Gordon Johnson, Extension Vegetable & Fruit Specialist; firstname.lastname@example.org
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.