Broccoli And Calabrese Self Sowing Garden Tips
Growing a cauliflower vine requires some patience, but produces a spectacular harvest. While most grow cauliflower from seed indoors, others grow from seed outside on fences, trellises, etc. For these sorts of vines, the timing for sowing and harvesting is more flexible since there are fewer timescales involved. If you live in an area with mild winters, or warm summers, the plants will usually come up again in the springtime, after the colder periods are over.
How To Grow Heirloom Calabrese broccoli and cauliflower produce best when they are sown in pots indoors, at about 4-inches high. Plant them about one week before the first frost. Soon before the first frost and once the seedlings get to about 6 inches in height, plant them outdoors, about 1-2" apart. Be sure to place your seedlings in partial sun, not too close together. If you live in an area with mild winters, warm, summer sun will do fine. The soil should be moist, but not wet.
Once you have selected a spot for planting, use mulch or some loosely packed sand to help protect the roots against cold winds. The next step is to prepare the pot by washing it thoroughly, preferably using hot soapy water. Then, pack the pot with moist newspaper or straw and add a little bleach, if needed, or some fertilizer.
When the area has been prepared, it is time to move on to the actual sowing and harvesting of your precious cargo. First, if the plants are not thriving, look for other plants that are more likely to do well when planted in the same soil. There are a few plants that are considered good choices for any variety of Calabrese vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brassicas. Be sure to check the local nursery to determine which varieties are available in your area before starting your planting.
For those planning to plant broccoli seeds in calabrese pots, there are a few other things to keep in mind. First, be sure to allow for complete sun exposure during all seasons. Also, keep in mind that while Calabrese is typically a hardy plant, it does suffer from frost damage. You may want to consider alternate flowers for the base of your center head if you plan on harvesting your plants. Full sun will also help your plants grow strong, disease free leaves.
When you are ready to begin sowing your Calabrese crops, it is best to pick them just before they turn yellow. The reason is that this is the most fertile time of year to harvest. While broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage tend to do best when planted in the late winter months, they can be planted any time excepting those that are in season in your area. If you are growing cauliflower in a traditional pot, be sure to carefully follow the direction of the leaf guide in your vegetable garden book. The basic way to tell what direction your cauliflower needs to be planted is to look at how much of the plant's spine has developed. If it looks longer than it should be, it will need to be planted to the north or west.
Once you have selected the proper spot for your plants, be sure to fill in around them with a light organic soil mix. If you have a large field, you can use a topsoil, but for smaller gardens, you can purchase a light, weed-resistant organic soil mix. You can add a layer of organic mulch at the bottom of your Calabrese bed as well, but be sure to keep in mind that while mulch helps retain moisture, it also retains heat. Be sure to mulch your plants loosely so that they don't get compacted together.
When you are ready to start sowing your broccoli and cauliflower, make sure to use the smallest spade or fork possible. Small spades or forks often dig up the soil faster than a larger fork, causing your plants to go more time without water. Also, if you are using a fork, be sure not to put the fork into the soil too deep or you'll find your seeds and broccoli in big trouble down the road. When you're ready to plant, be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging to the letter. For example, many of the best fertilizers and soil mixes contain nutrients that are too dense for most plants. Before you know it, your garden will be blooming with healthy produce.