Outlandish vegetable - Romanesco cabbage
The one who first sees Romanesco cabbage is surprised at its shape, and many believe that this is an ornamental plant. However, it is a tasty and nutritious vegetable with an interesting, but not fully understood history. The agricultural technique of Romanesco differs little from the agricultural technique of ordinary cauliflower, so now many gardeners are already deciding to plant this amazing culture in their plots.
The story of the origin of the Romanesco is very confused. Even its belonging to a particular genus is not entirely clear, and scientists still do not dare to declare this cabbage a separate species. Plant growers are mildly called the Romanesque subspecies of cauliflower, although they do not reject the version that it is a hybrid of cauliflower and broccoli. Many works have been devoted to this variety and mathematics, since the shape of its fruit is satisfactorily described by means of complex trigonometric and logarithmic equations.
There is even an opinion that 3D designers participated in the creation of the Romanesque, although historians say that this is impossible, since the mention of this cabbage was found in prehistoric manuscripts. At least the name is Romanesco due to the fact that the Etruscans brought it to Tuscany, because romanesco in translation - "Roman". In any case, this vegetable was widely known no more than a century ago.
The shape of this cabbage resembles a certain set of pyramids collected in a head in an intricate way. Many compare this head of cabbage with a sea shell. Gourmets note that the taste of Romanesco is very similar to the taste of many varieties of ordinary cauliflower, but it does not have bitter tones and pungent odors, Romanesco dishes are called delicious, they are considered very tender.
The stalks of this cabbage are softer than the cauliflower, they even eat it a little raw, but nutritionists urge them not to do it.
Romanesco belongs to the cruciferous family, with all the features of agricultural technology that follow from this: for all its unusualness, it is, nevertheless, a cabbage. The shape of the head is very different from the heads of various varieties of cauliflower: flowers, usually light green in color, are collected in small pyramids, which, in turn, are connected by strict spirals. These spirals are tightly interconnected, and on the sides are surrounded by dark green leaves. The beauty of the vegetable is also used by designers, using Romanesco planting in flower beds.
Romanesco heads are not very large, often weighing no more than 500 g, although two-kilogram specimens are also found. They say that there are nutty notes in the taste and smell, but not only this distinguishes it from other cabbage vegetables. The chemical composition of the fruit is unique and includes a lot of properly balanced food components, trace elements and a wide variety of vitamins. Nutritionists believe that the benefits of Romanesco are as follows:
- it contains an increased amount of vitamin A, which positively affects vision;
- antioxidants found in the heads help in the fight against cancer and cancer prevention;
- a high iron content improves blood formation, which increases the overall resistance of the human body to a complex of diseases and improves brain cell activity;
- various B vitamins contribute to the treatment of neurological diseases;
- Vitamin K found in Romanesco, combined with omega-3 fatty acids, recommends this vegetable to people with heart disease.
In cooking, Romanesco is used to prepare various first courses, side dishes, it is also suitable as an independent dish, for which this cabbage is fried or stewed.
Video: about the benefits of romanesco
Since the biological nature of Romanesco is still not fully understood, it is difficult to talk about the varieties of this cabbage. In many reference books, the word "romanesco" simply refers to one of the varieties of cauliflower. The State Register of Breeding Achievements of the Russian Federation did not select a separate section for Romanesco varieties, placing them in the section “cauliflower varieties” and indicating “Romanesco type” in the variety description. Therefore, it is difficult even to accurately determine the number of available varieties and hybrids, but it is still clearly small.
- Veronica F1 is a mid-season high-yielding hybrid that forms a large triangular dense head of yellow-green color weighing up to 2 kg. The head is surrounded by medium-sized gray-green leaves covered with a waxy coating. Productivity from 1 m2 to 4.2 kg, the taste is described as excellent. The advantages of the hybrid are friendly return of the crop, resistance to flowering and Fusarium.
Veronica - one of the highest yielding hybrids
- The emerald goblet is a mid-early variety, bearing fruit heads of excellent taste weighing up to 500 g. The heads are green in color, partially covered with gray-green slightly bubbly leaves with a waxy coating. Productivity from 1 m2 to 2.2 kg. Recommended for direct use in cooking and for freezing.
The emerald cup is named so, apparently, due to a certain elevation of the head
- Amphora is an early ripe variety with yellow-green heads weighing about 400 g, characterized by an oily delicate taste. The leaves are medium, gray-green in color, slightly bubbled. Productivity 1.5 kg / m2. Valued for evenness of heads and precocity.
Amphora - one of the earliest ripe varieties
- Natalino is a late-ripening variety. Heads weighing up to 1000 g, light green, with a delicate buttery taste. From 1 m2 collect up to 2 kg of heads.
Natalino - representative of late ripening varieties
- Pearl is a medium-late variety bearing fruit with a mass of up to 800 g of excellent taste. The greenish heads are partially covered with gray-green leaves, the wax coating is weak. Productivity - up to 2.5 kg / m2.
Pearl - cabbage of excellent taste
- Puntoverde F1 is a mid-season hybrid. The heads are green, weighing up to 1.5 kg, of excellent taste, almost bare: there is no covering of the head with leaves. The leaves themselves are blue-green in color, large, the wax coating is plentiful. From 1 m2 harvest up to 3.1 kg of crop.
In Puntoverde, the head is almost not covered by leaves.
- Ivory is a high-yielding early variety bearing fruiting with dense ivory heads weighing a little less than 2 kg. The purpose of the crop is universal, the variety is appreciated for its excellent taste and original appearance.
- Shannon F1 - an early ripe variety with domed dense heads for universal use. Harvesting is possible 100 days after emergence.
Shannon ripens earlier than other varieties
- The Egyptian pyramids are a mid-season variety with yellow-green domed heads weighing up to 1.2 kg. The variety is valued for disease resistance and frost resistance, excellent palatability and stable yield.
Egyptian pyramids - a variety that is well resistant to diseases and the vagaries of the weather
All of these varieties and hybrids are recommended for cultivation in various climatic regions.
Planting cabbage romanesco
It is a little more difficult to grow Romanesco cabbage than white cabbage and even ordinary cauliflower. Even the most insignificant deviations from the rules of agricultural technology can lead to the fact that on the plant, except for the rosette of leaves, nothing interesting will appear. Romanesco makes the highest demands on temperature: the optimum values are 16–18 ° C, and hot weather is absolutely unacceptable to her. This applies to both the seedling stage and the residence of cabbage in the garden.
Sowing seeds for seedlings
In the southern regions, Romanesco is grown by early spring sowing of seeds directly in the garden, in other areas - exclusively through seedlings. Seedlings can be grown in an apartment, but this is difficult, because, as a rule, the room temperature is higher than the one that this culture loves. Seedlings and very high light are required. Therefore, if there is a greenhouse that can be visited daily, they try to prepare seedlings there.
In most cases, in the middle lane, seeds are sown for seedlings around mid-March, at the latest on April 1, and they are planted in the garden in late April or early May, at the age of 35–40 days.
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Sowing can be done in a common box, followed by diving in cups, or you can immediately in separate cups, or even better - in peat pots. Growing seedlings is as follows.
- Prepare a soil mixture. If you refused to buy ready-made soil, thoroughly mix peat, turf soil, humus and sand in equal amounts.
The easiest way to buy soil in the store
- Self-prepared soil must be decontaminated, a week before sowing well by watering it with a pink solution of potassium permanganate.
For soil disinfection, a weak solution of potassium permanganate is suitable
- The soil mixture is poured into cups with a volume of 250 ml or similar in size peat pots, putting a drainage on the bottom with a layer of 1-1.5 cm (you can just large river sand).
For cabbage choose medium-sized pots
- Seeds are sown to a depth of not more than 1 cm, and then well watered. You can just put some snow on the ground, which permeates the soil well.
Watering crops with snow water contributes to better plant development
- Before emergence (about a week), the crops are kept at room temperature, but immediately after the appearance of miniature sprouts, they are quickly reduced to 8-10 ºC during the day and a couple of degrees lower at night. In this case, the illumination should be as possible.
To seedlings do not stretch, they must be kept in the cold
- After 3-4 days, the temperature is raised to 16-18 ºC (during the day). At night, it should be no more than 10 ºC. This mode is necessary up to transplanting seedlings into the beds, and fluctuations in temperature and illumination are extremely undesirable.
Outwardly, seedlings of Romanesco differ little from seedlings of other cabbage vegetables
- Seedling care consists of moderate watering and a couple of small top dressings with full mineral fertilizer. When watering, it is advisable to add potassium permanganate to a barely noticeable pink color of the irrigation water. A pick is possible, but undesirable.
Planting seedlings in the garden
Romanesco cabbage, like any other cabbage, is not afraid of cold weather and even light frosts, so there are no problems with spring seedlings. Of course, if at the end of April there is still snow and significant frosts, the seedlings are planted in the garden under temporary shelter, otherwise, in the usual way. Planting cabbage in the garden does not represent features.
- Choose a sunny area with suitable soil: ideally - breathable sandy loam, with a neutral (possibly slightly alkaline) reaction. It is advisable that before that, potatoes, cucumbers or peas grow on the bed. Unacceptable - any cruciferous crops.
- The bed is dug up with the introduction of large doses of fertilizer: up to two buckets of humus and a good handful of wood ash are applied per 1 m2. It is advisable to do all this in the fall.
Digging is the most difficult physical job, but the earth with fertilizers must be mixed thoroughly
- Wells the size of a pot with seedlings are dug with a scoop at a distance of 50 cm from each other. Local fertilizer is applied to each well - half a glass of ash - and the ash is mixed well with the soil.
Better ready holes immediately and pour water
- Well watering the hole with water, the pot is planted “in the mud” (peat - along with seedlings, they are removed from any other bush, trying not to damage the root system). Cabbage is planted with almost no deepening, unless seedlings are stretched. Cotyledon leaves should remain above the surface of the soil.
When planting seedlings can not be buried in the soil leaves
- Once again, water the cabbage in a new place and mulch the soil slightly with any loose material.
It is advisable to plant dill, mint or celery in neighboring beds, which by their smells perfectly drive away various cabbage pests.
Romanesco does not require anything supernatural in taking care of himself, but everything must be done very carefully. This is watering, top dressing, cultivation, weeding and, if necessary, the fight against diseases and pests. Unfortunately, against the most terrible misfortune - the heat - the gardener is unlikely to be able to somehow resist.
This cabbage loves a lot of water, but does not tolerate waterlogging. Therefore, it is necessary to water moderately, but often. At first this is done twice a week, subsequently, depending on the weather, the regularity can either increase or decrease. The soil should not dry out for a day. Water can be of any temperature, but pouring it is desirable under the root. Particularly avoid sprinkling after head tying.
After each watering or rain, as long as the leaves, which have not yet closed between neighboring plants, allow cultivation with the removal of weeds. He likes cabbage and hilling, because it causes the growth of additional roots. Before hilling, next to the bushes, it is worth sprinkling with wood ash.
Despite the fact that before planting the bed is well fertilized, during the growing season in the garden Romanesco is fed three times. It is best to use organic fertilizers for this: infusions of mullein or chicken droppings. And if it’s easy to cook a mullein (pour 1:10 in water and let it stand for a day), then you need to be on the lookout: you can burn everything alive.
Poultry droppings flooded with water at a ratio of 1:10 should roam for 2-3 days, but even after that the resulting product is diluted another 10 times with water.
The first top dressing - half a liter of solution per bush - is carried out 15 days after transplanting seedlings. After a week and a half, the amount of nutrient solution is doubled. And after another two weeks, mineral fertilizers are added to the organic infusion: 20-30 g of nitrophoska per bucket and, preferably, 1.5–2 g of boron and molybdenum preparations. True, boric acid and ammonium molybdate dissolve very slowly, so they must be dissolved in a small amount of warm water, and then pour into the infusion of the main fertilizer.
Like ordinary cauliflower, Romanesco is planted in sunny areas, but with the advent of the heads they try to cover them from bright light. The most common technique is breaking open covering leaves. From this operation, the yield increases, and the quality of the heads increases.
Pests and diseases in Romanesco are the same as in any other cabbage. Subject to all the rules of cultivation, there are almost no problems with this, but in case of diseases or pests, you have to spray the plantings with the appropriate drugs.
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Harvesting and storage
To understand that it’s time to harvest the crop is simple: the signal for this is formed large inflorescences. You cannot tighten the harvest, the re-ripening heads quickly crumble and deteriorate: the flesh coarsens, and the amount of the most useful components decreases. The ripening period depends on the variety and sowing date and usually occurs in late August or early to mid-September.
Cut off the heads with a sharp knife, taking away the stems adjacent to them: they are also edible. It’s better to harvest in the morning until the sun bakes. The most delicious cabbage is on the day of cutting.
Romanesco is stored for a short time even in the refrigerator, it is better to use it in a week or two, and if this is impossible, it should be slightly blanched, then cut into pieces of a convenient size and freeze. After defrosting, cabbage almost does not lose useful substances and, like fresh, is suitable for any processing.
Romanesco cabbage is a beautiful vegetable, but it is not grown for beauty: it is a very useful product. She is more refined in comparison with ordinary cauliflower, but also more capricious in leaving. Apparently, therefore, the Romanesco is not very common in our areas, although enthusiasts are trying to grow it, and for many this is very successful.