SPROUTING BROCCOLI &CALLABRESSE
- There are three main types:
1) Purple Sprouting Broccoli
2) White Sprouting Broccoli
3) Green Calabrese
- Calabrese is what most people will think of when we
- These plants will thrive in full sun and as they can grow
large stems they will appreciate some shelter.
- Do not plant in heavy soil as they will be much happier in free draining soil.
- If your soil is acidic it will be worth adding lime before planting.
Sowing and Growing
- While it is possible to grow Calabrese in plugs and transplant they do not respond well to this so it is always best to sow in the growing location.
- March to July is the best time to sow Calabrese outside depending on the weather conditions. If you live in a warmer location and can protect the seedling with cloche or fleece then sow earlier. If you live in a slightly cooler location wait until risk of frost has passed.
- Calabrese are not too fussy when it comes to soil conditions and will tolerate a slightly less fertile soil.
- For both varieties sow seeds 2cm deep.
- Calabrese do not need as much space, 30cm between plants will be okay.
- Calabrese will need 45cm between rows.
- Sprouting Broccoli will handle being transplanted better than Calabrese. As a result sow undercover in seed modules in February.
- Once the seedling grows to around 10cm transplant out from April onwards.
- Sprouting Broccoli will need much more room, personally I plant 65cm apart.
- Sprouting Broccoli ideally needs 60cm between rows.
- Water well especially if growing in containers.
- During the summer months feed every ten days with a liquid feed.
- Late hardy varieties of sprouting broccoli will survive most winters unless it is a particularly cold.
- Sprouting Broccoli is slow to grow, it is not uncommon to take 40-45 weeks from sowing to harvest.
- Calabrese is much faster to harvest usually taking 10 to 12 weeks from seed.
- Harvest as soon as the heads are ready and still tight, if left too long they will soon run to flower. While still edible when flowering it will have a slightly bitter taste.
- Always harvest the central head first to allow side stems to form giving you another smaller harvest for the next month.
- Wash all heads in a bowl of lightly salted water to remove any critters that might be hiding.
- There are many different varieties to choose from but here are some of my top picks.
- Calabrese: Romanesco, Fiesta, Belstar, Marathon, Romanesco
- Sprouting: Early Purple, Early White, Red Arrow, Rudolph, Summer Purple, Cardinal
- If you want a faster smaller alternative to sprouting broccoli try Broccoli Raab. From seed to harvest can be as fast as 40 days and the plant will grow no larger than 40cm which makes it ideal for containers. Sow out in mid spring and harvest in the same way as sprouting broccoli