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Broccoli is a vegetable of great interest both from the nutritional point of view and for their taste.
Their cultivation is rather simple and can give great satisfaction to all.
The name "cauliflower" indicates those types of cabbage grown not for their leaves, but for their inflorescences. The broccoli is therefore a flower ready to open and one of the most cultivated cabbages in Italy especially in the center and in the south. The scientific name is Brassica oleracea.
Brassica oleracea is a biennial plant, cultivated for its inflorescence which is the edible part. It may be yellowish or greenish in color, sometimes white. Very similar to cauliflower from which, however, it differs for the less regular shape, it reaches 30-40 cm in height and must be planted at a distance of 60-70 cm.
History of broccoli
The consumption of these crucifers is widespread since ancient times, but until the beginning of the 1900s it was a vegetable consumed almost exclusively in Italy and practically unknown abroad.
Brassica oleracea was spread throughout the world by emigrants (especially those to the United States). Starting in the 1950s, it also became popular in American kitchens, to then be known in Europe and to return as a result to the mother country. It is in fact only since the 1980s-90s that it is commonly found everywhere and has become a vegetable of common use in all regions.
In recent years it has been discovered that broccoli is a precious vegetable for our health. It is in fact low in calories, but at the same time rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
In particular, it can provide more vitamin C than oranges. At the same time it has a good supply of vitamins A, E, B and K. Only one 100 g portion of this vegetable is able to satisfy the daily needs in vitamin C and K: this aspect is very important during the winter months since it is very commonly found on the market, among other things at a low price.
The content of mineral salts such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron is also good. The sulfur compound (the smell of which can be perceived during cooking) appears to have anti-tumor effects.
How to cultivate
Broccoli cultivation is quite simple and satisfying for everyone. To insert them in our garden we can choose to buy seedlings from specialized nurseries or dedicate ourselves to sowing. In the latter case we will certainly have more freedom of choice in terms of variety.
The temperate climate zones are the best for cabbage cultivation. This vegetable, in fact, can be seriously damaged by late frosts, which cause vegetative stasis and in the most serious cases the death of the plant. They do not like too wet soils with water stagnation, an excessive period of drought can cause the loss of the harvest.
The best soil for cabbages is medium-textured, with a good amount of organic substance. Prepare the soil with a deep milling or digging, during which it would be appropriate to add organic matter (humus, manure). Form a surface with the help of a rake, cover the soil with mulch if possible to avoid the occurrence of weeds. Transplant the plants taking care to bury the collar too. Watering must be periodic and in function of the climatic conditions. It is advisable to carry out coverings at least 2 or 3 times with complex ternary fertilizers.
THE BROCCOLI IN BRIEF
|Type of plant|
Crocifera, annual or biennial
|Height||45 cm-1 m|
|Width||From 50 to 80 cm|
Resistance to cold
|ground||Deep, clayey, well-drained|
|Distance between rows||60-80 cm|
|Distance in the row||40-60 cm|
|Germination: time and temperature||6-8 g / 10-25 ° C|
How to sow and harvest
Sowing must take place in the period from April to June, depending on the variety. They transplant a month later, having the foresight to choose the strongest plants and discard the weakest. You can buy the plants already ready for transplanting in garden and specialized centers.
It is generally carried out using jars or alveolar containers. These should be filled with a specially designed, slightly moistened soil, but avoid compressing it too much. In each container we will insert two seeds, covering them with a layer of about 3-4 mm of soil. We vaporize abundantly. To obtain germination in the shortest possible time the ideal is to place the jars outdoors, in a bright area but without direct sun. We frequently frequent and, if necessary, cover for a good part of the day with a plastic film.
Once the seedlings are obtained, we will have to thin out, leaving only one specimen, the most vigorous, for alveolus.
The sowing period is very variable: it depends essentially on the variety and the pedoclimatic conditions of our area. We carefully read the indications on the label.
In general we keep in mind that in the Center-South it is sown from June until October. In the North the period is more limited, from June until the maximum in July.
The broccoli calendar
Sowing in the Center-South
June to October
|Sow in the North||June July|
|collection||September to March|