Our first attempt at growing purple sprouting broccoli got me thinking it was easy. Despite hemming them in with romanesco plants planted far too close on either side, they grew to about 5ft tall, and produced a steady supply of tender shoots when not a lot else was ready on the plot.
This year’s hasn’t gone quite so well. It was in a less sunny spot, which won’t have helped, but there were a series of setbacks that the plants never quite recovered from.
First there were the birds to contend with. With flimsy netting and voracious pigeons, the plants were stripped bare going into the winter.
Then the winter was harsh, and dragged on far too long, preventing them from ever really getting going.
A couple of weeks ago I was just about ready to give up on them, and pull them out to make space for the next crop. Each plant had a central shoot colouring beautifully, but the idea is that you cut that to stimulate more shoots to grow at the sides, and our plants looked so pathetic that it was hard to see any sides that side-shoots could grow from.
Still, I left them in, cut the central shoot, and now they look like they might give us a serving or two:
It’s better than nothing, and now I know to look after them better next year.