Exploring different varieties of vegetables is an exciting way to extend the growing season. Different cultivars, each with different days to maturity, can easily prolong the harvest period of certain crops. This is especially true when it comes to planting cool season crops that are able to thrive when frost is a threat in the garden. Experimenting with different types of broccoli, for example, is just one way to make the most of your growing space throughout the year.
Broccoli Plant Types
It is no doubt that seasoned gardeners know the joy of early and late season broccoli cultivars. However, many may not realize that experimenting with different broccoli plant types can add diversity to the garden, as well as help to produce a consistent harvest of fresh produce for several weeks at both the beginning and end of the growing season.
From Chinese broccoli to Romanesco broccoli, the addition of different kinds of broccoli can add a new and interesting dynamic to your harvest basket, and to the kitchen.
Broccolini – While the appearance of broccolini may be similar to that of sprouting types, this plant is actually a cross with Chinese broccoli. When growing broccolini, gardeners should expect small florets with a subtle and sweet flavor. Broccolini is ready to harvest in 60 to 90 days from planting, depending upon the variety.
Chinese Broccoli – Also known as Chinese kale, the Chinese broccoli plant types are known for their large leaves and robust stems.
Romanesco Broccoli – Romanesco broccoli varieties are easily recognized by their unique geometric heads. These immensely beautiful plants are sure to inspire growers to test their creativity in the kitchen. Romanesco broccoli tastes very similar to other sprouting broccoli types.
Sprouting/Heading Broccoli Cultivars – These common kinds of broccoli are known for their production of tight heads at harvest time. Though the heads can range in size and color, these types of broccoli are picked when florets are firm and compact. Sprouting broccoli cultivars reach maturity in roughly 70 to 100 days. Popular sprouting broccoli varieties include:
- Italian Green Sprouting
- Green King
- Green Magic
- Gypsy Broccoli
- Purple Sprouting
- Waltham 29