Brokali, Pronounced Bro Kale ee, is a cross between Broccoli and kale, to be more specific Calabrese broccoli and kailaan, a type of Chinese kale.
The end result of this plant breeding is a cruciferious vegetable with a mildly sweet taste and tender texture.
Brokali produces edible stems and flower buds, similar to broccoli florets, they have a distinct flavor that melds the best of both parent cultivars while retaining, and in some cases surpassing the nutritional value of both as well.
- Height: 1 to 1.5 ft. tall average. Sometimes a tad over 2 feet.
- Spread: 2 to 2.5 ft.
- Days to Maturity: 80
The stems are not as woody as broccoli and are fairly long, the leaves are like a flat type of kale such as Russian or Siberian. The sweet and nutty tasting florets are smaller than those of standard broccoli. It also produces minute yellow flowers which are edible and have a blended sweet and mildly spicy flavor.
Like other crucifer plants it performs well in cooler weather. Seeds can be sown directly in the soil or started indoors. For a fall crop start seeds indoor in mid summer, for a spring crop start indoors in late winter.
If you are seed starting in cell packs, you will most likely need to transplant the seedlings to larger pots for optimal root development before their final transplant outdoors. They should be transplaned outdoors till they have at the very least 3 pairs of true leaves.
Before planting them in the garden they should be hardened off. Seedlings grown from seed and nurtured in a controlled indoor environment are generally not acclimated to the outdoor environment. They are ‘fragile and tender’.
- Start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before outdoor transplant.
- Soil temperature for germination should be around 70 degrees F
- Sprouts in 12-24 days
- Seedlings should be bathed in full sunlight for best results.
Do not fertilize seedlings until they are roughly a month old and have several true leaves,not embryonic leaves. A starter solution at half strength should be used at this point.
Soil should be turned under to slightly less than a foot in depth. Planting holes should be ample enough to accomodate the full root ball, as is the case with all transplants.
If planting seeds directly into the outdoor garden a location that recieves full sunlight should be used.
Water generously, but don’t drown them.
Seeds should not be sown too deep, no more than 1/4 inch.
Rows should be 2 feet apart, thinning may be necessary once the plants attain a few inches in height.
They are fairly leafy, healthy plants produce an abundance of edible foliage and small side shoots all of which can be harvested and used in the same fashion you would use kale. Harvest modestly while the plant is growing for a season long harvest. Removing the main head will allow for more side shoots to develop.
Harvest entire plants when the sprouts are just shy of 2 inches across and have begun to flower, but are not in full bloom. The Florets, which are similar to broccoli shold be used just like broccoli.
To freeze Brokali for later use, harvest the florets and blanch them lightly by dropping in boiling water for a minute or slightly longer, certainly no longer than 2 minutes. If they become soggy theylose most of their quality, they should still be crisp when placed in freezer bags or tupperware for preservation.
Brokali is prone to the same issues as other crucifer crops and proper precautions should be adhered to.