Starting your first batch of broccoli or cabbage seed indoors this year? Try this:
Sow your broccoli and cabbage seeds in flats or trays as usual. At the same time, go ahead and sow some fennel, cilantro and/or dill seeds. Here in the intermountain west, you'll be doing this around April 1st.
It'll be time to transplant the broccoli and cabbage outdoors around May 1st. If you're like us, you'll plant 'em in two rows with each plant spaced two feet apart.
Plant the fennel, cilantro and dill starts in the middle between the rows of broccoli and cabbage.
Around the time aphids will start to be a pest in the garden and you're beginning to worry about your broccoli, your cilantro and dill will be flowering.
The blooms will attract predatory lacewings, flies, bugs, wasps, and beetles that prey on aphids. The fennel will bloom a little later than the cilantro and dill, extending the bloom period. You can also thin out some of the fennel to eat! Plants get larger when the go to flower.
This is an example of companion planting. You really can't go wrong planting cilantro, dill, fennel and other herbs in various spots in the garden, brassicas or not: the flowers are beautiful and attract a wide variety of beneficial pollinators.