There are few vegetables that pack such a powerhouse of nutrients. One of these is broccoli. When mixed with pesto and pasta, the whole family will love your broccoli’s ‘fresh from the garden’ quality. And in addition to the florets, you can harvest the spears for your soup ingredients.
Broccoli is a slow grower but definitely worth introducing to your raised vege garden pods in NZ.
Like its relative auliflower, broccoli is low in saturated fat and cholesterol but has slightly more carbohydrates. Both are great sources of protein, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, dietary fibre, vitamins A, C, K, B6, folate, potassium, and manganese.
Is that list long enough for you? Now you know why broccoli is on the superfoods list!
Here are some tips for growing them.
Starting From Seeds
Broccoli is a good plant for winter, just like kale, Swiss chard, leeks, lettuce, carrots, cauliflower, chives and radishes.
Sow your seeds about two months before your last frosty cold days as these seeds need cool temperatures for germination. You can start them in pots if you want greater control and then transplant them to your raised vege garden pods. Direct into the garden beds is fine as well.
The Indoor Option
If your winter is on the scale of Ophir’s cold then you might want to start the seeds indoors.
Planting trays are great for sprouting seeds indoors and you will encourage germination by keeping them between varying temps of between 10 degrees and 25 degrees celsius. Germination takes about ten days maximum but if conditions aren’t perfect they might take twenty days. Keep the soil damp but not wet which requires daily checking.
The sprouts will require more light as they grow. If you are using grow lights, they should be on for twelve hours a day.
Moving Your Broc-Babies Outdoors
Quite soon, the sprouts will be too big for their germination trays and will need to start the journey outdoors. You will have to make your broc-babies outdoor fit though.
This is called ‘hardening’ and is done by separating them into tiny pots and exposing them to the colder outdoor temperatures each day while protecting them from scorching sun, wind and rain. Gently does it. If your night temperatures are still plummeting below ten degrees then you will need to bring your trays of pots indoors.
After about a week they should be ready for the raised vege garden beds. It is really worth the effort as you reduce the shock of being transplanted and let the leaves toughen up against scorching.
Then all you have to do is watch your green treasures grow!
Choose your perfect NZ-made raised vege garden pods today!