or so. There are a few old Gardeners about who still call it Broccoli. Heading Broccoli will be dealt with in the Cauliflower section.


As with all Brassica's a deep well cultivated soil is best. Manured in the previous season if liming is required. A highish pH of 6.7 to 7.0 is prefered. This also prevents Club Root which may well be a problem on more acidic soils. Broccoli has a need for calcium and this is supplied by the lime. Apply a base dressing of fertilizer at planting out time according to analsis. If this has been carried out. If not choose a high Nitrogen fertilizer with an NPK in the proportions of 4:1:2 (parts by percentage - and any multiplies of). Top dress with Nitro Chalk (calcium ammonium nitrate) during the growing season. Brassicas including Broccoli love it. It is inorganic, very soluble and very quick acting. The chalk is included to balance the acidifying effect of the ammonia. If organic top dressing is prefered then Dried Blood is very good. It is a quickly available source of Nitrogen. It isn't as concentrated, so heavier dressings will be required.


Caterpillars can be a problem! Deal with them by spraying with a Contact (doesn't enter the plant) Insecticide (not systemic - that is only for non food plants). Regularly if needed. Protect from birds with plastic garden netting or wire netting. Birds can easily strip the small plants to the ground as with all Brassicas.


To make an excellent organic High Nitrogen liquid feed which is also high in essential trace elements, fill a hessian sack with an even mix of grass mowings and stable manure. Tie the top and plunge into a butt of water. leave to brew like a pot of tea for a week or two. Stir it about regularly and then when ready dilute to a straw colour and feed the Broccoli with it. This feed produces very healthy plants with dark leaves and therefore a much better crop. Used in combination with Nitro Chalk will be best, as the organic feed does most certainly have an acidifying effect, which needs to be counteracted on most soils.


Green Broccoli (also called Calabrese) crops from late Summer and through Autumn. Most varieties produce a large head with few smaller sprouts. The Green Broccoli isn't very hardy. It can be sown into a Seed Bed from April to June and then transplanted 38cm x 38cm. Transplanted green Broccoli often takes a shock at transplanting time and crops prematurely, producing a useless head. Sowing in situ is a favoured method. Sow a pinch of seed 38cm x 38cm and then thin to one plant later on. This prevents the shock and produces a good crop. A wide range of varieties are available, mostly F1 hybrids.


Purple and White Broccoli These may be dealt with together. Sow thinly in a seed bed during April or May and transplant in June or July, 45cm x 45cm apart. Feed as green Broccoli, but stop feeding after late August as the plants will need to harden up ready for winter. Neither produce a large central head, as is usual for green varieties. Instead they produce a large quantity of small side shoots over a period of time. This is more useful for the Amateur. Green varieties have been bred to suit the Farmer because green is favoured commerically. Varieties of white and purple haven't been developed very much over the years, although a few new varieties including F1 hybrids have started emerging.











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