How To Grow: Broccoli – My First Garden

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
Mulch
Water-filled watering can
Liquid seaweed concentrate
 

How to grow broccoli

  1. Choose a spot for your garden bed that gets at least 6 hours of sun each day.
  2. Fill your garden bed with good quality potting mix.
  3. 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.
  4. Cover with mulch such as pea-straw and give seedlings a light water.
  5. Water regularly and feed with a liquid seaweed concentrate once a fortnight.
  6. Harvest when the head is about 10-12cm.
  7. 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’.

Serves 4
Ingredients
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
Olive oil
Fresh Parmesan cheese
Salt
Pepper to taste

Method

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Pour lemony mixture over pasta and broccoli.
  4. Divide into 4 bowls and top with toasted pinenuts, cheese and pepper to taste.
  5. Any leftovers can be added to school lunchboxes.

 

Health benefits

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.