Broccoli is a hardy, fairly quick maturing crop which belongs to the brassica family. It prefers coolness and moisture and is grown during autumn and winter. It will do best in moderately rich soil, provided it is well drained and easy to work. Before planting, add plenty of compost, and some well rotted animal or chicken manure to the soil and fork it over. Rake it out to a fine seed bed.
Plant seeds in their permanent position, thinning the seedlings when they're about 12 cm high. Allow approximately 45 cm between plants. Excess seedlings can be transplanted to another area in the garden or you could give them to a friend or neighbour.
After the main head has been cut, small lateral shoots will develop in the axils of the remaining leaves. These small shoots are delicious in stir-fries or salads, and should be picked regularly to promote new growth. In this way broccoli can be harvested for up to four months in some areas.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Dipel) can be used to control cabbage butterfly, which may attack some plants.
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