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How to grow organic Asparagus
How to grow organic Aubergines
How to grow organic Beetroot
How to grow organic Broad beans
How to grow organic Broccoli
How to grow organic Brussels sprouts
How to grow organic Cabbage
How to grow organic Calabrese
How to grow organic Carrot
How to grow organic Cauliflower
How to grow organic Celeriac
How to grow organic Celery
How to grow organic Celtuce
How to grow organic Chinese broccoli
How to grow organic Chinese cabbage
How to grow organic Chicory
How to grow organic Corn
How to grow organic Cucumbers and Gherkins
How to grow organic Endive
How to grow organic Florence fennel
How to grow organic French beans
How to grow organic Garlic
How to grow organic Globe artichokes
How to grow organic Jerusalem artichokes
How to grow organic Kale and borecole
How to grow organic Kohl rabi
How to grow organic Komatsuna
How to grow organic Land cress
How to grow organic Leaf beet
How to grow organic Leeks
How to grow organic Lettuce
How to grow organic Mizuna
How to grow organic Mustard greens
How to grow organic New Zealand spinach
How to grow organic Onions
How to grow organic Parsnips and Hamburg Parsley
How to grow organic Peas
How to grow organic Peppers (hot and sweet)
How to grow organic Potatoes
How to grow organic Radishes
How to grow organic Rocket
How to grow organic Runner beans
How to grow organic Salad onions
How to grow organic Salsify, Scorzonera and Scolymus
How to grow organic Seakale
How to grow organic Shallots
How to grow organic Spinach
How to grow organic Squash
How to grow organic Swede
How to grow organic Texsel greens
How to grow organic Tomatoes
How to grow organic Turnips
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How to grow organic Calabrese
by Frann Leach
Homegrown calabrese has a taste!
Calabrese (Green sprouting broccoli/Italian broccoli)
Brassica oleracea Italica group
Family: Cruciferae (Group 2)
Calabrese is also sometimes called Italian broccoli or green sprouting broccoli, but it is a different type, and requires different treatment to produce good results. It's also much quicker to get a crop from calabrese - and the difference in taste between the home grown and the virtually tasteless stuff you get in shops is amazing - there's absolutely no comparison.
Site and soil
Choose an open, unshaded site with fertile, well-drained and moisture retentive soil, which should be slightly acid (min pH 5.4, but see note on clubroot - add lime if necessary to adjust pH). Brassicas have a high nitrogen requirement and also need very firm soil. To ensure sufficient nutrient levels, it is best to topdress or apply a liquid feed such as seaweed fertiiser during growth.
Because brassicas are prone to soil infections, for example, Clubroot, it's important to use a minimum 3 year rotation plan.
Recommended varietiesearly: Green Comet F1, Express Corona F1, Mercedes F1
mid season: Citation F1, Shogun F1, Premium Crop F1, Green Duke F1, Corvet F1
Ideal pH 6.2-6.6.
Calabrese does not like root disturbance, so unlike other types of broccoli, it should be sown direct 2.5-5cm (1-2") deep in rows 30cm (12") apart. When the seedlings come up, thin to 15cm (6") apart in the row.
Calabrese can be sown successionally from late March to early July. Early spring crops may be produced by sowing an early variety in modules in late August or early September. Transplant to a cold frame or greenhouse (or outdoors in mild areas) and harvest February to April.
Water seedlings daily in dry weather. Hoe to keep weed free. Mulch to conserve moisture and suppress weeds. Catch crops may be sown between rows early on, eg. radishes, lettuces, seedling salad crops.
Crop covers such as fleece should be used at the latest once the crop is 5cm (2") tall, if aphids or caterpillars are to be avoided. Do not assume that because a pest was not a problem the previous year, it will not become one this time.
Water up to 4 gallons per sq yard per week in dry weather.
Harvest maincrop from June until the plants are killed by frost. A topdressing with blood, fish and bone or growmore 100% organic after cutting the central spear encourages the development of side shoots.
Mealy aphids and caterpillars are the most troublesome pests.
Pollen beetles may also be a nuisance.
Crop covers should prevent access.
Soil may remain infected for 20 years; steps to avoid introduction include:
Once infected avoid growing any brassicas except fast maturing types such as Texsel greens or cut and come again oriental seedlings. If you have no other land available, and you must grow types with a lengthy growing season, you can try sowing seed in modules, and potting up until the plants reach a height of 10cm (4") before planting out. A root drench may also help.