Monday 7 January 2013

"Rudolph" - not a reindeer, but a Purple Sprouting Broccoli

My Purple Sprouting Broccoli (possibly my favourite vegetable) is not ready for cropping yet. Another few weeks to go. However it is beginning to produce some purple sprouts and hence has moved into the "good photography subjects" category!

This is what one of my "Rudolph" plants looks like from above. At that range it looks very much like a Cauliflower.

Now take a closer look at the central bud. In close-up it looks really wierd; like something out of a Sci-Fi movie.

Further down the stem there are lots of smaller buds forming. These of course will form the main part of the crop.

Examined closely they are (hardly surprisingly) very much like miniature versions of the bigger central bud.

Now in Extreme Close-up:

They have a long way to go before they reach maturity, but they are certainly looking good at present. And do you know what the best thing is? In all the photos I took, I can't see a single aphid!

PSB is a long-term investment in the garden, occupying the ground for 10 - 12 months, depending on the variety, but I think it is worth growing because this is one vegetable which is very seldom available to buy in good condition, since it deteriorates rapidly once cut. I usually have plants of at least two different varieties in order to extend the cropping season. This year I have "Rudolph" and "Red Arrow". 

Breeders have recently developed Summer variants of PSB, ones that don't require a period of cold weather to produce their crop, so you could in theory have PSB all year round. I am reluctant to try the Summer varieties because there are so many other nice things to grow in the Summer, whereas there are fewer plants that will survive the Winter and help to fill the Hungry Gap in the late Spring. This year I will be going back to growing "Tenderstem" broccoli for late Spring / early Summer use. This is midway between the Calabrese style broccoli and the PSB style, and I love it not only for its taste, but also because it is quick-growing and very prolific.


  1. I, too, love purple sprouting broccoli, but I'm without this year. I shall definitely rectify that next year. I'd already started harvesting mine before Christmas last year, I think you had too, if I remember correctly. These seasons are all getting out of sync.

  2. My favourite veg Mark just a shame it loses it`s colour when cooked

  3. We're hoping for a crop this year as last year was poor pickings

  4. It does somewhat similar to Rudolph :). I wish I can grow this plant in our new garden.

  5. My April sown PSB started producing a crop before the end of July! After a long lull another batch of florets is developing ,however until I saw your photos I thought that they were stunted but now see that they are still ar the immature stage.Hopefully I'll get a decent crop to take over from the Cavolo Nero which appear to be bolting in this warm spell.

  6. It is a handsome plant! Is the flavor so favorable as to "deserve" ground space for so long?


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