Tuesday 10 January 2012


Since the weather conditions in 2011 were a bit unusual, my Purple Sprouting Broccoli has become very confused. As I reported previously, I harvested the first PSB spears on 28 November, a good three months earlier than normal - and that's not because I'm growing a different type; mine are the same varieties as last year (Rudolph and Red Arrow).

Last week I harvested more spears from the same plant that yielded the ultra-early crop (one of the Rudolph ones).

The spears looked OK, but as I cut them I felt that they would be tough. The stems didn't seem tender like they normally are.

We ate this batch of PSB spears with Chinese-style meal, and they turned out to be OK - not wonderful, just OK. I was so dubious of their quality that we actually had some shop-bought Calabrese broccoli on standby, just in case...

The PSB plant in my final photo is one of the Reserves, planted very late in the season, in a container used earlier for Tomatoes. It looks healthy enough, but very small, so I somehow doubt whether it will ever produce a worthwhile crop.

We had some very stormy weather during the first week of January, and I was very glad that I had provided some good support for my broccoli plants. Otherwise they would have been flattened, without a doubt. I always support my broccoli with 5-foot hardwood stakes, hammered well into the ground, and I tie the plants to these stakes using soft string, at a minimum of two different heights.


P.S. My blog is now featured on the website of the City and Guilds Centre for Skills Development alongside other blogs on the theme of learning to grow food. Hopefully my blog will help others to see that you don't necessarily need a big space to grow a worthwhile amount of fruit and veg - and that the growing of it can itself be very therapeutic. I believe that planning what to grow, where and when, and then nurturing your crops to maturity is a skill that has some similarities with Project Management! Why don't you have a look at what this organisation does? They have just published a Report called Roots To Work, which neatly describes what they are trying to achieve, which put simply is "Developing employability through community food-growing and urban agriculture projects." Very commendable.


  1. Only one of my psb plants is producing any florets at the moment I am hoping the others hang on so that i can harvest something to eat in March.

  2. Well done Mark that looks like a great website. And it's much harder than project management, there are always plenty of people to do the donkey work for the PM whereas growing veg you're on your own! No sign of my PSB yet, can't get over how mild it is so far.

  3. Thats interesting that the stems seemed tough - I would have thought the reverse as they are cropping earlier....

  4. Love that last PSB shot, it is so pretty.
    I am sure your blog will inspire many to be gardeners. Congratulations.

  5. Well Deserved to have your blog featured and it will inspire and help many.

  6. I'm sure your blog will inspire many people Mark.
    Some little critter ate my Sprouting Broc just a couple of weeks after planting it, my Dad's however is doing really well, looks like a big row of trees! I'm going to try again this year with protection and see how it goes.

  7. Our PSB did not produce spears for us last season. So contemplating whether to try again or not next cool season. Feel like to try again after admiring your pub.

  8. Well Done Mark, the website sounds great. I'm sure you're blog will be a huge hit. ;D

  9. It's been a funny year weather wise, I too was harvesting psb in November, and there should be more ready very soon.

  10. PSB is one of my favourites, and yours looks good enough for me whip some away and cook it right now! Well done on you site being featured too, that's good news.

  11. Well done Mark, it's a wonderful thing that they are doing.
    I'm having PSB for lunch tomorrow but I had to buy it, it looked so tempting.


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