Last March when I was selecting seeds, I aimed to trial one vegetable to start realising my vision of an ornamental kitchen garden. Romanesco caught my eye because its unusual shape was intriguing and it was described as having a nutty flavour (could only be an improvement on cabbage flavour). Another attraction which I didn't recognise at the time, is that it's a vegetable which prefers a cold climate, adding interest to the winter garden .... but now the remaining broccoli skeletons are being overcome by spring bulb leaves.
considering it took longer to give birth than a human baby, I don't have the heart to sever it though.
What's next you may wonder ? Well, I wont be digging them up just yet, and I've just sowed more seeds this weekend ... from the same packet.
Tips for growing broccoli that I shall take note of for the future :
(1) When transplanting seedlings, plant them deeper so that the bottom leaves touch the soil (more roots will grow and add stability).
(2) Harvest broccoli before the buds open, or it will taste bitter.
(3) Cut the central spear of sprouting broccoli to induce the side shoots to grow into bite-sized florets.
(4) Rotate crops so that brassicas are only grown in the same soil one year out of three.
"Bolting is a survival mechanism in a plant. If the weather gets to be above where the plant will survive, it will try to produce the next generation (seeds) as quickly as possible."
"add mulch and ground cover to the ground, as well as watering regularly in order to keep the soil temperature down."
This shows the damage caused by pigeons which looks similar to my shredded broccolis. "Shooting can be effective" (?) ..."The only certain way of protecting vulnerable plants from pigeons is to grow them under netting."
Is Romanesco a broccoli, cauliflower or broccoflower ?
... the jury is out, but it's definitely a decendant of wild cabbage :
Brassica oleracea alboglabra
Brassica oleracea botrytis
Brassica oleracea botrytis aparagoides
Nine Star Perennial Broccoli
Brassica oleracea capitata
Brassica oleracea costata
Brassica oleracea gemmifera
Brassica oleracea gongylodes
Brassica oleracea italica
Brassica oleracea medullosa
Brassica oleracea palmifolia
Brassica oleracea ramosa
Brassica oleracea sabauda
Brassica oleracea sabellica
Brassica oleracea viridis
"Cauliflower and broccoli are the same species and have very similar structures, though cauliflower replaces the green flower buds with a white inflorescence meristem."
"There are three commonly grown types of broccoli. The most familiar is a often referred to simply as "broccoli", and sometimes calabrese named after Calabria in Italy. It has large (10 to 20 cm) green heads and thick stalks. It is a cool season annual crop.
Sprouting broccoli has a larger number of heads with many thin stalks.....
Purple cauliflower is a type of broccoli ..... It has a head shaped like cauliflower, but consisting of tiny flower buds."
The mathematical shape of romanesco broccoli :
The Fibonnaci sequence 1+1+2+3+5+8+13 ...
... recurs in nature (please watch this brilliant video even if you're not interested in numbers or nature) ...
... including broccoli ....
Recipes I would have cooked if my romanesco broccoli was edible :
Romanesco Broccoli Polonaise, made following this recipe for cauliflower, allows the beauty of the entire vegetable to be displayed on your plate. The broccoli/cauliflower is boiled whole and then topped with breadcrumbs toasted in butter, lemon, parsley and crumbled boiled eggs :
I chose this Sicilian recipe of broccoli with pasta, anchovies, raisins and pine nuts because the pictures are so stunning and make my mouth water, but I would most likely replace the raisins with chilli flakes :
For more Blooming Friday On the Ground posts visit Roses and Stuff on 1st April.