Vegmonkey and the Mrs.

Vegetable growing in a very small space in Cheltenham

Growing ‘Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli’ – update February 15, 2008

growing purple sprouting broccoli 

As this is our first year (almost over!) at Vegmonkey and the Mrs. and one of the biggest lessons we have learnt is not to grow early purple sprouting broccoli in such a small garden as ours, as it takes over and needs a huge amount of space. We  planted it in April, and it is just beginning to sprout from the main head as can be seen from the picture. I posted previously about the plant and the battering it has taken over the year. It really is a very hardy plant!  I’ll cut this main head as soon as it grows a little more, then hopefully lots of little side spears will appear and we will have lots of broccoli.

The ideal scenario with Broccoli is to grow lots of plants and take a little off each one so not to exhaust each plant too much in one go. A bit like you would with rocket. We don’t have this privilege sadly so will have to be careful.

Now at the start of this post i said our lesson learnt was to not grow early purple sprouting in such a small space. It also doesn’t fit into our rotation (crops March to May) as i will need the bed space very soon for the roots and onions and i loathe to take out a producing plant.

HOWEVER, being a stubborn sod i want to make it fit!

The plan is to grow:

Summer Purple – Sow March to April.  Harvest June to October (this is very early and will enable us to have this delicious vegetable in the middle of the summer!)

In pots ready to go i the ground when the summer purple stops producing 

Rudolph – Sow March – May. Harvest Nov to Feb (putting it in at the start of October will also hopefully produce smaller plants than the monster we have at the moment.)

In pots to plant out in Feb after Rudolph has stopped cropping as a bit of an experiment.

Cardinal – Sow April to May. Harvest March – April

So hopefully we will have a cropping plant of some description for 10 months of the year, which is pretty amazing in my book. I’ll make sure i post on how it’s doing as it seems to be the second most popular search that my blog is ‘found’ on, behind the planting planner. If anyone has any trouble tracing the varieties, let me know and i’ll hunt out the seed packets.


When to plant purple sprouting broccoli November 4, 2007

Early purple sprouting broccoli 

The Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli we planted back in March is still growing, somehow surviving a battering from the wind and an invasion of cabbage white butterflies – it should by rights, be dead. However, it will hopefully produce spears around February time. Considering our small space though, it’s a lot of nothing over a long period of time.  So this is the plan for next year

Summer Purple – Sow March to April.  Harvest June to October (this is very early!)

Rudolph (sometimes spelt Rudolf) – Sow March – May. Harvest Nov to Feb

Cardinal – Sow April to May. Harvest March – April

This way we can have an early variety for eating June onwards, and a maincrop that can be grown in a large pot and transplanted in late August time, and can grow into the space previously occupied by the first plant. The third variety (Cardinal) will be planted out in the next bed, Legumes, as by the time the broccoli needs the space, all of the beans, peas and sweetcorn will be coming to an end, which it means we can have broccoli all the way from June to April….and not pay those extortionate supermarket prices. That’s 10 months a year!

During the summer, we will have to cover the brassica bed with either a large frame covered in enviromesh or fleece this year to protect it a little better.


Parsnip Harvest October 2, 2007

Filed under: garden,growing,vegetable — vegmonkey @ 6:48 pm
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Curiosity got the best of me a few days ago. Those parsnips’ leaves were getting ever bigger and i wanted to know if those aphids we spotted earlier in the season had managed to nibble down to the root or if it had survived.

So i chose the largest one, and pulled, like with carrots…but nothing! Ten minutes later, and with the help of a spade, i managed to get the parsnip out without damaging it too much. The rest followed, some spindly, some perfectly straight. As the soil is quite rich and sandy, i don’t think some of the parsnips liked it hugely much. One looked as though it had been eaten by something (below) and got binned, one or two got eaten (not sure what by!) and the rest got buried in sand and put in the shed.

I know they can be left in the ground until needed, but the ground is needed for Japanese Onions for the winter.

Not a huge harvest. I think as it is such a small space, it might have to be taken over by a few extra carrots instead next year or maybe some leeks…

eaten parsnip