A vegetable that goes well with other companion plants, growing broccoli is a worthwhile challenge to many ambitious gardeners.
Broccoli has gained the nickname “The Crown Jewel of Nutrition” for a reason . That’s because it has a lot of vitamins and minerals that the body needs.
Continue reading to find out what grows well next to broccoli and what to avoid planting near it.
Good Companion Plants for Broccoli
Below is a list of plants to grow alongside broccoli to help keep it healthy.
Planted between the rows of broccoli, the nasturtium will act as a living mulch, repel certain pests, and improve flavor. It’s also a great trap crop for aphids.
Onions will improve broccoli’s flavor. It will also deter common garden pests like rabbits, aphids, mites, and cabbage looper.
Set pots of peppermint near your broccoli plants, but not in with them. It’s too invasive and will take over. Peppermint repels some harmful insects with its powerful aroma.
Another excellent choice is marigolds. Planted between rows of broccoli, these flowers will keep away many insect pests and even rabbits.
5. Dill, Rosemary, Thyme, and Sage
Great companions, these plants not only give you a great selection of cooking herbs but also serve as natural repellents for many harmful bugs.
Moreover, some of these herbs will lure helpful insects to your garden.
These root vegetables make excellent companions for broccoli because they do not compete for nutrients. It’s a great way to use up all your garden space.
This is another plant that improves the flavor of broccoli.
Potatoes do not grow well with a lot of other plants as they are heavy feeders. However, you can plant them near broccoli because they both have different nutritional needs. They will not compete for nutrients.
Another excellent repellent plant, rosemary will drive away broccoli pests such as cabbage moths and cabbage loopers.
Radishes are shade-tolerant crops like broccoli that grow well in partial shade. They also do not take up much space.
What Not to Plant Next to Broccoli
When companion planting broccoli, there are a few crops to avoid planting near it. Some may hinder its growth while others may encourage harmful insects.
Broccoli is a cool weather plant, whereas tomatoes are very much sun-lovers. Therefore, if you grow these together, at the very least, your tomatoes will not thrive well in the cooler temperature that broccoli loves.
Also, when tomatoes are planted in the cool, they are more susceptible to fungus and diseases which could infect your broccoli. Read: Companion Plants for Tomatoes: Good and Bad Companions
Similar to tomatoes, strawberries love warmth and sunlight and need a lot of it, so they won’t do well in the cool air for broccoli and vice versa.
On top of that, strawberries tend to send out runner plants that may hinder the growth of broccoli plants.
Simply put, cabbages are big — they need a lot of room for their heads to spread out. They’ll also compete for water and nutrients and attract insect pests.
Cauliflower has a bit of a, shall we say, reputation among farmers for being rather temperamental . It’s very choosy in where it’s planted and how it’s nourished.
At first, it may seem like the perfect fit for its love of cooler temperatures. However, cauliflower is so fussy about its growing conditions that it almost needs to grow entirely by itself to be happy.
Moreover, both plants will compete for nutrients and water. Cauliflower will also attract insect pests that affect broccoli.
How to Grow Broccoli
This vegetable loves sunlight and thrives best in full sun. However, it needs to mature during cool periods. Therefore, plant it in spring or fall.
You’ll also want to give it slightly acidic soil that’s fertile and well-drained with plenty of organic matter. Additionally, plant the seeds outdoors about half an inch deep and three inches apart. Water them well too.
When the seedlings reach 2 to 3 inches tall, thin them so the plants have enough room to grow (about 15 inches apart). The rows should also be about 36 inches apart.
How long does broccoli take to grow? Growing from seeds, planted directly in the ground, it takes between 80 to 100 days to mature. From transplants, they’ll take 55 to 85 days.
Care and Maintenance
As mentioned, once the plants reach two or three inches tall, thin them out. Also, ensure that the soil is moist, particularly if your area is prone to seasonal drought.
Applying 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week should make them happy. Also, if your soil is starting to heat up, you can counter this with mulch.
What’s especially interesting about this vegetable is that even after the main head has been harvested, the plant will continue to produce smaller side shoots that you can harvest later in the growing season.
Pests and Diseases
Every gardener’s nightmare — pests and diseases. One pest, in particular, to watch out for is aphids. Spray a little soapy water on the sides of the leaves to discourage these little buggers.
Aside from them, cabbage loopers, cabbage worms, clubroot fungus, downy mildew, and damping off are all major problems where broccoli is concerned.
Each region will have different plant pests and diseases to deal with. Therefore, make sure you do proper research about what might be common in your area to better protect your garden from these issues.
Harvest the main head when it stops growing. This is when the buds are tight and firm.
Also, if you notice that it starts to flower or turn yellow, harvest immediately.
Don’t harvest the entire plant — cut the main bud and side shoots when they develop a dark-green color. You can expect about 6 harvests as side shoots will continue to sprout for a while.
Where to Buy Seeds
In search of a reputable seed dealer, you honestly have a wide range of choices to pick from.
Many local farm and garden stores will carry the seeds. Besides, you can also look through online markets like SeedsNow.com for an even greater organic selection.
Growing broccoli is fairly straightforward, especially for beginner gardeners. Of all the growing challenges on your farm, this plant is among the least to be concerned about.
Just pay attention to its growing needs and companion plants and in no time you’ll be enjoying a great harvest.