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Cruciferous vegetables are those vegetables that belong to the family Brassicaceae. This group includes cabbage, Brussels sprout, collard, radish, watercress, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and others.
Among these, broccoli and cauliflower are some of the more popular choices, especially for vegetarians. Can you plant broccoli and cauliflower together?
They each offer their unique flavor even when used in the same dish but how well do they grow when planted on the same patch? This post aims to clarify:
- if you can plant broccoli and cauliflower next to each other
- the ease of growing broccoli and cauliflower
- how far apart you should plant broccoli and cauliflower
- what plants grow well next to broccoli and cauliflower and
- how to care for broccoli and cauliflower.
How Easy Is It to Grow Broccoli and Cauliflower?
Growing broccoli and cauliflower is not very straightforward. It demands a certain level of skill and experience on the part of the gardener.
Both broccoli and cauliflower demand full sun and slightly acidic soil that drains well.
Of the two, cauliflower is the more tricky one to grow so we’ll start by explaining its cultivation.
Cauliflower is very sensitive to heat and cold and so, it is better not to plant it in spring because it will face early cold (from winter) and late heat (approaching summer).
Cauliflower is best planted in the middle of summer when the heat has begun to wane, in hope of harvesting by autumn. It is a vegetable that is very prone to pests and diseases and that is why it must never be planted in moist soil.
Fungi have a special fondness for cauliflower and often attack when the soil is not dry or doesn’t drain well. Some fungal diseases of cauliflower are blackleg, seed rot, downy mildew, and club root.
Slugs, cabbage maggots, cutworms, aphids, flea beetles, and many other vermin all love to eat cauliflower leaves.
Cold temperatures will cause young plants to flower and produce seeds without forming a head and excessive heat will cause the heads to be loose with a yellowish tint.
So you can see that cauliflower is very delicate and requires a high level of dedication to care for it well.
We know you can’t resist the thought of having fresh heads of broccoli to roast or throw into a salad, but growing broccoli is not without its problems. Broccoli is a cool season crop and doesn’t like heat and frost as well.
It is best planted indoors in late winter, about 10 weeks before the last frost date, for a spring harvest. Broccoli also needs plenty of light to be full because, without light, they grow tall and sparse.
An indoor grow light would do a lot of good during those days of winter when there’s little to no sun. As soon as spring arrives, transplant them to the garden so they can get direct sun.
Broccoli suffers from most of the same pests and infections that cauliflowers do. Blackleg, clubroot, downy mildew, aphids, flea beetles, cabbage maggots, and root-knot nematodes are some of the maladies broccoli withstand.
You will need to make time to give attention to broccoli and cauliflower and be equipped with experience to know how to handle their ailments. Later in this article, advice on their care would be shared.
Should I Plant Broccoli And Cauliflower Side by Side?
Seeing that broccoli and cauliflower belong to the same family and are affected by the same conditions, it is not a good idea to plant them side by side.
Can you plant broccoli and cauliflower together? If you plant them together, they will compete for the same nutrients and resources.
As a result, none of them will thrive because they are sharing very little among themselves. Also, they attract the same pests and diseases and you can lose all your broccoli and cauliflowers in one attack.
To plant broccoli and cauliflower on the same piece of land, you must give a distance of around 90cm between each plant. Other plants can be planted with either vegetable and they’ll be mentioned soon.
How Far Apart Should You Plant Broccoli and Cauliflower?
Can you plant broccoli and cauliflower together? A gap of 90cm should be left between the broccoli and cauliflowers.
This would minimize the effects and spread in case of insect and fungus infestation. It would also allow each vegetable to absorb adequate nutrients for its growth.
The soil must be rich and not wet. You can amend the soil by adding compost and fertilizer where necessary and get pests under control with pesticides.
What Grows Well Next To Broccoli And Cauliflower?
Earlier, it was stated that broccoli and cauliflower should not be planted next to each other, and reasons were given. It was also mentioned that other plants can be planted beside them without concern.
Chamomile, beets, dill, celery, cucumbers, onions, marigold, lettuce, nasturtiums, and radishes make good companion plants for broccoli. They can live side by side without contending for the same nutrients and will thrive without much effort.
Some of these plants are even more valuable to broccoli. For example, marigolds, nasturtiums, and rosemary keep grubs and insects away while chamomile and onions impart broccoli with a strong, deep flavor.
Cauliflowers share the same companion plants as broccoli. Marigolds, nasturtiums, onions, radishes, lettuce, beets, and chamomile can also coexist with cauliflower.
Thyme and chard can also be planted with cauliflower. The pungent plants among them like marigold and rosemary prevent pests from taking hold.
Again, these all thrive together and can be planted in the same garden bed. You can make it so that they grow between the rows of broccoli and cauliflower.
How To Care For Broccoli And Cauliflower
To ensure broccoli and cauliflower receive the care they deserve, check these 5 factors and put them in place:
Both broccoli and cauliflower need at least 6 hours of full sun for optimum development. Partial shade can be given when the weather becomes too hot to prevent bolting in broccoli and sun scorch in cauliflower.
Broccoli and cauliflower should be grown in good quality soil with a high nutrient profile. It should also drain well and have a slightly acidic pH.
Cauliflower needs soil with persistent moisture (not soaked) to keep from developing multiple small flower heads instead of one large one.
An inch or two of water every week is necessary for broccoli and cauliflower care. The soil must never be soaked so avoid watering them every day.
While watering, target the water at the base of the plants and never directly on them as this can encourage fungi. Do well to add a layer of mulch over the soil to retain a consistent level of moisture.
Broccoli and cauliflower are cool-weather crops. They do not tolerate extreme heat and cold.
Ideally, the temperature should be between 65 and 80°F above which they will begin to suffer. This reinforces the importance of harvesting either before or after summer.
Organic fertilizer is the best choice for broccoli and cauliflower. Feed them every 2 to 4 weeks after germination and repeat throughout the growing season.
Follow the instructions on the fertilizer label.
Can you plant broccoli and cauliflower together? In summary, you are not encouraged to plant these together because they are heavy feeders and need the same nutrients to flourish. In addition, broccoli and cauliflower suffer from similar diseases and attract the same pests.
If you plant them together, the soil will be depleted fast and there is a high possibility of losing all your vegetables in the event of a disease outbreak.
To plant broccoli and cauliflower in the same bed, give a space of 90cm between them and ensure you meet all the requirements for their success.
What can you plant next to cauliflower?
When growing beans, celery, and onions with cauliflower, all three are great selections. The two go well together, beans and cauliflower. Both plants attract helpful insects and repel pests.
What happens if you plant broccoli too close together?
The crowns of broccoli plants grown too closely together will also be smaller. They are also considerably more likely to contract illnesses if they are overly crowded. If the leaves are in too close of touch with the next plant, they could start to mold.
How many heads of broccoli do you get from one plant?
If your cauliflower doesn’t have a head, the plant is clearly under stress. Stress factors that can impact cauliflower development include very cold soil or air temperatures in the spring, a shortage of water or nutrients, plants that are rooted-bound, and injury from insects or diseases.
How far apart should cauliflower be planted?
Cauliflower seeds should be sown outdoors in rows that are 3 feet apart, 1/2 inch deep, and spaced 24 inches apart.
How Many Heads of Broccoli Do You Get From One Plant?
Per plant, it will produce one big head. Over the following few weeks, it will develop a number of tiny side flower heads after being harvested.