Thursday, 12 April 2012

Nome's First Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Yes, I finally managed to produce some psb this year!

My homegrown seedlings last summer, if you remember, died of... ahem... drought, and I bought some new ones from Homebase later in the year and planted them in big pots in early October. Well, I guess early October was too late, as the plants didn't really get that big. But a couple of them finally produced their first spears a few weeks ago.

I cut them as soon as they got to a decent size, to encourage more shoots. They were delish, even if they didn't add much to a meal!

And the side shoots grew and grew... They were pretty thin, but I thought they might get fatter with time. They didn't.

This morning I went out and cut most of them for breakfast - like asparagus, psb is lovely with eggs.

What a disappointment! Even though the first spears were good, these were bitter and the stems were really stringy and tough! Ugh!

So where did I go wrong? I can't find an answer on the internet. Someone hinted that a mild winter may lead to bitter broccoli, but I haven't heard any other home-growers complaining about theirs. Other than that, I can only think that it might be down to planting out so late, or letting the spears get so tall. Anyone know better?

Luckily I have discovered broccoli leaves are surprisingly good eating (unless they have now gone bitter too) so I'll use the rest of the plants up pronto.

I am determined to do better this year and plant healthy home-grown seedlings out at the proper time!


Sue@G.L. Allotments said...

We've had a few bits of broccoli but no bitterness! Maybe leaving them to grow tall was a mistake we cut ours whenever they have produced to purple flower bubs

red_shed said...

I think they go bitter when they're about to flower. Pick them as soon as the shoots appear. I find it a tad disappointing crop-wise considering the ginormous size of the plant - I didn't bother this year. Also, as it overwinters a lot of cabbage pests can be lurking in there.

Simon said...

Well worth growing I reckon as they're cropping now when there's not much else. Yep your mistake was letting the sideshoots get leggy - the first shoots are the best but eat the sideshoots whilst still short and fat. To get big plants next year sow them now or buy young plants in May, like all brasicas they like rich fertile soil.

Nome said...

Thanks all. Cheers, Simon, that's good to know. I was reluctant to cut them right away but they were sooo skinny! Ah well, I may get a few more yet, and better luck next time! I think you're right - it's good to grow something for this time of year, if you can find the space even just for a couple of plants.

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