Growing broccolini in Australia
Broccolini is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale or Chinese broccoli. Broccolini has a longer growth season than conventional broccoli and is far more heat resistant as a result of the Chinese broccoli’s impact, making it ideal for our warm Mediterranean climate here in Perth.
In addition to having a great flavour, broccolini is also a good source of nutritional fibre, folate, and vitamin C.
If you have ever wondered how to grow broccolini in Australia then look no further. Broccolini is a very simple vegetable to grow, but there are still a few tricks to successfully growing broccolini in Australia. Get these right and you will be laughing.
When to plant broccolini:
The best time to plant broccolini is mid to early spring (after the last frost), so you can enjoy it before the peak of summer. If you’re expecting a late or early frost after planting, protect your broccolini with a blanket of straw on the top soil surrounding them.
Where does broccolini grow best?
The ideal pH range for Broccolini is 6 to 7. The ideal soil temperature for growing Broccolini is between 7°C and 30°C and they should germinate in approximately 7 to 10 days.
How much water does broccolini need?
Broccolini likes full sun and should be watered every few days or when the soil looks dry. Around 1 to 2 inches per week is ideal.
Is broccolini a perennial?
Broccolini is an annual crop. Each plant grows for a single season. This means that new plants need to be planted from seed at the beginning of the growing season.
Types of broccolini in Australia:
There are only 12 growers Australia wide growing the trade marked Broccolini which is a cross between Kale and Broccoli.
Check your local nursery for what broccolini varieties they have on offer.
How to grow broccolini from seed:
Growing broccolini from seeds is easy, fun and rewarding! Broccolini seeds are easy to find with the above varieties easily found in Australia in seed format. It’s recommended that you start your broccolini seeds indoors for 4 to 6 weeks and transplanted into the ground.
- Add a seed raising potting mix to the seedling tray.
- Using a stick, poke the soil with a shallow hole that is about 0.5 cm deep.
- Put the 1-2 seeds in each hole as they have about an 80% germination rate. Then, grab a handful of your seed raising potting mix and lightly sprinkle it over the seed hole.
- Mist the newly planted seeds with a spray bottle to avoid washing away the seeds.
- Keep watering them every week with a spray bottle to stop the soil from becoming dry.
- It typically will take about 10 to 21 days or more for the seeds to germinate. When the seedlings reach 8 cm tall, place them in a sunny location in your home. If you are using a growing light, expose them to light for 16 hours a day and let them rest for 8 hours.
- Once your broccolini has grown 4 to 8 leaves, you can start to expose the seedling tray in outdoor conditions under a partial shade for 5 to 7 days. This will get them prepared to be transferred to the outside conditions.
- Transfer your broccolini seedlings into a spot in the vegetable garden that has been boosted with compost or potting mix. The soil pH should be in the 6.0 to 7.0 range and the soil is well-draining and aerated.
- Transfer the seedlings at a distance around 50 cm apart.
- Water the transplants lightly and cover them with 3 to 4 cm of mulch.
How to grow broccolini in pots:
Growing broccolini in pots is an excellent idea. It allows you to move your broccolini plants around for optimal conditions. Keep in mind that broccolini have a fairly large root system, so it’s important they have ample room to grow. Ideally you will have 1 plant per 40 cm pot and it’s crucial there are 2 – 4 holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain.
Follow the above steps for growing broccolini from seed except transfer into a suitable pot.
What’s the best fertiliser for broccolini?
Once your broccolini plants are established, you can use a balanced fertiliser. Broccolini is a heavy feeder, so apply a low-nitrogen fertiliser every three weeks during the growing season. I recommend using a balanced organic liquid fertiliser.
When to harvest broccolini:
Broccolini will be ready to harvest usually 60-90 days after planting. Once your broccolini heads begin to form and the leaves are a vibrant, dark green. If you wait until the leaves are turning yellow, the broccolini heads will be wilted instead of crisp.
How to store broccolini:
Broccolini should be lightly washed in cool water before .
- Lightly wash your broccolini in cool water.
- Gently wrap fresh broccolini in a paper towel to absorb excess water. .
- Place the paper towel-wrapped broccolini in a plastic storage container.
- Store the broccolini in the crisper drawer of your fridge. It should stay fresh for about 10 days but the quicker you consume the better it will taste.
Companion plants for broccolini:
Some of the typical broccolini issues you could experience include;
- Whitefly or Aphid Infestation – Your broccoli may have a whitefly or aphid infestation if you see the leaves curling or becoming yellow. Look for soft, small, green, pink, or brown insects on the undersides of leaves. Aphids can be removed by hand and disposed of, or you can use organic insecticidal soap to kill them. Ladybugs are another option, as they consume aphids. The ideal solution for getting rid of whiteflies is insecticidal soap.
- Cabbage worms – These green-striped caterpillars may be to blame for the large, ragged holes in broccoli leaves. You can remove them by hand, discard them, or apply a pesticide to treat the holes that the slugs have made in them. Set a bowl of water mixed with beer or yeast in your yard to attract slugs if your broccolini plant is being attacked by them.
- Downy mildew – Yellowish dots on leaves are a sign that your plants have downy mildew, so check them frequently. As soon as you spot this condition, try using an organic fungicide like copper to treat it. If the plants are excessively sick, take them out and burn them; do not compost them.
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