User avatar
KitchenGardener
Senior Member
Posts: 278
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:30 am
Location: Northern California; Hardiness Zone 10a, Climate zone: 17

Calabrese Broccoli?

I grow a few kinds of broccoli every year - whatever good organic kind I can find in nursery six pack early on, and then my own from seed transplants. This year, as is typical, the first set of broccoli was prolific, crowding out so much and still providing side shoots as the second batch are all starting to head up. So that's all good - and delicious.

This year my broccoli starts were Calabrese broccoli. Based on the fact that I cannot seem to find any other empty broccoli seed packets, I assume they are what I have grown from seed in past years. Here's my question:

Has anyone grown Calabrese? This year, they grew rapidly like the others, but the heads they are making seem to be substantially smaller. I live in a coastally influenced portion of Northern California's East Bay, so its not typically warmer than high 70's (occasionally low 80's but very infrequent) in the garden. My question: is Calabrese a variety that just produces small heads (if I did plant this variety last year, small heads were not an issue)? Could it be nutrients lacking in the soil? Or, sigh, was it the heat wave we had as the broccoli were setting their heads (we had a week where it was consistently in the high 80's, which means it was probably 90 in my sheltered yard)? Our night time temps are typically high 50's/low 60's, but when we have a heat wave, sometimes it stays a bit warmer than that at night, maybe 60's. Whats the thinking?

User avatar
KitchenGardener
Senior Member
Posts: 278
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:30 am
Location: Northern California; Hardiness Zone 10a, Climate zone: 17

Re: Calabrese Broccoli?

Oh and if its at all telling, I can typically grow lettuce for the majority of the summer, but not surprisingly, it all bolted during that week of heat. :x

ButterflyLady29
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1031
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:12 am
Location: central Ohio

Re: Calabrese Broccoli?

Sorry no one has been able to help you. I don't typically grow broccoli. Too many cabbage worms and it always seems to have a bitter aftertaste.

bri80
Senior Member
Posts: 282
Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:12 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Calabrese Broccoli?

Yes, setting heads in hot weather will result in smaller heads. Side shoots will still usually be good if it cools off, though.

I haven't grown that specific variety but I've often had disappointing central heads when temps got above 85* or so. I always cut them and carry on and give the plant a side-dressing of fertilizer and get side shoots that are often larger than the central heads.

I only get awesome huge central heads if I'm lucky enough to have a plant maturing In the right weather.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11126
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Calabrese Broccoli?

I have grown Calabrese and Italian sprouting. The heads are typically smaller than other varieties but they make a lot of good side shoots. The smaller headed broccoli are more heat tolerant and the heads don't rot as easily. It is what is recommended for my area. I have heard good things about pack man, but it turned out, it would do better in a colder climate. I have been able to get 4-5 extra pickings of side shoots and the plants are strong.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Return to “Organic Gardening Forum”