Sprouting Broccoli, Gai Lan and Sprouting Cauliflower

Gordon Johnson, Extension Vegetable & Fruit Specialist; gcjohn@udel.edu

There has been an increase in consumer interest in sprouting broccoli (also known as baby broccoli), Gai Lan (Chinese broccoli), Gai Lan x broccoli crosses (broccolini), and sprouting cauliflower (caulilini, Asian sprouting cauliflower). In all these crops the stalk and flowering head are eaten. Sprouting broccoli looks like a small broccoli with thinner stalks, Gai Lan has a thick stem and a small sprouting head, broccolini has a long tender stem and smaller buds, and sprouting cauliflower has green stems and a loose cream-colored head.

Crop culture is similar to broccoli but with closer spacings. There are spring adapted, spring-summer adapted, fall adapted, and overwintering types. Nutrient requirements are similar to high density broccoli and the insect profile is also similar to broccoli. We are unsure of disease profiles in our area at this time.

Crops are cut and bunched just before or after the first flowers are seen but before the heads open. They should be cooled immediately to below 40 F and kept under high humidity. They may also be top-iced.

We have a trial at our Georgetown research farm to look at the potential for processing (freezing) these sprouting types.

 

Mini broccoli

Mini broccoli

 

Sweet Stems sprouting broccoli

Sweet Stems sprouting broccoli

 

Gai Lan in the field

Gai Lan in the field

 

Chinese broccoli ready for freezing trial

Chinese broccoli ready for freezing trial

 

A big-stemmed variety of Gai Lan

A big-stemmed variety of Gai Lan

 

A thin-stemmed variety of Chinese broccoli

A thin-stemmed variety of Chinese broccoli

 

Caulilini

Caulilini Photo from https://www.naturesproduce.com/meet-caulilini-a-new-vegetable-which-isnt-actually-that-new/

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