Growing Tips for Sakata Vegetables’ ‘Aspabroc’ Broccolini

Aspabroc Broccolini Sakata VegetablesEditor’s Note: Each month, the Greenhouse Grower varieties team chooses one noteworthy variety we think is worth bringing to your attention. Then we share growers’ and breeders’ perspectives on the best ways to produce it successfully at your operation.

This month we change it up and talk to Sakata Vegetables about vegetable production and how to produce ‘Aspabroc’ broccolini. ‘Aspabroc’ resembles a broccoli raab with an asparagus stem, has a mild taste, and requires little growing space.

Growing Tips From Tracy Lee, Sakata Vegetables

Tracy Lee, Home Grown Product Manager at Sakata Vegetables, says creating a new category in broccoli such as ‘Aspabroc’ was a natural progression for Sakata’s vegetable breeding team. When she trialed the plants, she was able to harvest them for weeks and weeks, which she says might be preferable to home gardeners who don’t want to wait for one plant to produce one head of broccoli. The stems were also tender and had a milder taste compared to regular broccoli, which opens up many different culinary possibilities.

Lee’s Recommendations for Growing ‘Aspabroc’ Broccolini Successfully:

Fertilizer: Feed approximately every other watering with a well-balanced calcium/potassium-nitrate formulation at 150 to 200 ppm nitrogen.

Plant Growth Regulators (PGRS): The use of PGRs is not recommended on baby broccoli plants. Excessive growth can be controlled, however, through environmental means such as varying day/night differential (DIF), nitrogen manipulation, and allowing moisture stress.

Disease: Pythium and Rhizoctonia can be problems in greenhouses. Good sanitation (through disinfecting and sterilizing equipment and materials) and proper growing culture (like rogueing diseased plants and monitoring greenhouse humidity levels) will aid in keeping plants healthy. As a disease prevention measure, irrigate early in the day to allow plants to thoroughly dry before nightfall.

Pests: Aphids, cabbage loopers, whiteflies, stem borers, fungus gnats are the main pest pressures for ‘Aspabroc.’ Regular, often, and careful inspections for pests are essential. Since chemical control choices are more limited for greenhouse use, implement integrated control measures before pest populations become too large.

Container Sizes: ‘Aspabroc’ is appropriate for sale in the same pot sizes as broccoli. Cell packs can be offered in early spring and fall for customers to transplant into their gardens. Larger decorative 14- to 18-inch patio pots can be planted with 1 ppp of Aspabroc (from 4-inch pot) and mixed with other spring and fall leafy vegetables and/or ornamentals. Lettuce, arugula, purple mustard, pansies, snapdragons, or violas are all good choices.

Garden Care: ‘Aspabroc’ is easy to grow and requires little space. First maturity of the central shoots is 50 to 60 days from transplant. It is important to inform customers that as the first central shoot matures, it should be quickly harvested to encourage optimal side shoot production. Plants will continue producing side shoots for at least four weeks in mild weather.

Production Quick Facts From Sakata Vegetables:

Plug Production (Approximately 3 to 5 weeks)

Stage 1/Germination and Radicle Emergence
(4 to 8 days): Sow seeds in disease-free media and cover with coarse vermiculite. Keep ammonium levels to less than 10 ppm, as baby broccoli is sensitive to high salts during this period;
pH: 5.5 to 5.8
EC: < 0.75 mS/cm

Stage 2/Stem and Cotyledon Emergence (5 to 7 days): Place trays in well-ventilated greenhouse.
pH: 5.5 to 5.8
EC: < 0.75 mS/cm

Stage 3/Bulking Stage (10 to 14 days):
pH: 5.5 to 5.8
EC: < 1.0 mS/cm

Stage 4/Transplant or Plug Shipping Stage (7 Days):
pH: 5.5 to 5.8
EC: < 0.75 mS/cm

Growing On/Finished Production (approximately one to two weeks for packs)
pH: 5.5 – 6.2
EC: 1.0 mS/cm

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