A Bed Fit for Broccoli

yarrow dill and parsley mulch

For fabulous big broccoli heads, put a bit of effort into preparing your beds. They’re hungry and need a beautiful, humus rich soil.

This bed was in Broadbeans – a nitrogen fixer before a brassica is always a smart move. I’ve chopped them off at soil level, leaving the roots behind for strength. Yes they’ll re-sprout, but I’ll just knock the shoots off until they stop coming.  

The soil smells good and feels lovely so I’ve only spread a fine layer of compost. If it weren’t so fab, I’d have spread the compost thicker, or if not enough compost to hand, dolloped a generous amount at the base of each seedling. Soak it all in a lovely liquid feed and cover it over with my roughly chopped homemade mulch – broadbean stalks, parsley, yarrow, endive and dill.

Ready, set to grow some awesome broccoli!


  1. Looking good! I thought a legume was good after a brassica? Did i get it the wrong way round?

    • No wrong way! Can do legume after – to replenish the nitrogen, I prefer before cos brassicas are so damn hungry and then I follow with a root crop.

  2. Claire lynch says

    Hi Kath. Any ideas as to what I can do to stop what look like little slaters that curl up into a ball, eating/ living inside my strawberries. Ive got the berries growing in straw. They are decimating them,!!! Many thanks
    Best regards, Claire Lynch

    • Dear Claire

      Oh so sad! So by decimating – do you mean eating the fruits?

      Slugs are the most common reason for holes in strawberries – especially in a cool wet summer like we are having. They make the holes and then the beetles come! The slaters wont eat the berries, but are opportunistic and may nibble after a hole has been made, they are probably living in the straw or if you have wooden edges.

      Its good to be sure of the pest so we can provide a solution, and pest ID involves a bit a close observation. Are there holes in the leaves as well? Can you see slime trails over the leaves/ fruits? Are the fruits deformed? Are there webs around the leaves? Do you see any other caterpillar under the leaves or in the fruits? Remove the straw and look underneath to see what is lurking.

      There are other strawberry eaters – Earwigs (pincers on the back of the abdomen) will also eat the fruits, as will leafrollers, a few caterpillars … let me know what part of the strawberry is being decimated and what you find beneath the straw.

      Hopefully its just slugs where it’s as simple as sprinkling around Tui Quash. If there are rocks, bits of wood or any slug hiding places around remove them too if you can. Remove the holey fruit as well so you can tell if its working (and to encourage the slaters to leave). Hopefully it’s as simple as that!

      • Claire lynch says

        Dear Kath. Thanks so much for your reply.
        Well, it looks like you are right about the slugs. I caught one in the act when I went out in the rain to check out the straw etc as you suggested though i haven’t noticed any slimy trails. They seem to start on one side and much their way into the middle almost hollowing out the berry. Meanwhile Ive put the bait down and will keep a close eye on whats happening out there. Perhaps the slaters use the hole left by the slugs as their home as the ones Ive found in the holes are curled up into a ball. There are small holes in the leaves but i cant see caterpillars underneath them so not sure of the cause of this. There are no webs on the leaves though the odd berry is deformed. Ive also seen a few earwigs in the garden but not around the berries. I hadn’t realised they were so destructive as well.
        I remember this happening years a go in another garden when I used pine needles as a mulch…and once again I blamed the slaters.
        Thanks so much for your advice.
        Kind regards

        • I’m glad it was slugs – the simplest to solve! They gobble the leaves as well, and yes you are right the slaters will be re homing themselves in the holes.
          I hope you manage to get some strawberries!

  3. rachel ryan says

    Hi Kath

    Do you have any favourite broccoli seeds you would recommend?


    • Indeed I do! I always plant De Cico and Romanesco. De Cico are quicker producing. Initial heads are smaller, but they produce bucket loads of side shoots afterwards. Romanesco (my favourite!) are huge, dense heads taking longer to mature so 3 of each per bed extends the season nicely. Waltahms is another really nice green brocolli – same vein as the De Cico.
      Best Kath

      • thanks very much for that Kath, I have grown De Cico in the past, but will now try the romanesco because I am wanting the larger heads