Broccoli Raab / Rapini (Brassica Rapa)
Tough, forgiving and fast-growing, this broccoli raab is a quick win. Because it’s eaten for the leaves and shoots, you can just pick as you like. It will keep producing all winter, even through some frosts. Mild-winter gardeners can plant the seeds in fall for all-winter broccoli. If frosts are fast approaching for you, you might squeak in a harvest this fall, or save the seeds for one of your first transplants next spring.
Best sown indoors in Orta pots or other seed pots. Transplant when they have 2-4 sets of true leaves.
Harvest leaves and shoots whenever they look good to you! But once you let the flowers develop and start to set seed, the plant will stop producing food for you and focus on the seeds.
To save seed, be a bit cautious of cross-pollination. Broccoli raab’s Latin name is Brassica Rapa, and can cross with anything else flowering at the same time that has that same Latin name, among them turnips and bok choy. A quick google search will give you all the vegetables in the Brassica Rapa group so you can check before saving seed.
To collect seed, wait until the seed pods form and dry. (They look like teeny green beans.) Collect them and separate the seed from the shells. Store in paper envelopes.