I’ve mentioned a few times that calabrese is my favourite early summer crop.
There’s 14 plants in a 6 foot by 4 foot area – I plant 9 inches apart and this will produce main heads that are 1/2 kilo in weight when cut. So they can be packed in and still yield a really good crop. And as it’s early summer they’re relatively pest free so just a quick rinse under the tap and they’re ready for the steamer or stir fry. Even when planted at the same time there is a natural spread in the timing the plants are ready although you have to like your broccoli as once they are ready the cropping is thick and fast! Fortunately we love it as we will be eating every day now for a few weeks!
The plant on the right of the picture has been cut with the one on the left developing. It’s just a case of keeping a close eye on them and judging when they have reached their full size. They must be cut before they start to flower so it’s best to cut a little early if you’re unsure as there’ll be plenty of size shoots to follow. Keep cutting until the new shoots become too small to be any use. They need plenty of water in this dry weather we’ve been having but will reward with a huge harvest. The main heads I’ve been cutting have been much bigger than anything in the supermarket and can be cut every 1-2 days over a 3 week period with side shoots to follow.
I normally record one or two gardening programmes during the week and flick through to the bits of interest. Yesterday’s Beechgrove Garden did illustrate the huge difference between growing in Southern England and Scotland. Whilst I’ve been harvesting the calabrese for a couple of weeks now theirs had just been set out and looked similar to my post at Easter. Even though I do complain about the cold nights that have affected the last few weeks the relatively mild southern weather means we’re fortunate to be harvesting a number of veg already.
Another highlight of the last couple of weeks have been the gooseberries. From one – very neglected – bush I harvested 4 lbs of fruit last week leaving the rest to swell and I should get a similar harvest from the rest over the next week. The blackcurrants are almost ready too, time to dig the jam pan out of the back of the cupboard!