Friday, 8 July 2016

Planting PSB for next Spring

Having removed most of my Broad Beans now, space has been released for next year's crop of Purple Sprouting Broccoli. This is a good thing, because my little PSB plants were beginning to look more than a little stressed in their 5-inch pots.

You can see that the leaves are not only a bit ragged from slug / caterpillar attack, but also rather pale and with a matt finish, which is a sure sign that they are running out of nutrients. Leaving that aside, they were at just the right size for planting-out.

So in they went...

I put in four plants, one each of "Rudolph" and "Red Spear" and two of "Early Purple Sprouting" - one from Marshalls and one from Mr.Fothergills. Notice the stumps of the Broad Beans, which I'm leaving in place for now. The nodules on their roots fixes nitrogen which will be valuable for the leafy PSB.

When planting brassicas I usually remove a couple of the lower leaves so that I can put the plant in really deep. This not only gets the roots well down into cooler moist soil, but also aids stability.

I have equipped each plant with a home-made collar (made from thick cardboard), which will hopefully deter the Cabbage Root Fly, which likes to burrow down into the soil and lay eggs near the roots of a brassica plant. I have also deployed slug-pellets as a "pre-emptive strike", because I'm sure the garden is seething with slugs and snails who have all been waiting for this moment!

As soon as the remaining Broad Bean plants come out, I intend to cover this bed with a net to keep the Cabbage White butterflies off. Right now the BB plants are too tall to make this practical.

Following my usual practice, I have another 8 PSB seedlings waiting in the wings to replace any casualties, but they won't be happy living in those 5-inch pots for much longer. I'll probably keep them for another couple of weeks and then ditch them if they are not required. My "Last Resort" plan is this:

I'm hoping these won't be required, but at least they are there in case of emergencies. In the past there have been occasions on which I have lost most of my PSB plants to Cabbage Root Fly, and I don't want to risk having none of this, my favourite veggie!


  1. I'm a fan of yours...the quiet type but read you every I too late to sow PSB now? I have a choice of growing them outside or inside afterwards? where do you recommend? thanks

    1. Hi Princessines! It's a bit late for sowing PSB now - though if we get a mild Autumn you might be OK. A better option would be to buy some plug plants from a reputable supplier. This would save at least a month. I have no experience with growing PSB inside (I presume you mean in a polytunnel?), but it is a very hardy plant and will be fine outside.

  2. Yes I love PSB too ...... and kale : )

  3. You certainly have your contingencies in place! I would be hesitant in leaving the kale & PSB uncovered - last year I left the newly planted up brassica bed unnetted for a couple of weeks and was then picking caterpillars off of the plants for the rest of the season.

  4. Hurrah for the PSB. I always enjoy seeing your harvests in the spring. Stuff wouldn't survive our winters I think.

  5. Have you made up your mind re an allotment yet?


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