Broccoli Calabrese is a popular and very hardy Italian broccoli variety. It can grow up to 76 - 91 cm in size. And the blue-green central heads can grow up to 8 - 15 cm in size. Harvest the central heads first to encourage the growth of side shoots. These side shoots can be harvested all season. This whole plant is edible.
Broccoli is a very healthy and versatile vegetable. Broccoli contains a.o.: vitamin C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B11, A and E. And the minerals: manganese, potassium, phosphor, magnesium, selenium, zinc, iron, molybdenum and calcium. It contains also a lot of crude fibres, the amino acid tryptophane and very little calories and fat. You can cook, stir-fry, bake, use it in casseroles, grill, roast, deep-fry, steam and stew broccoli or use it raw as starter and healthy snack. Add some broccoli to soups, pasta sauces, on pizzas and in mixed vegetable dishes. Broccoli is delicious in combination with: cheese, garlic, pasta, onions, potatoes, olives, eggs, salmon, nuts, rice, basil, soy sauce, tuna fish, beef, pork, minced meat, oregano, apple, cod fish and vegetables like: cauliflower, tomatoes, carrots, leek, sweet pepper, lettuce, courgette, sugar peas and French beans. Non hardy annual. Height: 76 - 91 cm.
Brassica oleracea var. Italica
Indoor sowing: middle of April - middle of May
Outdoor sowing: middle of May - middle of July
Germination: 7 - 14 days
Germination temp.: 10 - 20 °C
Sowing depth.: ½ - 1 cm
Plant spacing: 30 - 35 cm
Planting position: sunny - half shade
Harvest period: June - End of October
Because broccoli is a cabbage variety it needs, like all other cabbage varieties, a lot of manure. Apply a generous ammount of compost to the soil and dig this through, about 1 - 2 months, before you start with sowing. Enrich the soil with some blood- and bone meal, 2 weeks before you sow.
Sow indoors from the middle of April. Sow in seedtrays filled with moist potting soil. Sow sparingly and cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. Broccoli is a light germinator. Put the trays away in a light and warm room. Keep the temperature as even as possible and don't let the temperature drop during the night. Transplant the seedlings to seperate pots from the beginning of May. Harden the seedlings of by putting them outdoors during the day for approx. 10 - 14 days from the beginning of May. Put the seedlings on a sunny plot with half shade after this. Keep moist and weedfree.
Sow outdoors from the middle of May - the middle of July. Make a seed furrow of about 1 cm deep and moisten the soil, when it's a little dry, with some water. Sow the seeds, sparingly, in this furrow and cover them with a thin layer of soil and press the soil gently down. Keep the soil moist during germination but not too wet. Sow in rows approx. 45 cm apart. The seedlings emerge, depending on the temperature and the weather, after about 7 - 14 days. Thin the seedlings, when they're large enough to handle, to 30 - 35 cm. Water regularly. Keep the soil around the plants weedfree. Don't let the plants dry out and water extra during dry spells. Provide extra manure, when needed, by giving the plants some cowshed manure or blood- and bone meal. Broccoli is an annual and it's harvested in the same year. Winter broccoli is a biennial and is harvested, after overwintering in the soil, in the year after sowing. From the beginning of March till the end of April.
Protect your plants with nets against birds. Remove the nets when the plants are about 30 cm in size. Use a cabbage collar on the base of the young plants, to prevent the cabbage fly from laying it's eggs, because the larvae eat the roots of the plants. The seedlings and plants also need protection against slugs and snails. Harvest the central head first and the side shoots approx. 2 - 3 weeks later. You can keep broccoli fresh in the crisper compartment of the fridge for a couple of days.