Vegetables and Fruit forum: Romenesco - Big plant, no head?

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Name: Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
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DonShirer
Oct 4, 2014 8:56 AM CST
I started several Romenesco plants (broccoli/cauliflower?) from seed this spring. By October they were almost 4 ft tall and wide but show no signs of producing the edible head that they are supposed to have. I fertilized lightly twice during the growing season. Frost is due soon so it looks like this year is a washout. Should I do something different next year?

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Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Oct 5, 2014 8:51 AM CST
Don, Romenesco can be a bit finicky when it comes to heading. I would think if yours is 4' tall it is trying to bolt, fairly common for Brassicas grown during hot weather. On the other hand excessive nitrogen will certainly encourage foliage growth at the expense of fruit/flowering. The only other factors I could think of would be to check your soil of phosphorus and potassium levels.

I'm sorry it's a disappointment to grow something so long and not end up with what you had hoped for. On a good note, the leaves can be eaten, cooked like collards.

Shoe (feeling your pain)
Name: Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
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DonShirer
Nov 8, 2014 6:58 AM CST
Frost came and still no heads.
Asked the seed supplier and they suggested as reasons: "Stress, high pH, too much nitrogen in soil, weather too warm when heads were forming". They also said to try growing it as a fall crop. This seems strange since they list the time til maturity as 75-100 days, but I'll try it next year. Sigh.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Nov 9, 2014 8:18 PM CST
Don, I've grown Romensco before (albeit quite a few years ago), and it did do better for me as a fall crop. Tricky timing, though... which I think is why I never grew it again!

I kind of had the same problem with Brussels sprouts last year -- huge plants, almost nothing to harvest. Sticking tongue out
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Name: Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
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DonShirer
Nov 11, 2014 6:14 AM CST
Thanks, Sandy.
So counting back 90 plus days from my expected frost date (Oct. 5), I should plant it about July 4 or so?
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Nov 11, 2014 7:38 AM CST
That sounds about right to me, Don -- but I think the 90 days is time from transplanting, so you would need to start seeds a month or so in advance of that.

This is making me think I should give it another try ! Smiling
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Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Nov 11, 2014 7:56 AM CST
I've never tried romenesco. Not sure if the taste is good enough or different enough from the parent plants to be worth it if it's so touchy to make heads. Tell me more! Smiling
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Nov 11, 2014 7:59 AM CST
Tom, as I recall it has a relatively mild flavor -- and it LOOKS really cool ! Hilarious!
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Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Nov 11, 2014 6:04 PM CST
Well, I'll have to give that some thought.
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