Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Swimming in a sea of broccoli

only 3 plants!
Last year the indomitable Tom sowed a tray of what he thought was Summer purple sprouting broccoli, a very useful veg that will cut and come again for months throughout the summer, and so one which I am always banging on about and recommending to anyone who will listen to me!

It turned out in the end (after consultation with the seed packet) that they were Spring sprouting purple broccoli and suddenly their value sank. After all Spring purple sprouting broccoli takes 12 months before it starts producing spears so its a bit of a lazy arse as far as I am concerned.I put three plants at the end of a bed and abandoned them to their fate. The caterpillars found them in late summer and dined in style trimming them down almost to the stalks. They recovered a bit and stood into winter doing nothing and looking a bit forlorn. Around March I stood over the three plants anxious to liberate the space for practical and essential onions. But I spotted a few small heads and decided to leave them be for another few weeks......now most amazingly here we are in May and its still going strong. Actually its the most outrageously productive sprouting broccoli I have ever grown. I cut one spear and five more appear, cutting it just serves to encourage and drive it on exponentially. I'm giving it away to beat the band and I only have three plants! 
pick them small and keep them coming
If you have the space it's not too late to sow some for eating next March/April and May. But be sure to sow the Summer purple sprouting too, it's fantastic long season makes it a great summer veg. All need at least 18 inches apart and a few plants will be more than enough to keep you dining in style for quite a while.

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