Calabrese 'Miranda' is a very distinctive new Calabrese. It produces a distinctly beautiful, large violet head on a central stalk. Once the main head is removed, small side shoots form which are tender, delicious and ideal for florets.
Miranda has a relatively tall plant habit and need space to perform at their best, Plants should be spacing 30cm (12in) in all directions and are best sown a little later than usual, from late June onwards. Matures in 95 to 105 days.
Purple vegetables are fun to grow, very pretty to look at and hugely fashionable but importantly they contain anthocyanins, which are very powerful antioxidants hugely beneficial for general health and said to help prevent cancer. Use lemon juice to retain the purple colour while cooking.
Calabrese & Broccoli is a confusing series of plants:
Supermarkets have helped to confuse the issue of what is broccoli and what is a calabrese by calling both by either name. Most ‘Broccoli’ sold in the supermarkets is actually Calabrese not broccoli.
Broccoli has small heads (mainly purple, sometimes white or green) which mature slowly and can occupy the ground for almost a year. (The word broccoli means 'little sprouts' in Italian). Calabrese are smaller plants that produce larger crowns.
Keep in mind is that broccoli is an over wintered crop but calabrese produces its crop the same year before winter. Sprouting broccoli can be harvested from late winter to late spring. Calabrese can be harvested from mid-summer to mid-autumn. If you grow both calabrese and sprouting broccoli, your kitchen will be kept in broccoli for most of the year.
Prepare the site:
All brassica crops grow best in partial-shade, in firm, fertile, free-draining but water-retentive soil. Avoid shallow, sandy soils, and exposed sites
Start digging over your soil in autumn, removing any stones you find and working in plenty of well-rotted manure or compost. Tread on the soil to remove any air pockets and make the surface very firm. Brassicas will fail if the soil is too acidic so add lime to the soil if necessary, aiming for a pH of 6.5.
How to sow Broccoli Calabrese:
Sow early and you will miss the first caterpillars. Early crops can be enhanced with the aid of crop covers. Plants should be spaced 30cm (12in) in all directions. Lower crop density gives a longer period of harvest, as more secondary heads are produced.
Expected germination time 7 to 12 days, depending on soil temperature.
Sowing Indoors: Early March to mid July
To get an early crop in June, sow under cover in modules or sow in a seed bed outside from mid to late March until the end of May. Plant out in April with fleece protection. (It dislikes bare-root transplanting). After a few months, when your seedlings reach 6 and 8cm high (2½ to 3in), they're ready to plant outside. Water the day before moving, and keep well-watered until established. Space plants at least 30cm (12in) apart and make sure you dig a good deep drill (2.5cm) to give them good anchorage.
Sowing Direct: April to June
Seeds can be sown direct in April to June. Sow seeds thinly about 12mm (½in) deep. Sow thinly, as this reduces the amount of future thinning necessary and potential risk from pests.
For a Polytunnel: Sow March to October
Broccoli calabrese is one of the most successful winter crops for a walk in polytunnel. Sow a few seeds in modules every six weeks from March to August and plant a short row when there’s room. In September and August, sow a few seeds directly and thin to 30cm (12 in) apart. Leave them to grow undisturbed through the winter. Autumn sown crops will be ready to pick in March to June.
Once the plants are in the ground the process is easy. Just let them stand and protect them from the eggs of Cabbage White butterfly. Remove any yellowing or fallen leaves and burn them to prevent fungal diseases setting in. Being a shorter-term crop, it is less likely to be troubled by aphids or caterpillars
Harvest: Late winter to late spring.
The heads must be cut whilst in tight bud; once per week in cool weather, twice a week is essential in warm weather, as this encourages the side shoots to develop quickly. Use a sharp knife and leave a small stalk. Pick the side-shoots regularly (when about 10cm (4in) long. Regular picking can extend cropping time for up to eight weeks. Don't get carried away and strip plants entirely in one go.
Steam rather than boil to keep their rich colour and vitamin count. Leaves also can be cooked and eaten as a winter green. Fresh florets will keep in the fridge for around a week but are also great frozen.
Broccoli is one of the few vegetables to skyrocket in popularity in recent years, mainly because of announcements by medical research groups that eating such cruciferous vegetables as broccoli helps significantly to reduce the risk of cancers.
Rotate your crops, planting brassicas, of any kinds, in the same ground more often than once every four years runs the risk of club root infestation and once you have it, the ground is useless for up to a decade. Don't take needless chances, even with "catch crops" of radishes.
The word broccoli means 'little sprouts' in Italian.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 500mg Average Seed Count 110 Seeds Common Name Heading Broccoli. Other Common Names Calabrese Miranda Family Brassicaceae Genus Brassica Species olearacea Cultivar Miranda Position Partial-shade Soil Firm, fertile, free-draining but water-retentive soil. Season Spring to Autumn Time to Sow June onwards Germination 7 to 12 days, depending on soil temperature. Harvest 95 to 105 days