Broccoli (Calabrese) Marathon F1
A high quality broccoli bred for flavour, reliability and large, dense heads of extra fine ‘beads’. The plants are vigorous and mature quickly making this variety perfect for also growing mini-heads at a closer spacing. Ideal if you have limited space in the garden or you only want to eat freshest heads and harvest just enough for one meal at a time. Well known for its nutritional value, broccoli is packed full of vitamin C and antioxidants.
Sow indoors March to April. Sow thinly 0.5cm deep into trays of compost. Water well and place in warm, light position, away from cold draughts and out of intense, direct sunlight. Keep the compost just moist and be careful not to overwater, the compost should almost dry out before it is watered again. Seedlings should start to appear in approximately 7-21 days. Carefully transplant the seedlings to individual pots when they are large enough to handle and keep moist. In late May or early June, acclimatise plants to outside conditions. Place plants outside in a sheltered spot during the day and bring them inside again at night when temperature fall. Do this for a week or two, until the plants have hardened off. Then transplant to a sunny growing position 45cm apart. If space is limited plant 25cm apart for mini-heads. Plant seedlings deep, right up to the first set of leaves and be sure to firm the young plants in well to prevent the plants from rocking in the wind, which can damage their delicate roots. Keep the soil moist and remove any weeds as they appear.
Sow outdoors March to June. Broccoli can be sown directly outdoors for ease. If possible choose a sunny location for best results. All brassicas like good fertile soil so it’s worth digging in a slow release fertiliser or some organic matter before you start. Sow directly where plants are to grow 1.5cm deep, in shallow trenches 25cm apart. Cover the seeds with fine soil and water well. Keep the soil moist and remove any weeds as they appear. When young plants are 10cm tall transplant them to a final spacing of 45cm apart, or 25cm apart for mini-heads. Plant seedlings deep, right up to the first set of leaves and be sure to firm the young plants in well to prevent the plants from rocking in the wind, which can damage their delicate roots. Keep the soil moist and remove any weeds as they appear.
Top Tips About Seeds
Once the seed packet has been opened, the seeds can be stored in an airtight container until required for further sowings. Broccoli seeds will maintain their vigour for a good number of years.
Growing in Containers
Broccoli is not recommended for patio containers.
Young brassica plants are a real favourite with pigeons and later in the summer caterpillars can also become a problem. If you use a fine enough netting, held well above the plants, this will stop both the pigeons eating the young leaves and the cabbage white butterflies from reaching the plants to lay their eggs. To prevent disease, rotate brassica crops so they are not grown in the same location for at least a couple of years.
Harvest from August to early November. Once the main head of broccoli is harvested the plants will often go on to produce side shoots with smaller but equally tasty heads. If you harvest these regularly then cropping can be extended for several weeks.
Ideas for using your broccoli green
Drawing a little soil up around the stems of developing plants will help to prevent wind rock as the plants get larger. Check plants after windy weather and firm them in again if necessary. To prevent premature flowering give plants a really good soaking and a feed a week or so before harvesting begins and don’t let them dry out. If for some reason you miss a harvesting a head and it begins to flower, the tender parts are still good to eat, especially in stir-fries.