How to grow broccoli in Perth

Growing broccoli in Perth

Nutritious and delicious, growing broccoli in Perth at home is a must! Broccoli is a member of the brassica family along with cauliflower, broccolini, kale, brussels sprouts, arugula, bok choy, and collard greens.  Broccoli is a cool season crop. It loves the cool temperatures from autumn to spring in Western Australia. Broccoli is fairly easy to grow and with the right care, you can expect a bountiful harvest. Seeds can be planted in late summer and will grow through winter and into spring.

Broccoli is the perfect healthy side to many dishes and also is a great health snack raw or in winter the ideal addition to a hearty and healthy soup.

When to grow broccoli in Perth:

It loves the cool temperatures from autumn to spring in Western Australia in September to April. Broccoli enjoy the sun, and require regular deep watering. Mulching will help retain moisture in the soil.

When to plant broccoli:

Plant seedlings between January and February. Try to plant bought seedlings as soon as possible after you get them home and remember to give them a good, deep watering to help them settle in. The trick here is to get them in when it’s not too hot or too cold. When you plant your seedlings out, add a small amount organic bone-meal to each hole. Bone-meal gives seedlings a great start and helps them to develop strong root systems to support a healthy plant.

If your seedlings have grown too long and become leggy; plant them slightly deeper that they were in the pots. This should give you sturdier plants with tighter heads.

Best broccoli varieties to grow:

There are a number of wonderful varieties of broccoli available here in Australia. Check out your local nursery for some of these common varieties of broccoli below;

Di Cicco Early: An early producing heirloom variety with compact bluish-green heads that produce many side shoots.
Green Sprouting Calibrese: An heirloom with compact dark-green heads up to 20cm across. Continues producing side heads once main head is harvests and is slow to bolt.
Goliath:  Large blue-green head with tights buds.
Italian Green Sprouting: A stocky plant with large solid green heads that withstands late Autumn cold.
Purple Sprouting Early: A hardy English heirloom with purple side shoots that turn green when cooked.
Broccoletti: First developed in Japan and has a favour reminiscent of asparagus.
Broccoli Raab:  Related to the turnip, with similar flowering heads to regular broccoli. Slightly nutty and pungent flavour.

When to harvest broccoli:

Harvest 12 to 16 weeks after planting. The broccoli is ready to harvest once it forms firm heads. You need to pick it just before the flowers start to open. Cut off the head with a sharp knife. Some varieties form side shoots once the main head is removed. So, leave them in to harvest the smaller side shoots.

Broccoli common problems:

Don’t plant your broccoli too late. You want to make the most of the temperate autumn and spring weather. If it’s too hot or too cold you won’t get nice big heads.

Broccoli are susceptible to cabbage white butterflies, white fly, aphids, slugs and snails.  Natural predators will generally keep these in check for you, but it’s important to keep an eye on your plants.

Pick off caterpillars and consider exclusion netting from the time of planting. Hose off any aphids and whitefly and if populations get really out of control then try making a soap or garlic spray. Trap or pick up slugs and snails.

A lot of people don’t realise you can also eat the broccoli leaves. Simply cut off the dark green leaves and lightly saute them. You can also bake them into crunchy chips similar to Kale chips.

Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides:

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