Calabrese (also known as green or Italian sprouting broccoli) grows fast. It produces bluish-green heads 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter when it reaches 2 feet (60 cm) tall. You can harvest these heads in autumn or summer based on the time when you sowed them initially. Calabrese is names after Calbria, which is a region of Italy.

The plant develops a large single head. However, smaller heads will appear after you cut the main head from the plant.

As with the other green vegetables, not everyone likes the taste. But if you do, it is a great vegetable to grow for the kitchen table.

Sowing Calabrese

Sow the seeds in February and June. If you’re sowing indoors, sow the seed until April in trays in the greenhouse. Make sure there are two seeds in a cell tray in case some of the seeds don’t take. On the other hand, if you’re sowing outdoor, sow the seeds from April.


Growing Calabrese

  • Apply high potassium fertiliser (Vitax Q4) at the rate of three handfuls in one square metre/yard. You can also add mulch (rotted organic matter or manure). However, its amount should be half as compared to general fertiliser.
  • Transplant the plant to fertile soil with sunlight access or light shade.
  • Make sure the plants are 12 inches (30 cm) apart.
  • Ensure a space of 18 inches (45 cm) between rows. Otherwise, the number of side shoots will decrease due to closer spacing.
  • Apply liquid fertiliser to crop each week.
  • Thin out the seeds when they reach the appropriate size to leave only one healthy seedling.
  • Cover the seedbeds or seedlings with fleece. It will keep the cabbage root fly away from the crop. However, you can remove the fleece in May because the damage risk is less in May.
  • Water your crop every 10-14 days in dry weather.
  • Apply high nitrogen fertiliser at a rate of 35g per square metre/yard. You should apply nitrogen fertiliser when the plant reaches a height of 8 inches or so (20 cm).
  • A cooler summer produces better heads. However, in hot weather, seeds may form from the plants prematurely. The good news is that cultivars resistant to this tendency are available in the market.

Harvesting Calabrese

You can harvest the Calabrese from late summer to autumn. The best time to harvest the calabrese is when the spears form, but flowers have not started opening.

While harvesting the calabrese, you should first cut the central spear. Afterwards, you can move to harvest the side shoots. You can regularly pick these side shoots over a time of 4-6 weeks.

Common problems


Caterpillars, especially the white cabbage butterfly, eat brassicas. These holes even invade up to the cabbage heart. They make holes in the leaves. So, you will see either holes or caterpillars on the broccoli crop.


  • Pick the caterpillars with your hand in the mild attack.
  • Fine netting (with 5-7mm mesh size) and insect-proof mesh help prevent egg-lying.


Birds, especially pigeons, can cause damage to the crop. They can eat seedlings, fruit, buds, leaves, and vegetables.  

pigeons – the growers nightmare


  • Cover the plants with fleece or net.
  • Bird-scaring or scarecrows could also help.


The plants with clubroot show the following symptoms:

  • Roots become distorted and swollen
  • Leaves become pale yellow

Even the death of the plant may also occur with this disease.


  • Add lime to the soil. Lime will make the soil alkaline.
  • Improve drainage
  • Grow the plants in pots
  • Avoid growing the plant in affected soil.

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06/17/2021 | Vegetables | 0 Comments

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