Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of Purple Sprouting Broccoli (PSB), and that I grow some every year. This year I have just 3 plants - one each of "Early Purple", "Rudolph" and "Red Spear". I made a conscious decision to go for fewer plants this time. Last year I had six, and it was too many: we were bored of broccoli before the crop was finished. Having fewer plants also means that in all likelihood they will be individually a lot bigger. Look at the size of this:


I think it is about 5 feet tall. Hopefully it won't get much taller. I say "it" but I really mean "they". All three plants are a very similar size. Mine are firmly tied to sturdy wooden stakes because they could easily be blown over if we get any severe gales. Despite their size, PSB plants have surprisingly shallow roots.


The embryonic flower-shoots which will eventually turn into the "spears" that we eat are now visible in the leaf axils.


When I took the netting off these plants at the weekend I gave their bed a general tidy-up, removing a few small weeds and a few dead leaves that had fallen off the PSB. This is good practice because decaying leaves can harbour slugs and moulds. I also dug in a few handfuls of Growmore granulated plant food to give the plants the nutrients they will need to produce a good crop for me. Everything is on track at present, so let's hope it stays that way!

Anyone else out there growing PSB this year? And if so, what varieties have you got? I'm always on the lookout for good varieties to try.

13 comments:

  1. I love psb, I doubt I could ever get bored of it, but none for me again this year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have 6 Early Purple plants, 2 are massive and are on stout stakes. 2 are average and on slightly thinner stakes and then I have 2 that were caught by the wind and the tops snapped off. These last 2 have started to make spears already so I will be cutting a few later to try. I am pleased that I have 4 good plants, hopefully I will have enough to swap for something else. I have to say that I could eat it 5 times a week easily, I even put it on pizza.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I like PSB (a lot) but I've never put it on a pizza, so thanks for the idea!

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Our season is much too short to grow purple sprouting broccoli but I do enjoy following your PSB adventures. I'm slowly learning not to cram plants in too tightly & it will be interesting to see the difference between growing 3 and 6 plants in the same space.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't understand why you say your season is much too short to grow PSB. Mine is in the ground for about 10 months, and it always survives the Winter frosts and snows. You just need to get it well established before the cold weather, so you have to sow quite early on.

      Delete
    2. So it would survive temps of -30 to -40C over the winter? I don't know much about PSB but I didn't think that was possible. If I were to devote a good chunk of a bed to it for almost a year, I would want to make sure that there was a good chance of a harvest at the end. I'll have to look into it.

      Delete
  5. Another broccoli fan here, Mark. I sowed Summer Purple, Red Admiral, Rudolph and calabrese back in March but I have to keep them going in progressively bigger pots until I can clear a space in the broad bean beds, once emptied. This year the broad beans seemed to go on for longer so, like you, I've ended up with just three plants but I think that will do me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never have room for PSB in the Summer, but I would like to. I've also not tried "Red Admiral". What is it like - any good?

      Delete
  6. Hi Mark! Your plants look great! I have tried twice growing PSB in my garden without success. I always have issues with timing. What planting zone do you live in? I see that you started your seeds in May and planted them into the garden in July. I'm trying to figure out when I should start my seeds and plant them out into the garden where I live in Zone 6. I really want to give it another try next year. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know anything about zones - that's an American thing, and I live in Britain. If it helps you though, I live in NE Hampshire, about 30 miles South of London. PSB is very hardy and it will withstand some cold temps, so it is worth persevering with.

      Delete
    2. Thank you! I will give it a try next year.

      Delete

Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment! Please note that Comment Moderation is enabled for older posts.