Romanesco broccoli has been a culinary delight since the 1500s and its origins can be traced back to northern Italy. It is considered a broccoli, but is really somewhere between broccoli and cauliflower. Others say it is part psychedelic broccoli and part alien life form. Another impressive variation member of the brassica family, Romanesco broccoli has a unique tasty flavour and some obvious ornamental qualities that make it quite attractive in the garden.
The tightly curled, kaleidoscopic heads are packed with apple-green florets arranged in fractals spirals, making perfect examples of the famous ‘’golden ratio.’’ Romanesco broccoli performs best as a cold-season crop, so plant in early spring or late summer to get the best results. Plants can grow up to 2 feet wide and don’t like competing for nutrients, so plan accordingly. You will be rewarded with a most attractive vegetable that tastes great raw with dips or added to salads, or lightly cooked, steamed, sautéed or roasted with olive oil and garlic.
Broccoli is a cold-hardy crop that does very well with spring and fall plantings. It is a nutritional powerhouse that requires attention and space, but the fresh florets are worth every bit of effort.
Start broccoli seeds indoors about 4-6 weeks before the last frost date. Use a seedling flat and a high-quality seed starting mix. Plant a few rows per flat, a couple seeds every 10 cm. A shallow depth of 1 cm is perfect for the small seeds. Bottom water, but don’t let the trays sit in standing water. Put the seeds in a warm place and provide plenty of light once the sprouts germinate.
Broccoli needs lots of nutrients to grow strong and produce hefty heads. When sprouts show their first true leaves, apply a weak dose of liquid fertilizer, like fish emulsion or compost tea.
Thin out sprouts when they start crowding, up to 30 cm. Transplant into a small pot if the flats are outgrown, but don’t be afraid to transplant into the garden 2-4 weeks before the last frost. Broccoli is quite hardy and will tolerate cold temperatures without a problem. After all, the sooner they make it to the garden, the quicker they can get established. But make sure to progressively harden them off first.
Slowly acclimate the young plants to the sun and outdoor elements. When ready to transplant, put them in their permanent places 30-60 cm apart. Allow space for the florets to grow tall and wide.
Broccoli can take anywhere from 50 to 90 days until harvest, depending on the variety. Fertile soil and regular feeding throughout the season will contribute to a faster growth rate, and ultimately improve the quality of the final product.
- Native to the northern Mediterranean, broccoli was first cultivated in 600 BCE in ancient Roman times. The popularity of the vegetable had spread to most of Europe by the 1700s and was cultivated in America beginning in the 1800s.
- Broccoli is a cold-hardy vegetable, the best results are with spring and fall crops. They can still perform well in partial shade during the hot summer months.
- The majority of broccoli cultivars can withstand frost, making them an ideal crop for colder conditions.
- Broccoli seeds will remain viable for 4 years if stored in a cool, dark place, ideally between 4 and 10⁰C. After that, the germination rate may start to go down.
OUR SEED GUARANTEE
You know that a lush, fruitful garden needs good soil, frequent watering, and sunlight to grow, but it’s the seeds that really make the harvest.
Picked and bagged for 2023 the vast majority of our seeds have germination rates of over 85%. The seeds are all-natural, non-GMO, non-hybrid, untreated, and open-pollinated for seed saving.
We have put a lot of thoughts into the design and packaging of our seed packets. Our seeds are all carefully packed in food grade kraft paper/aluminium zipper lock bags, and then are shipped in eco-friendly padded mailers.
We heat-seal each of our seed packet for even more protection from moisture, odour and light, allowing you to store your seeds for up to 3x longer than paper or plastic. Plant them all, germinate some indoors, save some for next season - it’s up to you!