Purple-sprouting passion

by Jane Moore

I'm busily into planting up all the winter and spring crops - all my brassicas including kale, cabbages and purple-sprouting broccoli.

I'm delighted to tell you that my main crop potatoes look absolutely fine and dandy. The tops were completely dead from blight - they were as lush and lovely as anything a fortnight ago - but I've got the spuds out before they were affected. Hooray!

Now I'm busily into planting up all the winter and spring crops - all my brassicas including kale, cabbages and purple-sprouting broccoli. My young purple-sprouting looks glorious - really well grown and leafy, though I do say so myself. But I always plant them too close together - I really should have learnt by now (am I the only one? I doubt it somehow!).

purple-sprouting broccoliI forget when they're tiny little cell-grown plants that they turn into these stonking great trees by springtime. Planting them too close means that they struggle to have enough legroom and I'm sure it makes them more prone to that horrible mealy whitefly that brassicas get so often. It probably means that they don't sprout and shoot as much as they could too, which bothers me a lot as there's nothing as tasty as the first spring shoots of purple sprouting. Unfortunately for me, Lizzy and Paul feel the same way too so I have to share the crop. Not to mention Lizzy's Dad who would probably eat our entire crop on his own!

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Gardeners' World Web User 21/10/2007 at 12:34

I've got the same problem, three foot tall excellent plants but no flower heads and its november now any advice welcome.

Gardeners' World Web User 22/10/2007 at 19:51

Early purple sprouting is worth the effort and will overwinter perfectly well (I live in the north) however, it needs staking well and the ground compacted around the roots to prevent the plants being blown over in the winter gales. You will be picking the tender shoots early next year when greens are at a premium, mmm tasty lightly steamed but they don't stay purple when cooked but turn green.

Gardeners' World Web User 23/10/2007 at 08:25

Hi Pam and Dave,

The thing is with purple sprouting broccoli is that you grow it for one summer until it's enormous, Stake it to see it through windy autumn, then it sits there all spring and produces masses of edible shoots as soon as the weather warms up in spring. The bigger the plants the better the crop! So sit back on your laurels and wait for spring - it's worth it!

Gardeners' World Web User 31/10/2007 at 14:17

I am eating the leaves as can't wait for the heads.

Gardeners' World Web User 26/02/2008 at 10:23

mryland comments about eating the leaves of broccoli makes me now wonder if the plot-holder next to mine was pulling my leg when stating one does not eat the leaves of Broccoli..was he pulling my leg?

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