By: Mary Ellen Ellis
Heirloomvegetable varieties give home gardeners more options than what the grocerystore offers. If you like broccoli,try growing Di Ciccio broccoli. This tasty Italian heirloom variety producesearthy, sweet, and mild flavors with a continuous harvest, thanks to offshootson each plant.
Broccoli Di Ciccio is an heirloom variety that comes fromItaly. It is small to medium in size compared to other varieties of broccoliand has long, thin stems. Each plant produces a central head but also offshootswith smaller heads. You can remove each head one at a time and get a continuousharvest from your broccoli Di Ciccio plants.
The flavor of this broccoli variety is mild but sweet andtasty. 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.
If you are planting in the spring, start your seeds indoorssix to eight weeks before the last frost. The time to maturity for this varietycan be long and varied, up to 100 days, so starting indoors is important tomake the most of the growing season and to avoid your plantsbolting when it gets hot.
You can also sow seeds directly into the ground in the latesummer to get a fall harvest, especially in places with mild winters.
Broccoli plants of all types prefer fertile, well-drainedsoil. Amend your soil with compost, if necessary, and be sure there won’t bestanding water. They also need plenty of space between plants, about two feet(60 cm.) for airflow to prevent disease and rot.
In addition to compost, use fertilizer, as broccoli utilizesa lot of nutrients. Put your transplants or seeds in a sunny spot in thegarden, although Di Ciccio will tolerate a little shade. Water the plantsregularly throughout the growing season to keep soil moist.
Broccoli Di Ciccio plants will give you a continuous harvestwith offshoots that mature at different times. Harvestheads as needed, cutting them at the stem about six inches (15 cm.) underthe head as they mature.
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We do not ship live plants! Pick up only at our house/hoophouse, 305-313 Newport in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood.
We have improved our process for 2021. We will have more Cherry Tomato and lettuce varieties this season. We have also added other types of vegetable seedlings. If you order both Cold and Hot weather crops you will need to pick up twice. We will post information here regarding pick up dates and will make announcements via Social Media, once we see how the spring is progressing. Feel free to email us if you have any questions. When you come to pick up your plants, please have your order number and bring containers/boxes to transport your seedlings. Wear a mask please! Let us all be safe!
Below, we have included plant-specific spacing suggestions so you can accurately determine the number of plants you may need, according to the space you have in your garden or planters. In this way, you will not order excess plants and we will hopefully be able to accommodate everyone who needs vegetable seedlings.
Cold Crops - Available for Pick up in April 2021
Lettuce, Kale, Collards, Chard, Spinach, Beets, Scallions and Broccoli we will be selling in 1 1/2” soil blocks (Plugs that look like brownies). Plant them as soon as you can and try not to let the soil blocks dry out before you do so.
Plant most lettuces around 18” apart, Kale and Collards 18” apart, Chard 12” apart, Spinach 1-2’ apart, Beets 4 - 6”, apart, Broccoli 18’’
Hot Crops - Available for pick up in May 2021
Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumbers, Zucchini and Summer Squash, Eggplant, Bush and Pole Beans - These veggie seedlings will be in 3-4” pots.
Plant tomatoes around 2’ apart, Cherry Tomatoes 1’ apart, Peppers 1’ apart, Cucumbers 1’ apart, Zucchini and Summer Squashes 18”-2’ apart for single plants (three squash plants can be planted on a small hill), Bush and Pole beans 1’ apart.
Search below for your Veggie Seedlings!
Calabrese Broccoli is known for its large-headed edible flower stalk, which consists of clusters of small green flower buds. This is not only tasty but also highly nutritious.
Broccoli isn't as hardy as cabbage, though it can be frost tolerant in temperatures as low as 20˚ F.
Broccoli likes full sun, especially when growing in cool weather. It will tolerate some shade, but this slows maturation.
The large plants take up quite a bit of space, but this usually isn't an issue in cooler weather, as the garden is often half empty anyway.
Broccoli isn't as hardy as most other Brassicas and seedlings shouldn't go outside until the soil is at least 60˚ F.
Broccoli prefers full sun when growing in cool weather.
In warm weather it will grow in light shade.
Broccoli transpires quite a lot of water and for optimal growth the soil should be moist at all times. This isn't usually a problem because it grows in fairly cool weather.
Like most members of the cabbage family, Broccoli is a hungry plant and needs plenty of nutrients for good growth. It doesn't like acid soil.
For one broccoli plant, you'll need a pot that is at least 10" deep and 12" wide, but the deeper the better. Fill with a mixture of potting soil and compost and keep the soil moist but not overly wet. If you are using a larger container, be sure to space your broccoli plants at least 18 to 24" apart. Although broccoli is a cool weather plant, it loves sunshine so be sure to place the container in an area with access to at least 3 hours of full sun a day.
Small florets are tender and delicious.
Learn how to grow broccoli, a tasty, cool season crop.
Seed Depth: 1/8–1/4″
Space Between Plants: 12–18″
Space Between Rows: 24″
Germination Soil Temperature: 65–75°F
Days for Germination: 7–14
Sow Indoors: 4–6 weeks before average last frost date.
Sow Outdoors: 2–3 weeks before average last frost date.
Vegetative: Can be propagated by planting side shoots directly in soil or a mix of perlite and well-rotted compost.
Prefers more moderate climates with temperatures of around 60 to 65°F. In areas with frosty winters, start in the spring for summer harvest or late summer for a fall harvest. Plant seeds in the fall for a winter or early spring harvest in warmer areas. Be aware of starting seeds too early in the fall or too late in the spring as extreme summer heat will stunt head growth if the plants have not yet matured.
Natural: Full sun. Will tolerate partial shade.
Artificial: While growing broccoli inside is not recommended, if you are starting your plants inside, be sure that they are given adequate light: about 8–10 hours of light per day. Most indoor lighting systems such as HID or fluorescent are sufficient, but take care to allow ample space between the lamp and plants to avoid burning.
Soil: Prefers sandy to loamy soil with high amounts of organic matter. A pH of 6.0 to 7.0 will keep plants healthy and nourished.
Soilless: Start seeds or grow container plants in a soilless mix of perlite with well-rotted compost and/or coco coir .
Hydroponics: Will thrive in a hydroponic environment.
Aeroponics: Will thrive in an aeroponic environment.
Water: Requires low to moderate levels of water. Aim for 1–1.5 inches of water per week, depending on natural precipitation. Be sure to keep soil relatively moist but don’t overwater! If planting outside, drip irrigation systems will be most suitable.
Nutrients: Requires moderate to high levels of nutrients. Although not necessary, a standard, balanced fertilizer can be helpful to young plants approximately 3 weeks after transplanting. Decrease or stop feeding as head formation begins. If your soil is particularly acidic, add lime and calcium to raise the pH.
Foliar: Plants may benefit from foliar sprays containing boron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, and/or copper depending on your soil conditions. Broccoli will also benefit from a monthly feeding of liquid seaweed.
Pruning: Be sure to harvest heads at the correct time as this will keep your plants producing side shoots longer.
Deficiency(s): Plant will begin to turn yellow towards the top of the leaves when they are nitrogen deficient. If this happens, use a standard nitrogen fertilizer or blood meal to regain plant health. Micronutrient deficiencies of calcium and boron will cause tip burn and hollow stems, respectively.
Rotation: A 3- to 4-year rotation away from all crops in the brassica family is recommended to help prevent pest and disease issues.
Companions: Grows well with beets, bush beans, carrots, celery, chard, cucumber, dill, kale, lettuce, mint, nasturtium, onion family plants, oregano, potato, rosemary, sage, and spinach. Avoid nightshade family plants, pole beans, rue, mustard greens, grapes, and strawberries.
Harvest: The central crown is ready to harvest when it reaches approximately 3–5″ across and the flower buds are visible but have not yet started to separate from each other or open. If you’ve waited too late and leaves or heads start to turn yellow, harvest immediately to promote side shoot formation. Continue to harvest these side shoots as they reach maturity. To cut, use a knife or clippers and sever the crown approximately 6″ down on the stalk. Leaves may be harvested at any time throughout the growing season, just don’t take more than 1/3 of the leafy growth at a time.
Storage: Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Frozen broccoli will last for several months.
Fun Fact: This heirloom variety of broccoli was first grown in Italy around 1890.