I absolutely love this time of year; the trees are full of blossom, flowers are blooming and the allotment is starting to fill up again. I love the excitement and anticipation of the year ahead with the extra bonus of harvesting crops which were planted the year before.
The Purple Sprouting Broccoli is one of those funny crops, one that seems like it takes a life time to produce but then when it does it goes a tad crazy! It’s a year long commitment and one that needs a little patience. I sowed the seeds last year at the end of April and since then they’ve been putting on a glorious leafy display before finally producing the first harvest in March. Now the sun has been shining for the past couple of weeks the Purple Sprouting is coming thick and fast and I’m not sure what to do with it all! I’ll have to browse a few of my favourite cookery books for inspiration and ask old Nigel Slater for some help.
There are a couple of problems that I’m facing with my Purple Sprouting and one of them is the size… they are growing far too big for the cages that I made and the netting is squashing some of the beautiful broccoli heads. I managed to rectify this by placing two larger supports (one tall poppy seed head and one bamboo with a pot on the end) to help lift the netting up like a sort of tent making ample space between the broccoli and the net.
The second problem is the fact that I need the space to plant out my potatoes… I have a three year rotational crop on my allotment and the roots follow the brassicas, which means I’m going to have to pull up my poor Purple Sprouting so I can get my potatoes in. I usually plant out my International Kidney’s on Good Friday which just so happens to be in 2 days time. I’m still not facing the fact that I will probably have to rip the broccoli out whilst it’s still producing, something that I really don’t want to do. I’m very tempted to make the potatoes wait a week or so which obviously won’t harm them but would just mean I’ll be harvesting them a little later then usual… decisions decisions!