This delicious version of broccoli is easy to grow and the plants just give and give.
From seed, prepare the seed trays like for lettuce, and mix the approximate number of seeds you want to grow with some sand and potting mix. If you want a continual supply through summer, sow about 20 seeds each 2 to 4 weeks. Cover the seed mix with a sprinkling of earth and compost mix and water in. You will need to keep the trays or pots damp, but not wet.
After about 14-20 days the seeds will germinate and start to grow leaves. Wait another couple of weeks until there are three leaves and the plantlets look a bit stronger before planting out.
The alternative is to buy seedlings in punnets from a nursery. Careful though, as many use chemicals to grow them faster.
You can replant them into pots or a garden bed. Don’t be afraid to also think about popping them in between flowers or other bushes as long as the soil is the right pH and they are in a sunny spot. As snails love to eat fresh lettuce too, save your coffee grounds and circle the broccolini plants with coffee grounds – snails hate trying to slide over the rough grounds!
Broccolini needs quite a lot of nutrients which they take up better when the soil pH is 6.0 to 7.0. Kits to test pH are now at most nurseries and big box stores for around $10. Well worth the investment and they are very easy to use and you can probably run more than 20 tests for each kit; you can show your kids how to do a small scientific experiment and watch their eyes when the mixture turns a different colour! They can help you match the colour to the approximate pH level.
Broccolini grows flowerettes that can be cut off and used in stir fries or steamed, but if they are let go too long, yellow flowers appear. They are delicious and pretty sprinkled onto salads, as are the small outer leaves. Most of the plant can also be chopped into soups or even smoothies!
Cabbage moth is one of the main predators of brassicas, as they lay their eggs on the tender leaves and the grubs decimate the leaves if left unchecked. You can fool the moths and place whole egg shells close by and the moth with think that another moth has laid claim to that area and hopefully move on. You could also spray Eco Pest Oil on the leaves to deter them!