Pick the sprouting broccoli spears:
- just before the flower buds open
- when young, so very tender & not stringy
early sprouting rudolph
- leaving some stem on the plant, so that the buds will produce more spears – cut & come again!
The central head on the sprouting broccoli plant will be larger than the side shoots, but not as big as the standard broccoli sold in the shops. This is actually calabrese – quite different from sprouting broccoli harvested in the early spring.
Cut the large central head out before the flower buds open, when still tender. Cutting out the central head will encourage the side shoots to develop.
Pick sprouting broccoli every few days to make sure the shoots are young and tender. It is often difficult to see the sprouts in amongst the leaves, particularly the purple sprouts, but white sprouting broccoli is easier to see and pick!
Gill has grown some purple sprouting broccoli in her new raised bed.
This is the first season that Gill has grown veg & she says that she will not grow broccoli again because it takes up so much room and stays in the bed for a long time (from April till March – a full year!).
Gill has 3 raised beds, so she plans to grow vegetables which have:
- a short growing season – like radish, french beans
- a compact habit – like carrots
This way she will produce more vegetables for the kitchen. She feels that broccoli has taken up valuable space & has not produced much yield – as she could only fit about 4 plants in , together with a few cabbage.
BUT, Gill has not tasted the broccoli yet. It is such a treat to be able to pick fresh veg from the garden at this time of the year. The broccoli in the photo was picked this afternoon – so will Gill change her mind once she has tasted her purple sprouting broccoli from her raised beds?
There are 3 types of sprouting broccoli:
1. white sprouting broccoli
The white broccoli has small white flowering tips. These are snapped off when about 2″ long.
Steam or boil them for 10-15 minutes for a very special veg. Ours are about ready to harvest from February & through March.
2. purple sprouting broccoli
The purple sprouters are a week or so later than the white sprouting broccoli, & have a stronger taste.
3. perpetual sprouting broccoli
The perpetual broccoli comes up year after year, so rather messes the rotation up. But it is easy to grow.
The 3 types of sprouting broccoli give a good spread of green vegetables in the spring when not much else is ready to harvest.