Did you know that countless gardening enthusiasts in the UK out there are always on the lookout for tips on when and how to harvest broccolini successfully? Broccolini is a hybrid between standard American broccoli and Gai Lan, a type of Chinese broccoli.
However, compared to regular broccoli, its stems are longer and more tender. Known as one of the most popular vegetables on gourmet tables, the broccolini is famous for its distinct sweet and peppery taste, as well as its delicate texture.
While others may suggest planting the broccolini during colder seasons, it’s best to plant it in the early spring once the frost has passed. In case you’re not aware, UK experts consider broccolini as a temperature-sensitive crop. If you want to grow your broccolini successfully, you may want to experiment and figure out what planting time works best based on your area in the UK.
Growing and Harvesting Broccolini
Broccolini grows better if they’re transplanted rather than sowed from seeds. Once you’ve set it up, harden the new plants and expose them to the environment outside for increasing periods over one week.
Broccolini needs full sun and nutrient-dense soil to thrive. The soil pH should be between 6.0 to 7.0 to ensure optimal growth. You can also add manure or compost to the soil to ensure that the plant will receive as many nutrients as possible and ensure healthy growth.
Moreover, broccolini needs at least 1 to 2 inches of water each week. You should make sure that the soil is moist and water the plant as soon as you notice that the soil is starting to dry off. Water the plant just enough to moisten the soil, but make sure that it’s not waterlogged.
Typically, broccolini planted from transplants will come to harvest within 50 to 60 days after planting. One should harvest them when the heads fully formed but before the flowering starts.
How to Harvest Broccolini
When you see that the tiny florets (flower buds) of your broccolini are tight, this is usually the best time to harvest your broccolini, as this is the stage where it’s the tastiest. Another sign to look out for is if your plant’s stems are starting to bolt because this indicates that your plant will begin to flower soon. If you wait too long, your broccolini will start to bloom, and it will not produce the same taste compared to when you harvest it before flowering.
To harvest your broccolini, be sure that the leaves are still green and not yellow because this could mean that the plant has already wilted. Using a sharp pruner or shears, cut the broccolini at the base of its stalk. The good thing about broccolini is that it will continue to grow shoots even when the head cut down as long as the weather stays cold.
Care Tips for Your Broccolini
To make sure that you enjoy the best quality of broccolini, be sure to do these care tips.
Care Tip #1
Don’t plant broccolini on areas in your British garden where crops like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale planted in the last four years. These types of crops are susceptible to pests and diseases. When you grow your broccolini in the same place, they, too, will become vulnerable to the same pests and diseases that affect those crops.
Care Tip #2
Beware of signs of nitrogen insufficiency. The most common symptom of this is the yellowing of the leaves. Once you notice that, be sure to feed the plants regularly every few weeks to give the plants an extra boost of nitrogen.
Care Tip #3
Push the soil up the stems once the broccolini plants’ height reaches around 8 to 10 inches. That height will help encourage new side shoots to form, mainly when you’ve just harvested the full-grown florets.
Should You Plant Your Broccolini Inside Your Semi-Pro Greenhouse?
The simple answer is yes. Although the broccolini is a cold-loving plant, most of its kind cannot tolerate frost. So, if you’re planning to plant your broccolini during the winter or middle of summer, it will be better off if you place them inside a semi-pro greenhouse.
Check out the benefits of growing broccolini in a semi-pro greenhouse:
Extended Growing Season
As mentioned, broccolini thrives best in colder temperatures but cannot tolerate frost. If you’re planning to enjoy the tasty broccolini florets in the middle of the winter, you can make sure that your broccolini will still produce shoots in the winter by placing it inside a semi-pro greenhouse. With one, you’ll have better control of its growing conditions.
Like its relative, the broccoli, broccolini is exceptionally susceptible to pests. Placing it inside a semi-pro polytunnel will help prevent the pest from eating away your beautiful plant. Since semi-pro greenhouses enclosed with plastic films or fibreglass, problems coming from the outside won’t penetrate the barrier and infect the broccolini.
Protection from Rough Weather
Broccolini plants have slender stalks and can easily break when during strong winds—planting your broccolini inside a semi pro polytunnel allows you to protect them from winds, typhoons, and heavy rains, ensuring the survival of your broccolini.
Final Words on How to Harvest Broccolini
Broccolini is one of the most delicious vegetables you can grow in your British garden. Now that you know how to harvest broccolini, there’s no stopping you from growing a whole bunch in your garden or your semi-pro greenhouse in the UK. Just be sure to give them the proper care they need (1 to 2 inches of water, full sunlight, and moist soil) to ensure that they will grow successfully.