Broccoli, Raab

 Broccoli Raab,  Rapini

Heirloom. Organic. Broccoli Raab raab is also known as Broccoli Raab asparago in Italy where it is prized for being a culinary delight.  Spring rapini doesn't grow like the Broccoli Raab most people think of.  It doesn't have a central head, but rather it is treasured for its cluster of yellow buds.  These buds along with the tender green leaves are sauteed or used in salads in the finest eateries world wide for their rich, unique flavor. Broccoli rabe, or broccoli raab, is actually not broccoli. It belongs to the turnip family of vegetables but got its name because it grows florets that are similar in appearance to traditional broccoli. Broccoli rabe likes cool temperatures, and seeds can be sowed directly into the soil in early spring. Once sown, broccoli rabe takes little effort to grow a successful and tasty crop. These nutritious vegetables contain calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamins K, C, and A. Raab is notably rich with antioxidants that have shown to be helpful in fighting cancer. Studies done at Johns Hopkins Medical Center show that broccoli sprouts have at least 30 times the concentration of the anticancer substances found in mature broccoli..    

Planting Broccoli Raab

While starting seeds of the Broccoli Raab is not necessarily difficult, the right conditions will make the process successful. Sow Broccoli Raab seeds directly in the ground in the spring when the threat of frost has passed or start in containers several weeks before transplanting into soil. Keep the ground moist but not wet for the first couple of weeks. Pick a sunny, well-drained spot for planting for the best performance. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position.  Broccoli Raab plants need regular watering. Height: 18 inches tall and 1 foot wide Days to harvest—45 to 50 Days

Spacing: 12-18" inches Depth: 1/4  inch Germination: 15-20 days

Starting from Seed Indoors

Generally, the time to start your seeds is about 6- 8 weeks before the last expected spring frost date in your area, planting the seedlings outdoors about 2 weeks after that date. Another way to figure is to plan on setting out sturdy seedlings in the garden when night temperatures stay in the mid-50 degree range both day and night. Count back and sow seeds 6 to 8 weeks before that date normally arrives. Place a few seeds (5 to 10) into each pot and push them into the soil with your finger. Cover the seeds to a depth of approximately 1/4 inches of the potting mix. Mist each  pot with water until the soil appears moist. Place the pots in an area which will provide both light (which is required for germination) and heat, preferably about 65 to 70 degrees F and at least 8 hours of light each day. Check on the seeds every day and keep the seeds damp but not drenched by misting with your plant mister. You should see sprouting in about 15 to 20 days. Once your seedlings have reached about 4 to 6 inches in height, choose an area in your garden to transfer them. You can also use containers like barrels or clay pots. Dig holes twice the width and depth of each of your pots. Fill up each hole with water then let it drain off. Place a pot in the hole center and level so that your seedling is at the same level as the surrounding soil. Push dirt in carefully all the way to fill the hole back up. Water each seedling carefully so as not to soak the leaves or stem.

Direct-seeding into the Garden

Turn over the area you've selected to a depth of approximately 1/2 inches. Rake the area until it's level and smooth. Water the area until the soil is damp but not saturated. Scatter the seeds in the area. Gently rake the area to distribute the seeds further and protect them from birds. Or, press the seeds into the soil and cover with no more than 1/4 inches of soil. You can also place 2 to 3 seeds every 12 to 18 inches in rows approximately 12-18 inches apart, and cover seeds with 1/4 inches of soil. Place planting stakes around the area so you will know where to water. Check on your seeds about once a day. Make sure to mist the soil whenever it appears dry. Germination for Broccoli Raab plants is approximately 15 to 20 days, depending on the warmth of the soil.   

Germination Problems

Growing plants from seeds successfully depends on a lot of factors and this makes it impossible to guarantee success on every batch of seeds planted.  Factors include, soil composition, PH, temperature, moisture levels, seed depth, soil density, seed viability, seed storage and many others.  We tested the germination of all our seeds and this seed variety is around 80%, but your results may vary based on exactly how you plant and all the environmental factors.  Good luck.