Broccoli Purple (Sprouting) Summer Purple
A popular variety producing large and rewarding late summer harvests of tasty and tender purple shoots. Delicious steamed or lightly boiled and simply served with butter, in stir-fries or simple pasta dishes. Not only do they taste good but the rich colour looks great on the plate. Well known for its nutritional value, sprouting broccoli is packed full of vitamin C as well as vitamin A and antioxidants.
Sow indoors March to April. Sow thinly 0.5cm deep into trays of compost. Water well and place in warm, light position, away from cold draughts and out of intense, direct sunlight. Keep the compost just moist and be careful not to overwater, the compost should almost dry out before it is watered again. Seedlings should start to appear in approximately 7-21 days. Carefully transplant the seedlings to individual pots when they are large enough to handle and keep moist. In April to May, acclimatise plants to outside conditions, avoiding late frosts. Place plants outside in a sheltered spot during the day and bring them inside again at night when temperature fall. Do this for a week or two, until the plants have hardened off. Then transplant to a sunny growing position 60cm apart. Plant seedlings deep, right up to the first set of leaves and be sure to firm the young plants in well to prevent the plants from rocking in the wind, which can damage their delicate roots. Keep the soil moist and remove any weeds as they appear.
Top Tips About Seeds
Once the seed packet has been opened, the seeds can be stored in an airtight container until required for further sowings. Sprouting broccoli seeds will maintain their vigour for a good number of years.
Sprouting broccoli is not recommended for patio containers.
Young brassica plants are a real favourite with pigeons and later in the summer caterpillars can also become a problem. If you use a fine enough netting, held well above the plants, this will stop both the pigeons eating the young leaves and the cabbage white butterflies from reaching the plants to lay their eggs. To prevent disease, rotate brassica crops so they are not grown in the same location for at least a couple of years.
Harvest from June to October. Cut the shoots when they are approximately 15cm long. If you harvest them regularly then cropping can go on for several weeks.
Ideas for using your broccoli purple
Drawing a little soil up around the stems of developing plants will help to prevent wind rock as the plants get larger. Check plants after windy weather and firm them in again if necessary. To prevent premature flowering give plants a really good soaking and a feed a week or so before harvesting begins and don’t let them dry out. If for some reason you miss a harvesting a head and it begins to flower, the tender parts are still good to eat, especially in stir-fries.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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