I picked up a four pack of cabbage plants and broccoli plants this spring. I have horrible memories of trying to grow broccoli in my early garden days. The little broccoli colored worms turned me off of home grown broccoli for years.
There was no room in the veggie garden for the four pack of broccoli or cabbage. So I panted them in and around the herb bed and flower borders. Those evil cabbage worms made Swiss cheese of the cabbages.
If you notice white butterflies, they are the source of the green worms. Broccoli or cabbage worms, which are green caterpillars or the larvae of white butterflies.
The broccoli is disease and insect free and growing bigger and prettier every day in the flower bed. Tucked in next to Heuchera (Coral Bells) it looks goofy, but the broccoli will be out of the garden any day now.
I think the secret to beautiful, insect free plants is just dumb luck. (Or, a floating row cover.) It’s the first year to have cole crops anywhere on the property. My theory is the loopers, imported cabbage worms, just weren’t looking for broccoli.
Those disgusting green worms would probably show up in the garden if I grew a lot of broccoli every year. That is one of the reasons why gardeners suggest crop rotation, to keep those worms guessing where in the garden the broccoli is.
Preparing Broccoli for Freezing.
If your broccoli does have worms, cut and trim off all leaves. Soak the heads in a sink cold salt water for 30 minutes. Weigh the heads down with some plates to keep them under water. (Use about a 1/3 or 1/2 cup of salt in this sink of cold water.)
You have one more chance to check for worms, when you cut up the broccoli heads before blanching and freezing.
By the way, the smaller leaves on the broccoli plant are tender and nutricious. Add them to cooked greens such as chard, spinach or mustard greens. The large leaves are tough and bitter.