Cabbage row: broccoli
The Romans were the first to “tame” broccoli (Brassica Oleracea convar), as evidenced by the name of one of its varieties - italica. From southern Italy, broccoli came to Byzantium, and then other countries. Today, this cabbage is extremely popular in Western Europe, Japan, Canada and the United States. In our country, little is known about it, although varieties have been grown in Russia since the 19th century:Black sicilian, White and Purple cypriot, Danish dwarf. Portsmouth.
Asparagus cabbage, or broccoli, is an annual plant with a height of 70 to 100 cm with wide, long stalked (up to a quarter meter) leaves. Like color, it is grown for the heads - shortened modified inflorescences, only in broccoli does it look like a bunch of underdeveloped and highly twisted flower buds covered with green, dark green or purple sepals.
In terms of nutritional and dietary properties, this cabbage is superior to cauliflower: it contains one and a half times more protein and mineral salts, vitamin C it accumulates up to 150 mg per 100 g of raw weight. And its young leaves are not inferior to spinach and kale. Broccoli removes salts of heavy metals, rich in carotene and amino acid - methionine. The systematic use of broccoli in food lowers blood cholesterol and prevents the development of atherosclerosis. That is why it is indispensable in clinical nutrition.
Of all broccoli is probably the most unpretentious: cold-resistant, able to grow even on heavy loam, the least moisture-loving. Late-ripening varieties withstand frosts down to -10 °. And in the southern regions of Russia, some varieties can overwinter and rejoice in the crop in April-May. There she is even able to grow as a perennial.
Nevertheless, broccoli gives high yields in a well-lit place at a moderate temperature, on light and medium loamy soil seasoned with organic (8-10 kg / sq.m) and mineral (40-50 g / sq.m potassium salt in the fall) and superphosphate) fertilizers. In the spring two weeks before transplanting seedlings or sowing seeds, close up 60-80 g / m2 of ammonium nitrate or urea.
© Donovan Govan
Broccoli are cultivated in seedling and seedling methods. To harvest early (at the end of June) and enjoy it longer in the fall, broccoli is grown through seedlings, sowing seeds in pots for several periods with an interval of 10-20 days from mid-March to late May. Ready seedlings (35-45 days with five to six leaves) are planted, respectively, from late April to late June. Large heads, up to 12 cm in diameter, can be obtained by placing 4-6 plants per 1 sq.m. If planted more often, then the side shoots after cutting the main stem will not develop well, so the plants are planted in the first half of May according to the scheme of 30-40 × 60-70 cm.
Right in the ground, broccoli is sown in the south. Seeds of several pieces are placed in nests at the same distance as when planting seedlings. Shoots are thinned out, leaving at first two or three plants in the nest, and after one and a half to two weeks - one at a time.
To make the heads large, it is necessary to constantly loosen the soil between the rows, to water, to protect from common cabbage pests and diseases, and to feed them two or three times a season.
© Forest & Kim Starr
Temperature affects the laying and development of broccoli heads less than cauliflower. But nevertheless, in the cool summer, head growth intensifies, and in the hot - leaf growth.
Important choose the right variety. The early ones give small heads and often bloom prematurely. In summer, those that produce less leaves at higher temperatures are preferable.
Five varieties and hybrids of broccoli cabbage are included in the register of selection achievements:
- Russian early ripe Tone with small bluish-gray leaves, dark green with excellent taste, medium density, head up to 8 cm high and weighing up to 200 g; crop 2 kg / sq.m;
- Dutch mid-season hybrid F1 Fiestaresistant to fusarium and adverse conditions, with long blue-green leaves and a dark green, very dense head of medium size, partially covered with leaves; does not form lateral shoots; harvest 3,5 kg / sq.m;
- Dutch late ripening variety Continental with a stable - up to 2.2 kg / sq. m. - crop of aligned green open heads weighing up to 600 g;
- Czech mid-season variety Linda with elliptical gray-green leaves and medium-dense green, open head weighing 300-400 g; it is better to plant according to the scheme 50 × 50 cm; after cutting, additionally forms up to 7 heads of 70 g .; gives a stable crop of 3-4 kg / sq.m;
- Japanese mid-season, heat-resistant hybrid F1 Arcadia with medium-sized bluish leaves and a dark green domed dense head up to 450 g, gives up to 1.5 kg / sq.m.
© Makro Freak, Richard Bartz
Period Harvesting broccoli is short, as, having matured, the head quickly crumbles. A fully formed head has a diameter of 8-20 cm. The central head is removed before the buds begin to bloom. If at least one inflorescence is allowed to blossom, the heads become stiff and tasteless, and the side ones cease to grow. They are cut off in the cool time of the day along with a stalk 10-15 cm long, which also goes into food. The heads growing on the side shoots are removed after two to three weeks, when they will be 4 cm in diameter.
In the open ground, broccoli is harvested until stable frosts, in the greenhouse - until the end of November. At room temperature, the heads fade and turn yellow in one to two days, and in such conditions it cannot be held longer. Broccoli is kept in the refrigerator for a week. You can keep it fresh like this: after harvesting, sprinkle the cabbage immediately with cold water, put it in plastic bags with ice cubes and cool to 0 °. Broccoli is also good to freeze.
The recipe for cauliflower is also suitable for broccoli. Salads, soups, side dishes are prepared from it, but it is especially tasty in the marinated form.
Try the following recipe: Divide the dense heads into small inflorescences and boil for 2-3 minutes. in boiling water with salt and citric acid (per kilogram of broccoli - 5 l of water, 50 g of salt, 3 g of citric acid). Then cool the inflorescences quickly in water, put in steamed jars and fill with marinade: for 2.5 liters of water - 1.5 cups of vinegar, 0.5 cups of granulated sugar, 10 peas of allspice and a few bay leaves.
- V. Bakulina, State Commission of the Russian Federation for Testing and Protection of Breeding Achievements