Are you aware that many types of broccoli exist? Brassica oleracea is the broccoli species that encompass all broccoli cultivars and hybrids. It contains cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, and others.
Some broccoli produces a crop in less than 2 months – the fast growth harvest for your garden is fantastic. Others take longer to make, cropping in the middle of summer, fall, or early winter.
Overview About Broccoli
Broccoli is a Mediterranean native that grew wild around the sixth century before Christ and is originally from Italy.
But, the commercialization of this green plant was traced back to the 1920s in the United States. But we can also notice its presence in the 1700s in England and the 16th century in France.
Broccoli is a cruciferous plant under the umbrella of cabbage. These include vegetables like kale and Brussel sprouts. While their tastes differ, broccoli and the other vegetables belong to the same family.
This veggie is a nutritional powerhouse, high in minerals and vitamins. It includes vitamins C, K, E, A, fiber, iron, and calcium. We can also consume significant amounts of phosphorus, manganese, and potassium when eating broccoli.
According to Nutrition Research, eating steamed broccoli often lowers cardiovascular disease’s hazard by reducing total cholesterol levels in the body.
In addition, another study conducted in the US discovered that increasing the consumption of vegetables, particularly cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, may reduce your chances of getting heart disease.
Even anti-inflammatory characteristics make broccoli consumption a wise decision.
Unlike some other vegetables, broccoli grows well in cool weather. But it is less tolerant of hot summers. Early spring is the ideal time to plant them, but mid-summer and late fall are also good times.
Types Of Broccoli We Have
Broccoli comes in various varieties, and there appear to be infinite different types of broccoli. These varieties differ in shape, size, time of maturity, disease resistance, side shoots, and even texture.
There are four varieties of broccoli: early season, mid-season, Chinese broccoli, and specialty broccoli. Each has many names, making the identity even more difficult. But, once you understand the distinctions, you will most likely want to grow a few of each.
Early Season Broccoli Types
Blue Wind broccoli is one of the earliest bloomers, usually maturing within 60 days on average. On the top of the green plant, it bears tight, gigantic heads and bluish-green leaves. They resemble kale in appearance.
Blue Wind produces edible side shoots after you harvest the main head, allowing you to gather for longer than you would otherwise. Make sure that you put Blue Wind broccoli 18-24 inches apart and in full sunlight.
This is an heirloom broccoli variety from Italy. DiCicco can produce mature heads in as short as 50 days. Along with the harvest of the main head, there will also be a lot of side shoots.
You’ll note that the broccoli heads from DiCicco aren’t always uniform, which means their heads develop at different rates. Although it may not work for a business farmer, it is an excellent trait for home growers.
Calabrese is named after the southern Italian region of Calabria. It grows deep-green heads that range from medium to large size and matures in about 65 days.
And it’s ideal for planting in the fall. Because the weather cools, the heads will become sweeter. Also, Calabrese is well-known for producing many sprouting side shoots after the first crop.
Eastern Magic is significantly heat resistant, helping growers in frigid climates to extend their growing baby broccoli season in the spring and fall. So, this hybrid is perfect for the colder northern US and Canada regions.
You may cultivate many harvests of Eastern Magic broccoli, depending on your region, because it only takes 60-65 days to mature. It produces enormous blue-green crowns with excellent flavor.
Green Magic has a blue-green color. This variety has a unique buttery taste. Unlike Eastern Magic, it prefers warm weather. Green Magic was bred to withstand the heat of the United States’ southern states.
This broccoli develops heads that are domed, smooth, and medium. You can harvest it after 60 days of maturity.
Maturing in less than 2 months, the Amadeus broccoli measures approximately 4 to 5 inches in diameter. It has blue-green beads and tight heads.
Amadeus broccoli is an excellent choice for planting in the early spring because of its rapid growth. After harvesting the core heads, it produces many sides shoots to help you extend your crop. You can cultivate Amadeus in summer and fall.
Arcadia broccoli takes about two months to mature. Its heads feature small, purple-green, and uniform shapes. The heads range in size from 6 to 8 inches.
They measure 5 to 6 inches across and are extremely cold tolerant, which means the seasons of autumn and winter are ideal for production. Moreover, it also resists downy mildew, head rot, and brown beads.
It produces firm, large, dark-green heads with a distinctive frosted appearance that sets it apart from other types. After harvesting the main head, let the broccoli in place because Arcadia produces wonderful side shoots.
Maturing in about 60 days, Gypsy Broccoli is one of the broccoli’s earliest flowering crops. It has an excellent root system; thus, even if the soil isn’t ideal, it produces well.
Gypsy broccoli has well-domed green heads and medium-to-small-sized beads. It is also very heat tolerant and comes with many side shoots.
Purple Sprouting is a tall, stalky, leafy plant with single florets rather than a central head. Although slightly bitterer than regular broccoli, the leaves are edible.
In areas where the summers are not hot, or the winters are not harsh, you can plant in the early spring, the middle of the summer, and the beginning of the fall. Florets need 6 to 8 weeks in low temperatures to develop.
Mid-Season Broccoli Types
Mid-season broccoli matures in about 70 to 80 days. The heads of this broccoli variety are tightly packed and appear in a lovely shade of blue-green.
You can plant these different kinds of broccoli in the spring and harvest in the middle of the summer. They are also well developed for those living in the southern United States who want to grow broccoli all winter.
Cold tolerance, giant blue-green primary heads, and a profusion of side shoots distinguish this broccoli variety. The diameter of its head can range from 4 to 8 inches. Early spring and late fall are the best times to plant them.
Waltham 29 takes 85 days for the plant to mature. It grows in a non-uniform pattern, allowing harvesting to continue throughout the growing season.
Here’s a broccoli hybrid that’s noted for its heat tolerance. Destiny broccoli produces small- to medium-sized heads. The heads are likewise green, with purple tinges. The maturation period of the Destiny broccoli variety is between 70 and 75 days.
Marathon broccoli is cold tolerant. As a result, it thrives in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. In these places, it is ideal for production during the fall and winter.
The time for harvest is up to 68 days. It grows a tall dome densely covered with thousands of tiny flowers.
This variety of broccoli grows well in all climate zones. They have blue-green heads which can reach a diameter of 6 to 8 inches.
Like some other broccoli varieties, they produce many side shoots and reach their peak in about 70 days. After harvesting the main head, expect a slew of side shoots to sprout.
Fiesta is a 75-day-maturing hybrid broccoli. It’s an excellent option for harvesting in the fall or early winter because of its low heat tolerance.
This broccoli variety has thick stems and dense heads but comes in a medium size. Its well-domed heads are 6-7 inches wide.
Make sure to grow this cultivar in direct sunshine. Its side shoots aren’t as many as those of other varieties.
Is downy mildew a problem in your neighborhood or garden? Well, Diplomat broccoli is an excellent choice in this case!
This broccoli grows uniform, medium-sized heads with tiny blooms. The buds are densely packed, and the heads are dark green in hue.
It works well for crown cuts or bunches. Because it is mildew-resistant, in 68 days, you can get a harvest of 4-6 inch diameter broccoli.
Belstar is a winter-hardy hybrid variety. With six-inch blue-green heads that mature in 65 days, you can harvest this broccoli in the spring and the fall.
This variety is compact and heat-tolerant. And it produces many side shoots after the primary crowns are picked.
Let’s discover broccoli’s big secret:
Chinese broccoli, also known as “Chinese kale,” is the Americanized name for “kai-lan,” also known as “gai-lon,” “gai-lohn,” and “gai-lan.”
Long stems, flat leaves, and small flower heads characterize the plant. It is popular in Chinese cuisine, particularly Cantonese recipes.
Before the 1980s, most Americans had never heard of Chinese broccoli. After that, the vegetable is available In Chinatown in New York.
The Happy Rich is a fast-growing plant that takes around 55 days to maturity. It has several side shoots and produces florets that resemble small broccoli heads. It is a hybrid plant that pops up in many Chinese dishes.
Maturing in about 60 days, this broccoli variety is dark green and can reach a diameter of 6 to 8 inches.
On the stalks of the plant are white flowers. It does not always perform well in hot weather, so you’d better plant it in spring-early or late summer.
This is one of the hybrid broccoli. It is an excellent choice in hotter climates when compared to non-hybrid types for its superior heat tolerance.
The best part is that you only have to wait about 44 days for the first harvest.
It’s a hybrid plant between Chinese kale and broccoli. It takes 60 days to 90 days to mature and produces a lot of sprouts. If you get the primary head harvested early, you’ll be able to enjoy a slew of side shoots.
They work better in colder climates. But, if you live in hotter weather, you should make specific plants in the fall or spring. Extreme temperatures can make this broccoli taste bitter.
Romanesco is pointy broccoli cultivated in Italy since the 1500s, considered a cross between a broccoli plant and a cauliflower.
After about 75 days of care, you can enjoy gorgeous spiral greenheads with a subtle and earthy flavor.
Besides, it’s also known as Fibonacci broccoli for its exceptional shape. Each bud consists of a series of smaller shoots, all arranged in a different logarithmic spiral.
This broccoli is also referred to as purple sprouting broccoli. It bears many delicate purple flowers with green stems. The florets turn green after cooking.
It has a harvest period extending from three to five weeks. Because the shoots turn bitter under hot temperatures, you should only think of this crop if you live in an incredible region.
Sprouting broccoli produces many enormous, plentiful heads and has many long side branches.
Most people are processing side shoots the same way as asparagus, which means you may cut them up, cook them in a skillet, or grill them with some olive oil.
Above are different types of broccoli. Most of them are cultivable in a home garden. But, you should know you will enjoy their excellent nutritional profile regardless of the broccoli you grow.