Originally developed in Sicily over a century ago, Violetta Italia is still a popular choice in Italian gardens to this day. A true eye-catcher renowned for its deep purple florets and delicious flavour, it is sure to offer a visual feast in any garden or dish. A particularity of Violetta Italia compared to other cauliflowers is its ability to produce side shoots once the main head is harvested, promising an extended harvest and more yield on each plant.
Violetta Italia seeds can be started indoors and transplanted in the spring or sowed directly in the garden during summer for a fall harvest. Due to its large size, especially considering the many side shoots, make sure to provide ample room in the garden, spacing the plants about 20 inches apart.
Violetta Italia's unique colour and excellent taste make it a versatile ingredient. Sure to stand out in any veggie tray with dips, you can also try it in a vibrant cauliflower risotto, where its colour will be a standout feature, or roast it whole for a visually impressive and flavourful centerpiece. Interestingly, the purple cauliflower turns bright green when cooked, which can be used to create dynamic colour changes in dishes like stir-fries or pastas, where the cauliflower can be added towards the end of cooking to preserve some of its original purple colour.
Cauliflower is a unique, annual, cool weather crop. It can be used in a variety of interesting ways in the kitchen - enough reason to make space for this rising superstar in your garden this year! Cauliflower does not typically tolerate the heat very well, but thrives as a spring and fall crop.
Sow seeds in flats 1 cm deep, about 3 cm apart, 4-6 weeks before the last spring frost. While in the germination phase, try to keep the soil at least 21°C and maintain an even moisture level. Slowly prepare the seedlings for the outdoors by gradually hardening them off.
Young plants can be transplanted 2-4 weeks prior to the last frost date, giving the sprouts a head start on the season. Space plants about 45 cm from each other and position rows 60-75 cm apart when transplanting. The heads will get big and should have enough growing room to reach their potential. Full sun and fertile well-drained soil are ideal seasonal conditions for cauliflower.
When the small white heads emerge, take the outer leaves and wrap and tie them loosely around the head. Cover the developing heads by tying the leaves together with a string or a large rubber band to shade them from sunlight for a blanching effect. This practice of ‘blanching’ will prevent the deterioration of the curd by the hot sun. The leaves will receive more light while protecting the desired portion of the plant.
Mulch around the base and give your plants about 6 cm of water per week. A feeding once a month will promote vigor and development of the heads.
Time to harvest can range from 50-100 days, depending on variety. Cut heads when they reach your desired size. Don’t let the curds become loose, this is a sign of over-ripeness and may jeopardize the taste of the crop. Happily harvest your tight heads of cauliflower and enjoy it sautéed, mashed, in soups, stews or casseroles as well as many other possibilities.
- The wild ancestor of the cauliflower first originated in the Mediterranean region and was used in Asia for many centuries before being re-introduced to Europe during the 1500s. It became widely grown in North America during the 1900s.
- Cauliflower 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.
- Cauliflower 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!