Broccoli has its roots in ancient times, although it wasn’t cultivated for home use until around the 1600’s.
The broccoli we know and love today started its commercial journey about a century ago.
Although it’s best to eat broccoli before the heads start to flower, if you have an abundance of broccoli in the garden, leave a few to grow on – the flowers are edible too!
Broccoli has a reputation of being a super-food and contains many healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Purple sprouting broccoli has more antioxidants than regular green broccoli but there are plenty of healthy reasons to eat both.
There are a number of different types of broccoli, including dwarf varieties that can be grown in containers if your garden space is limited. Broccoli plants don’t tend to grow huge, so most varieties will grow well in containers.
There are lots of seeds online if you can’t get to a garden centre. I found these, amongst others, on Amazon (UK)
Purple sprouting broccoli is my personal favourite and if you cut the main broccoli head, the plant will produce lots of sprouting stems that you can eat while they’re young and tender.
Broccoli is part of the brassica family and won’t do well in acidic soil. Checking the acid/alkali balance of your soil is fairly straightforward. Testing kits are available from most good garden suppliers. Add lime to the soil a few days or weeks before sowing or planting brassicas if necessary.
If you don’t want to be bothered with testing the soil, grow a few broccoli plants in open ground and a few in potting compost in containers. Comparing the results should give you a reasonable idea about the acidity of your soil.
Try it out at home! This step by step growing guide is full of useful information and a few delicious recipes.
How to Grow Broccoli
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Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin
Goodness knows why I haven’t discovered this recipe before but it looks so much easier than cauliflower cheese which involves stirring a white sauce for ages. Must give it a try. Broccoli & Cauliflower Gratin