Saturday, July 6, 2013
The Broccoli Tree
My first ever 'proper' broccoli is ready. As big as the palm of my hand, it looked just like a bought one! And tasted divinely green, cruciferous goodness on a plate. And harboured only one caterpillar.
I have attempted to grow broccoli before, with limited success. I have learnt from my failures though, which is the wonderful existential reason for making mistakes. Broccoli needs a LOT of feeding. The best broccoli I have ever seen grown in a home garden was a patch sown on the site of a recently demolished chicken pen. It loved that ntirogen hit, and grew into a veritable forest. I planted mine in rich compost with pelletised chicken manure, plus blood and bone, plus lime. Broccoli likes a sweet soil. I watered every fortnight with seaweed extract and fish emulsion (well, nearly every fortnight).
Broccoli likes space. I planted three seedlings in this space, one of which keeled over from slug damage. Then there were two.
This is early April (planted as seed in early March). Soon after this photo was taken I decided these two would crowd each other out, so the heartbreaking decision was made...
Then there was one.
Now it is quite huge, and there are about a dozen 'mini' broccolis growing on the side stem. There is room for some small, shallow-rooted lettuces and baby snowpeas as well. And a couple of caterpillars. For biodiversity.