If there is a vegetable that is delicious and also decorative, that is the romanescu . But where does this plant come from? How is it grown? And does it have anything to do with mathematics?
We are going to talk about all this and much more in this special. Are you going to miss it?
- 1 Characteristics of romanescu
- 2 How is it grown?
- 2.1 Sowing
- 2.2 Transplantation
- 2.2.1 Change to a single pot
- 2.2.2 Planting in the garden
- 2.3 Irrigation
- 2.4 Pests
- 2.5 Multiplication
- 2.6 Rusticity
- 3 Uses of romanescu
Characteristics of romanescu
This strange and curious vegetable is actually a hybrid of broccoli that has a more intense flavor than broccoli. It comes from the crossing of the varieties »Italica» ( Brassica oleracea var. italica ) and »Botrytis» ( Brassica oleracea var. botrytis ), which means that it has the same characteristics as those of both plants, which are the following:
Romanesco is a biennial plant, that is, it has a two-year life cycle during which it germinates and grows during the first year, and flowers and then withers during the second year . It forms a rosette of leaves that does not exceed 30cm in height and 40cm in diameter. The flowers appear in inflorescences with fractal geometry. What does this mean? We tell you:
A fractal is a geometric object whose basic or fragmented structure is repeated at different scales. There are many plants that have fractal geometry, such as Aloe polyphylla or ferns. In the case of our protagonist, her inflorescence, so curious and striking, is fractal.
How is it grown?
If you want to have one or more Romanescos, here is their cultivation and care guide, so you can get an excellent harvest:
The most recommended time to sow the seeds is at the beginning of summer , when the temperature is high but does not exceed 20ºC. In the event that you live in a very hot area, it is better to plant them in spring so that more seeds can germinate.
To do this, you have to follow this simple step by step:
- The first thing you have to do is choose what to use as a seedbed. As such, you can use seedling trays, peat tablets, milk containers, plastic yogurt cups, pots,… In short, whatever you have most at hand.
- Next, fill it -if applicable- with substrate for seedbeds -you will find it in nurseries- with black peat mixed with 30% perlite.
- Now, moisten it to the point that it is well soaked.
- Then place a maximum of two seeds in each socket/pot. If you use peat tablets, put only one.
- Cover them with a bit of substrate, just so the wind can’t blow them away.
- Finally, spray the substrate with water so that the seeds hydrate better and place the seedbed outside, in an area where it is exposed to direct sunlight for at least half a day.
If the substrate is kept moist, the seeds will begin to germinate after 4 to 6 days.
Once they have a manageable size, that is, when they have reached a height of at least 5cm, it will be time to transfer them to an individual pot of 20cm in diameter or to the garden . Let’s see how to proceed in each case:
Transfer to a single pot
- First, you have to extract from the alveolus or from the pot the seedling that you want to transplant. In the event that two have germinated together, you can separate them by carefully removing the soil that they have attached to the roots. A trick to make it easier is to put the earth bread in a container with water, as this will soften the earth and it will be much easier to remove it.
- Afterwards, you have to fill the pot with substrate, almost completely. In fact, you can fill it completely and then make a hole by inserting your finger in the center.
- Then, plant the seedling carefully so that the part that joins the roots with the aerial part -leaves- is neither below the edge of the pot nor much above it.
- Then give it a generous watering.
- To finish, place the pot in a sunny area.
When you see roots coming out of the drainage holes, transplant it again, this time to a pot at least 35cm in diameter.
Plant in the garden
- The first thing you should do is prepare the ground: weeds and stones have to be removed. To do this you can help yourself with a motocultor if the land is wide, or with the hoe.
- Then, add a 3cm thick layer of organic fertilizer, chicken or goat manure being especially recommended.
- Rake to make it level, and dig furrows that are 20cm deep.
- Now, place the seedlings in them, leaving a distance of 30cm between them. Of course, it is important that they are neither below ground level nor much above, since otherwise when they are watered they could either remain dry or, on the contrary, flooded.
- Finally, water.
Watering has to be frequent. Romanescu does not tolerate drought, so the soil must be prevented from drying out. The frequency will vary depending on the weather and location, but generally you should water every 2 days in the summer, and every 3-4 days the rest of the year .
It is a plant that does not usually have pest problems, but you have to pay attention to aphids and worms . The former are prevented by placing anti-aphid sticky traps. If you already have them, you can remove them with potassium soap.
To eliminate the worms, you can use Nacillus thuriengensis, which is a non-toxic and non-harmful biological insecticide.
You will find these products in nurseries and online stores.
The romanesco is multiplied solely by seeds , following the steps described above.
It is one of the most resistant vegetables, withstanding frosts of up to -10ºC. Still, it is highly advisable to protect crops with clear plastic if snowfall is expected. Do not place the plants inside the home, as they would not adapt.
Uses of romanescu
Romanesco is mainly used in cooking . It can be consumed raw, cooked or steamed. In addition, it has medicinal properties, as it is rich in vitamin C (essential for a strong and healthy immune system), soluble fiber (essential for the proper functioning of the digestive system) and carotenoids (important for a good memory and to prevent eye problems as well as cardiovascular diseases).