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Cauliflower 'Romanesco'

Coral Broccoli, Broccoflower.
Heritage (Northern Italy)

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Cauliflower 'Romanesco'

Coral Broccoli, Broccoflower.
Heritage (Northern Italy)

Availability: In stock

Packet Size:2gm
Average Seed Count:500 Seeds


'Romanesco' the most ravishing, unique, and eye-catching cauliflower cousin that has to be one of the most beautiful vegetables around - a true ‘Objet d'Art’ - Each complex, symmetrical head features whorls of pointy, chartreuse green florets and small pointy cones, in a complex, bewitching design, an amazing example of phyllotaxis - the fractal patterning that can appear in nature.

An old Italian vegetable variety that's been rediscovered, Romanesco cauliflower is often called romanesco broccoli, calabrese romanesco or minaret especially in Italian recipes. It is sometimes called broccoflower, a name is also applied to green-curded cauliflower cultivars. It is also known as coral broccoli.
Though this brassica is not a cross between broccoli and cauliflower, it does have attributes of both. When raw, the florets are similar in texture to cauliflower, but romanesco has smaller buds and is slightly sweeter, similar to broccoli. It cooks a bit faster than cauliflower: it holds up to heat well and maintains its texture.

Romanesco is delicious with a flavour is somewhere between broccoli and cauliflower, with a sweet nuttiness that is bereft of the slightly bitter edge cauliflower can have, children tend to like it for this very reason.
The heads grow to 18 to 22cm (7 to 9in) wide and usually take around 75 days to mature. Harvesting is straightforward, carefully cut the head off at the base with a clean sharp knife. If you cook it whole, dunking it in boiling water for a few minutes until tender, it's one of the most impressive greens you can serve.

Prepare the site:
All brassica crops grow best in partial-shade, in firm, fertile, free-draining soil. Start digging over your soil in autumn, remove any stones you find and work 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 to 7.5.
Cauliflower prefers deep, humus-rich soil with a good supply of water and high humidity. Prepare your soil by working into it organic matter such as compost, bark, wood ashes, and manure. Barnyard manures should be aged before adding to the garden. Rabbit and chicken manures are good ones to use. Cow manure is good but just don't overdo it, as the manure may cause a build up of salt in the soil. If your soil is acidic, it should be sweetened up by adding lime.

Cauliflower seeds can be sown in January to February under glass, March to May directly outdoors, or September to October in cold frames to over winter. Succession plant at four week intervals so that you always have a fresh harvest.

Sow 4 to 6 weeks before the date you wish to plant them outdoors
Nearly all brassicas should be planted in a seedbed or in modules under glass and then transferred. Seeds should be sown thinly, as this reduces the amount of future thinning necessary and potential risk from pests.
Sow seeds 1.25cm (½in) deep and rows should be spaced 15cm (6in) apart. Once the seeds have germinated, thin the seedlings to 7.5cm (3in) between each plant.
The seedlings are ready for transplanting when they are between 6 and 8cm high (2½ to 3in). Water the day before moving, and keep well-watered until established. Space individual cauliflower plants and rows as follows: 45 to 60cm (18 to 24in) apart for summer and autumn varieties. 70cm (28in) apart for larger winter varieties and 15cm (6in) apart for mini-caulis
Plant only as deeply as the transplants are as they are removed from their containers. If you overcrowd cauliflower, they may not be able to reach their full potential. Provide two or three plants for each family member. As you plant, put about a cup of root stimulator mixture into each hole along with a teaspoon of bonemeal to get the plants off to a robust start with strong roots and stems. Mulch each plant to prevent soil erosion and to add nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.

Cauliflower needs rich soil and adequate moisture for peak production. Feed them with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer every two or three weeks until the point of production. Then feed them with a good water-soluble fertilizer. Keep the soil moist. Replace mulch as it deteriorates and pull weeds away from the plants.

Cauliflower varieties usually take three to six months from sowing to maturity, but growth rates vary according to the variety, size and weather conditions. Harvest cauliflowers as soon as the head is large enough, when still firm and compact. Don’t wait too long though – once it starts to separate, it’s past its best and will taste bitter. White varieties should be harvested before they turn yellow. Mini varieties can be harvested at tennis-ball size.
A row of cauliflowers may mature all at the same time, leading to a glut. So it’s best to start harvesting before they reach full size, to spread the crop over a longer period. Harvesting cauliflower is straightforward, cut the stem at the base with a clean sharp knife, taking the head and a few of the leaves beneath it, to protect the curd.
Varieties with orange, purple or green heads generally keep their colour when cooked, although boiling can fade purple heads.
Cauliflower can be stored by freezing. Separate the florets, wash them well, and put them into boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove them from the boiling water, then put them into ice water for a few minutes. Drain them well and put them into freezer containers and into the freezer.

Cauliflower is a variety of the common cabbage in which flowers have begun to form, but have stopped growing at the bud stage. The same applies to broccoli. The thick stems under the buds act as storage organs for nutrients, which would have gone into the flowers and eventual fruits had their development not been aborted. All these types are therefore richer in vitamins and minerals than other brassicas.
Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, cauliflower is rich in precious nutrients, including minerals, folic acid and vitamin C. In addition to keeping the heart rate and blood pressure at bay, cauliflower stimulates the thyroid, treats ulcerative colitis and is a perfect health ally to fight the ailments of the cold season. Their consumption also allows to regulate blood sugar levels, which makes cauliflower suitable for people with diabetes.

Companion Planting:
Good companions: Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Onions, Garlic, Beetroot, Chards.
Bad companions: Don't plant cauliflower near strawberries or tomatoes - it doesn't like either.
Plant celery near to cauliflower to repel the white cabbage butterfly.

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.

Cauliflower originated in the Mediterranean and Asia Minor, the earliest record indicates that it was known since 600 B.C.
Romanesco is an edible flower that's light green with patterned points that look like a fractal (or an approximation of a fractal). It was exclusively grown in Rome starting around the 16th century, which is how it got its name and earned its heirloom vegetable status.
Though this brassica is not a cross between broccoli and cauliflower, it does have attributes of both. When raw, the florets are similar in texture to cauliflower, but romanesco has smaller buds and is slightly sweeter, similar to broccoli. It cooks a bit faster than cauliflower: it holds up to heat well and maintains its texture.
For you mathematical types out there, the pattern is not only a graphic representation of a Fibonacci series, it is also a logarithmic spiral that is about as close to a fractal as can occur in nature.

Some time in the past thousand years, the preference developed in southern Europe for eating the immature flower buds of the cabbage plants. Selection pressure favouring production of plants with large tender flowering heads was imposed by some growers. By the 15th century, the modern vegetable we know as cauliflower had developed and about a hundred years later, broccoli had been generated in Italy.
The cauliflower plant was named by botanists as Brassica oleracea variety botrytis, with the last part of the name referring to the fact that a cauliflower curd is was thought to resemble a bunch of grapes. The Latin genus name Brassica derives from the Celtic ‘bresic’.
The species oleracea refers to a vegetable garden herb that is used in cooking, while botrytis is a Greek word meaning ‘clusterlike’ or ‘grapelike’.
The English word cauliflower comes from the Latin words caulis , meaning ‘stem’ or ‘cabbage’, and flos meaning ‘flower’
The name 'Romanesco' indicates that this vegetable was know of, and grown in Rome, Italy. Don't confuse the vegetable with romesco which is a tomato-red pepper sauce made with nuts (which by the way, is also totally worth trying). The Roman cauliflower is a typical Italian vegetable, typical of the Lazio region, but it is grown also in other areas of the country.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Packet Size 2gm
Average Seed Count 500 Seeds
Seed Form Natural
Seeds per gram 250-260 per gram
Common Name Coral Broccoli, Broccoflower.
Heritage (Northern Italy)
Other Common Names Calabrese Romanesco
Other Language Names It: Cavolfiore Romanesco
Family Brassicaceae
Genus Brassica
Species oleracea var. botrytis
Cultivar Romanesco
Time to Harvest 65 to 75 days to mature.

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