A versatile vegetable from the brassica family.
There are many vegetables that have long seasons but you can be eating home grown broccoli every month of the year. There are the range of sprouting types and the heading Romanesco and Calabrese types. Most varieties take 5-6 weeks to reach maturity. If you have an allotment then you could try some of these varieties from seed:
- Summer purple sprouting matures between June and October
- Rudolph is an early sprouting ready to pick in January-February
- Red Admiral is a vigorous F1 for February March and Red arrow lasts until April
- The heirloom Late Sprouting produces small sweet heads through until July. Keep picking
- Tendergreen is worth a mention purely for the high level of vitamin C
- There is a perennial ‘Nine Star’ that can be picked regularly for years but do not let it set seed.
Broccoli has vitamin A, C and D in varying proportions and is currently thought to help protect against the onset of some cancers.
T&M Seed Advice
Sow sprouting broccoli seeds in a well-prepared seed bed from March to June at a depth of 13mm (½”) and spaced 30cm (12″) apart. Transplant to their final positions around 5 weeks later when the seedlings have four or five leaves.
When growing purple sprouting broccoli, choose a sheltered position in firm, rich fertile, well drained soil in full sun. Prepare the soil in early spring by adding plenty of well rotted farmyard manure to the soil to improve its structure and fertility. Plant purple sprouting broccoli deeply for stability at a distance of 60cm (24″) apart, and cover with a protective netting or fleece to prevent attack from birds and insects. Water the plants thoroughly after planting.