We’re not the biggest fans of cabbage and kale, and we don’t have a large garden, so I don’t generally bother with winter brassicas. They’re large plants, and they take up space for a long time. I do make an exception for purple sprouting broccoli, which is basically Food of the Gods. It’s one of my favourite things, and I would be disappointed if we didn’t have it. In fact, I try and squeeze in too many plants, and then worry that there won’t be enough.
So I try and extend the season a little bit by sowing varieties that are harvested at different times. Last year, I sowed Lancer and Red Arrow. Lancer is a mix of purple and white sprouting broccoli. It sounds like a nice idea, and certainly it was fun to have white sprouting broccoli last year, but the problem is that the seeds are mixed in the packet. So if you’re only growing a few plants, there’s no way of telling whether they will turn out white or purple. So I wouldn’t choose Lancer again (although I may well choose a white variety).
That’s the only problem with Lancer though. It’s productive and tasty (as is Red Arrow) and is prefect for a PSB fix.
This year I have sown more Lancer (you get so many seeds in the packet!) and need to get on and sow the Red Arrow. Spacing out the sowing like this is another way to try and extend the harvest, but a lot of when plants flower and for how long is down to weather conditions.
It is possible to sow ‘wok brocc’ spring/summer sprouting broccoli now. I don’t – partly because I don’t have the space, and partly because they are battered by cabbage white caterpillars. I have a hard enough time protecting the winter broccoli, which has long enough to recover if it gets a bit nibbled.
Steamed, boiled, stir-fried – I don’t tend to get too fancy with my PSB, as I try to stuff it all down my face before the season comes to an end!