Broccoli is a nutritious and delicious tree-resembling vegie that often gets a bad review from kids (and dare I say many adults too!). But if they grow it themselves, they may be more likely to accept it on their plate. Broccoli is a cool season crop that is best planted in the early autumn months in most parts of the country. For the coldest districts, we recommend starting a little earlier. While its growing season can be a little short-lived, it will be well worth the effort and can help get little green thumbs outdoors and getting their hands dirty in the cooler months. Plus, a home-grown broccoli floret is sure to be a whole lot tastier and fresher than its supermarket counterparts.
What you’ll need
My First GardenTM
Broccoli seeds or seedlings
Good quality potting mix
Water-filled watering can
Liquid seaweed concentrate
How to grow broccoli
- Choose a spot for your garden bed that gets at least 6 hours of sun each day.
- Fill your garden bed with good quality potting mix.
- Sow your seeds in starter pots or seed trays until they are 3-4 weeks old and then transplant to your garden. Alternatively buy seedlings that will be ready to plant straight away. Space 25cm apart.
- Cover with mulch such as pea-straw and give seedlings a light water.
- Water regularly and feed with a liquid seaweed concentrate once a fortnight.
- Harvest when the head is about 10-12cm.
- Watch out for caterpillars and the cabbage white butterfly, which will happily devour a head of broccoli when given the opportunity!
Aunty Steph’s kid-approved lemony broccoli pasta
A great way for your little green thumbs to enjoy their ‘little green trees’.
As much broccoli as you can harvest – the more the merrier, chop into florets
1 packet of your favourite twisty pasta
2 garlic cloves, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1 heaped teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup toasted pinenuts
Fresh Parmesan cheese
Pepper to taste
- Bring a large saucepan of water with a dash of salt to the boil. Cook your pasta as directed and throw in broccoli in the last minute of cooking. We like our broccoli with a little crunch. Strain and set aside.
- In the meantime, heat olive oil in a pan and add garlic and lemon zest. Cook for 1 minute. Then mix with lemon juice in a small bowl.
- Pour lemony mixture over pasta and broccoli.
- Divide into 4 bowls and top with toasted pinenuts, cheese and pepper to taste.
- Any leftovers can be added to school lunchboxes.
Broccoli is an undeniable superfood filled to the brim with nutritional goodness. It contains a noteworthy amount of vitamin C for little immune systems, calcium for healthy bones and fibre for happy tummies. Plus hidden inside every little floret of broccoli is a protective substance known as sulforaphane that can shield us from nasty chronic diseases.