Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli has been selected for its hardiness and flavor. Heavy cropping, it has good quality spears that can be harvested over many weeks.
Very easy to grow, the secret is to plant in well nourished soil. It is very heartening to see the plants standing stoically throughout the winter when most of the kitchen garden is bare.
If more people tasted home grown purple sprouting broccoli they would surely cultivate it. It’s one of the most flavorsome of vegetables. Sweet and delicate, it melts in the mouth.
Broccoli can be harvested when the flower shoots are well developed but before the flowers have actually opened. Timing is important, as once in flower, the shoots are woody and tasteless.
Cut the central spear with a sharp knife first as this encourages the side shoots to develop quickly. Pick the side-shoots regularly (when about 10cm (4in) long. Regular picking can extend cropping time for up to eight weeks. Don't get carried away and strip plants entirely in one go!
Fresh florets will keep in the fridge for around a week but are also great frozen. Steam rather than boil to keep their rich colour and vitamin count. Leaves also can be cooked and eaten as a winter green.
As your sprouting broccoli begins to flourish, you may find you need to stake and/or build soil up around the stem to support it. Remove any yellowing or fallen leaves and burn them to prevent fungal diseases setting in. Sprouting broccoli crops may be damaged by pigeons over the winter. Use netting where necessary.
- 0 - 90 cm
- Soil type
- Chalk, Clay
- Full sun, Partial shade