Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Farming broccoli and cabbages

My father is an avid gardener and here you see his labor of love. He's a pro at raising cabbages, broccoli (leafy plants in the picture), tomatoes, carrots, spinach, radish, turnips, onions, aubergines, cucumber, beans, coriander, mint and practically everything you can possibly imagine. He has sent me tips on growing cabbage and broccoli in containers and here is how he does it.
  • Seeds are easily available and late monsoons are a good time to sow, once the showers end or are a few and far between.
  • Soak the seeds overnight, strain and sow them an inch deep in dry and loose soil. Make sure the seeds are well spaced out and the soil is not compact. No fertilizers needed at this point. Partial shade and very light watering is advisable to enable germination. The seeds sprout in about a week, and are ready to be transplanted to bigger containers in about 3 weeks when they are around 6 inches tall.  
  • Soil to be well-draining and mixed with compost. As the plant stabilises, full sun is essential. Broccoli needs regular top ups of organic nitrogen fertiliser in every 3 weeks. Use neem cake (Azadirachta indica) as a natural fertilizer and pesticide once a month in very small quantities. 
  • Cabbage is usually ready for harvest in 2.5-3 months.
  • For broccoli, as the plants grow taller you may need to stake the plants. Your first harvest is when the broccoli buds of the main head (central stem) look compact. Don’t wait for it to loosen and form yellow flowers. Cutting off the main spear will produce side shoots/florets. As these shoots grow, you can harvest them for over 6 weeks.
  • You will not need many plants as each plant will produce continuously over time, but you may need to plant successively for an harvest until summer.
Now that you have a guide here, I would like to add that you don't need to get everything right. We try and learn from our experiences. On this note of broccoli inspiration, I picture an amazingly delicious broccoli soup with mushrooms.

It's worth a mention that studies have shown that cabbage and broccoli have anti-cancer benefits.


  1. I love broccoli in stir fry veggies. Your dad certainly has a love of mother earth and has passed it unto you.

  2. @Helen: Thanks for stopping by. Your preserves look fabulous...

  3. Great tips to pass on to your fellow bloggers. Thanks! I would like to try to grow potatoes. Have not grown them before.

  4. @ Keats: I am glad you liked my tips. Hope we get to see your harvest soon...see you around!

  5. Nice tips for growing cabbage and that too at the right time. I have 3 cabs growing right now.


  6. Hi... your blog is lovely and soulful. I'm enjoying it. Keep up your good work. I have some questions regarding broccoli gardening. Can I mail you?

  7. potatoes on my berlin balcony here i come!


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