Wednesday 17 April 2013

Growing Purple Sprouting Broccoli - Is it worth the wait? (Part 1)

Harvest shoot of Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Ready to Harvest Purple Sprouting Broccoli

One of the first vegetables I ever grew was this Purple Sprouting Broccoli.  The seed packet had said Sowing: April - May, Harvest: March-April, and I had interpreted it to mean that it only took one month from sowing to harvesting.  Oh! How wrong I was! Four weeks after sowing the seeds, I was very surprised to see only small seedlings and no sprouting anything in sight.  I quickly learnt (after some googling), that it actually meant that it would take a whole year before I could harvest anything, and by that stage, I had already sowed lots of seeds!!

Growing Purple Sprouting Broccoli
This vegetable grows to over a metre (3ft) in height and does take up considerable bit of space in our vegetable patch.  After over twelve months of growing, you can imagine how large the leaves and stalks get.  It is also space that you won't be able to use for the entire duration - and it is a long wait.

Grow Purple Sprouting Broccoli in your vegetable garden
Purple Sprouting Broccoli growing in our garden

By far, the biggest battle I faced were the butterflies and their caterpillars, a war which was almost never ending during the summer months.  I spent many hours picking off eggs and worse, caterpillars only to find, the very next day, that the butterflies had visited once again. The lesson learnt, is that, some well positioned netting to keep out the butterflies may have been a very smart idea and definitely the path which I will follow next time around.

Also, wind can cause damage to these tall plants, so they need to be firmly planted in the ground and some also needed to be staked.

Also read: Part 2:  Purple Sprouting Broccoli is ready to be harvested

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