Yesterday I planted-out my Purple Sprouting Broccoli.
This is where I began. I had 14 plants from which to choose 4:
How to choose? Well, I looked for the strongest ones, with good straight stems, healthy colour and minimum pest damage. I also wanted one each of four different varieties.
I chose one each of Rudolph, Red Spear, Red Arrow and Early Purple Sprouting (the Mr.Fothergill's one). I did also have a couple of the Early Purple Sprouting from Marshalls, but theirs did least well last year, so this time it didn't make the cut. I only have space to grow 4 plants!
These little plants went into the raised bed which until now has hosted my Broad Beans. In some of my photos you can see the stumps of the Broad Bean plants, which I have left in the ground. As the tub of 6X in the photo above suggests, I dug-in a few handfuls of pelleted chicken manure too, to give the PSB a boost.
I planted the PSB in fairly deep holes, with the soil level just below the first leaves.
I equipped each plant with a home-made Brassica-collar, made of thick cardboard. This supposedly helps to prevent Cabbage Root Flies laying their eggs near the stems.
In this next photo you can see the line of 4 PSB plants, flanked by the old Broad Bean stumps, and at the edges of the bed you might just be able to make out two lines of Radish seedlings that are just emerging. I do like to make maximum use of the space I have available!
Once the plants were in place and well watered-in, I erected a frame around them, using my kit of aluminium rods and plastic joiners, from Gardening Naturally.
And over the frame went the extra-fine insect mesh from Wondermesh.
This mesh was very kindly provided FOC by Wondermesh, as a review sample, and has been sitting un-used since last Autumn, awaiting its turn in the limelight. Although I knew the dimensions of this item (3.5 x 10 metres), I hadn't really comprehended its size! My raised beds are 1 metre x 2.4 metres, so there was a lot of spare material left to bundle up at the end...
At present, the frame is only about 75cm tall, and as the plants grow I will need to raise it. At that point I will have to decide how to manage the mesh to best effect. The 3.5-metre width is just right now, but when I raise the frame to 1.5 metres (as will be necessary because PSB gets very tall), it won't be wide enough to allow the mesh to reach the ground. I will need to come up with an alternative plan...