H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Cauliflower & Broccoli
Grow Your Own Cauliflower & Broccoli
Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head (the white curd) of aborted floral meristems is eaten, while the stalk and surrounding thick, green leaves are used in vegetable broth or discarded. Cauliflower is nutritious, and may be eaten cooked, raw or pickled.
Broccoli (from the Italian plural of broccolo, referring to "the flowering top of a cabbage") is a another plant of the mustard/cabbage family Brassicaceae. It is classified in the Italica cultivar group of the species Brassica oleracea. Broccoli has large flower heads, usually green in colour, arranged in a tree-like fashion on branches sprouting from a thick, edible stalk. The mass of flower heads is surrounded by leaves. Many varieties of broccoli are perennial. Broccoli most closely resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species.
You won't ever taste a cauliflower or broccoli as satisfying as one you have nurtured and grown yourself. Not only is growing your own cauliflower and broccoli fun, but it's easy and cheap to do too.
When to plant cauliflower and broccoli seed: April - May (different varieties grow best at different times of the year, so check the seed packet).
When to harvest cauliflower and broccoli: July - September.
Where to plant cauliflower and broccoli: Large outdoor soil bed in a sunny and sheltered position.
Tools for the job: 1. Cauliflower and Broccoli Seeds - 2. Garden twine - 3. Gardening gloves - 4. Watering can - 5. Trowel and fork.
What to do to Grow Your Own Cauliflower & Broccoli
1. Your seeds should be planted outside in rows that are about 1cm deep and roughly 3cm to 5cm apart - see fig.1. The best way to make the straight rows is to position two sticks in the ground and stretch a length of twine between them.
2. Once they have grown into small plants, the young seedlings ned to be roughly 7cm apart. Pull out by hand any that are too close together - see fig.2.
3. When the plants are large enough to handle (after about 5 weeks), use a hand trowel to move them into a larger soil bed in a sunny spot. You need to allow 6cm between each plant - see fig.3.
4. Then plant the cauliflower and broccoli firmly and water until the ground is damp.
5. After about 18 weeks when the heads are large and solid, your veg will be ready to pick. Continue to pick from the side shoots for around 6 weeks.
Top tip: To make growing even easier, you can buy small plants instead of growing from seeds and follow from Step 3 onwards.
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