It seems to me that some seed-suppliers' claims about their product may be unjustified. For instance, the PSB variety "Rudolph" (presumably named in honour of a red-nosed reindeer normally seen at Christmas) is supposedly an extra-early one. Marshalls claim that it starts cropping in September (!) but is best from November to January; Suttons say "from October to December (from early sowings)"; DT Brown's say "Ready as early as January", etc, etc. As you can see, despite it being the end of February now, my "Rudolph" is only just about ready for picking - and then only if I'm very selective.
The biggest of my plants this year is "Red Spear", which is a little way behind "Rudolph", but nearly ready for picking - perhaps in 10 days' time?
"Red Spear" is a variety I have grown several times. It doesn't develop such a big central flower as many other types, but it does produce a multiplicity of long spears. In this next photo it is the tall one at the right:
Surprisingly, my PSB plants that are furthest from being ready are the two "Early Purple Sprouting" ones. In the previous photo they are the one at the extreme left and the one second right, next to the tall "Red Spear". One of them is from Marshalls and the other is from Mr.Fothergills. There is no sign of them producing any spears just yet, but then that's OK because (despite its name) this is one that crops any time from January to April.
As you can see, one of them is very short - not that that is necessarily a bad thing, especially if you happen to have a very exposed plot or garden.
|"Early Purple Sprouting" (Mr.Fothergill's)|
My experience with PSB (and I have been growing it for well over 20 years) tells me that it is unwise to rely too much on plant names or the advice given by seed merchants concerning sowing / planting / harvest times. All I can say is that this type of broccoli takes approximately 10 months to grow; it is sown in Spring, planted in Summer and harvested "early the following year"! [You'll have to define "early" for yourself...]
I find, plant it and wait, is as good as it gets for many crops :) This is the first year that I have written down when I expect them to be ready and I guess I'll be wrong about most of them.ReplyDelete
I do ignore planting times for many things having watched Chard self seed. My chard is ready now and I'm picking it. It has been very frost hardy and has grown well during the winter.
Self sown peas germinated this year, having been in the ground for months.
My green sprouting broccoli was ready early Jan...that was normal broccoli which failed and was left and re-sprouted little heads :)
My Rudolph started cropping in October and I've been cropping it continuously since then although it had a brief lull in January, it's going crazy again now though https://scontent.cdninstagram.com/t51.2885-15/sh0.08/e35/16585026_477946735928706_1186224616595521536_n.jpg?ig_cache_key=MTQ0OTk5MzMyNjgxNjU0MjUxOA%3D%3D.2ReplyDelete
That's interesting, Steve. Whereabouts in the country are you? Love the pic too!Delete
I had some growing in the garden plot last year, but none this year sadly. The slugs did proper damage last year to the little brassicas that I had in the garden. So pleased that yours are thriving. I just always find it a shame that it loses colour upon cooking.ReplyDelete
On another note, I will def. be getting back into growing again proper this year. Some seeds have been sown but no sprouts yet. So hopefully we can get back to comparing notes as we once did when we met each other on blogosphere of course.
I'm glad to hear that you will be back growing in earnest this year, Shaheen! I hope you will sow some PSB.Delete
Hello Mark, I breed sprouting broccoli as part of my job. A lot of what the seed companies say is untrue. We always struggle to breed varieties for December-January heading. Sprouting broccoli requires vernalisation (a period of cold) before it will head. Summer varieties need a very low number of days below a fairly high temperature so will flower in late summer. Winter varieties need a lot more cold for a lot longer. Therefore if we have a mild winter (or you live in warmer part of the country) they will always be later. And earlier if it's a really cold autumn. The only way to avoid them is to successionally sow! But you can only have so many plants in a small space!! I hope this helps.ReplyDelete
Yes, very interesting, thank you!Delete
Aha - that makes sense. Thanks Mark! Yes, mine is the Early Sprouting...ReplyDelete