Mixed culture is the best variation to optimally plant beds for long-term crop yields and optimal plant growth. So that this also works with broccoli, it is important to ensure good neighbors for the bed planting.
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Caution heavy feeders
The Brassica oleracea var. italica is one of the heavy feeders. This means that it puts a heavy strain on the soil, removing large amounts of nutrients and minerals to ensure the broccoli is optimally supplied. For the neighboring plants, this means that they must be selected in such a way that there is no competition by means of a “fight” for the soil components. In other words, broccoli should not be planted with other heavy-feeding plants. Consequently, the following applies: Weak consumers are usually the most ideal neighbors and medium consumers are also suitable in isolated quantities for mixed culture with broccoli.
The site conditions must be taken into account when choosing a neighbor. A good neighborhood consists of plants that match the soil and light requirements of the broccoli. Only in this way can all plants in the mixed culture achieve the best growth and fruit yields. Site conditions include:
- Nutrient-rich, fresh soil – neighbors have to cope with poorer soil conditions
- water-permeable soil
- Light clay-sand soil is tolerated
- pH value at least 7.0 – preferably higher
- Wind-protected location with sunny light conditions
Good neighbors: spices and herbs
Dill (Anethum graveolens)
The dill garden herb is perfect for the immediate vicinity of the broccoli. As a weak feeder, it does not get in the way of the sprout cabbage and due to its small growth height it does not cast any shadows.
Kamille (Matricaria chamomilla)
Chamomile is best suited for the immediate vicinity. The plant does not make high demands on the soil, also needs a sunny location and also sets a decorative accent in the bed with the flowers.
Knoblauch (Allium sativum)
Some hobby gardeners classify garlic as a weak eater, others as a medium eater. Whatever it is, it thrives alongside broccoli and even enhances its aroma.
Rosmarin (Salvia rosmarinus)
Rosemary should not be missing in the immediate vicinity of the broccoli. The scent of the herb keeps some pests at a distance, which like to use the cabbage.
Sage fits perfectly into the broccoli mixed culture as a weak eater. It also enchants every vegetable patch with an intense blue sea of flowers. Many pests do not like the scent of sage and therefore prefer to stay at a distance from the bed.
Thymian (Thymus vulgaris)
Similar to rosemary is the case with the neighboring cultivation of broccoli and thyme . The scent of thyme drives away pests, so nothing stands in the way of healthy, vigorous growth. It is ideal if thyme is planted all around the bed or broccoli. This is how pest protection is most promising.
Good neighbors: vegetables
Peas (Pisum sativum)
Peas are also weak eaters and also thrive in poor soil. The planting distance should be between 40 and 50 centimeters depending on the broccoli variety.
Regardless of whether they are runner beans, snap beans, bush beans or runner beans , legumes are among the weakly consuming plants and do well with the site conditions of broccoli. For example, low-growing bush beans are ideal when the sun comes in from the side, because they do not leave the sprouts in the shade. Dense and taller growing beans can act well as windbreaks.
Karotten (Daucus carota subsp. sativus)
Carrots are medium eaters. Broccoli can be sown between the early carrot varieties from May and/or late-ripening carrots can be planted next to the thriving sprouts.
Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum)
Potatoes are one of the few exceptions, because as heavy feeders they are still suitable for the good neighbors. Experienced hobby gardeners swear that the potatoes have a positive effect on the aroma of the broccoli. However, some details should be considered when mixing broccoli with potatoes:
- Regular fertilization
- Plant potatoes only on one side of the broccoli (not all around, because of the high risk of competition)
- Planting distance at least 50 centimeters
- Check for possible pests or diseases at short intervals
Mangold (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris)
Swiss chard belongs to the beet family (beta) and, as a weak eater, is quite undemanding in terms of soil composition. As a relatively straight and tall plant, it gives the sprout cabbage enough space to develop ideally.
As plant neighbors of broccoli, beetroot does not harm its environment, but it thrives particularly well in this location – mainly because beetroot hardly extracts any calcium from the soil, and therefore more is left for the sprout cabbage.
Onions (Allium cepa)
Like potatoes, onions are also heavy consumers and are among the exceptions that are suitable as good neighbors for the sprouts of cabbage. Many experienced home growers rely on a mixed culture of broccoli and onions because the latter can significantly intensify/improve the taste and works as a pest repellent. In terms of planting distance and fertilization, the details as described under point 4 “Potatoes” should be adhered to.
Frequently Asked Questions
This can have different reasons. As a rule, however, it is because weak consumers are unsuitable because they are sensitive to diseases and can transmit them to the broccoli.
Theoretically yes, but it is risky due to the heavy consumption of both types of cabbage, because competition for the soil components can quickly arise. If it is absolutely necessary to plant cauliflower next to it, care should be taken to ensure that there are many suitable aromatic herbs around it, in particular to keep the cabbage fly and the cabbage weevil away from the bed.