Piracicaba – Brazilian Broccoli

PiracicabaPacketPiracicaba – Brazilian Broccoli
Brassica oleracea
Grown in 2013.
Packet = around 200 seeds
Brazilian broccoli makes many modest flower stalks rather than one massive bloom. Our farmers market customers who try it often return to buy seeds, saying it’s the best broccoli they’ve ever eaten. The other reason Piracicaba is the only broccoli we grow is its phenomenal vigor and productivity. As long as you keep harvesting its flower buds, it will keep making more, even through hot summer weather. The taste remains mild and sweet in hot weather too!

The first time we grew Piracicaba (btw, it’s pronounced pee-ra-SEE-ca-ba) we started harvesting in June. We had a steady supply all through the summer heat, all fall, all winter inside a hoop house. I finally pulled up the plants the next April to make room for something else. They were rather floppy by then, and beginning to harbor some aphids, but they were still producing.

The variety was developed at Brazil’s oldest agricultural university, Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz, in the interior city of Piracicaba. The broccoli and the city are named after the Piracicaba River.

Culture: Sow seed from early spring to mid-summer. Each plant can become a sprawling mound 3 feet tall and wide, so give it room. Likes rich soil (of course), regular water, full to 3/4 sun. Harvest all flower stalks at bud stage to keep them coming.

Saving Seed: Growing Piracicaba for seed requires a substantial commitment of garden space, since you’ll need to grow a minimum of 100 plants (a seed crop can be crowded, but still…). It will cross with other broccolis, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards, European kales, and kohlrabi. Insects can cross-pollinate within a radius of one mile even with significant barriers like buildings or trees. The plants need at least 2 months beyond flowering to ripen seed.