Chinese broccoli, also called Chinese kale or gai lan, is widely used in Asian cuisine. The florets can be substituted for regular broccoli in many recipes. The leaves and juicy stems have a more complex flavor, sweet yet slightly bitter. Chinese broccoli is easy to grow and will tolerate heat better than many broccoli and kale varieties, so the harvest period is longer; expect lots of side shoots after the first harvest. High in calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. Very popular for stir-fry dishes; it can also be steamed or boiled. For a gourmet treat, lightly sauté the thinned seedlings!
Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea var. alboglabra
Days to Maturity: 60–70 days
Native: Probably East Asia
Hardiness: Frost-tolerant annual
Plant Dimensions: 24″–30″ tall, 18″ wide
Variety Information: Thick, wide, blue-green leaves on asparagus-like stalks, with small flowerheads of blue-green buds that look like small broccoli heads or side-shoots.
Attributes: Good for Containers, Heat Tolerant
When to Sow Outside: RECOMMENDED. 1 to 2 weeks before your average last frost date. Also, in late summer or winter for cool-season harvest. Mild Climates: Sow in fall or winter for a cool-season harvest. Optimal soil temperature for germination is 60°–85°F.
When to Start Inside: Not recommended; transplants tend to bolt (prematurely flower).
Days to Emerge: 10–20 days
Seed Depth: ½”
Seed Spacing: A group of 3 seeds every 8″–10″
Row Spacing: 18″–24″
Thinning: When 2″ tall, thin to 1 every 8″ – 10″
Harvesting: Harvest in early morning if possible. Pick the center bud stalks first; side branches will continue to produce more flower buds for additional harvesting, or leaves and stems may be harvested without florets. Whole plants can be harvested just before first flower buds open if desired.
This packet sows up to 40 feet. 140 seeds.