• DELIVERY INFO: Seed potatoes & onion/shallot sets are now being shipped. Plug plants will be shipped from late April onwards. See FAQs for further info.

Broccoli (Calabrese) – Green Sprouting


A delicious and easy to grow family favourite

This is a green sprouting variety of broccoli. After you have harvested the main head of broccoli (the ‘leader’), it will start to produce successive spears for you to harvest. You can either harvest them whilst small and tender or wait until they form a larger head. Use netting to keep butterflies (and therefore caterpillars) at bay! Growing from our broccoli plug plants is quick and easy – just plant them in your garden when your plugs arrive and keep them well watered – a complete growing guide comes with every delivery.

Number of plants: 10 plug plants

Variety: Green Sprouting (organic*)

In the kitchen: Great steamed, roasted with a little oil or stir-fried, it is an extremely versatile kitchen garden staple.


Delivery Info: Please see FAQs for up-to-date delivery info.

Planting advice: Plant 40cm apart. Protect from slugs and cover with net to guard against butterflies and pigeons. Harvesting: Harvest once the broccoli florets start to form. For summer sprouting varieties, this should be late summer through to autumn. For early sprouting varieties, harvest in late winter to spring. Harvest regularly for a longer crop.

*Transplants suitable for organic growing.


A sunny spot with fertile soil

Broccoli and calabrese plants all need a sunny site with deep, firm, moisture retentive soil.


Raised beds & traditional veg plots are best

Broccoli and calabrese will prefer to be grown in raised beds or a well dug veg patch.


How far apart

30-40cm is about right


Protect with a brassica collar

You can make these easily out of cardboard. Cut a 10cm diameter disc, cut into the centre and make a slit so that you can pop it around the base of the plant. This is to prevent cabbage root fly larvae from hatching by the base of the plant and burying under the soil to eat the roots.


Net against pigeons & butterflies

Pigeons love brassica plants and will easily destroy a crop of young plants in a morning. Meanwhile, cabbage white butterflies are attracted to brassicas and lay eggs on the leaves. When the eggs hatch, the caterpillars are quick to nibble away the leaves and strip the plant bare. To protect against both these pests, cover plants with fine mesh netting or horticultural fleece.


Earth up as plants get taller

When plants start to grow a little taller, it is worth earthing them up at the base to keep them stable, particularly as we come into autumn with windier weather. Simply bring a little soil up around the base of the plant, like a molehill, and pat down firmly. You could stake them if they are in a particularly windy spot.


Keep well watered during dry spells

Try not to let the soil dry out, instead keeping the plants well watered so that the soil is consistently moist but not waterlogged.


When to harvest

You will see the first broccoli spear/head forming at the top of the plant. Harvest it before the florets start to open by cutting off with a knife. Afterwards, you’ll see new spears appearing on side shoots, harvest these as they reach the right size and whilst the florets are still closed.


Pigeons will eat the foliage right down to the ribs/veins. Keep plants netted if you have a lot of pigeons around.


Lots of holes appearing in leaves is a sure sign of caterpillars. They soon grow, and the holes grow too. Check the underside of leaves and you may see tiny eggs – wipe them off with kitchen paper – or caterpillars themselves. Keep plants netted against butterflies.

Slugs & Snails

Protect plants well from slugs, especially when they are young and vulnerable. Beer traps work well and you may need to to do a dusk patrol with a head torch and bucket to remove slugs if they get really bad!

Cabbage Root Fly

Cabbage flies lay eggs at the base of brassica plants. When the eggs hatch, the larvae bury into the ground and feed on the roots. The plants eventually wilt and die. Prevention is key – use brassica collars (see growing advice section)

Club Root

This is a fungal disease that leads to the swelling and distortion of roots, and plants will be stunted. Avoid growing brassicas in the same bed for two years consecutively if this happens. Add plenty of organic matter to the soil.

Storage Tips

Harvest them as you want to eat them – they will store in the fridge for a few days, but are much better cooked fresh.

Ways to cook

Broccoli and calabrese are delicious simply steamed and served with a little butter or olive oil. They are also great for stir frying with a pinch of freshly chopped chilli and ginger.

Do I need to sign for them?
All our plant orders are dispatched with an overnight courier* to mainland UK and do not need to be signed for when they are delivered, but will be left somewhere safe. When placing your order, please let us know where you would like the plants left if you are not in when the courier delivers.

We will keep you posted
You will receive an email approximately a week before your order is dispatched and another on the day your plants are packed and leave us so you know to expect and prepare for their arrival.