Sunday, 10 August 2008

what's in a name?

The health-giving benefits of 'broccoli' are reported constantly. This week there were claims of its benefit in combating the onset of diabetes.

All this health, and sooo easy to grow in a reasonable summer.

Let's get the confusion out of the way first though. The vegetable that they refer to as 'broccoli' is, to be exact calabrese. Broccoli is similar but with a spicier flavour and available for a more limited period during the year - typically April.

Calabrese are sown into pots in the greenhouse and brought on until they can be planted outside. They're planted about 30cm apart and produce a single large floret. This is the 'broccoli' bought in the greengrocers and supermarkets.

If left after harvesting, the plants will produce a second flush of smaller florets. Calabrese is a summer plant and is said not to last through cold winters.

Successional sowing is a good idea. Our other bed of calabrese has just produced a large crop that we have frozen. The bed pictured was planted about six weeks later, and is looking strong. The netting provides protection from rabbits and wood pigeons.

The other enemy of calabrese is the large white butterfly, Watch out for caterpillars!

Calabrese is a reliable performer in the brassica ensemble! Highly recommended.

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