Choose a sunny site with deep, firm & moisture-retentive soil
Raised beds are perfect. If growing in pots, plant one to a large, deep pot (eg 40x40cm)
Plant 40cm apart and firm in well
Place a brassica collar around base of stem to prevent cabbage root fly (you can do this by cutting a 10cm disc from cardboard, then cut into the centre)
Net against pigeons and cabbage white butterflies – you could make a hoop tunnel approx. 1.5m high, and cover with insect proof mesh/net.
During dry spells, water well once or twice a week. Other than that, leave them to their own devices and they should be fine.
May need earthing up and/or staking in strong wind if they get too tall (approx. 1.5m high)
Problems & Pests:
Cabbage root fly – stunted growth/sudden wilting – the maggots tunnel into the roots to feed and the roots start to rot. Brassica collars and fine mesh netting will help to prevent this in future.
Eaten by caterpillars – use netting to avoid Cabbage White butterfly from laying eggs in the first place. Check foliage (underside and near stems) regularly for small white/green/yellow eggs and wipe off. Pick off caterpillars if you find them.
Club root – stunted growth/discoloured leaves – this is a fungal disease that can’t be remedied so you will need to get rid of affected plants. Plant future brassicas in a different area of the plot to avoid re-infection in subsequent years.
Slugs/Snails/Pigeons – these will all eat leaves. Netting is best for keeping pigeons away, and slug traps for slugs/snails
Harvest when the main broccoli head reaches a sensible size. Thereafter you can harvest individual spears as they come through.
Do not leave too long or the broccoli florets will start to open out and flower.
Broccoli will keep in the fridge for a few days, but it will be better cooked and enjoyed on the same day as harvesting!