Thursday, January 22, 2009

Romanesco Broccoli

Oy, I found this thing hiding in the brassica jungle yesterday, which I'm not checking often enough these days because of all that bird netting. It's a bit overgrown, but I'm sure it will still be tasty. There also seems to be a bit of tip burn, possibly caused by a lack of calcium or not enough soil moisture (no rain for weeks, finally some last night and today - hooray!).

It looks like the rest of the Romanesco heads are not going to be very large. I'm not sure why, it could be weather related, it doesn't like temperature extremes, and the weather has swung from very cold (high 20's) to very warm (80+) in the last month. It could also be soil, a lack of some micro nutrient perhaps. Could be that lack of moisture thing.

Also harvested while I was under that stuff: a whole bunch of Spigariello Broccoli, some Piracicaba Broccoli (nearly done now), and a few leaves of Portuguese Cabbage. Oh, and I pulled a bunch of carrots as well.


  1. Lucky girl, It looks wonderful, so you will have a feast tonight!



  2. Michelle, you are inspiring me to branch out from tried and trues. I always try at least one new item every year, last year it was yard long beans. This year I believe I'm going to create a whole patch of unusual veggies.

  3. Do you prepare it like regular broccoli?

  4. Hi Michelle,
    Thanks for visiting our blog town mouse and country mouse - I'm just getting into the social aspect of blogging which I didn't even know about - duh! I'm actually in the same sunset zone though farther north than you. My neighbor grows rare fruit trees and has a large vegetable garden (so I can always pinch his produce!) I haven't started edibles as I don't have a fenced-off area other than a shady ex-horse corral - and I'm already busy with growing natives. Your info about when to plant what is great - I last vegetable gardened in Liverpool England, just a bit different from here. Maybe I'll try a few things and see how it goes. Love the format of your blog and look forward to growing our own into as rich a resource as yours one day!

  5. Thanks Tyra, I actually won't get a chance to do something with the Romanesco until tomorrow, I/we have been too busy for dinner at home lately!

    Daphne, it is a yummy vegetable.

    Ang, it's so fun to inspire you like that. :) I hope you find some new favorite veggies.

    Chuck, the name is rather misleading, it's actually more like cauliflower, same firm texture, but a less cabbagey flavor. Some people describe the flavor as cashew-like. But I generally cook it as I would cauliflower. One great (and easy) way is to cut it into florets, toss with a little olive oil and chile flakes (or curry, or whatever takes your fancy), and roast in a hot oven.

    Hi Country Mouse! It took me a while to figure out the social aspects as well. My gardening activites have evolved just the opposite of yours. First priority was to get a spot fenced off to start a veggie garden. Now that that is well on its way I need to revive the landscape. I want to get more natives into the garden as well as other drought tolerant (deer tolerant) mediterranean type plants. Your native garden is inspiring!

  6. I'm intrigued... what about using it to make a soup, the way you'd make cauliflower soup? I don't like cauliflower, but I do like soup and I would like to eat more of those cruciferous vegetables. Maybe I should try this.

  7. I mean, I don't like cauliflower, but I do like cauliflower soup.

  8. Hi Chuck, it would be great in soup. I was just thinking about Romanesco soup yesterday when I saw a third head sizing up. I finally got around to using the first head last night... not soup, but that's in the works. Stay tuned!

  9. How did you get it to grow??!! I just started a few seeds and I live in Georgia. The seeds have sprouted and I planted them 7 days ago. I used Miracle Grow soil. Can you ive me some poitners?

  10. Danielle, I started the seeds for the Romanesco in pots in July last year and planted them out a few weeks later. Around here we plant heading brassicas such as broccoli and cauliflower in mid to late summer to get them growing through the fall and nearly mature before cold winter weather slows their growth. When the days start to lenghten and warm a bit in late winter/early spring that triggers the formation of the heads. If you get hard freezes during the winter this timing may not work for you. A very early spring planting to produce mature heads before the heat of summer sets in may work better. If there is a Master Gardener program (usually a volunteer program run by the county) that serves your area they should be able to tell you. Basically, the Romanesco has the same growing requirements as cauliflower. Good luck!


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I value your insights and feedback.