Anyone who sees Romanesco cabbage for the first time is surprised at its shape, and many believe that it is an ornamental plant. However, it is a delicious and nutritious vegetable with an interesting but not fully understood story. Romanesco agricultural technology is not much different from that of ordinary cauliflower, so now many gardeners are already deciding to plant this amazing crop on their plots.
Description of the plant
The story of the origins of Romanesco is very confusing. Even its belonging to one genus or another is not entirely clear, and scientists still do not dare to declare this cabbage as a separate species. Plant breeders gently call Romanesco a subspecies of cauliflower, although they do not reject the version that it is a hybrid of cauliflower and broccoli. Many works have 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 took part in the creation of the Romanesco, although historians say that this is impossible, since the mention of this cabbage was found in prehistoric manuscripts. At least the name Romanesco is due to the fact that the Etruscans brought it to Tuscany, because romanesco in translation is Roman. In any case, this vegetable gained wide popularity no more than a century ago.
The shape of this cabbage resembles a certain set of pyramids, collected in a head of cabbage in an intricate way. Many people 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 there are no bitter tones and pungent odors in it, Romanesco dishes are called delicacies, they are considered very tender.
The stalks of this cabbage are softer than cauliflower, they are even eaten a little raw, but nutritionists are convinced not to do this.
Romanesco belongs to the cruciferous family, with all the characteristics of agricultural technology that follow from this: for all its unusualness, it is, nevertheless, cabbage. The shape of the head is very different from the heads of various varieties of cauliflower: the flowers, usually light green in color, are collected in small pyramids, which, in turn, are interconnected in strict spirals. These spirals are tightly connected to each other, and on the sides are surrounded by dark green leaves. The beauty of the vegetable is also used by designers using Romanesco plantings in flower beds.
Romanesco heads are not very large, often weighing no more than 500 g, although there are also two-kilogram specimens. It is said to have a nutty flavor and aroma, but that is not the only thing that sets it apart from other cabbage vegetables. The chemical composition of the fruit is unique and includes a lot of properly balanced nutritional 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 has a positive effect on vision;
- antioxidants found in the heads help in the fight against cancer and cancer prevention;
- high iron content improves hematopoiesis, which increases the general resistance of the human body to a complex of diseases and improves the activity of brain cells;
- various B vitamins contribute to the treatment of neurological diseases;
- Vitamin K found in Romanesco, combined with omega-3 fatty acids, makes this vegetable recommended for 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 has not yet been completely clarified, it is difficult to talk about the varieties of this cabbage. In many reference books, the word Romanesco is simply called one of the varieties of cauliflower. The State Register of Breeding Achievements of the Russian Federation did not allocate a separate section for Romanesco varieties, placing them in the section of cauliflower varieties and indicating the Romanesco type in the variety description. Therefore, it is difficult to even 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 yellow-green head weighing up to 2 kg. The head is surrounded by medium-sized gray-green leaves covered with a waxy coating. Productivity from 1 m2 up to 4.2 kg, the taste is described as excellent. The advantages of the hybrid are a friendly return of the crop, resistance to flowering and fusarium.
Veronica is one of the highest yielding hybrids
- The emerald goblet is a mid-early variety, fruiting with heads of excellent taste weighing up to 500 g. The heads are green, partially covered with gray-green slightly bubbly leaves with a waxy coating. Productivity from 1 m2 up to 2.2 kg. Recommended for direct use in cooking and for freezing.
The emerald goblet is named so, apparently, because of 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. Leaves are medium, gray-green, slightly bubbly. Marketable yield 1.5 kg / m2... It is appreciated for the uniformity of heads and early maturity.
Amphora is one of the earliest varieties
- Natalino is a late-ripening variety. Heads weighing up to 1000 g, light green color, with a delicate oily taste. From 1 m2 collect up to 2 kg of heads.
Natalino is a representative of late ripening varieties
- Pearl is a mid-late variety, fruiting in heads weighing up to 800 g of excellent taste. The greenish heads are partially covered with gray-green leaves, the waxy coating is weak. Productivity - up to 2.5 kg / m2.
Pearl - excellent tasting cabbage
- Puntoverde F1 is a mid-season hybrid. The heads are green, weighing up to 1.5 kg, of excellent taste, practically bare: there is no leaf covering of the head. The leaves themselves are blue-green, large, abundant wax bloom. From 1 m2 harvested up to 3.1 kg of the crop.
In Puntoverde, the head is almost not covered with leaves.
- Ivory is a high-yielding early variety, bearing dense ivory-colored heads, weighing just under 2 kg. The purpose of the harvest is universal, the variety is valued for its excellent taste and original appearance.
- Shannon F1 is an early maturing variety with dome-shaped dense heads for universal use. Harvesting is possible 100 days after germination.
Shannon ripens earlier than other varieties
- Egyptian pyramids are a mid-season variety with yellow-green domed heads weighing up to 1.2 kg. The variety is valued for its disease resistance and frost resistance, excellent taste and stable yield.
Egyptian pyramids - a variety that resists disease and the vagaries of the weather
All of these varieties and hybrids are recommended for growing in different climatic regions.
Planting Romanesco cabbage
Growing Romanesco cabbage is a little more difficult than growing cabbage and even cauliflower. Even the smallest deviations from the rules of agricultural technology can lead to the fact that nothing interesting will appear on the plant, except for the rosette of leaves. Romanesco places the highest demands on temperature: optimal values are 16–18 ° С, and hot weather is absolutely unacceptable for it. This applies to both the seedling stage and the residence of the 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, since, as a rule, the room temperature is higher than that which this culture loves. Seedlings and very high illumination 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 the last days of April or at the very beginning of May, at the age of 35-40 days.
If the deadlines are missed, then for summer consumption it is better to buy ready-made seedlings: the tying of the heads should occur in the spring or, conversely, the beginning of autumn.
Sowing can be carried out in a common box, followed by diving into cups, or it can be done immediately into separate cups, and even better - into peat pots. Growing seedlings is as follows.
- Prepare the potting soil. 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 is in a store.
- Self-prepared soil must be disinfected, watering it well with a pink solution of potassium permanganate a week before sowing.
A weak solution of potassium permanganate is suitable for disinfecting the soil.
- The soil mixture is poured into cups with a volume of 250 ml or more or peat pots of similar size, putting drainage on the bottom with a layer of 1–1.5 cm (you can just coarse river sand).
For cabbage, choose medium-sized pots
- Seeds are sown to a depth of no more than 1 cm, after which they are well watered. You can just put some snow on the ground, which will saturate the soil well.
Watering crops with snow water contributes to better plant development
- Before the emergence of shoots (this is about a week), the crops are kept at room temperature, but immediately after the appearance of miniature shoots, 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 high as possible.
To prevent the seedlings from stretching, 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. Such a regime is necessary up to transplanting seedlings into a garden bed, and fluctuations in temperature and illumination are extremely undesirable.
Outwardly, Romanesco seedlings differ little from seedlings of other cabbage vegetables
- Seedling care consists in moderate watering and a couple of small dressings with full mineral fertilizer. When watering, it is advisable to add potassium permanganate to a barely noticeable pink coloration 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 planting seedlings in spring. Of course, if at the end of April there is still snow and significant frosts, the seedlings are planted in a garden bed under a temporary shelter, otherwise - in the most usual way. Planting cabbage in the garden is not unusual.
- 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 in the garden. Unacceptable - any cruciferous crops.
- The garden bed is dug up with the introduction of large doses of fertilizers: 1 m2 bring in up to two buckets of humus and a good handful of wood ash. It is advisable to do all this in the fall.
Digging is the most difficult physical work, but the soil with fertilizers must be mixed thoroughly
- Holes the size of a pot of seedlings are dug with a scoop at a distance of 50 cm from each other. Local fertilizer is applied to each hole - half a glass of ash - and the ash is mixed well with the soil.
Better ready-made holes immediately and pour water
- Well watering the hole with water, the pot is planted in the mud (peat - along with the seedlings, they take out the bush from any other, trying not to damage the root system). Cabbage is planted almost without deepening, unless the seedlings are stretched out. The cotyledons should remain above the soil surface.
When planting seedlings, leaves should not be buried in the soil.
- Water the cabbage again in a new place and slightly mulch the soil with any loose material.
It is advisable to sow dill, mint or celery in neighboring beds, which, with their smells, perfectly ward off various cabbage pests.
Romanesco does not require anything supernatural in self-care, but everything must be done very carefully. This is watering, fertilizing, loosening, weeding and, if necessary, the fight against diseases and pests. Unfortunately, against the most terrible misfortune - heat - the gardener is unlikely to be able to somehow resist.
This cabbage loves a lot of water, but does not tolerate waterlogging. Therefore, you have to water in moderation, but often. At first, this is done twice a week, later, 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 it is desirable to pour it at the root. Sprinkling should be especially avoided after tying the heads.
After each watering or rain, as long as the leaves that have not yet closed between neighboring plants allow, loosening is carried out with the removal of weeds. Loves cabbage and hilling because it causes additional roots to grow. Before hilling, it is worth sprinkling with wood ash next to the bushes.
Despite the fact that the garden is well fertilized before planting, 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 manure. And if it is easy to cook a mullein (pour water at 1:10 and let it stand for a day), then with the droppings you need to be on the lookout: they can burn all living things.
Poultry droppings filled with water in a ratio of 1:10 should ferment for 2-3 days, but after that the resulting product is diluted 10 times more with water.
The first feeding - half a liter of solution per bush - is carried out 15 days after planting the seedlings. After a week and a half, the amount of the 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, very desirable, 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 poured into the infusion of the main fertilizer.
Like ordinary cauliflower, Romanesco is planted in sunny areas, but when the heads appear, they try to cover them from bright light. The most common technique is breaking the cover 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 the event of diseases or an invasion of pests, it is necessary to spray the plantings with appropriate preparations.
Video: caring for cauliflower
Harvesting and storage
To understand that it's time to harvest is simple: the signal for this is the formed large inflorescences. It is impossible to delay with harvesting, overripe heads quickly crumble and deteriorate: the pulp coarsens, and the amount of the most useful components decreases. The ripening period depends on the variety and sowing time and usually comes in late August or early-mid September.
They cut off the heads with a sharp knife, taking away the stems adjacent to them: they are also edible. It is better to harvest the harvest in the morning, until the sun is baking. The most delicious cabbage is on the day of cutting.
Romanesco is stored even in the refrigerator for a very short time, it is better to use it in a week or two, and if this is not possible, it must be slightly blanched, then cut into pieces of a convenient size and freeze. After defrosting, cabbage almost does not lose nutrients and, like fresh cabbage, is suitable for any processing.
Romanesco cabbage is a beautiful vegetable, but it is not grown for beauty: it is a very healthy product. It is more sophisticated than regular cauliflower, but also more capricious to care for. Apparently, this is why Romanesco is not very common on our sites, although enthusiasts are trying to grow it, and many are very successful at it.
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Biologists and specialists in the exact sciences have published many works devoted to Romanesco cabbage, but there is still no definite answer not only to the question of the origin of this vegetable, but also to the degree of relationship between Romanesco and all known types of cabbage. There is a version that Romanesco is a hybrid of cauliflower and broccoli, but no strict confirmation of its truth can be found in serious biological literature..
Growers are careful to refer to Romanesco cabbage as subspecies or varieties of cauliflower. There is a certain duality in these definitions: it is not entirely colored, and it seems that it is not a hybrid.
Scientists-mathematicians, having devoted many works to the description of the Romanesco fruit through complex equations, put forward the theory that this culture was born quite recently, only at the end of the 20th century. The spiral shape of the inflorescences, which obeys well logarithmic equations, gives rise to such assumptions. Therefore, they say, not only breeders, but also 3D designers took part in the creation of cabbage, introducing some cunning genes into cabbage. This vegetable of bright light green color looks rather strange, but at the same time it is very beautiful.
A set of unusual spiral Christmas trees evokes memories that once the whole country wanted to fly into space
However, such theories are shattered by historians who claim that this cabbage was known even before our era, when it was grown by the Etruscans. They allegedly brought Romanesco to Tuscany, from where it spread further. More cautious researchers believe that this cabbage has been known only since the 16th century, but, one way or another, its widespread distribution began about 100 years ago.
The fact that the cabbage is from Italy is confirmed by its name: romanesco means "Roman". Its other famous names are coral cabbage, Romanesque broccoli.
Of course, broccoli and cauliflower had the opportunity to get dusty in the wild without human intervention, but authoritative sources do not confirm this version. Well, the assumptions about an extraterrestrial origin (appearing on the basis of the correct shape of the inflorescences) seem fantastic at all. There is even a version that Romanesco came to us on Earth, falling out of an unidentified flying object.
Romanesco without leaves resembles a space tree
The shape of this cabbage is compared to both a set of pyramids and a giant shell, but all those who have tried dishes from it describe them as delicious, tender, without a strong smell and bitter taste. Compared to the well-known varieties of cauliflower, Romanesco is somewhat sweeter. Its stems are softer than broccoli. Romanesco is easy to cook and is also suitable for preparing salads, although gourmets say that it is not worth eating raw.
Origin and description of culture
Romanesco is an annual plant belonging to the same varietal group as cauliflower. This vegetable became widespread in the 90s of the last century. The history of the use of the variety can be traced back to the times of the Roman Empire (the name also indicates Italian origin).
The mystery of the appearance of such an amazing type of culture makes it even more attractive for those who like to grow garden "rarities". Other names are Romano cabbage, or Roman cabbage, and coral.
Vegetable inflorescences are rows of cones of yellow-green color, densely growing to each other, framed by blue-green leaves. They are called fractal spirals, since each fruit is arranged according to the principle of self-similarity (a fractal is a geometric figure, parts of which have the same shape, albeit in different sizes). Depending on the variety and growing conditions, plants can reach a meter in height, and fruits - two kilograms in weight.
Ancient Greece is considered the historical homeland of this type of cabbage. Here, the plant had a special attitude, since it was believed that the growth of the vegetable was provoked by drops of sweat of the god Jupiter.
The breeders of Japan made a lot of improvements in the variety of the appearance of the ornamental plant. Already in the middle of the 18th century, more than 200 varieties were bred here. An unusual type of cabbage adorned the gardens of wealthy Japanese. Ornamental cabbage is widespread in European countries. With us, it is just beginning to win the attention of gardeners.