Calabrese and Broccoli are different varieties of the same vegetable.
Growing them both is an ideal way to extend the cropping season.
Calabrese can be defined as a mild flavoured green sprouting broccoli.
The hybrid varieties produce large green heads, and after harvesting produce a second crop of smaller spears reminiscent of traditional sprouting broccoli.
In exposed gardens, taller varieties may need supporting with a cane to avoid wind damage.
Best results are obtained when planted in a sunny position, in soil enriched with liberal amounts of well-rotted manure.
Two weeks before setting out the young plants, prepare beds and rake in a top dressing of general fertiliser at 75 gm (3oz) per sq metre.
At planting out time check soil pH and top-dress with carbonate of lime at 100gms (4oz) per sq metre if necessary.
Early cropping varieties:
Germination should take around four or five days.
Week 14: When the seedlings show their first pair of true leaves, prick them out into 75mm (3") pots of the seed compost and grow on at the same temperature, in a light position.
Week 15: Move plants into coldframe to harden off.
Week 20: Plant out 500mm (18") apart each way.
It is recommended that the plants are covered with nets.
At this time of year they are an ideal food source for pigeons, rabbits and deer.
Ready for pricking out
During the remainder of the growing season ensure that the plants are well watered, particularly during dry spells of weather.
A light dressing of nitrate of soda or nitro-chalk once or twice during the growing season is beneficial and improves the quality of the heads.
Autumn cropping varieties:
Week 24: Sow seeds in pots or trays of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 13°C (55°F).
Germination should take around five or six days.
Week 27: When the seedlings show their first pair of true leaves, prick them out into 75mm (3") pots of the seed compost and grow on at the same temperature, in a light position.
Move plants into coldframe to harden off a couple of days after pricking out.
Week 30: Plant out 500mm (18") apart each way.
Begin to harvest before the yellow flowers open.
Pick the heads/spears regularly to encourage the formation of more side-shoots.
Pests and Disease:
Pest and diseases are the same as any other member of the brassica family so always be vigilant for them, and treat them accordingly.
The most common are; Aphids, Cabbage root fly, Caterpillars Clubroot, and Downy Mildew.