Broccoli Crop Management
Vegetable Farming in South Africa

© Louise Brodie

Crop Rotation

Rotate with alliums (for example onion, garlic, leeks) or legumes.

Yield (tonnes per hectare)

Conservative: 5 tonnes
Average: 8 tonnes
Good: 12 tonnes

Harvesting

Harvesting of broccoli is still mostly done by hand. The central head is cut with a stem of about 10 to 15 cm long to prevent the head from drying out. As broccoli starts to dehydrate very quickly after harvesting it is advisable to get it into a cool storage area as quickly as possible. There are large commercial growers that do harvest some varieties with mechanical harvesters. This requires all the heads to be harvested at the same time.

Storage

Broccoli kept at Zero to 1°C and 95% relative humidity can be stored for 14 days. Broccoli stored for to long losses its crispness and is said to lose some of its health attributes the longer it is stored.

Pests

Because broccoli is grown through the winter months pests tend to be less. It is however advisable to monitor and follow a crop protection protocol. Some common pests found are:
Bollworm, aphids, Root fly, diamond-back moth and webworm.

Diseases

The most common diseases are blackleg, black rot, downy mildew, cubroot, soft rot and sclerotinia rot.

By Louise Brodie