Broccoli: Italian Style

Italian-style broccoli needs abundant moisture to be tender and make
large flowers. Given enough elbow room, many varieties can endure
long periods of moisture stress, but the smaller, woody,
slow-developing florets won't be great eating. Without any
irrigation, spring-sown broccoli may still be enjoyed in early
summer and Purple Sprouting in March/April after overwintering.
_Sowing date:_Without any irrigation at all, mid-March through early
April. With fertigation, also mid-April through mid-May. This later
sowing will allow cutting through summer.
_Spacing:_ Brocoli tastes better when big plants grow big, sweet
heads. Allow a 4-foot-wide row. Space early sowings about 3 feet
apart in the row; later sowings slated to mature during summer's
heat can use 4 feet. On a fist-sized spot compacted to restore
capillarity, sow a little pinch of seed atop a well-and deeply
fertilized, double-dug patch of earth. Thin gradually to the best
single plant by the time three or four true leaves have developed.
_Irrigation:_ After mid-June, 4 to 5 gallons of drip bucket liquid
fertilizer every two to three weeks makes an enormous difference.
You'll be surprised at the size of the heads and the quality of side
shoots. A fertigated May sowing will be exhausted by October. Take a
chance: a heavy side-dressing of strong compost or complete organic
fertilizer when the rains return may trigger a massive spurt of new,
larger heads from buds located below the soil's surface.
_Varieties:_ Many hybrids have weak roots. I'd avoid anything that
was "held up on a tall stalk" for mechanical harvest or was
"compact" or that "didn't have many side-shoots". Go for larger
size. Territorial's hybrid blend yields big heads for over a month
followed by abundant side shoots. Old, open-pollinated types like
Italian Sprouting Calabrese, DeCicco, or Waltham 29 are highly
variable, bushy, with rather coarse, large-beaded flowers,
second-rate flavor and many, many side shoots. Irrigating gardeners
who can start new plants every four weeks from May through July may
prefer hybrids. Dry gardeners who will want to cut side shoots for
as long as possible during summer from large, well-established
plants may prefer crude, open-pollinated varieties. Try both.

BLACKBERRY VARIETIES Broccoli: Purple Sprouting and Other Overwintering Types facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail