Heirloom vegetable varieties give home gardeners more options than what the grocery store offers. If you like broccoli, try growing Di Ciccio broccoli. This tasty Italian heirloom variety produces earthy, sweet, and mild flavors with a continuous harvest, thanks to offshoots on each plant.
What is Broccoli Di Ciccio?
Broccoli Di Ciccio is an heirloom variety that comes from Italy. It is small to medium in size compared to other varieties of broccoli and has long, thin stems. Each plant produces a central head but also offshoots with smaller heads. You can remove each head one at a time and get a continuous harvest from your broccoli Di Ciccio plants.
The flavor of this broccoli variety is mild but sweet and tasty. It can be eaten raw or cooked any way you would other types of broccoli. The smaller florets are even sweeter and more ender; they are best used raw. The baby leaves of the plant can be used like kale.
How to Plant Di Ciccio Broccoli
If you are planting in the spring, start your seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost. The time to maturity for this variety can be long and varied, up to 100 days, so starting indoors is important to make the most of the growing season and to avoid your plants bolting when it gets hot.
You can also sow seeds directly into the ground in the late summer to get a fall harvest, especially in places with mild winters.
Di Ciccio Broccoli Care
Broccoli plants of all types prefer fertile, well-drained soil. Amend your soil with compost, if necessary, and be sure there won’t be standing water. They also need plenty of space between plants, about two feet (61 cm.) for airflow to prevent disease and rot.
In addition to compost, use fertilizer, as broccoli utilizes a lot of nutrients. Put your transplants or seeds in a sunny spot in the garden, although Di Ciccio will tolerate a little shade. Water the plants regularly throughout the growing season to keep the soil moist.
Broccoli Di Ciccio plants will give you a continuous harvest with offshoots that mature at different times. Harvest heads as needed, cutting them at the stem about six inches (15 cm.) under the head as they mature.