A Healthy Alternative
Calabrese is a large bushy green plant with tight leaves. It ranges from dark green to light green in color. It is considered to be the second most common broccoli variety in the world. It grows best in fertile soil that has low nitrogen content. Calabrese is an annual garden plant that flowers in midsummer.
sow Calabrese broccoli seeds in spring, or in June and July for a fall crop. This native broccoli variety came over to North America with Italian settlers in the late 1800s. You can grow this vegetable either indoors in a ceramic pot or outdoors on a fence row between rows of your choice of purple, white heads or mixed colors. The purple, white, and mixed colors are known as the 'Calabari' variety.
sow seedlings directly into the pot in late summer or early fall, following the planting guide for any variety of calabrese. Keep your seedlings separate from the others in your garden plot by not crowding them together. You should mulch your seedlings with wood chips to help retain moisture during the winter months, then remove any wood chips in spring. You will need to keep your plants well watered for about a week following the harvest date, depending on the time of year. Allow each plant to have at least one inch of water per week.
It is important to germinate your seeds correctly, if you want your calabrese sprouts to come up thick and strong. The number one tip for successful germination is to leave your plants alone during the cold months. Make sure you don't over water or else the sprouts won't sprout properly. Calabrese should be sowed in the spring, following the planting guide for that type of species. You should make sure you use organic fertilizer when you're growing seeds and most importantly cover your plants during the winter months to ensure they get as much warmth as possible.
There are many varieties of broccoli in California. The most popular, as with many things, is the English type. But because it has become so popular there are also other types, like the Giant type, which is a little bit larger and has more leaves. The Giant type also has stalks that reach up to seven inches. However, for most gardens, the calabrese kind is best, because it produces flowers that are double bloom and last for four weeks each.
When broccoli is sown in spring it only takes two leaves to produce a flower, but when it's harvested, it takes four. If you want your Calabrese broccoli to have its full head of leaves, you'll want to allow for four weeks to grow up to four weeks before harvesting. This allows the plants to produce the extra flowers on top, which is what we want. The Giant Cauliflower, in comparison, only takes three to four weeks to produce a full head of cauliflower. For a variety of reasons we will trim these heads off before cooking.
Another great thing about making your own food from home with your own natural ingredients is that you control everything, including the quality. With most commercial seed brands, like Penfold or Sultana, you have to rely on seeds that were treated with chemicals. With Calabrese, you can sprout your own broccoli seeds with no chemicals or additives, so you get the highest quality in every batch. The direct sowing seeds method of germination is so healthy that people who follow it for years report experiencing less chronic illnesses than those who don't.
The big difference between Calabrese broccoli and other types is that you can sow all four seasons' worth of leaves at one time. Don't worry, though, because you won't over-sow, as the plants' roots will quickly dig down below the soil line and resume their sowing process when the top of the soil is ready again. Another great aspect of this broccoli is that it produces a lot more seeds than most other vegetables. As it sows, it also sprouts new leaves until it is over a foot tall.