I took advantage of a break in the rain yesterday to get a few things planted. I had prepped one cold frame bed on Monday by cleaning it up and amending the soil, and since the plants were ready I decided to get them in while I could. I planted that bed with a mix of broccoli raab and kohlrabi. I’ve grown broccoli raab (aka rapini or Cima di Rapa) before, but not enough to really determine if I liked eating it. So I decided to give it another go this year. There’s very few veggies I don’t eat (none I can really think of) so I think it’s going to be a matter of experimenting, which I love to do in both the garden and the kitchen.
I’m trying three varieties, one I’ve grown before (Sorrento) plus two Seeds from Italy selections called Quarantina (a 40-day variety) and Maceratese (a variety from Macerata). Both Sorrento and Quarantina will form edible flower buds, while Maceratese is grown for its leaves and stems. Seeds from Italy has an informative article titled “How to Grow Cima di Rapa” on their website. They recommend direct seeding since it is a quick grower and transplants are likely to bolt. I had already started the seed indoors before I read it, so I decided to try a mix of both methods.
As the article predicted, the Quarantina developed flower buds before I managed to get it planted. I will probably cut the buds before they open and hope they branch out and form secondary shoots. I set out the plants fairly close together, then sowed seed between them for a succession planting. The Franchi Seeds that Seeds from Italy sells have a generous amount of seeds, so I should be able to sow this one multiple times if I want to. I also set out Maceratese, which will hopefully not be bolting since it is grown only for its leaves. I sowed the seeds and covered with some potting soil, which you can see in the below photo.
In the rest of that bed I set out kohlrabi transplants. The varieties I planted are Winner and Kolibri, two I have grown for several years now. I have more plants ready, including the large Kossak variety, that I will set out in the main garden area. That spot is way too wet at the moment, since it is downhill from the house and gets runoff from higher ground.
Right next door to that bed is another one that had overwintered kale in it. I harvested most of the Beedy’s Camden and pulled the plants to make room for some White Russian kale seedlings. This kale was bred by Frank Morton, and is a ‘sister’ variety to Red Russian. Hopefully it will give us a bit of kale after the overwintered plants start bolting. I left the Red Ursa plants in the same bed, and they should give us more to eat before they bolt. I’m not seeing any signs of flower buds yet. After planting I spread Sluggo Plus on both beds to control the slugs and sow bugs who are likely waiting to devour the young tender leaves on the plants.
Whenever the main garden dries out, I still have plants of broccoli, cabbage, rapini (Sorrento) and kohlrabi to set out. There’s still plenty of time, though of course the sooner I get them in the ground the sooner they will be giving us something to eat. I also need to weed and fertilize the garlic bed, which is growing lush with all the rain we’ve had. And I need to sow carrot seeds.
As it turned out, I got the planting done just in time before rain and thunderstorms arrived. I took the above photo afterwards, and you can see the area to the right of the garlic has standing water (again). That’s the spot where the rest of the brassicas will go, if the soil ever dries out. With more rain forecast for the next couple of days, it may be next week before I dare to go in the garden.