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How to grow calabrese

Calabrese is a tasty type of broccoli. Follow our simple guide to growing your own at home.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is at its best in June

Plant is at its best in July

Plant is at its best in August

Plant is at its best in September

Plant is at its best in October

Plant is at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do To do in July

Do To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do not To do in December

Named after the Italian region of Calabria, calabrese is a type of broccoli. For simplicity, supermarkets and greengrocers sell it as broccoli.

Calabrese has one large head, but smaller heads develop after the central head is cut. It can be harvested from summer to the first frosts. It’s different to purple sprouting broccoli, which has smaller heads and crops from winter through into spring.

Growing from seed means you’ll be able to grow a wide range of varieties, giving you a crop for many months of the year. Here’s how.

Named after the Italian region of Calabria, calabrese is a type of broccoli.

You will need

  • Calabrese seeds
  • Good quality multipurpose compost
  • Small pots
  • Trowel
  • Crushed oyster shells
  • Fleece (and support)
  • Sharp knife
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Total time:

Step 1

Calabrese seed can be sown direct in the ground, but you’ll get better results by sowing in pots of multipurpose compost. After germination, thin seedlings to leave the strongest in each pot.

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Step 2

When large enough to handle easily (usually from late April to May) plant out into well-prepared soil. Space plants 60-75cm (24-30in) apart, with the same spacing between the rows.

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Step 3

Firm the soil at the base of the plant very well, then tug one of the bottom leaves to check that the plant is secure. Calabrese can suffer from windrock if not firmly planted.

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Step 4

Slugs and snails can cause a lot of damage to your young calabrese plants. Drizzle a ring of crushed oyster shell around the base of the plant – slugs and snails don’t like crossing it.

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Step 5

Water the plants thoroughly, then cover with fleece to prevent attacks from cabbage white butterflies, cabbage moth and pigeons. You must keep the fleece in close contact with the ground, so a purpose-built frame is really useful.

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Step 6

Using a sharp knife, cut off the head before the florets begin to open, and while the head is still firm. Don’t dig up the plant as the cut stalk will produce new heads.

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