People are often surprised when we explain that they can plant out broccoli in autumn – this article explains how best to grow it and when you can expect to the broccoli spears from plugs planted in September or October.
- Try to plant as early as possible – the more time the plants have to grow before cold weather and low daylight hours arrive, the better. They’ll get off to a good start for an earlier crop in spring.
- Keep them netted – this will protect them from hungry pigeons, and from late summer butterflies looking for somewhere to lay their eggs. Some insect proof mesh netting propped up with 1.5m high bamboo stakes topped with empty jam jars or similar will work well. Make sure the netting is well secured at the sides.
- Give them a liquid feed soon after planting, or add wormcast fertiliser to the soil. This will keep them well nourished and give them a boost ahead of winter. It’s a good idea to feed again in spring as the weather starts to warm up.
- Protect from slugs – this is necessary even through winter, and particularly so while the plants are young and more vulnerable. Beer traps will usually suffice.
- Expect to start harvesting by late May. The plants will start to sprout in spring, but it will depend on the weather and plant maturity as to when. If nothing happens, just hang in there until the weather warms.