This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
When the critical reader - all gardeners are critical - has scanned these lines, he will probably be disgusted at having such an old-fashioned plan brought to his notice. But this, like some more old-fashioned modes of gardening, is one well worthy serious consideration. Well, for two seasons we were just as unfortunate as our neighbours in seeing the Broccoli quarter transformed from strong healthy plants in autumn to a lot of rotten stumps in spring. Last autumn I thought of an old plan which used to be carried out in a garden where I was employed, and I determined to follow it out. It was simply to lift the plants and lay them in sloping with their heads to the north. The way we went to work was to turn a deep spit over to the north, then the northmost row of plants was lifted and laid in deeply in the trench so taken out, the tops of the plants resting on the soil which had been cast out. The trench for the next row of plants was turned over on to the roots and stems of the first row; and so on till the whole lot was thus transplanted. As to results : of most of the kinds not a plant was lost; of the earlier varieties about half went.
As a matter of course, the heads were about half the size they would have been had they not been lifted and the winter proved an open one; but in a winter like last, the system was very advantageous. As to time of lifting, my plan was to choose just sufficient time to allow the plants to make a few fresh roots without starting them into top growth before the winter set in. Early in October suits our climate; others may want to do the work earlier. The plants must be quite lifted. In a neighbouring garden where the plants were merely turned over, very little difference was made in the amount of top than if they had not been touched.