Like other brassicas, broccoli can fail in loose and starved soil, so your ground should ideally be firm and rich in organic matter. Pick a reasonably sunny spot for your plants to grow to maturity. Dig in autumn, working in plenty of well-rotted manure or compost if the soil is poor. In spring apply a general fertiliser such as Growmore. Consider using protective collars if cabbage root fly is a known problem (this advice applies to all brassicas).
April – May.
Hoe regularly and protect your broccoli from birds with netting. Summer care consists of watering in dry weather and applying a mulch to conserve moisture: occasional feeding with a liquid fertiliser will improve your crop. As winter approaches, you can draw up soil around the stems and stake the plants if the site is exposed.
The time to cut is when the flower shoots (spears) are well-formed, but before the small flower buds have opened. Once in flower the spears will be woody and tasteless. Cut or snap off the central spear first: a few varieties this will be a cauliflower-like head. Side shoots will be produced and these should be picked regularly. The spears are generally 4-6” long, and cropping should continue for about 6 weeks.