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Purple Sprouting Broccoli

cowslip2cowslip2 Posts: 137
At this time of year we are usually tucking into this lovely vegetable, but I am beginning to
wonder if the return is worth the effort. I realise, in this country, we cannot achieve those large heads available in supermarkets. Has anyone grown a variety that produces a worthwhile crop, I wonder. Lots of varieties, but most seem to only produce small shoots for a week or two.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,757
    edited May 2018
    Could you be confusing two different vegetables?  The large heads of broccoli found in the supermarket are Calabrese.  You can grow it in your garden

    Purple Sprouting and White Sprouting broccoli are from the same family, but different types and will never ever grow as big as Calabrese.

    Whenever I've grown a few plants of purple sprouting broccoli it's always produced loads and loads of lovely tender spears from very early spring through until about now.  
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • I found that if I pick the centre 'head' it produces lots of side florets. Bit like a hydra.
  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,621
    I finally managed to get three plants (from 8) to survive the winter, one of them is probably going to produce around 700g of broccoli, the other two are being slower! For me it's not worth it to grow, tried three years in a row and only managed to overwinter them once, must be right on the hardyness limit here.
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,941
    Even when mine cropped, they were always bitter and ruined the stir-fry. 
    Utah, USA.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,757
    Very puzzled here ... I've always found it a doddle as long as I'm able to fend off the caterpillars and pigeons and stop the East Anglian gales from blowing it over. 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • cowslip2cowslip2 Posts: 137
    Most interesting answers and ideas, thank you. Yes Dove, I follow you. I don't think I have ever grown Calabrese. I have been growing sprouting broccoli to follow on from sprouts, I think it is known as the "hungry gap". I now look forward to the pea season! How we live and learn. 
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,447
    They are very big plants so I don't grow many - two this year. I usually grow 'Claret' which is a late variety - it's in full production now, has been for maybe 3 weeks. I'm struggling to keep up with it at the moment. I should think it'll start to peter out in another 2 or 3 weeks unless it gets away from me and starts to flower - then they stop producing quite quickly IME.
    I grow a few types of winter kale and I find this late PSB picks up as the kale begins to bolt and tides us over until the peas start to produce
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
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