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Broccoli raab resembles its close cousin broccoli, but it develops multiple clusters of buds instead of one big head and it has a more pronounced flavor. Thankfully, it’s just as easy to grow as broccoli. Plus, it’s ready for harvest much sooner after planting. Simple to start by seeding directly in the garden, nutrient-packed broccoli raab develops tender foliage and stems as well as intense flavor in cool spring and fall weather. Sow a small crop every week for 4 to 6 weeks in early spring for a harvest that extends into early summer.
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What to Plant With Broccoli Raab
Chilly springtime night temperatures and cool daytime temperatures are just right for growing broccoli raab. Grow it alongside other cool-temp-lovers such as peas, carrots, radishes, broccoli, and cauliflower. Or create a delicious salad garden by planting it alongside mesclun, kale, spinach, and lettuce.
Growing Broccoli Raab
Broccoli raab grows well in cool weather and fertile, well-drained soil. Like turnips and radishes, this vegetable should be planted directly in the garden in very early spring. You may want to consider using a raised planting bed to grow this vegetable. The soil in a raised bed will dry quicker than the soil in a regular garden bed, which means you can plant earlier.
Sow broccoli raab seeds 2 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart as soon as the soil can be worked in early spring. Cover seeds with ½ inch of fine soil and keep the soil evenly moist to ensure good germination. When seedlings are 3 to 4 inches tall, thin them to stand 4 to 6 inches apart. For a continuous harvest, make several sowings of broccoli raab a week apart. Stop sowing in late spring because broccoli raab does not grow well in summer heat. Keep in mind that you can plant broccoli raab and other cool-season edibles in late summer for a delectable end-of-season harvest. Water newly planted seedlings regularly in late summer to encourage good growth. Prevent soil moisture evaporation by blanketing the ground around plants with a 2-inch-thick layer of finely shredded bark mulch.
Harvest broccoli raab leaves and flowering stalks when they are 7 to 8 inches tall. At harvest the stalks should be tender and juicy, and the buds should be closed. After harvesting leaves and stalks, water plants well to encourage a second flush of growth and a second harvest in a few weeks.